Stigma Reduction — 04 June 2014

Perth star Jessica Marais has revealed she suffers bipolar disorder.

The Logie Award-winning actress has battled the mental illness since she was a teenager.

“I have developed ways to talk myself down from any ledges I find myself on,” she told The Australian Women’s Weekly.

“My bipolar is actually very manageable.”Jess Marais.

She said the illness emerged after she witnessed her father die from a heart attack when she was just 12 years old.

Now 29, Marais said having her first child, Scout, to fiance James Stewart has helped her get a handle on the illness.

“It has made all the difference in the world,” she said.

Marais says speaking candidly about her own experience with bipolar is part of removing the stigma surrounding mental illness.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of. And the more we talk about it as a community, the more we remove the stigma,” she said.

But she did admit the illness, which runs in the family, meant she was “an absolute mess” for about one day a month.

Marais’ star rose quickly after the popular actress appeared on Channel Seven’s family drama, Packed To The Rafters.

Her next big role will be playing Carlotta in an ABC telemovie about the transsexual entertainer which will screen on June 19 at 8.30pm.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects the normal functioning of the brain so a person experiences extreme moods.

The person may also experience symptoms of psychosis.

This article first appeared on The West Australian on 28 May, 2014.


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