Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Actress Jenifer Lewis Speaks Out on Her Bi-Polar Illness: "Denial is Part of the Disease"
After 40 years as a star of film and television, Jenifer Lewis can say that nothing can stop her, not even her bipolar disease. One of the steps she has taken that has helped her is to stop hiding her illness.
Jenifer was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1990. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. It's not just having a bad day. It is a condition that people who are diagnosed have to live with every single day, unable to control emotions that range from manic behavior to deep depression with thoughts of suicide.
The good news
The good news is that bipolar disorder is treatable with medication, allowing people with the disease to live a normal, healthy life. The tough part for Jenifer and many others is admitting they have a problem. For many years she rationalized her behavior as being normal. Now, after ten years of medication and therapy, she can honestly say that coming clean and talking about her illness openly has been a big help in learning how to live with the disease.
Be honest with yourself
As Lewis explains, “That’s another piece of the disease – the denial. Denying the problem can only cause more problems." Lewis recommends to anyone who thinks they may be bipolar to not be afraid or ashamed to seek help. It made a huge difference in Jenifer's life. She is now happy and free.
For more details about bipolar disorder, visit www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/
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