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Survivor Catherine Zeta-Jones opens up about her 'intense' year with illness

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Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken out about her battle with bipolar disorder. The Darling Buds of May star said she hoped her honesty would help to "lift the stigma" surrounding the illness she was diagnosed with in 2011.The 43-year-old mother-of-two said she wanted other sufferers to know that help is available and said that her diagnosis meant she learnt to appreciate her life all the more. "I've gained an appreciation for the little things," she said "like having tea outside on a terrace."


In April last year, Catherine was admitted to a rehabilitation clinic in Connecticut. It was there that doctors concluded the Zorro actress was suffering from bipolar II disorder, a condition where patients experience a series of low episodes.Speaking to InStyle magazine, Catherine revealed: "I'm not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it's controllable". She added that positive results can come from such an illness. "You find out who you really are and who you are married to," she said. Swansea-born Catherine has been wed to fellow actor Michael Douglas for 12 years and the couple have two children together. Their son Dylan was born in 2000 and their daughter Carys followed in 2003. Michael battled throat cancer in the year building up to his wife's diagnosis, but was given the all-clear in January.


Now currently filming her latest blockbuster, a comedy called Red 2 starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Bruce Willis, Catherine is also on the up and managing her condition in an effective way . She was seen on set in Paris in sleek black outfit and sporting a stylish fringe just days after her guest appearance at a children's hospital in Cardiff. The Oscar-winner brought smiles and cheer to a group of seriously ill youngsters on a return visit to the hospital which she opened in 2006. On the emotional occasion Catherine took the time to meet and speak to some of the critically ill children who are treated at the specialist unit.Due her long-standing support of the hospital, Catherine was invited to unveil the its new name, The Noah's Ark Children's Hospital of Wales, six years after it opened its doors. Since then the actress has made sure to keep in touch and in 2010 she attended a function to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the hospital's official charity, the Noah's Ark Appeal.

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