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Catherine The Great

July 5, 2013

Since hitting the silver screen fifteen years ago in “The Mask of Zorro”, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has intrigued me in a way that no other female celebrity ever has. She’s like a glamour queen out of old Hollywood: she’s gorgeous, she has class, and she’s not half bad with a sword…..all excellent attributes, in my humble opinion. And I must confess that while I’m as straight as they come, this woman would be mine if my bread were buttered on the other side.

(A side note: Damned if I know what attraction the frail, elderly Michael Douglas holds for her, but as long as I don’t have to be married to him it doesn’t matter, although I’d just as soon never hear from him again on the subject of oral sex. Brings up WAY too many mental pictures, thank you very much.)

Alas for Ms. Zeta-Jones, she has also been diagnosed with bipolar 2 within the last couple of years, joining the ranks of famous people with the disorder. It’s not an uncommon affliction among artistic types, but not knowing anything about her as a person, I was rather surprised when I heard the news that she was in a psychiatric facility being treated for the condition. As I recall, she stayed only a few days, but it was long enough for her story to be leaked to the media, and what should have been a private health concern got splashed all over the tabloids.

From what I’ve read, her version of BP is mostly depressive episodes flavored with the occasional touch of hypomania, which makes me feel sorry for her because mine is the opposite, and I can’t imagine spending the majority of my “sick” time being depressed. It must be hell living in the public spotlight when you want to just disappear and lick your wounds behind tightly-closed doors. Nor can it be much fun to know that any time you’re seen having a good time, laughing loudly or acting a little silly, some wag will accuse you of being manic. (Good lord, can’t a bipolar ever have a LEGITIMATE emotion??!)

But what I truly admire about Catherine is her courage in turning her own personal tragedy into an effort to de-stigmatize bipolar disorder. The fact that she has to deal with the same headaches we lesser mortals do proves that mental illness is no respecter of social status; but more importantly, it also shows us that one can be beautiful and successful in spite—or maybe even because—of it.

I only wish I knew what meds she’s taking to manage her condition, because I want them. That girl is SKINNY! 🙂

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