I am 64 years old and have had bipolar disorder since I was 15, but I was not diagnosed and put on medication until I was in my 40s. Can you imagine what my youth was like? Wild mood swings, crippling depression and anxiety, mad sprees of mania, drinking and drug-taking. I did not think there was anything wrong with me - I thought that was just my personality and suffered needlessly for years, in the process making a mess of my life. Since being diagnosed and put on medication I won't pretend that it has all been smooth sailing - I have had brief relapses requiring changes in my medications. Now I am watching my 28 year old nephew go through the same thing. It is so, so important to get an accurate diagnosis of your problem. And don't be afraid of medication - you wouldn't be afraid of taking antibiotics for an infection, would you? It is vital that you establish a close, ongoing relationship with a medical professional you can go to for advice and help if you need it. I would recommend going to a psychiatrist for the initial diagnosis and medication (if necessary). This can be followed up by counselling of some sort - being able to talk about your issues with a professional who cares is 50% of the treatment for psychiatric issues. For a psychiatrist you will get a medicare rebate. Different forms of counselling vary, and there are various treatment plans available - discuss this with your GP. It does not have to be ridiculously expensive. Please, please if you are suffering symptoms and issues which are interfering with your life seek help now.
Don't put yourself through years of suffering as I did. It is a hard road, but there are helping hands along the way. I wish you all well,