The Celebrity Therapist

Beauty of stage and screen shows courage.

Catherine Zeta-Jones has graced the screen in such films as: The Mask of Zorro, Entrapment, Traffic and Chicago. She recently was awarded a Tony for her role of Desiree in A Little Night Music. Along with her acting career, Zeta-Jones is well known for her marriage to Michael Douglas. The couple has been married for over a decade and has two children. With her amazing style, beauty and grace, Catherine has been commended on her courage while she stood by her husband’s side as he battled cancer. The amount of stress in her life is considered a factor for her latest news, a brief stay in a mental health treatment facility due to her Bipolar II disorder.

There is no doubt that stress plays a huge factor in regards to the mental well-being of an individual who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. There are several forms of bipolar, each having different attributes. Bipolar II is characterized by having at least one episode of hypomania. Signs of an episode of hypomania can include: a lack of need for sleep, the appearance of being more creative, feelings of euphoria, rapid speech, quickly changing thoughts and the appearance of being more creative. The symptoms of this form of bipolar are often undiagnosed because they are mistake for simply being more excited or productive. Those that suffer from bipolar II disorder tend to have prolonged “low” moods.  With the extreme bottom that is seen in those that suffer from depression, and the manics associated with bipolar I,  the symptoms of bipolar II disorder may simply be overlooked.

As is the case with Catherine Zeta-Jones, if these symptoms are not treated, the individual may require respite and treatment in a mental health facility. The treatment for bipolar disorder can include medication and talk therapy. The important thing to remember is that having bipolar disorder means that you have a condition that can be treated.

Catherine Zeta-Jones felt the need to seek treatment for her bipolar disorder. She also had a representative make a public statement:

“After dealing with the stress of the past year, Catherine made the decision to check in to a mental health facility for a brief stay to treat her Bipolar II disorder,” the rep says in a statement. “She’s feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films.” Representative for Catherine Zeta-Jones

It takes a strong individual to face having a mental health condition and taking action to seek the help that is needed and available. I feel that it says a great deal about Catherine Zeta-Jones character to have a formal statement made to the press. This is an example of how an individual in the public eye, can help eradicate the stigma of mental illness. Catherine Zeta-Jones joins the ranks of Carrie Fisher, Linda Hamilton and Mariette Hartley. All of these famous women have put a “face” on bipolar, with a mission towards ending the negative connotations associated with mental health disorders. Combining the work of agencies, such as NAMI, National Association of Mental Illness, it is my hope that those that need help will have the courage to seek it, without backlash. The key is to remember that those that are diagnosed with bipolar can live a healthy and productive life.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Life and Recovery Coach on Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addictions.  Sherry can be reached at for coaching packages, therapy, teleseminars, workshops, or speaking engagements.


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