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.