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With a notable work on the small screen (Ally McBeal) and big screen (Love Jones, Devil in a Blue Dress), the ‘90s belonged to Lisa Nicole Carson.

But something happened during that time that resulted in the sexy actress disappearing from our public radar. As it turned out that “something” turned out to be bipolar disorder, a condition Carson initially denied. Years after her diagnosis and ‘90’s heyday, Carson has reemerged on the scene and is opening up to Essence magazine about her type of bipolar disorder as well as its affect on her career and how she lives with it today.

The following are excerpts from Carson’s recent interview with Essence:

How she learned she was living with bipolar disorder:

I was the belle of the ball in the late nineties, with roles on Ally McBeal and ER and in Love Jones. I’ve always been full of energy and would often be twirling around on sets. But my high-spirited moments looked like something else to one of the producers on ER. He had a family history of bipolar disorder and thought I might be exhibiting some of the symptoms. I didn’t know what he was talking about or how it could apply to me, so I just continued with my life.

A year later I was in New York City catching up with loved ones when I unexpectedly had a fit in my hotel—yelling, throwing things, crying and raising enough hell that the staff called an ambulance. I ended up being hospitalized for a few weeks, and a psychiatrist gave a diagnosis: bipolar disorder. I was stunned and clueless, and so was my family. I didn’t want to believe I had any mental health issues and went into denial. I was supposed to take medicine, and I didn’t. I’m animated and exuberant, and this made it difficult to determine what was my normal and what was actually odd behavior.

How it affected her career:

During my stay in the hospital, I was given medicine to stabilize my moods, and I spoke with a therapist. Upon being discharged, I returned to Los Angeles and went back to work on Ally McBeal feeling more in control. Everybody on the show was wonderful to me, but my contract wasn’t renewed for the final season. Nobody gave me an explanation, but I assumed it had to do with what had happened. I was devastated.

Once my episode became public, I was torn apart in the press, which really hurt.

What she did after Ally McBeal:

But even if you have “It,” you can falter. Ally McBeal was my last Hollywood gig. After that I moved back to my hometown of New York City and stayed there for more than a decade. During that time I worked with many doctors to get as much control of my life as I could and experimented with various treatments including mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications. I’ve learned to look for the symptoms in myself: getting too euphoric or overstimulated. My bipolar disorder is usually exhibited on the high-energy and manic end. Some people who have the illness are more on the depressive side.

Finding peace:

The best thing about taking a step back was spending time with my mother. She passed in 2011. What brought me through has been medicine, prayer, music and my dog, Josephine. I see a psychiatrist and a psychologist regularly and now just take anti-anxiety medication. I’ve returned to L.A. to give my career another try. I’m going on auditions and handling rejection better than I did in the past. We recently had an Ally McBeal reunion for the TV Land Awards. It was wonderful getting dressed up and seeing everyone.

I’m tackling the myth that African-American women have to be pillars of strength. We have the right to fall. We have the right not to always have our sh– together. We just have to take our mental health as seriously as we do the physical. Do not be afraid to go to a therapist or a doctor to make sure everything is fine. I am excited for my new chapter. I now am stronger and ready for what’s next, while taking care of my emotional health.

For more of Carson’s interview with Essence, click here.

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Blast From the Past: 90’s Edition
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11 thoughts on “Found: Actress Lisa Nicole Carson Resurfaces, Acknowledges Bipolar Disorder

  1. LisaJoy on said:

    Bipolar is a thief and it’s a liar. I know because I am bipolar. Like Lisa I was in denial. Bipolar has robbed me of jobs and friendships. It has caused people to think things about me that’s not true. Fortunately I have an amazing support system with my husband, our sons and stone of my friends loved me enough to stick around. Getting help is not easy and it can be expensive even with insurance.

  2. Well I guess I’m bipolar too…Lol I refuse to be diagnosed as bipolar because people always got something to say about me but when I bring up their crap they continue to call me names..That ain’t right..I am Not wrong all the time. You people can kiss my grits..Ok

  3. Crystal Peters on said:

    just as Carolyn responded I am startled that anybody can profit $5617 in 1 month on the computer . website here ,,,,, TIMES-REPORT.­Ⅽ­O­Ⅿ

  4. Barbara on said:

    Mental illness affects many people across gender, age, and ethnicity. Take care of your emotional health as seriously as you do your physical health. Get educated about mental illness!

  5. Miles on said:

    Every time one of these celebrities gets on drugs, they all want to claim “Bi-polar. At least Martin Lawrence had the courage to say many of us are mixing PCP with weed and losing our minds. its a dam shame to use a very real condition for your own selfish reasons.

  6. When Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels’ Empire are the few options for our actresses, there is little hope for our creative and cultural growth as a people. We’re doomed with those two voices being our “go to” producers… doomed. Lisa deserves better.

  7. Steve on said:

    Always enjoyed her work in everything I had seen here in; a class act from a classy actress. Glad to hear that she is doing well…wish the best for her!!!

  8. This is what mental illness does. People live generally normal lives, and then everything changes, and they have to accept the change and fight to regain normalcy. It’s tough to accept that you a member of an undesirable group where you weren’t before. Then to get on a good medication regiment, and regain your life. People don’t appreciate how this takes time, and dedication.

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