Treasure every precious moment when she is "with" you. It's hard for you because once she is over the mood, she is OVER it. It's gone. She may not remember it. YOU remember it.
Live in the moment. Don't hold resentment against her. Yes, you must protect yourself. Withdraw during the rage. Crash with a friend if you have to.
BTW - holding her tightly during a rage will probably work. It's one thing my ex-husband would do that I miss - my fiance doesn't. (I haven't asked him to). I would fight him for a few seconds and then fall apart crying - a good sign - the rage has passed.
So why does it work? It is "deep pressure therapy" which is amazingly powerful. And so simple. Every once in a while my fiance and I will be goofing around and playing with my son and end up lying on top of one another on the couch. I love feeling the pressure of 200+ pounds squeezing my body. So relaxing, calming. I had a service dog trained to perform deep pressure therapy. I am training another service dog now and we're working on that. It works for rage, anxiety, panic... Love it.
Plus it is a very sweet, protective gesture.
It might seem awkward or strange to you, but try it at the BEGINNING of when you think she might go into a rage. These moods can be calmed at the very beginning, but in full swing ... that's totally different. If she is safe, leave. If not safe, call the police. and then leave.
I agree with my friend tortoise 100 %.
My bf TOTALLY resents me for being ill. It doesn't sound like you do completely because you have acknowledged her needs. It seems you recognize the sypmtoms and affects of bipolar.
When I am irritable (which appears to be anger a lot) and depressed, oh my I can't tell you what it would mean to me for a huge hug and compassion telling me it's okay and that you are here for me. I know it's so hard sometimes for the partner of a bp person to do this all the time because you are feeling resented, but trust me, that is not the case. We are experiencing SYMPTOMS of this illness. Tortoise could not have said it better. For me, if I had this kind of simple compassion, it could at times totally cure that episode for me or at least make me fee SO SO SO much better. Feeling better means I can cope better. So this means we are both less affected.
I know it's hard, but I can't express enough what unconditional support and love and affection can do for us. Honestly, it's the BEST medicine in my opinion.