Margot Kidder is brutally honest about her public battle with mental illness but she still refuses to reveal the horrors that she believes have been the main cause of her problems. "A lot of it has to do with certain traumas in childhood, which I prefer not to talk about," the actress, who suffers from bipolar disorder, tells

Natural Health. "But really it was a combination of everything: not eating properly, not sleeping, certain genetic things. There were others in my family who had perhaps some mild symptoms of it."

The 51-year-old actress, who made headlines back in 1996 when she was discovered suffering from delusions in the backyard of a stranger's home, says she now keeps herself under control with a combination of stress-reduction techniques, improved eating and lifestyle habits, acupuncture and a focus on vitamins and minerals known as orthomolecular medicine.

Still, the actress admits she's had an occasional relapse since the 1996 incident. "I went to the Saturday Night Live 25th anniversary celebration in New York and then from there I flew to Toronto and went straight to the set of Amazon," says Kidder, referring to her current acting gig on the syndicated TV series. "The day after that, I knew I was up there ? getting hyper. So I took extra doses of B-vitamins, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and taurine." Kidder, who rose to fame as Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the 1978 movie Superman, says her mind now feels clear but she still remembers the more manic periods of her past: "I went through millions of dollars ? I have no idea how much. I'd buy things for friends, take people to Paris. Once I stayed up for three weeks in a row because I felt like I was called upon to write a new religion for women. I was reading all these books, including the Bible — and I'm an atheist." ? Rich Brown