I think I started realizing (from the push of others' opinions) there was something not right about me (I mean seriously not right) when I was aged 15/16/17... - Yes, 3 years in denial was strongly strife- Immediately after this discovery, only this year, I let it swallow me whole.
When you suffer all time highs (what you guys call mania) and you DON'T acknowledge it, a lot of very strange things happen to you.
Addiction becomes a pretty little friend, along with promiscuity, and zero ability to sleep.. but you won't realize ANY of this at the time, convincing yourself it's a normal thing...Later you will feel like poop, and most likely hate yourself for the plunge you just took, if you remember it. I call it a plunge because when it all crashes into you and explodes.. everything plunges in one direction, down. At least that's how it felt for me. Now I have a whole new appreciation for the expression "What goes up, must come down" It felt like I was trying to piece together the events of someone else's life, because there was no way in hell any of that could have really been me. And boy, did I refuse to believe so.