At age 29, I was diagnosed as bi-polar. I love and hate with an intensity beyond my comprehension. My ex-boyfriend always said I couldn't handle my emotions, and maybe sometimes that's true. I'm not always easy to love, but in a relationship, I'm a caring, supportive partner. However, when it comes to breakups, I've never been the resilient type.
Even still, talking about these things allows everyone to be on the same page. If I had known that my mother was actually suffering from a mental illness then I may have been better able to recognize the signs she was clearly showing before she took her life. I may not have been able to stop her, but I would have been given the opportunity to try.
Environmental factors such as stress, sleep disruption, and drug or alcohol use may also trigger manic-depressive episodes, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important -- proper nutrition and sleep, handling stress, finding a support network and psychotherapy can all help manage bipolar disorder.