I'm bipolar and 65yo, diagnosed in 2009 so went all my life with the illness not knowing I had it. It certainly answered why I had the problems I had with other people.
Medication will take on average 6 weeks to begin to work. Also it will only quell the symptoms not eliminate them. So to a great extent, you need to learn to live with bipolar and the mood swings that come with them along with depression and mania. Yes other people will also need to lift their game with knowledge of your problems, more tolerance for your mood and forgiveness. That's why many of us have less friends than we could have had but the friends we keep are better quality.
Like other mental illnesses some of us have positive spin offs like artistic flare, writing, adventurism and entertainment. Google "famous people with bipolar/mental illness and you'll be surprised. Eg I'm a poet. Without my bipolar I couldnt have written my 300 poems. I prefer to tolerate my bipolar than give that up.
Stigma is an issue. There are some people that will shun you when they learn of your illness. Frankly you are better off knowing and give them a miss rather than try to educate them. This forum and others are in existence as "birds of a feather flock together" has merit.
Every patient is different. In my case for example I have periods of paranoia. It lasts for a day or two. It's like the world is against me. So, you'll need to learn a lot about yourself, rely on close people to inform you when your behaviour is out of bounds of tolerance for others and keep alcohol intake to a low level.
Below I've listed some threads I've written on associated topics. Please feel free to read the first post of each thread.