There is nothing abnormal about having days with ups and downs. Most people have a middle ground to come back to after dealing with good and bad days.
Those who suffer with Bipolar disorder (manic depression) do not have the luxury of finding a middle ground. They constantly find themselves on one end of the spectrum or the other. They can spend days to weeks feeling on top of the world only to immediately fall off a cliff and enter a depressive phase that makes it difficult to get out of bed for weeks at a time.
A manic episode can be either a minor state of elation and happiness or involve extreme ideas. For example, an extreme manic episode might cause someone to sell their house and max out their credit cards because they think they are destined to become a pharoah in Egypt. To the person having a manic episode these ideas would seem completely attainable. Their optimistic attitude and huge reserve of energy might be contagious to those who are close to them.
Some individuals who suffer with Bipolar disorder have to deal with episodes that include anger, agitation and restlessness. After they go through this range of emotion they drop like a brick into a severely depressed state.
If you think that you are dealing with the symptoms of Bipolar disorder then you should arrange an appointment with a psychiatrist. Make sure that you take someone with you to the appointment so that they can help to describe what you are going through. The best choice will be someone who is around you a lot such as a family member or close friend. The doctor will want a detailed history of your symptoms and might order some tests to make sure there are no drugs in your system.
One of the biggest problems that comes from Bipolar disorder is that the person who is affected does not notice the shifts in mood. When they are having a manic phase they think that everything is great and do not want to give up the euphoric feelings that they are experiencing. Therefore, it is important for family members to help them find medical care to treat their episodes.
There are many medications that are effective in the treatment of Bipolar disorder. Lithium, Depakote, Zyprexa and Seroquel are among the most popular ones. You will need to work closely with your psychiatrist to determine which one works best for you. Chances are you will have to try different ones at different strengths to determine which one makes a good match. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are better after being on a medication for awhile. If you choose to discontinue the medication you will likely fall right back into a destructive path.