Jessica Marais has opened up to Nova radio this weekend about how going public with her bipolar diagnosis has changed her life.
Two years ago, Jessica spoke to Australian Women’s Weekly about living with bipolar, and how she first started experiencing symptoms at just 12 years old.
It was a revelation: here was a beautiful actress who seemed to have it all – a successful career, a beautiful child, a handsome husband – but was also living with bipolar. It normalised the disorder, and had fellow sufferers applauding her bravery in going public.
However, the fallout was also very real. Jessica’s choice to go public was a decision that shifted many people’s perception of the television star.
She was slammed for her unmedicated approach to the disorder, and several gossip rags even went as far as to suggest her 2015 marriage breakdown to fellow actor James Stewart was because of her mental illness.
Speaking to Confidential on Nova on Sunday night, Jessica spoke about how the ‘bipolar’ label is a hard one to shake.
“When I made that statement, I didn’t want it to be a defining element of my personality,” said Jessica, “because there are so many other things and that is just one little tiny facet.”
She also identified the struggles that came with being seen as a public voice to bipolar, and was quick to point out that it is different for everyone.
"I never as a public figure think that I can instruct people on how to deal with issues like that," she said, "but what I will say is that I’ve learnt to be more open with the people close to me when I’ve had struggles of my own."
Jessica rose to fame with her roles in Aussie shows Packed To The Rafters and Love Child, and is now starring in Channel Ten's new series, The Wrong Girl.
If you are suffering from bipolar disorder or know someone who is, head over to The Black Dog Institute to find out more information.