Welcome to Healing Well. I hope we can offer you some answers here. With bipolar, many patients go misdiagnosed for years, or they truly do spend years depressed but then something triggers a mania in them. With people being treated for depression, it can sometimes be the medications themselves: antidepressants can bring about manic states in bipolar patients. Because bipolar exists on a spectrum, these manias look different for everybody. For some people, it's full-blown mania with flights of creative fantasy, spending frenzies, and sleeplessness, for others it is less extreme: it's major irritability, sleeplessness, a tendency towards poor judgment. But whenever you get manic, there is always a crash into depression. That's the crash everyone's referring to. After being manic, it's a deep and very black depression. Those two symptoms together (the mania and the depression) are how you get diagnosed a lot of the time. You need both. But remember, bipolar symptoms are different for everyone.
hope this helps,
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare