I'm bipolar2, you've described the symptoms perfectly. The illness can be brought about in various ways but living with it, accepting it and explaining yourself all the while appearing normal, is your challenge. I hope I can help.
Firstly, we have an ongoing thread here called "my bipolar life" that you can chat to other sufferers. Put it in the search bar. The thread exists because of the isolation of which you mention.
Nobody will understand you that doesnt have the disorder nor the empathy level to do so. If they at least try then they are special people.
Beyondblue topic they just wont understand- why?
The extreme option is hermitising. I've mentioned in the next thread this less appealing option
Beyondblue topic want to be a hermit?
Overtime you'll get more and more annoyed with peoples lack of tolerance. Better to take the view that you have a right to not have to explain or give excuses. Seek employment non customer service, non food, non assembly line, non law enforcement and non shift work. Best is 2 or 3 part time jobs working alone-the ideal. That gives you a regular change of environment and less hours with the same people.
Beyondblue topic fortress of survival
Beyondblue topic fortress of survival part 2
Beyondblue topic fortress of survival (work)
My cycles slowed and my swing extent lowered when mood stabilisers were prescribed. With a small amount of AD I eventually found the dosages just right. In my ex you'll try to get it perfect in vain, so get it as stable as you can.
I have triggers that are annoying like a stretched rubber band. Pow! My wife nor I see its coming.
beyondblue topic triggers that down you, triggers that life you
Beyondblue topic triggers recovery
Re: "Soon enough, the depression disappears and a new lifechanging goal or snap decision comes along and sweeps me up" I have found that mood stabilisers slow that down as does aging. But Ive also learned to embrace my spontaneity. Google: famous people with depression /bipolar/mental illness and you'll be surprised.
Sleep. Get into a pattern. Very important. I have sleep apnea and a cpap machine ensures enough oxygen for good sleep.
Toxic people. Mentioned in the fortress thread. Remove them from your life. A pet helps and distractions when depressed even jigsaws, crossworfs, suduku.
Self esteem takes a battering.
Beyondblue topic low self esteem
Beyondblue topic worry worry worry
Well done in joining us. Post anytime here or in those threads.