Someone recently asked me, “what is it like to be bipolar?”  I told them that it is experiencing the highs and the lows, and trying to find a middle ground.  So what is a high and what is a low, and how do I find a middle ground.  A high is mania and what that looks like for me is a decreased ability to fall asleep at night because my mind is racing and during the day I want to do all of the things that I have going on in my head.  For example, recently I have been manic so I took apart my Harley Davidson and painted it, changed the fluids, and tended to anything mechanical that needed to be fixed and put it all together again in about two days.  The next day I crafted a leather pouch from leather scraps, worked on sewing a flannel shirt from scratch, and a few days later I built a custom coffin bookshelf for our bedroom.  I also fit in tending to my chickens, going to the gym and going to work.  I have been thinking about why I like to produce things when Im manic and have come up with a reason for it being that when I am depressed it helps to know that there is a better side to being bipolar.  Having hard evidence of when life feels good is helpful to stay optimistic at a time when the word optimism and feelings attached to it seem far removed from my thought process.  When I have been depressed in the past I have held on to the fact that I have done amazing things in my life and it gives me a sense that this too shall pass and I can feel great, which is better than just hoping that I will feel better.
Thomas