I'll apologize in advance because I'm not entirely sure where to start with this, and it may seem somewhat cluttered, but I just need to vent for a bit.
I've been with my wife for 14 years, and am now fairly sure that she suffers from BD 2. To describe it simply, when she'd be doing well she'd be the most wonderful and caring person to be around, but then like a switch she'd drop off into a severe state of depression/anger/intolerance that would last for 1 to 2 weeks. With the exception of the first 2 years, this would usually cause a few blow up arguments each year which would end with her either locking herself in a room for a few days or getting in her car and leaving for a while. I can look back now at our first 2 years together (before our first child) and see some very minor signs, but the symptoms really started after the birth of our first child - almost like bouts of permanent post-partem bookending wonderfully good times.
After a particularly bad argument, I suggested to my wife that we go see a marriage counselor (I had no clue what BP was at the time) who ended up recommending that she see a psychiatrist over her depression. The psychiatrist only diagnosed a bout of depression, and prescribed Lexapro(?) for her. My wife, not fond at all of taking any medication whatsoever, begrudgingly decided to try it for a month and then went thru several months of self medication and dosing. The Lexapro worked fairly well when she decided to take it, and I could tell within a day or two when she would stop. Over the years, I have been as patient and supportive as I am capable (I have plenty of flaws) because I love my wife so much, but as many other posters here have said, it really wears you out after a while. I've devoted so much of my time, patience, caring, etc into trying to help my wife over the years that I feel completely worn out, sad, and dejected - specially when she has a bad spell because she decided to self (or not) medicate. Fortunately she is not hard on the kids during these times, and I try to be the target if need be.
I do know (now) that my wife's mother is BP, so I would not be surprised at this being hereditary.
My wife just ran out of her meds a day or two ago, and like clockwork she got very irritable and blew up at me. She hasn't returned home yet and won't answer her phone, but I left the lights on for her when she decides to come home. I love her from the bottom of my heart, but it isn't easy sometimes.
Thanks for letting me post this...