Linda Hamilton, 63, is currently starring in Terminator: Dark Fate, the latest instalment in the hugely successful Terminator franchise. The actress’ film career took off after she appeared in the first Terminator film back in 1984. The actress’s on-screen success only tells half the story, however. In an exclusive interview with AP Radio, the star revealed she has bipolar disorder.
According to the NHS, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects a person’s moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. It used to be known as manic depression.
As the health body explains, common symptoms of bipolar disorder include:
- Depression – feeling very low and lethargic
- Mania – feeling very high and overactive
Linda experienced severe highs and lows.
Speaking of the highs, she said: “It’s an amazingly brilliant time. You don’t need sleep. I think I existed on four hours sleep a night for four years. Sleep doesn’t seem necessary. You wake up feeling great.”
According to the NHS, during a manic phase of bipolar disorder, people tend to feel very happy, have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas.
It’s also common to:
- Not feel like eating or sleeping
- Talk quickly
- Become annoyed easily
Linda puts her moments of “raging” down to the manic aspect of the disorder.
Commenting on the lows, the actress said: “About 10 years ago, when I really was crashing and burning, had spent many years, you know, not only looking for the answers but sort of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol as well, and was struggling to keep my marriages intact.”
How treat bipolar
According to the NHS, most people with bipolar disorder can be treated using a combination of different treatments.
With effective treatment, episodes usually improve within about three months, says the health site
Treatment options include:
- Medicine to prevent episodes of mania and depression – these are known as mood stabilisers, and you take them every day on a long-term basis
- Medicine to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they happen
- Learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
- Psychological treatment – such as talking therapies, which help you deal with depression and provide advice on how to improve relationships
- Lifestyle advice – such as doing regular exercise, planning activities a enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, and advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep
Linda was prescribed a course of medication to treat her bipolar. The actress initially had her reservations about taking medication.
She said: “A lot of my early career was based on that angry woman that was just an organic outgrowth of the chemical imbalance that I had. And I thought I’m going to become normal and I won’t have those extraordinary gifts as an actress.”
The actress divulged that the medication did not dull or deaden her acting craft, however.
The Terminator star also revealed that diet and fitness played a key role in her treatment regimen.