The Case Files: Catherine Zeta Jones

I love Catherine Zeta-Jones. She can sing. She can dance. She’s beautiful.

She’s also courageous and honest. In April, she came out about her diagnosis with Bipolar II Disorder.

I mentioned it in my first Case Files post and I figured now was a better time than ever to post about it.

What is interesting about Catherine, is that she was diagnosed and treated for Bipolar II. Yes, you didn’t know there were two kinds, did you?

Well, there are and they matter. So, there are people like Charlie Sheen who are Bipolar I. People who have manic episodes. They do things like they are invincible. Drugs, sex, risky behavior, and are just really, abnormally happy and excitable. They don’t sleep for days and things appear incredibly off balance to the untrained eye.

Then, there are people like Catherine. People who have elevated moods, who are definitely happy and may be more excitable than they usually are, but they still go to sleep at night. They still go to work. They may be more edgy, irritable, or high-strung, but they are not acting outside of acceptable functioning. This is called hypomania.

Both of these people are bipolar. They both get depressed. They have episodes where their mood swings scrape the bottom of the barrel. Charlie Sheen just swings back to the top of the barrel, where as Zeta-Jones kind of bobs in the water right near the surface.

“I’m lucky. … But that’s not to say I don’t get down on myself. I try and stay positive, being negative isn’t good for my personality. I don’t just bring myself down, I bring everyone around me down. It’s like a dark cloud, ‘Uh oh, here we go’, and I have to snap out of it.”– Catherine Zeta-Jones

Since bipolar episodes are usually triggered by an event, it’s no surprise that her admission for her bipolar disorder came at the same time as her husband, Michael Douglas’ throat cancer, and an intense legal battle between his ex-wife for his Wall Street earnings.

I could give you the run down like I normally do about her life, but she’s rather uninteresting – in a good way. No drama, no sensational stories. The most risque thing she’s probably ever done is marry a guy who is 25 years older than her and then make it a really successful relationship and have a seemingly happy family life. You do you, girl.

So, it’s really just proof that a bipolar disorder diagnosis isn’t a death sentence and it isn’t a predictor for being miserable. It’s simply something you learn to understand about yourself and you move forward with a little more knowledge and a greater understanding of what works for you.

Sources (1, 2)


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Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Body, Couples, Individual, Mind
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.