Catherine Zeta-Jones opens up about mental illness

People magazine

Bipolar II disorder is a mental illness marked by prolonged periods of depression alternating with episodes of mild mania.

In an interview for the latest issue of People magazine, the 41-year-old actress says she didn’t find it shameful to speak out about her problems since there are others fighting this diagnosis as well.

“This is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them,” Zeta-Jones says. “If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.”

After taking care of her husband Michael Douglas, who suffered from cancer, Catherine Zeta-Jones had to get help herself.

In early April, Catherine checked in to Silver Hill Hospital, in Connecticut.

“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. She’s feeling great and looking forward to starting work this week on her two upcoming films,” her rep told People in a statement.

Even though her husband beat the disease, Zeta-Jones didn’t recover and she soon realized she needed help in facing depression.

“The simple things would just seem overwhelming, like going out to dinner,” says a close friend of the actress. “There was just a little piece of her chipped away. It was hard to watch because I knew how hard she was trying.”

This week’s issue of People hits newsstands on Friday