A common question I always get asked is - "What's it like being ill? do you know you do the things you do?"
There is no simple answer to this . . . When I am in a depressed state I generally know exactly what I am doing, but I'm so low I just don't care - it doesn't matter to me that I may be hurting other people or myself. Mania however is a completely different story, It's like I can see what I'm doing and there is a side of me that knows what I'm doing is completely insane, but part of me overrides that common sense and goes ahead anyway, and if I wasn't on medication I wonder if that common sense part would be there in the first place. It's also worth mentioning that I rarely remember fully what happens in my manic episodes, I have to rely on other people to tell me what I've done. It;s a little like being really drunk for a very long time, there are just large blank patches in your memory.
As for the psychotic side of things there are stages, the first stage being completely fine progresses into hearing a voice or feeling a presence , then they generally start telling me to do things, which I obviously resist - This often continues to escalate until takes all my focus to resist them. I will remember a lot of this and often will be conscious of the fact that I am acting very odd, but there is very little I can do about it. A couple of times, and I stress this is very rare (at least for me), they sort of take control - and its like watching a movie through my eyes, I have absolutely no control over my actions. This is known as passivity, and it's very scary. I remember these times vividly and clearly although at the time I have no clue what I am doing as it were.
Well that's it for now, although I feel i haven't explained it very well, so this question may well crop up again in the future.