There has been much said about how the age of onset in bi-polars, as the old school claimed a range in the late teens for many years, and didn't consider really how young it can start.
I endured a lot of stress early in life, and began to exhibit symptoms of both mania and depression before ten years old. An overwhelming amount of stress can be the very thing that causes the onset.
Stress can be both internal and external. Illness, hormonal imbalances, and other physical problems can cause stress within the body and thus begins the chemical reaction called bi-polar.
Depression being one of the worst mindsets tends to last for long periods of time. And sometimes leads to suicidal thoughts or even suicide attempts.
I remember an incident when I was maybe six or seven which was another part of the variety of dark emotions: out of control rage. It tended to be associated with bouts of depression.
My parents, who were my adopted parents didn't carry the genetics I had, nor did they understand it. So, when I tried to tell them I couldn't stop wanting to rip, shred, throw, break, something, they had no real perspective of what to do.
They were as helpless as me. With no information out there, no internet, no talk of ADD, teenage depression, and, at the time it was called, "manic/depression," which is misleading.
That term or even bi-polar doesn't even begin to describe the varying moods and degrees of emotions, one experiences.
A lot of my earliest experiences were of very negative emotions, powerlessness, confusion, anger, and a lot of fear.
I was interestingly both shy and outgoing, two extremes of course.
But when I met with the chemical reaction that I'm sure drug addicts seek, which is a euphoric mania, it would be something I wouldn't understand for years to come.
You tend to like it and not notice that its bothering everyone else. What bothers them is the idea that someone could feel so free and happy without any concern for the feelings of others. It's strange how people react to it.
But when I was ten, I remember it so well, vividly, I had my first full fledged manic episode.
The stress at my house was overwhelming and I had no outlet to deal with the problems. My parents were getting a divorce and I would have to live with my mother, who was part of my stress.
That morning I woke up laughing at everything. Everything seemed bright, the colors, the sky, and all the noises which before seemed cacophonous, were separate and understandable, sublime.
I went to school that day, in that condition which wasn't at all bad at that point, and found myself under attack.
Speaking out in class was nothing unusual for me, but this I guess went too far. I had the giggles and really thought everything was funny.
The teacher thought I was drunk, he told me that at recess while I was eating an orange. I retorted back, well maybe someone spiked my orange. (I really said that, my sarcastic nature started early)
To the "principles" office and home.
I was far too happy for the world that day, I guess. I remember it well. It was unforgettable.
But there is a price to pay with this kind of feeling; it's depression that follows when mania is allowed to go on unchecked.
It took a long time to discover this unfortunate truth, but mania isn't all it's "cracked up" to be. It's definitely better than crack, but not that much different.