I'll start with a Wiki insight
I have been in two minds as to whether to start this discussion, at this time of year, or at all really.
Has the topic been mentioned before? is it taboo? not for General discussion?
I have been a sufferer all my life since the times it wasn't mentioned at all, the period when it was a bit hush hush, when it became manic depression, now it seems to be a fashion statement, with everyone from Kerry Katona to mega bright Stephen Fry, all 'coming out'. Even Ms Zeta Jones is checking herself in an out of the clinic.
Perhaps I shouldn't make light of the topic, which is an emotive, and extremely disruptive disorder, but being open about my condition, and seeing the 'funny side' is a crucial part of my personal coping method.
I don't have the stats to hand, but I do remember reading that some 30% of the populous will suffer some sort of mental problem their lives. So statistically, out of all the different variants, in this community there will be many who are sufferers or friends and family, who have to cope with this and other nervous conditions.
I've not done any specific research, feel I am my own resource, having been hospitalised, arrested beaten up, thrown into a padded cell, abused by police and been very, very scared.
I've been on Lithium, have avoided ECT ( which is still practised to this day ) been suicidal, and Manic. I have been in some institutions, under lock and key, threatened with with fact that I would never leave, Sectioned, cranked with so many meds that I couldn't speak, and I've got to meet dear people who have been 'inside' for 60 odd years for stealing a loaf of bread, never to see the light of day.
I personally do not, want any sympathy, I know how to cope, I take a mood control medication daily, Depakote, which whilst it has possibly led to obesity and diabetes, and isn't the best thing for the liver, works well for me. My wife constantly checks my status, and I avoid counselling and psychiatry at all costs.
If I need anti depressants I visit my GP.
Personally, I am not afraid to discuss the issue, there are many sufferers, and seemingly the break down frequency increases over time. I have had 2, in the last 7 years.