Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catherine Zeta-Jones Talks Openly About Her Struggle with Bipolar Disorder on NBC News

Catherine Zeta-Jones is all over the media lately about her recent diagnosis of bipolar II, and now the media is jumping all over her struggle with it and what the disease really means. As far as I am concerned, this is a gift from God.

I have said it once, and I will say it again: There is nothing courageous about Catherine Zeta-Jones going public about her disease. She is a role model, a gifted actress and a loving mother and wife. She has a moral obligation to raise awareness of this disease to others, so ordinary people who suffer from it don’t need to be stigmatized.

Catherine is very high-functioning. There are many who cannot function at all with bipolar disorder, although the spectrum is broad. The two major classifications are bipolar I and bipolar II. Bipolar I is much more serious and most manic episodes will land you in the hospital. People with bipolar II suffer from hypo-mania, a much less severe form, although sometimes these bouts can be very serious.

In 2004 I was diagnosed with bipolar I after a manic episode that was so severe that I completely destroyed my marriage, career and home for a woman I barely knew in another country. It was severe enough that I landed in the emergency room of Northshore University Hospital after writing Swiss Chocolate and El Aguila in under a year.

Not so long ago my diagnosis was changed from bipolar I to bipolar II with personality disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), with histrionic and borderline features, more prominent on the borderline side.

I am getting a lot of treatment, and am very proactive about managing my disease. It is not easy, but I thank Catherine for coming out and doing an enormous public service by talking openly about her disease and what it is like to suffer with it. Kudos to you, Catherine Zeta-Jones!

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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