Jane Pauley on Bipolar Disorder & Undeniable Truths About Mental Illness

To a degree  – we are all guilty of lifting up celebrities and viewing them as if they don’t have real people problems.

I heard former TODAY Show anchor and author Jane Pauley speak at the Atlanta Women’s Foundation luncheon this week where she pulled no punches in her discussion about mental illness, women and poverty.

Jane Pauley Bipolar


Affluence = Access

As an award-winning journalist at NBC and as the wife of cartoonist Gary Trudeau, Jane Pauley’s mental health issues were handled much differently than yours or mine would have been. She had adequate insurance, a loving family and an employer who allowed her to take off for six months before you returned to work when she was diagnosed with a bipolar condition.

Video: Jane Pauley Discussed Turning 65


Take Your Meds Consistently

Even though she’s only had one “episode” of bipolar and manic depression, Jane told the audience she stays on her medication. Based on her experience, she’s know far too many people who suffer from mental illness and strive towards getting off of their medication vs. realizing that medication is part of their daily maintenance.

Show Your Support

I can’t say enough about support for those who suffer from depression, myself included. You must give and get support. Although I’ve shared my struggles here on the show, besides a few therapy sessions I didn’t get much support or join a support group (note to self: look into that).

Know Your Family History

Far too many families don’t talk about their history of addiction, depression and abuse. We push them into the back of our brains and deny them.

Be open. Talk about what your parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents suffered from and discuss them with your medical provider.

The Atlanta Women’s Foundation

The startling statistic reinforced by the Atlanta Women’s Foundation luncheon is that more than 80,000 girls woke up in poverty in the Atlanta area.  “The Foundation has invested more than $13 million into over 250 Atlanta area nonprofit organizations that have successfully moved women and girls from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.”

Next year the Atlanta Women’s Foundation will celebrate its 20th anniversary luncheon.

Mental Health Resources

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, here are some online resources to explore:

WebMD Depression Effects on Women: Depression Health Center

Postpartum Progess

Here I am with fellow blogger and Postpartum Progress founder, Katherine Stone.

Katherine Stone | PostPartum Progress

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    Thank you so much for sharing this and helping to raise awareness. A lot of people don’t understand what it is.

  2. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    This is a great article. I loved watching that video. People need to understand mental illness. So many people still just look at the mentally ill and say things like, “Suck it up.”

  3. Thank you for sharing this. It really is something that holds a stigma still and shouldn’t!

  4. I think the only way to remove the stigma and to understand is to talk openly about mental illness. That it impacts all sorts of people. I had no idea Jane suffered from bipolar disorder – it is brave of her to speak out!

  5. It is sad how many people don’t know enough about mental illness and so many people are still judged unfairly. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Thank you for this post. All lot of people don’t understand mental illness and the more awareness the better.

  7. I am so glad to see women of influence to come out about their mental illness. It makes it asier for me to talk about mine.

  8. This is great advice and I’m glad she’s using her celebrity status to increase awareness! Mental illness is a huge issue and sometimes people downplay it.

  9. I think it’s great that so many people are sharing their stories about mental illness. It can be so isolating when you are dealing with it so hearing from others is very reassuring.

  10. I think it’s great someone in the spotlight is sharing their story. The more people come forward and share, the faster the stigma will be removed from mental illness issues.

  11. Toni | Boulder Locavore

    I always enjoy learning more about things such as bipolar disorder. Mental illness is a very real thing, so I like to stay educated.

  12. Those are great tips! Medications are definitely not what people like to take but sometimes, it really does help!

  13. What a wonderful look into how to understand more about mental illness. So many people just ignore it and pretend it is something people can turn on and off.

  14. I am glad that mental illness is gaining more awareness these days. The more we talk about these things the more people will be helped.

  15. Onica{MommyFactor}

    This is a great way to raise awareness of mental disorder and can help to know about this serious issue.

  16. A great post. I am glad to see and hear that Mental Illness is becoming more talked about. It used to be the thing people whispered and talked about quietly, but it should be an open discussion and not just a whisper.

  17. Bipolar disorder is definitely an important topic for everyone to know, especially when it’s not easily seen or diagnosed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  18. Anjanette @MommaYoung

    This is a great post Joyce thank you. Suffering from a mental illness feels so lonely but there many of us suffering from it. I don’t know exactly why, but It is a big step admitting to one’s self that I have to take this pill my whole life. Thank you for sharing Jane’s story with us.

  19. This is a good awareness for the public to know and for us to support those around us. I’m glad there’s a support group, we all need to know life struggles are never alone, there are other people who might be experiencing or have experienced the same struggle.

  20. I’m so grateful that this is a conversation we’re having. It’s good to know that you are not alone, and know where to get help.

  21. I think some people brush of mental disorders or brush it off as a joke but it isnt. I think people need to see the signs of someone going through and support them if they are close. A lot of people, especially women are suffering in silence and it can be one tick that can make them snap…I think support groups would be great because it will put that person in a room full of like-minded people with less judgement and understanding.

  22. What a great post! I think more people need to realize how serious mental disorders really are!

  23. I think it’s great that you are shedding light on a serious issue. I hope that it helps someone.