When my boyfriend... now fiance (just got engaged!) started having problems before he got diagnosed for a year he went up and down with what just seemed like mild depression that would take him from time to time, negative thoughts... he then started to get headaches and was put on antidepressants which triggered a manic episode... that started with a lot of tears, thinking extremely deeply - he's a deep thinker anyway but it started to go really really deep esp with his faith, I actually believed he was having a faith experience because I had no other reason to suspect it was anything sinister, he started getting up really early to pray and praying for hours with lots of tears (didn't see this - he would just tell me about it) then he started crying a lot in church during worship/prayer - again I put this down to a faith experience, then he started to say he was hearing voices - they weren't sinister to begin with and I thought he was getting answers to his prayers to be honest, this went on for quite some time until he started to send me texts asking me to bear with him during his 'transition' and I had no idea what he meant, again I put it down to his faith and him being a deep thinker and perhaps coming out of his shell.
It took probably 3-6months after the antidepressants for him to come into a full manic episode. He called everyone close to him to apologise if he had ever offended them and told us all that God was doing something amazing in his life and everything was wonderful. He then told me he loved me (we were at that time just beginning to date frequently and consider it becoming a full relationship - the whole hog etc) and that he would be proposing to me very soon. It just didn't feel right to me - he started to pray for me in front of everyone in a KFC and although I tried to reason it that he really was having a faith experience - it was out of character for a usually very shy man and I went home that night really upset and confused but not knowing why it didnt sit well. Days after that I tried taking my friends kids out with him and he was laughing one minute/crying the next really really quickly, talking to everyone and anyone and basically not the shy man I knew.
By the end of the evening he was shouting and talking so quickly I couldnt understand him. It was only then... that I realised he was ill.
Days later he was extremely aggressive and shouting at everyone until they admitted him to hospital (he wanted to go) he said he needed 7 days away in hospital and would be fine again.
As it happened he was discharged in about 5 days and started speaking to me again on the 5th when he was discharged. He was put on meds and just seemed really really happy, though still unaware of inhibitions. He's a shy guy yet he would happily belch/fart in front of me and display affection openly whereas before he was very shy about these things and kept them very private.
Months on and he came down from it swinging from happy into depression then finally into depression, huge embarrassment and eventually now months later (a year in fact) he's been stable for about 4 months possibly up to 6months but I'm firm about the last 4.
Since he was diagnosed and put on meds he's lost a lot of memory and concentration, but he's not changing his mind all the time - he's fairly consistent and his mood always seems subdued to happy. He opens up in private and we have a brilliant laugh but he's lost a lot of confidence in public.
He's not at all violent - even when he was manic he wasnt, doesnt have much of temper and generally a gentle shy lovely guy... to be honest I guess my advice would be if you notice any of the things I've said - be suspicious and guard your own heart, things could change rapidly so be cautious. My rule to myself now is anything that seems out of character to him eg, if he suddenly became loud, changed his mind frequently, lost his temper quickly etc - It's time for me to have that chat with him and see if anything else is going on in his head. If there is - we're off to the docs...
Hope this helps? I'm not that experienced its all new to me x