Rocky it sounds like you have a lot to swallow right now. The first step would be to talk to each of your MD's to have you referred to a pdoc or a therapist and get diagnosed by a professional. You seem to have done a lot of research and are probably close to correct on a lot of your assunptions. But with the right kind of therapy, and the correct medications you both can start out on this new road together. It sounds like you both are mentally in the right place (meaning you both see that something is wrong and needs to be looked at further). I know you said you are self employeed...do you two have health insurance? If so, this diagnosis does not have to break the bank, but check on your coverage.
I, like your wife had dealt with depression a lot over the years and had been on Lexapro for the 2 years prior to being diagnosed with bipolar. When I was finally diagnosed as bipolar and put on the correct meds I found out that...being bipolar and only being on an antidepressant basically made my mania worse for those 2 years. So the correct diagnosis and medication is very important. I wish you look as you begin this journey.
Rocky, "Ones OWN stuff" is taking responsibility for one's own issues, choices, difficulties, etc. As in, not making another person responsible for how you (a person) are feeling, behaving, reacting...etc. Owning the "me, myself & I" of it all. Sharing how one feels is fine, but blaming, making another responsible, taking a mood out on someone else and looking for ways to justify that as "okay"....is not. Think of it this way, BP or not, other issue or not, each one of us is responsible for ourselves, how we communicate, respond, behave. When we share how we are feeling...i.e."I am feeling really angry about xyz....", that is different than, "You really are pissing me off, you're making me angry". Believe me when I share (I've been married to a BP for just shy of 17 years) when my H "owns" his own stuff, and is responsible about NOT blaming me as his moods shift around, I can remain patient and supportive back. If he blames me, or "takes his mood out on me"...all I want to do is get away from him and not talk to him. I, being a human being, have feelings too. My feelings can get just as hurt as anyone’s. Therefore, I as a spouse, count too. Make sense? Therefore, if you and your wife are BOTH finding that you are going through stuff, and potentially going to be dx'ed with similar, or separate issues, you both have a road ahead of you that you EACH need to own and be responsible for. You will weather it all easier, and more lovingly supportive of each other, if ground rules are in place (and adhered to), and you "own your own stuff".
As to finding a good pdoc...start by calling your family doc and ask who is the BEST pdoc he knows dealing with complex emotional issues that may involve BP. Then call any friends, family or even therapists in your area and ask them the same question. Then call the closest university with a strong pdoc MD program and ask THEM too. Eventually, the same name will begin to pop up. Call the psych centers and ask them. Tell them you are seeking the best pdoc experienced in dealing with complex cases, with a focus on BP as part of the mix. Then, call them and ask for a consult and interview them. Ask them how many of thier cases are BP related, with other psych components. When you find one you like, ask to be evaluated, and then whatever the dx is...begin treatment. Get a support group, a good therapist, and be ULTRA consistent with any meds. Work WITH your pdoc's as part of the same team, and make sure you stay in excellent communication with them. You should see them consistently (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly...whatever is deemed appropriate by them) to start. Once you are stable, it can be every 2 or 3 months. But, you are creating a partnership for your wellness with them. Not speaking up, both as the patient, or the spouse, works against a positive outcome.
Good luck to you. LFW
Post Edited (loving frustrated wife) : 12/16/2008 10:51:32 PM (GMT-7)