Now, at 53, Matthews is in control of her bipolar disorder. And she encourages those who have been recently diagnosed to be patient — and stick to treatment. “If you have a seizure, lie down, take care of yourself for a few days, and it will pass,” she explains. “If you could stay there, you would feel more comfortable with her.”
“I felt like someone else was controlling my mind and my body.”
In 2021, Inga Lokosius was experiencing dangerous 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 that my money would never end. I maxed out my credit cards and made $50,000 [worth of] debt.” Lukosius says she shoplifted, skipped payments at restaurants, and slept at bus stops. “I felt like someone else was controlling my mind and body,” she says, before she found help.
When she sought help, her doctor misdiagnosed her with depression—a problem many people with bipolar disorder face.2 The antidepressants she was prescribed at the time exacerbated her mania.3
During a hospital visit in 2022, Locosius finally receives effective care: a mood stabilizer and antipsychotic medication. Although she and her psychiatrist are “still trying to find the perfect fit” for her treatment plan, Locosius is optimistic. “I am glad I got the help I needed. [My doctors] It brought me back to reality.”
“I was finally able to regulate my feelings.”
As a teen, Felicia Lord was particularly reckless. “I got pissed off and pissed off,” she told SELF. “I was breaking things in the house.”
Once her anger was blown away, he plunged into depression. “I couldn’t figure out what I was feeling and why,” she recalls, adding that she struggled with self-harm.
Those highs and lows stayed with the Lord throughout her twenties and thirties and reached their peak when she was thirty-six. After the Lord got into a physical fight with her and then her fiancé, He gave her an ultimatum: Get help or go away.
She eventually found a therapist who diagnosed her with bipolar I disorder “on the spot”, which she had mixed feelings about. “I was relieved because I knew what it was [affecting my mood] After all these years, but a part of me resented that I would need to take birth control pills for the rest of my life,” Lord says.
But once she started taking an antipsychotic medication, she realized how amazing the right medication could feel for her. “It made me a lot softer,” Lord explains. “I was finally able to regulate my feelings.”
Although she’s had to work with her doctors to find the right balance of medications, overall, Lorde is happy with the path she’s on. “My relationships are better,” she says. “that it everyone Much better.”
“There is life and stability after the diagnosis.”
Tabitha Connelly-George was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1997 while she was in middle school. “I was pretty much off the wall,” she told SELF, adding that she often got into fights with classmates and got into trouble for “bad” behaviors. “By the time I was 15 I had already been expelled from school twice,” she says.