Discovering that Catherine Zeta-Jones has biopolar II disorder and has been receiving treatment was definitely a shock to many of us. Not just because another intelligent, talented woman is suffering from a mental illness; but because she has chosen to reveal it publicly.
Suddenly I’m seeing her in a whole new light. Because Catherine works in an industry where the illusion of perfection is everything. The fact that she’s chosen to reveal her struggle will go an enormous way to breaking the stigma of mental illness and remind everyone that anyone can be affected. It is, in my opinion, an incredibly brave thing to do.
She deserves our respect and best wishes, and I hope she is given time to get well properly.
*If you’re affected by mental illness you can find help and support here.
Rather predictably when Catherine Zeta Jones made her illness public yesterday, people had the following to say:
* What has she got to be depressed about? She’s rich isn’t she?
* Why did she tell the press? What an attention seeker!
* Why does this get such attention just because she’s a star? Happens all the time!
* There’s nothing brave about admitting to a disease when your life is so full of material success
Some may find these reactions irritating, frustrating or mean spirited, others may have an element of sympathy with them. For me, having read the decision to make this public was based on the fact she was “papped” outside the clinic and rumours were circulating about addictive behaviour that may have brought her there, I do think there’s an element of bravery. However rich this woman is, she has coped in the last year with her husband’s cancer and his son being sent to prison. I’m not sure all the money in the world would make this better. It has also emerged that CZJ has been affected by depression on and off for years. Lots of us are.
For me, the only element of this I find frustrating is the fact that it still takes someone high profile like CZJ to speak up for people to understand more. There has been a lot of attention because of the nature of the illness, who knows, if it was a physical one it may not have been so newsworthy.
I hate the fact that when faced with news of someone’s illness, people make value judgements based on their own prejudices of whether the sufferer deserves to be one! We all get ill so I wish people would quit their sniping. Just because people have the sort of wealth so many dream of, it doesn’t stop them feeling, hurt, love or loss. It doesn’t stop compassion and it most certainly isn’t a cure for a medical condition.
It’s so important that people with mental health issues can talk about how they feel without any stigma – it helps them to heal. Well done Catherine!
How cool is that. Yes images of mental illness go hand in hand with inmmages of string faces, ill kempt homeless people, old lasies with lots fo bags and cats. To see gorgeous rich married successful Catherine make this statement too she makes it all right for any of us to say ..hey you know what I don’t feel okay. When I was a social worker I used to run a MIND day centre. Acceptanc eof illness is the first step to management and or recovery. catherine is a brave intelligent compassionate woman. I wish her well
Thanks for this – I totally agree!