4 individuals on how bipolar therapy modified their lives for the higher


Now, at 53, Mathews is in control of his bipolar I. She encourages those who have recently been diagnosed to remain patient and stick to treatment. « If you have an episode, lay low, take care of yourself for a few days, and it will pass, » she explains. « If you can just hold on, you become more comfortable with it. »

« I felt like someone else was controlling my mind and body. »

In 2021, Inga Lukosius had severe delusions, a common psychosis-related symptom that people with bipolar disorder can experience, especially during manic episodes.1 “I was completely out of this world. I was hearing and seeing things,” she tells SELF. “I thought I was a millionaire and my money would never end. I maxed out my credit cards and won $50,000 [worth of] debt.” Lukosius says she was stealing from stores, not paying at restaurants and sleeping at bus stops. “I felt like someone else was controlling my mind and body” before finding help, she said.

When she sought help, her doctor misdiagnosed her as suffering from depression, a problem I encounter with many bipolar people.2 The antidepressants he was prescribed at the time made his mania worse.3

During a hospital visit in 2022, Lukosius finally received effective care: a mood stabilizer and antipsychotic medication. Although she and her psychiatrist are « still trying to find a perfect fit » with her treatment plan, Lukosius is hopeful. “I am happy to have received the help I needed. [My doctors] brought me back to reality. »

« I was finally able to regulate my emotions. »

As a teenager, Felisha Lord was particularly brash. « I got furious and angry, » she tells SELF. « I was breaking things around the house. »

As quickly as her rage boiled over, she sank into depression. « I couldn’t figure out how I felt and why, » she recalled, adding that she struggled with self-harm.

These ups and downs stayed with Lord throughout his 20s and 30s and came to a head when he was 36. After Lord got into a physical fight with his then-fiancé, he gave him an ultimatum: get help or leave.

She eventually found a therapist who diagnosed her with bipolar I “right away,” which she had mixed feelings for. « I was relieved to know what was going on [affecting my mood] after all these years, but part of me was unhappy that I had to take a pill for the rest of my life,” Lord says.

But once she started taking antipsychotic medication, she realized how good the right treatment could make her feel. “It made me softer,” says Lord. « I was finally able to regulate my emotions. »

Although she’s had to work with her doctors to find the right balance of medication, Lord is overall happy with the path she’s following. “My relationships are better,” she says. « It is all much better. »

« There is life and stability beyond diagnosis. »

Tabitha Connelly George was diagnosed with Bipolar I in 1997 while in college. « I was off the wall, » she tells SELF, adding that she frequently argued with classmates and got in trouble for « bad » behavior. “By the age of 15, I had been kicked out of school twice,” she says.

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