Actress Jenifer Lewis is telling it all in her new book, The Mother of Black Hollywood, excerpted exclusively in the current issue of PEOPLE.
“We are as sick as our secrets, so I tell everything,” says the Black-ish actress.
“I had a sort of habit of sex serving as a night cap. I was Cleopatra, Pam Grier, Marilyn Monroe, and Jezebel rolled into one. For me, nothing could extend the thrill of a standing ovation like great sex with a gorgeous guy.”
It was Jenifer’s therapist Rachel that diagnosed her as having bipolar disorder.
“When she said, ‘mental illness,’ I thought, ‘b—-, you crazy.’ I associated mental illness with people who couldn’t function, with straitjackets.”
Jenifer’s therapist was also able to help her come to grips with her sex addiction.
“Just as alcoholism isn’t really about the liquor, my addiction wasn’t really about the sex. It was about the unresolved psychological problems that caused me pain. Sex was simply my painkiller,” she writes.
The actress eventually started taking medication to help.
“My responses were no longer as extreme. No matter what big issue or catastrophe loomed, I could say, ‘bring it’ and move forward. I was better able to listen and be present and aware of the world around me,” Jenifer writes.