I got sick.
I'm bipolar, but wasn't officially diagnosed until very late in life. I'm BP I, rapid cycling,
with mixed moods (being high and depressed at the same time). In my case, I was apparently mostly hypomanic (not quite manic)
for most of my life, and only hit real mania occasionally. And I was seldom badly depressed, and when it did come on it only lasted a short time.
The symptoms of mania/hypomania include (from WebMD)
- Excessive happiness, hopefulness, and excitement
- Sudden changes from being joyful to being irritable, angry, and hostile
- Restlessness, increased energy, and less need for sleep
- Rapid talk, talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- High sex drive
- Tendency to make grand and unattainable plans
- Tendency to show poor judgment, such as impulsively deciding to quit a job
- Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity -- unrealistic beliefs in one's ability, intelligence, and powers; may be delusional
- Increased reckless behaviors (such as lavish spending sprees, impulsive sexual indiscretions, abuse of alcohol or drugs, or ill-advised business decisions)
Only three or more symptoms are needed to suggest mania, and I suddenly had all of them. There are other symptoms associated with mania, including hallucinations and memory loss. I had all these, too.
So I quit a job I'd had seventeen years and decided to open a portrait studio. Never even discussed it with Mary, just did it.
Within a year I managed to burn through all our savings and retirement accounts. Mary said "We all thought something was wrong,
but you seemed to be having so much fun." Haha.
Then I crashed, and crashed hard. My affect went to extreme depression, without lingering any time at all at "normal".
Then I got high, then low, then high again. I was cycling over periods of a week or less and finally ended
up staying in bed for over a week. That's when I told Mary to get me an appointment with somebody, anybody, before I went absolutely crazy.
Short story from there: I finally got diagnosed, treated, and now eat a small handful of pills every day to keep me close to normal, although I still get somewhat hypomanic and and a bit depressed.