Bi-Polar can be an extremely dangerous illness...to the person who has it, and even more so, to everyone around them. It affects every aspect of the person's life...job, relationships, everything. Unfortunately, there is no "test" that can be done to diagnose it. Quite frequently, the bi-polar patient is mistakenly diagnosed with regular depression. The physician puts the patient on an anti-depressant medication, thinking it is going to help. But in a bi-polar patient, the anti-depressant actually makes the condition worse, by enhancing the mood swings...so, when they hit a low, it makes them severely depressed, and when they are riding a high, it amplifies the manic behavior. One of the problems is the bi-polar patient often doesn't think anything is wrong with them or their behavior, particularly when they are feeling good...they feel invincible, like they are Superman and can do anything. Very often they become hyper-sexual, causing them to engage in intimate encounters or relationships with others, even if they are already in a committed relationship and under normal circumstances would never have strayed otherwise. Behavior often can be violent. Some bi-polar patients only experience a few episodes in their lifetime, of differing durations. Others, known as "rapid cyclers" can bounce back and forth between despair and euphoria almost daily. This unstable nature of the bi-polar patient, and the condition itself, is why it can play havoc on the person, all aspects of their own life, and others' close to them. More often than not, the condition is worse for others in the patient's life to live with than the patient since they are very much unaware of their actions most of the time. Another reason it can difficult for a doctor to properly diagnose a bi-polar patient is due to the fact that many patients, liking the way they feel on the manic high wave of the mood swings, are hesitant to be honest with the doctor about their symptoms for fear of BEING medicated and the meds dampening their good feelings.
My ex was diagnosed with bi-polar. We were together almost eight years before he had an episode. It was a horrendously difficult thing to live through. Within three months, he had lost his job, started an affair with someone else, and it destroyed our relationship. We went to a therapist and they tried several different anti-depressants to help him, and all they did was enhance his chemical imbalance. I would sit there and watch him downplay his moods and behavior and at times outright lie as to his actions and behavior. I was warned that I could be facing a bi-polar condition with him and it could get dangerous and to be careful. More often than not, the way a doctor can definitively diagnose the condition is when the patient does something extreme. Extreme for my ex was to hold a knife to my throat and try to kill me one night during an otherwise typical argument. He just snapped and attacked me. The efficiently ended the relationship, as I could simply not live with him anymore. It was destroying ME. He never did seek additional help or medication, although he definitely should have. With a bi-polar patient, they require both an anti-depressant AND a mood stablizer like Lithium, taken together. In most cases, the proper dosage of the right medications can get the condition under control and it is manageable. However, like most patients who have any illness, the natural tendency when they start to feel better is to stop taking the medications, as they feel they don't need them any longer. This is especially true for bi-polar patients since they "block out" much of their manic behavior...it is almost like they are two people and cannot believe their behavior, when explained to them. I was shocked at how little my ex remembered of his horrible behavior. And he REALLY didn't recall a lot of the things he said and did. The therapist confirmed this was also quite typical.
My advice would be to do everything you can to pursue answers from knowledgable physicians and try your best to recall and be honest with them about your symptoms, good and bad. The more they know, the better they can help. And medications, if diagnosed, are absolutely essential, to be taken like clockwork, every day. A bi-polar condition is not something that goes away on it's own. It may lay dormant for extended periods of time, but can always resurface. Good luck!