Jane Pauley Brings Awareness of Bipolar Disorder

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The "Jane Pauley Show" aired today for the first time. The famous broadcaster has been in the TV spotlight for almost all of her adult life. But recently she's been getting attention for another reason. Pauley's new book "Skywriting," talks about her experience living with bipolar disorder.

Also known as Manic-Depressive Illness, the brain disorder causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and their ability to function.

Judy Orta is the programs director for the Justice in Mental Health Organization in Lansing; she also has bipolar disorder. She, like Pauley, is able to control her symptoms with medications. But as Dr. Jonathan Henry of CEI Community Mental Health says, many people have such a severe form of the disorder they aren't able to function.

Orta says before she was diagnosed and properly treated, she lost her home and her job, and was so depressed that she attempted suicide several times.

Dr. Henry says he hopes that by bringing awareness to mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder it will help to decrease the negative stigma surrounding all mental illnesses. He says many people hold off getting help because of that stigma.