Welcome to Healing Well...This forum will definitely be very helpful to you, and I am so glad you found us and decided to reach out.
When I was reading your post, I definitely able to relate, which happens a lot here at Healing Well. I too have been suffering for the past 7 years. I was first diagnosed (by my pdoc and physician) w/panic disorder/anxiety and depression. Then just over a year ago, with Bipolar II. I was definitely experiencing the highs and lows (mostly lows) for the past few years. The bp diagnosis was a little late, which is pretty common. I learned it's much better to "nip it in the bud" to make treatment easier. That may be, but no matter what, you really should get to a doctor (doesn't have to be a psychiatrist...you may get referred to one, that would be best) and tell them what you are going through. Because no matter what stage of the game (or battle) you're in, you need to get the correct diagnosis and start the healing process.
Family, partners, etc. - I have lost SO many friends due to my illness and that was before the bp, but what kind of friends were they really!?! I have very few (2 to be exact) close friends. It doesn't matter to me. I have learned that what matters is ME and my health. My bf is pretty good, he'll never fully be able to understand and I have accepted that. We're working on the rest. I had several JERK bf's before this one, and now I've got it right. I had to learn about myself, my illness and my values before I could live with this illness and then live with someone at the same time. My family was extremely tough though. When this all first started 7 years ago, my Mom wouldn't accept it at all. My Dad was okay, and to this day I can't really talk to my sis about it. But through time, they have all gotten better. Especially my Mom. I never thought the day would come. And they said some pretty horrible things to me back then, but time was what they needed. And I found it was really best for me to just concentrate on myself and deal that way. It was hard b/c I had to put boundaries in place...I basically said for years, Unless anyone is willing to listen and be open minded, then they're not allowed to talk to me about the illness at all. It was really hard, but now a few years later, it was all worth it, b/c now I am truly trying to heal, and I can be proud of myself for doing it. And now my Mom educates herself by asking me questions, the right way.
Alcohol is something you just can't do. Something else I have learned. I don't drink a lot, but during the highs (the more hyper times) I like to have some drinks, and have some fun. Now, when I want to do that, I am very strict and only have a few....really a few and that's it. Drinking will sink you into a depression. Ask your doctor.
Hope that helped a little. Other things that have helped me is reading everything I can about the illness, websites, books especially, and I was a part of a couple of Support Groups at my hospital, and of course Healing Well.
Educate yourself, put yourself ahead of your partner, family etc. and go see someone.
Take care of you....
Bipolar, Anxiety/Panic Disorder
--currently not on meds for bp--