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Those cycles...
...of mania and then depression--or depression, and then mania--can last as long as years, or, as short as minutes. For me, the cycles are generally either hourly or daily. I really enjoy the mania. I can get a lot of work done. I always enjoy doing the work, too. When I'm in a period of mania, I can feel my heart beating rapidly in my chest. I jump around a lot and move really fast, whether I'm walking, running, or doing something else, like typing. Sometimes I'd put on some very grand and fast music and listen to it while I work or play, or do whatever it is I'm doing. I would probably be laughing a lot and having lots of fun no matter what I'm doing. And then...--then the realization that it's all going to end soon. The feelings of happiness and joy will slowly seep back into the recesses of wherever they came from. And in their place the dark and searing pain of depression would ooze out. When it's really bad, I feel my heart being impaled by a huge spear. Sometimes it hurts. This can be triggered by almost anything. When it's not, I go into a neutral sort of mode...just waiting...waiting for whatever will set off the spark that will cause me to explode. When that happens, my hands and toes get numb, and I can feel a wave of the pins and needles sensation course through my body in a circling outward motion emanating from the middle of my heart. It causes me to tense up and then I finally relax when I have no more energy left. It's awful....
There are many medications for bipolar disorder out on the market now, and literally dozens are coming out as more is learned about the disorder. Most people treat their disorder with pills, like I do. The My Meds page has more.

Many also prefer to try alternative style treatments such as ECT (Electro-Shock Therapy),

acupuncture, and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). I haven't ever tried anything other than pill medicine, but if you're interested in alternative forms of treatments I would suggest researching them. Ask someone you think might help you, such as a doctor or friend. The internet is also a great source of information.

Free Type
I've never kept a journal, but occasionally I do "free type." Free typing is basically just typing whatever's in your head, without thinking. The ironic thing is, I find that it usually helps me to think. I do it sometimes when I'm feeling really depressed, or really manic. The result is quite stunning. In a depressed state, I write in short, rigid sentences, almost imitating my body language. I always feel very mad, even to the point of enraged. In a manic state, my sentences are miles long and just rush from my fingertips. I feel all touchy-feely, cuddly-wuddly. Well, sometimes. :) I've added this link to the beginning of this section because I think that writing like this can be especially helpful when you're feeling out of control. So, you can take a detour to the "free-typing entries" through here.

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