Much-loved star Jessica Marais has opened up about her experience with bipolar disorder, admitting while she's glad to be truthful about her past health challenges, she doesn't want to be forever defined by them.
The actress, who reportedly went against TV industry advice to be open about with fans about her experiences with the disorder, says she hopes that she won't always been seen as someone who has lived with a health condition, before any other aspects of her life and career.
'Your struggles are what makes you stronger and you shouldn’t be defined by them,' the stunning star told radio's Confidential on Nova show.
'I have a personal way of coping with struggles, the same way that anybody else does, and I don’t think that anyone should be defined by that. Also, there are periods of your life that you can go through something and you can move past them and other people have lifelong things.'
The actress first publicly discussed her mental health history in 2014, saying at the time that it was her wish to help remove the stigma and mystery surrounding mental health issues, and to allow for open dialogue. Now, looking back at that choice, she's hoping that people will see beyond this one element of her life experience.
'I suppose when I made that statement, I didn’t want it to be a defining element of my personality because there are so many other things and that is just one little tiny facet. I don’t set myself up to be any sort of expert that can impart advice 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.'