The Oprah Winfrey Show
Coping with Bipolar Disorder
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Jenifer Lewis often used acting to hide her bipolar disorder.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, at least 5 million people have been diagnosed with some degree of bipolar disorder. Many times, those diagnosed are familiar faces.

Actress Jenifer Lewis, who appeared in Tyler Perry's film Madea's Family Reunion, recently revealed that she is bipolar and says she is finally ready to talk about it. "After years of therapy and after years of medication, I feel experienced enough now to come out and say bipolar disorder is treatable and you can get help and you don't have to live such a tortured existence," she says.

Jenifer says she knew for years that something was wrong, but she didn't know what it was. To cope, she used her one-woman shows to hide her manic tendencies. "On stage I could be big and loud and everybody said, 'Well, she's fabulous,'" she says.

But after the curtain went down, Jenifer says she lived in a dark place. "I would cry and I didn't know why I was crying," she says. "You can wake up and the sky is blue. But for [people with bipolar], it's black. It's dark…. It's a dark place to go."

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