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Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 04/14/2011

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bipolar II: How celebs help raise awareness about the disorder

Catherine Zeta-Jones. (Jason Merritt - GETTY IMAGES)
Catherine Zeta-Jones’ public revelation that she checked into a mental health facility for treatment of Bipolar II Disorder is shining a light on the form of manic depression. While Zeta-Jones has not made a personal statement about her Bipolar II Disorder, a form less severe than Bipolar I, other celebrities diagnosed have spoken publicly about their experiences.

“Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher discussed her struggles with Bipolar II Disorder in 2000 to Diane Sawyer. On “20/20,” Fisher, who also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, told Sawyer, “I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on. Better me than you.”

More celebrities open about their bipolar struggles, after the jump.

Former “Today” show host Jane Pauley shared her experiences with bipolar disorder in her 2004 autobiography, “Skywriting.” “I had already decided that if only one good thing came out of this mess, it would be the opportunity to talk about the disease. It didn’t seem like an act of courage,” Pauley wrote in her memoir. “Most people living courageously with mental illness fear losing everything—they can’t afford to give people the benefit of the doubt. I can. It seemed pretty simple.”

She discussed her diagnosis and memoir with current “Today” host Matt Lauer in the video from 2004, below.

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English actor and author Stephen Fry documented his struggles with bipolar disorder in the BBC documentary “The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.” In the 2006 film, Fry interviews Fisher and actor Richard Dreyfuss, who both spoke openly about their disorder. Fry himself said, “For the first time, at the age of 37, I had a diagnosis that explained the massive highs and miserable lows I've lived with all my life.”

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