Catherine Zeta-Jones: I Hope To Remove the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder

The Playing For Keeps star told InStyle that she hopes to inspire people who need help with mental illness to seek help

Catherine Zeta-Jones didn't intend to become the new face of bipolar disorder -- but now that she's got the job, she's embracing it. Speaking to InStyle magazine, the Welsh actress opened up about her battle with depression, and how she hopes to become a role model for others dealing with mental illness.

"I'm not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops, but with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow suffers will know it is completely controllable," the Playing for Keeps actress told the magazine. "I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who didn't have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it."

Zeta-Jones, who went public with her bipolar diagnosis in April 2011, describes this past year as "an intense time, in good ways and bad." One of the good things? A stronger marriage to her husband Michael Douglas.

"You find out who you really are and who you're married to," said Zeta-Jones. "You find things inside yourself you never imagined were there."

Along her journey, the actress has developed some specific coping mechanisms to keep her symptoms under control -- like resisting the temptation to Google herself. "The smartest thing I did was to stop going online. I'm the sort of person who will just look for the negative," she confessed. "Michael can't really understand it, but that is the way I am. With my bipolar thing, that's poison. So I just stopped. Cold turkey. And it's so liberating."

On the positive side, she credits her bipolar disorder with helping her to appreciate "the little things, like tea outside on a terrace." As a result, Zeta-Jones has learned how to step back from the movie-star lifestyle from time to time.

"I love clothes, and yes, we go out, but it’s not like I’m walking around all day in a neglige with fluffy mules," the mother of Dylan, 12, and Carys, 9, told the magazine. "We’re country people, really. I garden and knit. I golf. We ride horses."

Although Zeta-Jones has been open about her depression, it wasn't her idea to make it public in the first place. During an interview last spring, Michael Douglas revealed that his wife had been "outed" by the National Enquirer after she checked into a mental health facility. Yet the actress immediately took control of the story, saying that there should be no shame in getting help.

"If my revelation of having Bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it," she told People last year.

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