That 'disease??' goes back two generations in my family. In my mother's case of course it was called manic-depressive illness.
She was brilliant. With two children in school she and my father enrolled in college and graduated in three years. She was valedictorian, and he was 5th; of course he had heavy professional obligations.
A few years later I had many of the same professors (they expected more of me than they got!).
Mother and Dad went on to LSU and got master's degrees. A few years later, at the Methodist Annual Conference, Mother crashed.
Ministers' wives suffered a lot of stress on those occasions, as they waited to learn where we would be living the next year.
Mother spent two years in a hospital, and when she came out, she was never quite the same again, although she lived for many years.
I knew I had many of her genes, and as a teenager I began experiencing emphatic mood swings, and also trouble sleeping. I had learned a good bit from my mother's troubles; I knew for example that I should get all the exercise I could, and I've done that religiously for the past 60 years. I also got all the sleep that I could, although I've had a sleep problem all my life.
My mood swings evened out considerably when I went to work in the court and had to punch in at 8 o'clock every morning. Gradually through the years they minimized.
Recently I began to complain of neck pains and was given a small pill as a muscle relaxant; it relieved my neck pains, but it also had a drastic effect on my sleep habits:
whereas I have had difficulty falling asleep and particularly remaining asleep for most of my life, this little pill made me sleep like a baby for 8 hours -- or for 10 if I should desire.
It also seemed to slow down my metabolic rate considerably. Under the influence of this pill I felt "dumb, fat, and happy" throughout the day, although I haven't noticed any serious brain deficiences per se.
I was supposed to take a half pill every night for a week, then go to a full pill for the next three weeks.
I never have tried a full pill. In fact I now take a half pill about every week or two, which makes my neck reasonably comfortable and my sleep like it was as a child.
I've reached the conclusion that bi-polar is not a disease at all, but simply an abnormality whereby the brain works faster than the body in which it resides.
(I hope you have enjoyed my detailed description of my symptoms, etc. I just love to talk about myself, as most people do if given the freedom--everybody should blog!!!)