Thursday, May 04, 2006
Jane Pauley's Struggles with bipolar Disorder
The Journal Inquirer from North Central CT, reports that TV personality Jane Pauley was a keynote speaker for the Foundation for Mental Health's luncheon, and spoke of her own struggles with BiPolar Disorder. Pauley says her bipolar disorder, diagnosed 5 years ago, was made worse by a combination of steroids and anti-depressants she was taking.
Pauley says it is important not to be afraid of the term "mental illness" and likened today's fear of the term with past generations fear of the word "cancer".
In her book, Out of the Blue, Pauley says she was diagnosed with "hypomania", which she discovered meant "mild" and not "big-time mania" as she had first thought. The mania never blossomed into full-blown grandiosity, but manifested itself in a constant stream of "ideas" and shopping. Her husband said she seemed to be trying to buy happiness.
Her depression, too, seemed to be fairly mild. Pauley says she never had "morbid thoughts" or severe depression. But her doctor and her family were wise enough to notice that she needed help.
Pauley readily admits that because of her VIP status, she was afforded some "perks", such as her own pajamas, that other residents of Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic were not. As frustrating as it is to realize that television personalities are often given health care opportunities that the rest of us are not, it is a good thing when "stars" such as Jane Pauley feel free enough to come out with the stories of their struggles with mental illness. Increased education and awareness can only help the rest of us.