Another bipolar momma here!
I've had problems "controlling" my emotions for a long time, ever since I could remember. I was raised in a very crazy family who were always freaking out and stuff. Until I met my now-dh, I never thought that freaking out was abnormal! He convinced me that normal people did not act the way I acted.
I have a theory. If generations of people in the same family were verbally and/or physically abusive, it definitely would have changed the chemical makeup in their children's brains. It's a fact that children's brains are like sponges... nothing is "hardwired" yet. Even slight trauma has the potential to reform the neural pathways of the brain. So of course, if one is exposed to years of trauma while the neural pathways are forming, those pathways will become permanently hardwired into that freak-out mode. So if it takes ten years to totally screw a kid up, it'll take several times as long to change the brain back to "normal" through things like behavior modification and therapy.
Sure, ppl can be and are genetically PREDISPOSED to mental illness. But I'm certain that in MANY, many cases, a child is predisposed and then their condition is greatly exacerbated by early trauma(s).
So, because we are very poor , I am self-diagnosed and self-treating. I've seen several professionals when I was able to afford it and they confirmed what I've known for seven or so years now. I finally saw a shrink and he gave me free samples of typical bipolar meds. - they screwed me up so badly... I tried this one drug out and I was in bed, vomiting, thoughts racing but body unable to move, for two full days. Another knocked me out five minutes after I took it and I woke up 17 hours later in the same exact position I fell asleep in. The weaker meds. made me feel more unhappy because I had even less energy (I have an energy problem to begin with!) to do anything! So I actually felt more depressed on those meds.
I have noticed a slight improvement in these past few years. Slight, slight, slight but definitely visible. When I'm having a "down" cycle, and I can barely function or move, I know to remove myself from all situations and responsibilities until it passes. (Luckily my dh understands my disease very well.) Unfortunately, those very fun "up" cycles are becoming less and less frequent, so I more or less have an "up" day here or there but I feel kinda blah and depressed most of the time, when I'm "normal". Not "depressed", as in locked in my room feeling suicidal.... just "depressed" in the sense that the life I created is nothing that I wanted or imagined... kind of like a midlife crisis, even tho I'm only in my 20's :LOL
However, the upside is I'm intensely intuitive. I can "read" people very well; within minutes of sitting down with someone, I have a sense of their deepest fears and desires. I'm also very, very forward-thinking... I frequently have very out-there thoughts and ideas that I assume are total BS, then I look into it and there are actually books written about it and research being done, that kind of thing.
So, anyway, yeah, it's very hard because sometimes I feel like I'm really screwing my kids up. I feel "down" a lot, and I'm afraid they will grow up with these horrible memories of this totally unhappy, stressed-out mom. Everyone I know who ISN'T bipolar claim that they have the same kinds of bad days and good days that I have... I'm not (Type I, maybe? Can't remember the numbers) Bipolar, in that I go for days without sleeping and go on extreme shopping sprees than I'm trying to kill myself a week later. I guess I'm Type II, which isn't as severe.