Hey crabby, sorry about the late reply.
It's great that you enjoy you're own company, but it does sound like you're carrying a bit of weight from your past.
Without knowing you, it's probably not my place to comment, but I think there's usually a reason for feeling like we haven't achieved what we wanted to, and rarely is that actually a character flaw. More typically, it's because we had different priorities or emotional stress (that we didn't understand), and all of a sudden we turn around and we don't like what we see. But the most important thing is to recognise that we are where we are, and all we can do is decide how to keep moving forwards. To me, you've already done heaps by coming here in the first place and I think that deserves a real congratulations. It's tough opening up to strangers especially for someone, like yourself, who doesn't usually do this.
I can't speak for everyone, but a lot of people here including myself also keep our feelings close. For me, I worry about how others will treat me if I open up. Not because I think they'll be mean, but because I think it'll make the conversation uncomfortable and about me, but I don't want that. So I absolutely understand what you mean by being happy on the outside but no one ever seeing what's on the inside.
But more recently I have been opening up and I really can't emphasise just how helpful it has been. You'll be surprised about how many people have struggled with mental illnesses and just feeling "abnormal". Where I am, it's a lot more acceptable now and, even though you'll get the odd person who's just plain rude, most people are at least accepting if not understanding.
You mentioned you've been reading up about bipolar which has gotten me wondering whether you've been feeling some of those depressive symptoms. I think it's good to be aware of what you feel, but it's best to leave the diagnosis and treatment to the professionals. Do you have a good GP you can talk to about this? You can also tell us how you feel as well. It helps sometimes to get those thoughts out.
I think it's also really important to have other support as well like friends or family if possible. Otherwise, there's always the BeyondBlue support line on 1300 22 4636.
Of course, I'd love to hear more from you as well so please feel free to keep posting when you feel comfortable.
My kindest thoughts