Jessica Marais on the perils of going public about her mental health.

In 2014, Jessica Marais, for the first time, went public with her bipolar disorder diagnosis in an interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly.

It was candid – a surprise, even – for viewers to see behind the facade of bright lights, fame and exceptional talent. After all, having all of the above and the experience of a mental health disorder aren’t mutually exclusive.

“Bipolar episodes have been a part of my life from about 12 years old,” she told the magazine at the time.

“I’ve had cognitive therapy training, so I choose not to be medicated. I have developed ways to talk myself down from any ledges I find myself on. And I am very lucky that I have a very patient partner who supports me.

“My bipolar is actually very manageable. And having a child to pull me out of it has made all the difference in the world.”

Now, in an interview with News Corp’s Stellar magazine, Marais has detailed exactly how overwhelming the response was to that initial admission, telling journalist Alice Wasley support didn’t always come. Of note, many took issue with the actress saying she did not take medication to manage the condition.

Image: Getty.

“I’d like to be able to be inspirational to people in terms of being able to say you’re not alone, there are other people like this, but it’s not something that I feel entirely defines me and it’s not something that I want to be a how-to [or] go-to guru on.”

She went on to tell the magazine she is now on medication.

“Now I am actually [on medication], but I wasn’t then,” she said.

“And then people say it’s irresponsible or... it’s a can of worms talking about any of your personal struggles. Luckily I get to deal with some of those through the characters that I play, which I think is in some way representing those issues, by showing women who are struggling, who aren’t coping with all of the things."

It's not the first time the Love Child star has conceded her going public with bipolar has meant occasionally the 'label' is hard to shake.

Speaking to Confidential on Nova in October 2016, 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,” she told Confidential on Nova in October 2016, “because there are so many other things and that is just one little tiny facet.”

"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."

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