This is Kitt from the Depression Forum. It feels to me like a lot of what you have endured is due to a mistake in your dx and you should now be on medications and on the right path to recovery. I hope this is true for you.
Effective and appropriate treatment is vital for reducing the frequency and severity of manic and depressive episodes and allowing you to live a more balanced and enjoyable life. Maintenance treatment — continued treatment during periods of remission — also is important. People who skip maintenance treatment are at high risk of a relapse of their symptoms or having minor episodes turn into full-blown mania or depression.
Medications are a vital part of bipolar treatment. Because medications for bipolar disorder can cause serious but rare side effects, you may be reluctant to take medications. But you can work with your psychiatrist and other health care professionals to find a medication regimen that works for you.
Psychotherapy is another vital part of bipolar disorder treatment. Several types of therapy may be helpful.
Cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a common form of individual therapy for bipolar disorder. The focus of cognitive behavioral therapy is identifying unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replacing them with healthy, positive ones. In addition, you can learn about bipolar disorder and its treatment and what may trigger your bipolar episodes. You also learn effective strategies to manage stress and to cope with upsetting situations.
I know this is the one that we talk about a lot in the depression forum.
To answer your question, yes many people have been through what you are going through and I am sure the members here will be sharing with you.
There's no sure way to prevent bipolar disorder. However, treatment at the earliest sign of a mental health disorder can help prevent bipolar disorder from worsening. Long-term preventive treatment also can help prevent minor episodes from becoming full-blown episodes of mania or depression.
Acceptance is a huge key in dealing with any depression disorder.
Take care and stick with us.