Every day millions of Americans deal with Bipolar I and Bipolar II Disorder. Earlier this week, Catherine Zeta Jones was admitted to a mental hospital after another flare up of Bipolar II Disorder, which is marked by an inability to maintain a stable mood.
Most times, the human brain naturally produces the chemicals that it needs to keep your mood relatively stable. This doesn't mean that you don't have ups and downs to your mood; everyone does. However, people who have enough of the right chemicals, or neurotransmitters, understand what has affected their moods and why. Additionally, when you have an adequate amount of neurotransmitters, your mood doesn't fluctuate with minute problems. For example, not making it to the post office in time doesn't send you into a tailspin. You may be disappointed, but the feeling passes momentarily.
People who have been diagnosed with Bipolar I or II don't have the right amount of neurotransmitters in their brains; therefore, their mood often lives at two extremes (hence the term bi-meaning two and polar-meaning ends). They have trouble predicting what is going to send them into the a state of depression. Additionally, they don't know when that state of depression will be over. As if depression isn't enough, they also experience extreme highs.
Bipolar I Disorder is a disease that includes depression and mania. Mania is a state of exhilaration and excitement that lasts for about one week. Bipolar II includes the same depressive symptoms; however, it also presents hypomanic symptoms. Hypomanic episodes are different from manic episodes in their duration. That is, hypomanic episodes don't last as long.
Mental health concerns affect the entire family system, and they can be scary. As important as it is to decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness, it is just as important to respect someone's privacy. Hence my question: why is Catherine Zeta Jones going to a mental hospital news?
Obviously, she has fans and they are concerned about her. However, this "headline" seems to be invasive. Jones made it very clear on Good Morning America that this is not the platform that she wanted. Just like there is a coming out process to homosexuality and other social minorities, there is a coming out process for people with mental illness. Not everyone wants to shout to the world that they are living with Male Erectile Dysfunction, which can be a psychological disorder. Not everyone wants to talk to others who are suffering with social anxiety.
We need to send positive energy Catherine's way so that she feels better and finds a treatment regimen that keeps her as stable as possible for as long as possible. We also need to keep in mind that she is not bipolar; she has bipolar. People aren't disorders; they have disorders.
Catherine Zeta Jones is a lot of things...wife, mother, accomplished actress, daughter...
Bipolar is no where on that list, and shouldn't be.
Psychology Is Everywhere!