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Catherine Zeta Jones: Bipolar II Is Not Diet Coke

Catherine Zeta Jones: Bipolar II Is Not Diet CokeDear readers, I owe you all an apology. I was wrong in my post about Catherine Zeta Jones’s diagnosis of bipolar II to compare bipolar II to Diet Coke. It was flip, inappropriate, and a lame attempt at humor. I hereby admit that I was wrong. So there is no need to further bash me.

I was wrong because it suggests that bipolar II is not as serious, not as painful, not as debilitating as bipolar I. But, as a person diagnosed with bipolar II myself, I certainly know that isn’t the case. I realize that the depressive cycle for someone with bipolar II can actually be more severe than the depressive cycles of folks with bipolar I. And sometimes the depression can be psychotic.

I was there myself, although I’m not sure if it was the illness that made me psychotic or the drug cocktail of about 20 pills that my psychiatrist at the time, who was in bed with big Pharma, prescribed for me.

And I’m very aware that a person with bipolar II can cycle much more rapidly than someone with bipolar I, which makes bipolar II more dangerous in some regards, and definitely more difficult to diagnose.

I apologize if none of that came through in my older post. What I meant to say is that the difference between bipolar I and bipolar II is that the MANIC cycle of bipolar I is more extreme. It may involve psychotic episodes that aren’t part of a manic cycle of someone with bipolar II. As a person with bipolar II, I don’t hallucinate when I’m manic, although people call me psychotic all the time.

Finally, I want to say, as a person with bipolar II, I realize how hard we have to work at staying sane. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life—and most likely the hardest thing I will ever do–is resist the urge to take my own life in the suicidal state I experienced throughout most of 2005 and into 2006. It was like swimming toward a title wave with intentions of not drowning. All forces are working against you. Your mind has turned on you like the witch in your fifth grade class you thought was your friend. Your amygdala (fear center) is hosting a toga party. Your neurotransmitters are striking. Your brain is just a big blob, more giggly than the rainbow Jell-O your mom used to make for Thanksgiving. So you have to surround yourself with people who can think for you until you regain solid ground. I know. I have been there.

The great thing about blogging is that, unlike a book, you can publicly apologize if you hit a wrong note. And obviously I did. So, those of you with bipolar II, I’m one of you, and I do take your illness and mine seriously.

Catherine Zeta Jones: Bipolar II Is Not Diet Coke

Therese J. Borchard

Therese J. Borchard is a mental health writer and advocate. She is the founder of the online depression communities Project Hope & Beyond and Group Beyond Blue, and is the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes and The Pocket Therapist. You can reach her at or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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APA Reference
Borchard, T. (2018). Catherine Zeta Jones: Bipolar II Is Not Diet Coke. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 18 Apr 2011)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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