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Catherine Zeta Jones: Bipolar I vs. Bipolar II

Although I wouldn’t wish the pain of bipolar disorder on anyone, I am sort of glad to find out another accomplished, beautiful movie star has joined our manic-depressive group. After spending five days in a mental health facility, Catherine Zeta Jones has been diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. I like to call bipolar II the “Diet Coke” of bipolar, if you recall the scene from “Austin Powers” when Dr. Evil says to his son, Scott: “You’re quasi-evil. You’re semi-evil. You’re the margarine of evil. You’re the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough.”

That’s how I view bipolar II: one calorie short of bipolar I. Those with bipolar II experience the same symptoms as persons with Bipolar II, just not to the extreme. For example, when I get manic, I don’t hallucinate. I may not even seem manic to a person who doesn’t know me well. I might talk a little faster, have more energy, and, in general, feel much more confident than I would if I were not manic. In fact, my form of “grandiosity” is simply not needing to solicit so many affirmations to feel okay about myself.

The subtle symptoms can make it difficult to tease apart bipolar II from major depression.

51 Comments to
Catherine Zeta Jones: Bipolar I vs. Bipolar II

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  1. I am irritated by the amount of people saying things like this – Bipolar II is NOT a less severe version of Bipolar I. The only thing that is less severe is the mania. People who suffer with Bipolar II have more severe depression than those who suffer with Bipolar I.

    • I completely agree. I have type II, and my depressions are worse than the people I know who have type I. Yes, their manic phases are worse. But to say type II is “less severe” is oversimplifying at best — though I think it’s just wrong outright.

      • Yes, these kinds of opinions are everywhere in the past couple of days. It’s gone from nobody knowing what Bipolar Disorder is, to everyone having an opinion about who suffers most.

    • I hve BP2 and my aunt has BP1, eve she agrees with me that Type 2 is worse – because it’s almost always identified as “depression” and thus never treated right

      Also BP Type 2 has arguably highest chance of suicide

    • I agree, it’s not a competition. Bipolar II is a horrible sicknes too, depresssions are severe and A LOT MORE FRECUENT. I am not saying Bipolar I is the diet coke of depression but I’m tempted…

    • I was irritated too. Bipolar II is not the “diet Coke” of bipolar disorder. In fact, for some people with BP II, the hypomania manifests as extreme irritability and internal rage, which is not fun. The depressive episodes are also far more intense in BP II than in 1. It’s not less extreme or “diet Coke” in anyway; it’s just different.

    • I’m have BiPolarII and my depression is very severe and I get so scared. I’ve planned out my death but never attempted.

  2. so many have bipolar disorder; people w/graduate degrees from ivy league schools, to artists, to every day joe…welcome to the club. i’ve come to believe some extremes in life help to make the world a better place.

    • Maybe so, but try living with someone with this disorder, it really sucks. It makes life hell. It is often hard to tell if a person is suffering from bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. I believe they are often diagnosed as bipolar when they may be borderline.

  3. Or,

    All of this is a bit of a reach by professionals in the psychological fields who do not wish to make diagnoses in the spectrums of “personality disorders.” That is because personality disorders are harder to treat, they can leave the patient with a stigma (mostly from the patient’s point of veiw), and they never really go away (the patient has to live with the knowledge that their personality disorder will stay with them for their entire lives – like alcoholism it can be managed, but never “cured”). But understand, if you get misdiagnosed with bi-polar (whether bi-polar I or II) when what you really have is a personality disorder, you are unlikely to get well, because the protocols for therapy are entirely different.

    • Someone told me about this post and thread and have to agree with this commenter, I sense Ms Zeta Jones is just the latest poster person for the big pharma push to sell their meds, especially the second generation antipsychotics like, in order of sales pitch hysteria: Seroquel, Abilify, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Geodon, and soon to follow Zanapt, and Latuda. And yet, what if someone is personality disordered, has these mood swings that is often the lack of maturity and effective coping skills, and just seeks out any and all support systems in their acuity and demandingness, just to be falsely labeled as a mood disorder?

      Personally, I have to wonder if Ms Zeta Jones is really annoyed, if not just downright angry she has her personal issues in every tabloid and internet site that allegedly has an interest in her affairs.

      Privacy and confidentiality, terms that have been dismissed to irrelevant in this culture of immediate needs and interests. Read The Mirror Effect by Dr Drew, just getting finished and think it fits well to issues like this, not necessarily to Ms ZJ specifically. Have a nice weekend.

  4. Aren’t these also symptoms of “electromagnetic radiation poisoning?” We are bombarded with so much radiation from towers, dishes, antennae for cell phones, wireless phones and computers, digital tv’s, and, perhaps more importantly, from “HAARP” weather warfare electromagnetic radiation technology. Our bodies cannot handle this bombardment. After using the internet for a couple days, intensively, I couldn’t sleep anymore, for ten days I simply could not sleep. And then fear came, from sleep loss. I had loads of energy. It was just too much radiation exposure for my body.

    • I am so glad that you brought this point up! I recently brought a smart phone and could not put it down. I believe that if one already has a pre-existing mental condition, overexposure to radioactive devices can cause the symptoms you have mentioned. I think I may have experienced the same thing recently, and the funny thing is that when I was going through this my intuition was telling me to put my phone down, and I thought I was maybe paranoid! Thank-you

  5. Hypomania like “Diet Coke”??? I disagree! I don’t think my wife would disagree too… BP1 and BP2 both have very serious effects on our ability to functional.

  6. Thank you for this post. I have bipolar II and it was a breath of fresh air when I was diagnosed. I had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and prescribed SSRI after SSRI, which made me worse. I’m thankful a doctor finally made the correct diagnosis and I’m now managing my bipolar II very well. I’m glad Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken out about bipolar II.

    • That is great you are managing so well…what is the medication that is working? My 21 yr old daughter was just diagnosed Bipolar II and the doc prescribed Lamictal, an anti-seizure medication. Unfortunately she was also diagnosed with a personality disorder too (axis II).

    • Meaghan your post could have been written by me

  7. I have been diagnosed as having Bipolar I, Severe, Recurrent, with Psychotic Features (actually, it’s been officially changed to Schizoaffective Disorder; but the “I” stays the same) – to note, even though my psychotic symptoms were impacted by certain mood states, they were distinct and separate – and, for the most part, I have been cursed with the irritable brand of mania. There is no joy and excitement; not even a trace. I just become severely agitated, restless, sleepless, distractible, aggressive, hostile, impulsive and reckless; I’ve also become somewhat promiscuous. My anger flares, and everything – seriously, everything – sets me off into hours-long rages, often accompanied by torn paper and rooms that appear to have withstood a tornado. Of course, as is so with mania, I think that I am better, holier-than-thou and that I am in no way at fault. It can also trigger or worsen psychosis. These also often turn into mixed states, which can be incredibly confusing: suicidal depression with racing thoughts and high energy, for example. The two can be hard to distinguish.

    When euphoria does spike me, however, it can be beautiful and, as much as I hate to say it, fun. I have experienced both euphoric hypomania and mania, and I really do adore the hypomania. It has never had a negative impact on my life, other than some trouble concentrating in school (I do not say this to invalidate to it; I’m sure the mood swings can wrack havoc on people’s life – I know they can. This is just my experience). When explaining it to the lay person, I tend to explain as the difference between Adderal and Cocaine: one simply makes you more alert, maybe a little buzzed and confident, or irritable and snappy; and the other is far more severe. Yet, when taken to extremes, both can be damaging and addictive.


    • I’ve had a very similar situation, myself. I went from being diagnosed with depression by a doctor who knew nothing about psychology, and the SSRI’s just made me so jittery you’d think I was on speed 24/7. I knew he was wrong beforehand and even suggested bipolar, but he went on with his terrible evaluation and diagnosis regardless. After a few days, I got off of them.

      I then got treatment somewhere down the road in Sacred Heart at which point they diagnosed me with bipolar. I thought, “Yep! I knew it!” However, further down the road, when I was still getting manic, depressive, psychotic, and mixed episodes, I tried and tried to re-evaluate. “What is missing?” I thought to myself. Finally, while sitting down with my psychologist, we both agreed on schizoaffective disorder, but essentially the bipolar I strain.

      Everyone has a different reaction to everything in life – no given disorder excluded. I believe that, if I were in a room full of a hundred other people with the same diagnosis, none of our experiences would be identical; perhaps they may just be similar in various ways. I would never wish my experiences with schizoaffective on another, but I do think that there are both advantages and disadvantages (at least when I got on good meds and got a couple of years of good counselling.) I’ve learned a lot of things, but I also feel I’ve lost of a lot of things. It’s made me who I am today. I usually consider myself luckier (in general) than many with bipolar II disorder because, those times that I did spend in depressive episodes were so torturous (albeit along with hallucinations) that I couldn’t imagine possibly having them more frequently, longer, and harder.

      Really, it’s apples, to oranges, to grapes, to kiwis, and an infinite supply of other fruits.

  8. Ria, IIs have more severe depression? I don’t doubt the devastation of the disease as a whole (the criteria for hypomania states it must not significantly impact your life; but, obviously, mood swings and depression can), as I suffered with it for years before my first full-blown manic episode; but, as someone with Bipolar I, I myself have suffered from rather severe depressive episodes – and I am depressed far more than I am manic. I can count my full blown manic episodes on less than two hands. I’ve been depressed since age three. Can you cite a study?

    jackflashjumps, You are correct, and I do agree (not so much on the computer aspect: it does create sleep problems; but I’m not sure radiation is the cause). In general, I think we put far too many toxins in our bodies. To think that radiation poisoning accounts for all cases of Bipolar, however, is a tad extreme – just as it is to think that all can be accounted for by over/under active thyroids, or such. And this is coming from a person who had a very thorough physical examination – cell count, anemia, tests for P.A.N.D.A.S and similar autoimmune response, MRI, etc – before diagnoses.

    Jg3164, Interesting. I think you are right about personality disorders, to an extent (many people have made full or near-full recoveries) and I do believe that Bipolar Disorder is a tad over-diagnosed, where a more thorough evaluation would reveal another set of symptoms. There is a rather large distinction, however, and it needs to be made; the therapies are completely different from each other. For her sake, I hope they made the correct one.

    • Akire,

      Yes, I hope Zeta Jones’s diagnosis is correct. There is overlap of symptoms, especially with “Borderline Personality Disorder” – which no one wants to be diagnosed with – because then everyone thinks you are spending time in a dark closet cutting your arm with a kitchen knife… But you only need 5 of the 9 symptoms to be diagnosed as Borderline. It is a spectrum disorder, like most all personality disorders. So folks with Borderline Disorder can be especially high functioning in work environments and yet behave monstrously toward the people closest to them. While it is possible for people to be considered “recovered” from a personality disorder, it is much like being “recovered” from alcoholism. And even “recovered” Borderlines “slip” the way alcoholics do.

    • No, sorry I don’t have a study to cite. I said it out of sheer anger at the implication that Bipolar II is in some way easier to deal with than Bipolar I. I just object to that as someone who has been hospitalised and suffered halluncinations/psychosis as part of depression rather than of mania. It’s not a competion in any way – we all understand each other. Apart from the person who wrote the original article, seemingly.

      • The person who wrote this article has Bipolar II.

        I think what was meant, both by her and the John Hopkins Bulletin she cited, was that the mania was less intense – and, clinically, that is accurate (hypomania, technically, cannot have a “significant” impact on your functioning). The depression can, obviously, be just as horrid (just a note, as a person who has suffered psychosis both during mania and depression, the depressive psychosis, in my opinion, is so much worse. Manic – at least, the euphoric brand – hallucinations can be beautiful. Not so with depression).

        I agree. We’re all in the same boat, and we all understand each other. This truly is one fight.

      • Ay, that last post was me – forgot to switch it to my internet name. Not to much of an issue; I don’t really mind.

        Just didn’t want to confuse you.

    • Akire are you sure you’re not Type 2? I have your symptoms but I was diagnosed as BP2. I am depressed all the time, and my manias are very rare and dysphoric.

  9. “Those with bipolar II experience the same symptoms as persons with Bipolar II, just not to the extreme.”

    I’m confused.

  10. K, I’m pretty that was a typo. I think it meant to say, “Those with Bipolar II experience the same symptoms as persons with Bipolar I, just not to the extreme.”

  11. I always have a lot to say but I’ll just say this:I have Bipolar I with psychotic features(delusions) but I don’t get psychotic (only maybe 2x since being on medicine for 27 years)very rarely.Have rapid cycling & mixed mania.I’d rather be bipolar than unipolar anyday because if I’m down I know it’s not hopeless & forever;that my mood will always swing up again(& it always does,thank God)but hopefully not into full blown mania which I experienced 2x.Being hypomanic is usually a great thing as long as I don’t get angry,irritable & aggressive like I sometimes do.But now I have to go back & reread about borderline peronality because perhaps that has been overlooked.I also have the complication of ADHD being treated but no cure & I’d like someone to explain how to really distinquish between being hypomanic & being hyperactive-I’m starting to learn the difference(when hypomanic,& to other people it looks similar to hyperactive) I can now tell:I become a perfectionist in most things & get a bit obsessive-compulsive though my etired psychiatrist says I’m not but I know better because my mom has a bit of OCD so I 1sthand know what it entails;it never effected her functioning(in a way that doesn’t hurt anything but actually helps the lack of organization of ADHD-my room gets neat,I know where things are,I keep a clean kitchen-these are all things that I have trouble with in a “normal” phase,that’s if I’m ever in that phase;I’m not sure)but I will go & read about personality disorder which I heard of but don’t know anything about but maybe I have that?Also I find that the supposidly “bad” distractibility of ADHD can help depression by diverting my focus to something else & then I get into that & forget that I’m depressed for a while.One more,being a very intelligent person(graduated 1st in my class with a B.A. in chemistry-not genius by I.Q.,though) & extremely creative & multitalented(read music,used to do art now photography & I’ve written 2 short sories)I find that if I can get into something intellectually stimulating & can use my well developed analytical nature I am again distracted(ADHD) from depressive thoughts & feelings.Is this making sense how I use good things from both disorders to help each other?Gotto go cause I missed 1/2 hour of a science fiction movie I want to watch but I got distracted by this.I hope someone finds this interesting or even helpful & maybe someone who deals with these 2 disorders in the way I do will give me some feedback & better explain what I’m trying to do here.Thank you Morgana

  12. Bipolar 2 is generally less debilitating and does not cause as much devastation to people’s lives. It responds better to lower dosages of medications, and the “nicer” meds, ones with fewer side effects. Generally, Bipolar 2 can be treated on an outpatient basis and people can have a more independent and successful life. As long as people can continue to work, go to school, and function with Bipolar 2. If you look in the DSM 1VR, we rate people according to the GAF score which is inclusive of how a person manages and functions. A person with Bipolar 2 would typically have a higher GAF(global assessment of functioning) than someone with Bipolar 1, dependent on the severity of the episode and the impact on their lives. People cannot compare their own incidences of depression with others, or any of the different “polars”. At times it is the same diagnosis, yet the differences can be explained by family supports, financial support, insight into illness, success in life, close relationships, early attachment issues, ability to cope and problem solve, self-esteem, and substance abuse issues.
    The real issue is getting the proper treatment. Any of these disorders require medication management and compliance, therapy, work on all psychosocial issues, balance in life, knowing your symptoms and how to get support. Taking responsibility for your health and mental health, as well as staying away from any alcohol or illicit substances.

  13. Bipolar disorder can be cured if you know the underlying cause. I suffered from this for 12 years by the inept treatment of the medical establishment. I had low cholesterol, and none of the dozen or so doctors I saw during that time tested me for it. Cholesterol gets a lot of bad press from the medical establishment, but they fail to mention that it is also essentially for the production of vitamin-D and several hormones. It is easy to see how an actress trying to keep her weight down might also be suffering from this. I sincerely hope she gets the correct diagnosis of the true underlying cause and the appropriate treatment.

    • i’m glad treating your cholesterol worked for you. i routinely have my labs done and sadly, I still am suicidal and psychotic at times. my cholesterol, thyroid, vitamins etc are all healthy and normal.

    • I am sorry for what you went through, and I am sincerely happy that you have found both the correct diagnosis and, thus, treatment for it. I am also rather appalled that your doctors didn’t do a thorough physical workup before treating your symptoms as mental illness (and this goes for everyone: if your doctor didn’t do this, request it now; if he/she refuses or tells you it is a waste of time, get a new doctor). At the same time, not every case of Bipolar Disorder – or any other mental illness – is so simply explained.

      Personally, in my situation, I have been tested for nearly everything under the sun that could possibly mimic Bipolar Disorder (and others, too): thyroid levels, cell counts, vitamin deficiency, a 24 hour EEG, an MRI of my brain, and so forth. All have come up healthy. Physically, according to many different doctors, I am healthy. My symptoms are all psychological, and within the brain and mind. (Though, I do have mild heart problems and muscular tics now due to medication – which I am now off of – but they did not start until after diagnosis).

      Once again, I do agree – so many things can mimic mental illness, you need to make sure to test for all of them. It’s not voodoo, it’s no holistic or alternative care – it’s good medicine. Neglecting to test for such things is not only wrong; but potentially dangerous. Yet, it’s not always that simple, either.

    • If you were were diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and have been cured, you were misdiagnosed. Bipolar Disorder cannot be cured, only treated.

  14. Individuals with Bipolar Disorder type II have a higher risk of death by suicide than those with type I. Their disorder is also more likely to go unrecognized, untreated and undiagnosed. Please do not call it the “Diet Coke” of mental illnesses. Everyone experiences their mental illness differently and has a different treatment path, and for many it is very difficult, painful, and life threatening.

    • Statements like “Diet Coke of Bipolar” are Factually and conceptually wrong. The facts have been pointed out.
      Here’s the concept:
      Search “Guidelines For Reporting and Writing About People With Disabilities”.

      Would one think that thoracic spinal cord injury is the “diet coke” of spinal cord injuries? Would they even dare writing it if they did?
      At the very least this is poor journalism.

      “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word
      is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
      – Mark Twain

  15. I all. I am the mother of 3 girls all of whom suffer to some degree with major mental illness. Unfortunately it runs in my husband’s family. My elder girl suffers with major depression and is medicated. My middle girl suffers with Bipolar II and has had only 3 episodes in the last 3 years (came off the meds – which is usual) and I await the next eruption. My third daughter was diagnosed schizoaffective about 10 years ago and it has been a battle. I just wanted to say that I too am sorry for anyone suffering but on the positive side if anyone famous is diagnosed, then I feel that the public can be more aware and educated and we don’t have to sweep these illnesses under the carpet hopefully anymore.

    A Mother-Carer

  16. Hi all,
    I just wrote a sequel to this article in which I apologized for comparing Bipolar II to diet coke. I do know that bipolar II depressive cycles can be just as severe, if not worse, than bipolar I, and that our illness is just as debilitating. As someone mentioned, the distinction I meant was regarding the manic cycle, but I did not do a good job of articulating that. So I am sorry if I seemed to downplay the seriousness of bipolar II.

    • I read your original article, and understood your intent very clearly. You were simply trying to make a point. People need to learn to lighten up and stop looking for a fight. Keep up the good posting!

    • Thankyou, Apology accepted.
      Pay it foreward is all I ask.
      I am Bipolar. I was Bipolar II

  17. I definitely think there’s this effort by her handlers to distance her from the “crazy” bipolar I. If you look how it’s being spun, she has the “good bipolar” — II

  18. Yes bipolar II doesn’t have the full manic phase, but it’s nevertheless tortuous for those who have it. People often associate hypomania with elation, but for many of my clients it’s experienced as extraordinarily irritable and restlessness. Many have described it as feeling like crawling out of their own skin. There is no “good bipolar”, but rather people who are suffering.

    • That is EXACTLY how I feel along with the other symptoms of BP2. Rapid, rapid cycling. Yes, depressed much more often for long periods…sometimes, depressed mood(life crippling)with the anxiety, creepy crawles and insomnia.Sometimes I can go days without eating anything except a few cookies the entire day or a 3 bowls of ice cream. Overweight(278lbs) and malnurished. Just no appetite. infact the thought of food irritates me. I get like that when my mood is up or down. Feeling lost and tired of trying to be me. Oh, I’m “high functioning” but cant keep a job

  19. having said that , financial security even the basics at times is crucial for BP people me being 2.

    havent worked for a year, been through depression episode, for 6 months…….. ADD severe, PTSD from so many failures. etc…. anything or anybody out there who gets this and wants to help people get back on their feet……….
    so many millions out there thrown to uncertain research. …….. nothing has really changed in 10 years ………..

    i badly need help ………. used to be in Corp world ….

    • im like you… except i never lasted more than three months at a job… im a freelancer but too depressed to work… even getting out of the house now

      the manias are really dysphoria, it’s a BAD feeling.

  20. Being Bipolar 2 stinks, other than hearing music when the radio is not on. Entertaining sometimes. I gained 70 lbs after being on many coctails of lithium, seroquel, depakote, so many anti-depressants I can’t remember them all.Why do all the Hollywood stars stay so skinny. I would love to know their magic approach to this. I also agree that the depression is paralizing at times.

  21. Late comment, but I had to say something I really don’t care. I agree with someone else who commented–I have Bipolar I and I take serious offense to this. For one, as others said Bipolar II could be considered worse, and on top of that, don’t try to DISTANCE yourself from us like we are some sick form of life you don’t want to be associated with. You should be ASHAMED of yourself. This is nothing more than written attempt to downplay BP2, make BP1 seem worse, and at that, this could have been written by a high school student. You make me sick.

  22. I’ve always wondered if I was bipolar but I am not manic. I’m not Britney. I wish I had enough energy to be manic. I go from down to maybe a little perkier than normal and then down. I’m irritable A LOT. I had fits when I was younger (I don’t mean epilepsy more like tantrums) as well as night terrors. I have an official diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

    Then CZJ was diagnosed with Bipolar2 and the description fit. I never knew there was a 2. I have bad health insurance right now so I can’t be tested but one of my friends with very similar symptoms than I have was just diagnosed bipolar 2 so I have started to research the symptoms. I LIKE the diet coke analogy. I just took the test on this page. I got 33 “likely bipolar” which is a higher score than “bipolar 2”. It fits me even better. I mix coke and diet coke when I go to a self serve fountain. I’m weird enough where I would be the first case of BP 1.5

  23. Hi all. So I just got out of riverfield lodge , which is a mental health unit , 2 years ago I got diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder , and to be honest , the comments I’m reading are hectic , no matter what bipolar you have , it is still on the same level , its hard !! For both sides !! And just one more thing , there nothing more irritating than when people say they ” suffer ” from bipolar ! ! You don’t suffer , you ” manage ” bipolar ….

  24. Does the author of this article suffer from bp2? I absolutely disagree that bipolar II is less severe than bipolar I. The depressions experienced by bp2 are as severe, if not more severe, than bipolar I. I’m lucky to have finally been diagnosed as having bipolar II disorder; the depressions I experienced was so severe that it overshadowed any other diagnosis. In my opinion, KZJ was fortunate in that she only spent 5days in a hospital…I spent 28 years “Chasing” the diagnosis of bipolar II disorder.

  25. Like many other readers, I am just as annoyed by the comment that BPD II is not as bad as BPD I. Try one day in my socks. I was in yet another clinic for 9 days – I have been on so many different medications in the past seven years. I have yet another failed attempt to regular life. I am constantly mixed. Up DOWN Inside out.
    I tried to take my life after losing my unborn baby (I am 27) and luckily I didn’t die. But everyday I question what’s the point.

    I have not experienced stability in emotions for longer than a few days in over ten years. Before that it was depression for a few years after my brother’s passing.

    This is the worst mental illness anyone could have in my opinion.
    I am too tired to talk more about this stupid disorder, no one understand it properly and need to do their homework and come and be me for a day.
    Kind regards.

  26. A very simple (is it manic?) comment:
    You have given me the best description of my manic state I’ve ever read or thought up myself. “. In fact, my form of “grandiosity” is simply not needing to solicit so many affirmations to feel okay about myself.” If only my friends and family could understand that. . . Thank you. My colleagues think I’m simply being too chatty when I go up and down the hall poking my head in everyone’s office and talking, essentially, about the weather. Little do they know I can’t stop it for anything. Their loss.

  27. Bipolar 2 is always misunderstood, just as depression is, the problem is people with just depression can be treated much more easily.

    type 2 is equally as bad as type 1 just on the opposite of the spectrum.

    severe depression as opposed to sever mania

    I really wish people who comment regarding Type 2 to quote the deep depressive side instead of leaving it out, i want my life to be understood not to be ridiculed.

  28. I think most of Ms Zeta Jones’ publicists have made a point of emphasizing that she has BP II rather than I because it’s considered less severe. There are no psychotic symptoms, and a person doesn’t go full blown manic. Honestly — we don’t know for sure what Ms Zeta Jones has, only that in society’s eyes, BP II is considered the less “crazy.”

    As someone with BP I, I happen to think this is true. I’m skeptical about the overdiagnosing of BP II. Acting irrationally, even getting into a “hypo” state, doesn’t mean a person is bipolar. As fr as depression goes, a person needs to look at his or her lifestyle and diet. Alcohol, sugars and little exercise, along with unresolved life issues, can keep a person in a state of deep sorrow. That’s not a mental illness.

    I also think its very important to keep in mind that people exist on a spectrum, and who they are medicated vs. unmedicated is a very different thing. The exclusive focus on a person as he presents symptoms on any given day is superficial; it tells a fraction of the story. It explains what a person wore. It’s bad enough to get that from the so called medical establishment (who are trained to treat symptoms, not causes) but to hear it echoes in a forum among people who suffer from the disease is disheartening.

  29. Hi Therese or others,
    Wife was just diagnosed and this is helpful; however, can someone clarify this sentence at the beginning of the article.

    “…Those with bipolar II experience the same symptoms as persons with Bipolar II, just not to the extreme…”

    Is the typo 1 or 2. How should it read?



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