There is unipolar depression (what most people are familiar with) and bipolar disorder. Unipolar depression has one pole (a unicycle has one wheel) and bipolar disorder has two poles (a bicycle has two wheels). Imagine that those poles are at an extreme distance from each other.
A person with unipolar depression would stay at “one pole” and experience moods that are low such as severe and chronic sadness, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, lethargy and a lack of energy or motivation.
The other pole is OPPOSITE of the first. It displays inflated self esteem, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, increased goal-directed activity and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences. This is considered to be mania.
A person with bipolar disorder experience phases of mood swings between the poles, the lows of depression and the highs of mania. Individuals without the illness do not exhibit the extreme shifts in mood.
The psychiatrist prescribed me a mood stabilizer. I don't want to take them. I consider the manic stage euphoric and intoxicating. The doctor told me that when I am on medication the manic phases will go away. The feelings and behavior during a manic phase is not normal. People would not consider it to be a big deal because they haven’t experienced mania.