Bipolar disorder, like all mental illnesses, is poorly understood and still carries with it a stigma that diseases of the body generally do not. There are few other diseases for which sufferers will be told to "get over it" or "just cheer up."
In the manic phase, bipolars are characterized by poor impulse control, racing thoughts, insomnia, poor social skills, and, often, great creativity.
In the depressed phase, bipolars are characterized by an inability to care about much of anything, inability to visualize a worthwhile future, insomnia coupled with a great desire to sleep, and suicidal impulses.
Some bipolars remain in one state for extended periods of time. Others switch between states with great frequency.
Obsessive Compulsive DIsorder is not uncommon among bipolars and is especially evident in the manic phase. Addictions of all types are common among bipolars both due to the lack of impulse control and the desire to self-medicate the bad feelings.
There is no cure.