@ Kit. I too have suffered from manic depression for about 17 years. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.
Sure, it can be inconvenient from time to time and make me look like a raving lunatic at others, but it's because of my condition that I get to do what I do.
Mania is fun to ride for a few days, and once you learn to live with it, and accept it for what it is, you can harness it for the powers of good. Thanks for bringing that up. Most people respond negatively when I tell them I'm manic depressive. "Oh, I know you have such a difficult time with..." "When you're feeling better maybe we can..." "I know you are depressed but..."
"Oh my gawd. I'm fine, can we just get on with it?" Haha those are all conversations I've actually had with a friend of mine who must think I'm the weakest soul on the planet. I just can't seem to make her understand that I function just fine, better than most people I know. It's like her assuming a person missing their right hand can no longer write... um it's called compensation. Have you ever watched a three-legged puppy playing? He doesn't know there's supposed to be something wrong with him. He just runs around with the other dogs as happy as ever. However a skittish animal constantly coddled when it gets neurotic is doomed to never overcome it's condition because it's never forced to act normal and socialize. I think medication isn't the choice for me because I've seen people turned into zombies by it, but when you can accept your differences/ weaknesses/ flaws, and learn to live with them, they are no longer disabilities but strengths.