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My Battle with Mental Illness

THE ACTRESS OPENS UP ABOUT HER WILD YEARS—AND FINALLY LEARNING SHE HAS BIPOLAR DISORDER
“I never just watch life—I live it,” says Lewis (at home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., on Oct. 20).

Jenifer Lewis is not one to hold anything back.“We are as sick as our secrets, so I tell everything,” says the 60-year-old singer and actress, who lived with undiagnosed bipolar disorder and a sex addiction through her 20s. Now starring on the ABC sitcom black-ish, Lewis, who proudly says she’s worked as the mom of “every black actor in the business,” is revealing her journey to a happier, healthier life in her memoir The Mother of Black Hollywood, excerpted here. With therapy and a medication regimen that works for her, “I have peace of mind now; I’m in my skin,” she says. “It took years to get to that place, but I did it—and I have a smile on my face.”

Lewis grew up “a little barefoot

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