Hi Ellu! I've seen you around the threads and I'm so glad you've joined us here! (Thanks Kaitoa for making Ellu welcome.)
You are absolutely spot on when you say it never goes away but we can work around it and lead fulfilling lives. That's such a good attitude and it's true and something we must hold on to during the bad times.
For me, acceptance hasn't been easy. I was diagnosed early this year after being treated for a long time for depression. The hypomanic aspects were masked for many years by drinking - I self-medicated with booze and put my bad, mad behaviour down to that (I've now been sober for 5 years). And, of course, when I felt elated and wildly enthusiastic and generally 'high', I thought that was how life was supposed to be. Couldn't understand why other people didn't agree with me or think the way I did or wanted to do what I wanted.
Then I started cycling rapidly, over a period of months, and, well, diagnosis.
I'm now at a point where I'm stable and mostly well, and I've accepted it. In fact, I guess, I've embraced it and become committed to helping other people with serious disorders, especially bipolar.
You know, what your doctor said about fatigue is really interesting. I've not heard that before but it makes sense. I have bipolar 2 so I'm milder than many people, but I also experience fatigue, and often depression, after a big up. I'm prone to crashing straight after an up (although I think that's improving with medication and less stress in my life). I can certainly understand how people with much more severe episodes might take months to recover.
Like you Ellu, I have had a career and raised a family (daughters aged 30 and 27). I'm trying to start a new career now in mental health and will be studying for basic qualifications next year with the aim of becoming a support worker.
We certainly must not lose hope hun. There's much to be hopeful about! And, while we know the episodes might come and go for the rest of our lives, we also know that we can get through them and live and enjoy the bits in between.
Very best wishes to you Ellu