Founder, Sigmend
Living with bipolar 1 disorder

Initially misdiagnosed with depression, Lance survived three suicide attempts on his road to accurate diagnosis and recovery. Now managing his Bipolar Disorder, he says “life is fantastic.” He has started a successful company and is giving back to the mental health community.

Lance’s Story

Briefly, how has your condition impacted your life?

I hadn’t even considered the fact that I might have a brain disorder until I woke up in the hospital following a suicide attempt. Like most people with Bipolar Disorder, I was misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I spent the better part of two years (and two more attempts) being treated for the wrong disease. It took years before I got a correct diagnosis and treatment, but once I did I was feeling better than I had in 10+ years.

What is your life like now?  What does success/living well look like for you?

My life is fantastic now! I have a great group of friends, a loving and supporting family, and the best parts, my two nephews who light up when I walk in the room. I take the job of Uncle very seriously. We’re really good at things like sneaking candy and running through sprinklers with our clothes on. I spend every day working on a cause I care deeply about and inspiring others to do the same. I’ve come to realize that’s what living well and success looks like for me.

How do you manage your condition and stay healthy on an ongoing basis?

First and foremost, I’m 100% open. My Bipolar is completely integrated into my life. Almost everyone I know is aware of my condition, and I talk about it with people I meet as often as possible. No guilt. No shame. No lies. And, nowadays, no fear of rejection.

Are there positives that have come from having a mental health condition?

The manic side of Bipolar has intuitive benefits, but also I feel more deeply, empathize more easily, and connect with other people in a way I don’t think I otherwise could. I think depression and anxiety can teach you a lot about life and what’s important.

What advice would you give to someone with a similar condition?

You’re a superhero, and don’t forget it! Every superhero has a backstory on how they came to grips with their power, and it’s usually a tough or perilous journey. First off, build your crew and get treatment taken care of. If you can afford inpatient care use it early, so you can try meds with close monitoring of the results. If not, find a therapist and psychiatrist that you can work well with.

Is there anything else you want to share?

I used to tell people to never lose hope, but that’s much too hard. If you’re like most of us, you will lose hope from time to time. If that happens, just make sure you keep looking until you find it again.