Mental health professionals are like any other kind of professionals. Some are excellent; some are poor. Most are somewhere in between. You start with a leg up if you find someone who is well-trained in a kind of psychotherapy that has a very strong evidence base. Don't get discouraged if the therapist you're seeing isn't helpful enough. It just means you haven't yet found the right person.
Doctors don't much care for conditions we don't understand well, can't treat effectively, and can't even confirm with a blood test. The frustration that results often translates into one of medicine's more common, and most regrettable missteps: blaming the victim. Patients with syndromes are often overtly, or at least covertly, blamed for their symptoms and engender an "it's all in his/her head" attitude in their doctor.
The path forward for returning veterans can be bolstered by treatment, therapy, and medication; but is also too often marked by addiction and suicide. Ultimately, Brandon would find his footing in the same place that his relentless sense of adventure took him as a boy growing up outside Cleveland - the outdoors.
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.