How do I fix me?

I'm new to all of this so please bear with me. I'm in my late 20s and my wife and I have been married for about two years. let me start off by saying I love my wife with all my heart. Over the past year or so I have been struggling with my actions. I can't seem to control myself as if I run on a motor and it drives me to this tired state where I can fall asleep at varying times and for varying lengths of time. When this happens I pretty much go on autopilot, my motor skills barely work but I'm awake and I rarely remember anything. Occasionally I start fights and can be kind of mean. Needless to say this has caused problems with my marriage and now divorce is a very strong possibility. I started out about six months ago taking zoloft for depression, thinking that was the cure. Since then I've done multiple sleep studies to see if I had any sleep disorders. Nothing, but I was put on modafinil to keep me awake. I feel different but these situations keep occuring. I'm still kind of a motormouth, at times I don't think before I act/speak, I constantly figit, I can't calm down at home, i'm restless, etc. This is not the man my wife married and she has become depressed, frustrated, and resentful. I can't say that I blame her. She has been as understanding as one can be but only to a point. A few days ago I started looking into this ADHD thing. From what I can remember, I was put on ritalin in highschool for attention issues, was diagnosed with dyslexia at a very young age, and substance abuse and dyslexia run in both sides of my family. I have since seen my doctor and he reffered me to a specialist to go on some different types of meds. I'm praying that this works and my marriage can get back on track. Unfortunatley that may be too late and it upsets me a great deal. Opinions? Has this happened to anyone else?

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My ADD spouse won't commit to change

I'm not really sure where to start... thee seems to be so much to relay. I've been married to my husband for almost 7 years now; we've been together for almost 10 years. We have a 21 month old daughter. He was diagnosed with ADD 3 or 4 years ago but we didn't realize how severe and pervasive it was until about nine months ago. Here's my story: I met my husband while I was in college and we fell in love very quickly. In the beginning of our relationship he was very thoughtful and considerate, always doing nice things for me... he's very handsome, and he oozes integrity. All in all he's the kindest person I've ever met and I have never met anyone who doesn't share the same opinion. We moved in with each other after dating only a few months and that's when I started to notice some things were a little different about him. When we eventually got into our first fight, as all couples do, I noticed that he didn't speak at all during our argument. I mean, is it technically a fight if only one person is doing the fighting? His libido was also noticeably low. Not sure if that has anything to do with ADD but for all I know it does. ADD seems to have a hand in just about everything. He also began working obsessively (from 8 a.m. until midnight) and if I didn't insist on him stopping he would keep going. I quickly discovered that he had trouble managing his finances but with my help he got rid of all of his debt quickly. The long hours seemingly paid off. He rapidly advanced at work and became a senior manager in his company by the time he was in his mid twenties. I thought everything was on track. He seemed to be working awfully hard, but because he was seeing such good results I let the long hours go unchecked for a while. I figured, we’re young, we don’t have kids, this is the time we’re supposed to focus on our careers. When the advancement slowed down, however, the work became a bigger priority than ever, bigger than me. We stopped spending as much time together, he stopped doing all of those nice things for me, and our sex life wasn't good, he was always tired or unable to switch gears from work. All of these things really began to upset me... but I took the approach that no man was perfect and he was just a bit of a "fixer upper". Yes, I'm the classic "fixer" female. I'm also incredibly organized and very much a planner (I was an event planner for years before I became a full time mommy). I'm also very type A. I'm dominant, intelligent and I hold everyone to the same standard to which I hold myself...that's my biggest flaw. Basically, I'm the ultimate crutch for an ADD spouse, to my detriment. Our problems really started right after we got married. I found out that my husband had racked up $20,000 of debt in a business venture. Up until this point I had not been very involved in our finances, they are a major stressor for me. I viewed this debt as a major breach of trust and it was almost the end of us. Thankfully he finally agreed to go to therapy (after I threatened divorce) and we worked through our problems, or so I thought. It took 2 years. Somewhere during this process he started seeing his own therapist in addition to our marriage counselor, was diagnosed with ADD and started taking adderall. Medication made a huge difference for him. During this time, we got rid of all of our debt and created a good financial footing for ourselves. My husband switched careers one day without discussing it with me. We had talked in the past about him making a switch and he was actively looking but, when he took a job without consulting me or giving me the specifics, I was surprised and shocked. It was a great opportunity and I'm glad he took it, but the switch meant that our financial situation changed dramatically. His new business was 100% commission based and that put a lot of pressure on both of us for a while. I couldn't handle the uncertainty of the finances so I asked him if he would take them over for a while until things stabilized. He agreed and he managed our finances successfully for a few years… we even bought our first house. By allowing him to handle the finances again, he was regaining my trust that had been lost during those early months of marriage. I thought the whole mess was behind us. Once we seemed to have everything in order, we decided it was time to start a family. One thing you must know about me, it has always been my one life goal to stay at home and raise my children. I feel more strongly about this than anything in the world and it was something that my husband was well aware of. Our daughter was born in 2006 and for a while all was perfectly blissful… for me. My husband started becoming increasingly stressed and I suspected things weren't looking so good at work. I would ask him if everything was alright and he would insist that everything was fine. I finally confronted him last summer and I found out that we were $50,000 in debt. Needless to say, things went downhill fast. I had a very difficult time understanding how things could get so bad without him saying something. I was shocked to find out he had let it get that bad. And worst of all, how could he repeat the same offences that had almost ended our marriage 6 years earlier? And now when I was completely dependant on him to provide for me and our baby? I insisted that he return to his therapist and try to figure this out. A few months into therapy it seemed like there was no progress being made; I started suspecting that he wasn't telling his therapist everything...so I asked if I could join him for a session or two. I was right, he hadn't told his therapist very much. Together the three of us started to unravel the thought processes behind his actions and that's when we discovered how bad the ADD was. I was virtually uneducated about ADD at that point and was surprised to learn that it was either causing or somehow woven into all of the problems in our marriage. The diagnosis allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief temporarily. I immediately started educating myself in hopes to make some positive changes for our family. I have taken over all of the finances permanently. I realize now that it's just something he's never going to be able to manage and I’m ok with that. Our therapist also recommended a life coach. Well, in our current financial situation we can't afford one. They are $400 a month and don't take insurance. So we decided to try to work some of this out ourselves. But there’s the rub. I know through the reading that I’ve done that my husband is the only one who can fix this problem. In fact, too much help from me can essentially prevent him from taking the steps to improve his life. But so far, he hasn’t changed a bit. It’s like he refuses to help himself. So what do I do? Do you let the ship you’re on sink and take you and your child down with it in hopes that at the last minute your husband will somehow have a light bulb moment and start bailing? If that’s what we are supposed to do as the non-ADD spouse, I can’t do it. My husband knows what my strengths are and he is constantly asking me for help and advice. I have tried to steer him in all of the right directions; I have encouraged him to become educated and to begin to rely heavily on the technology available to him. At his request, I’ve given him a few short tutorials on Outlook and showed him the tools available to help him schedule his day and remind him of his tasks. The problem at this point seems to be his lack of commitment to change and follow through with any of the tools he’s been given. After months of nagging he did finally buy a book on CD, Delivered From Distraction, but he never listens to it. The task list on outlook worked well… for a week. I think the diagnosis, while a relief to me, was devastating to him. His confidence is so low, his ego so fragile, and he feels torn between work and family life. I don’t let him work all day, every day anymore and as a result he can’t get things done in a timely manor. I know he is feeling a lot of pressure. But the only way to fix those things seems to be tackling the ADD and he refuses to do it. If things don’t change soon, I’m going to have to give up my one true dream, staying at home with my child, to go back to work. I am absolutely crushed by the thought of this. I feel like I have already given so much of myself up for him and this ADD. I know I will resent him forever if I have to give this up too. His unwillingness to commit to change is destroying our relationship. I feel like this marriage has become my own personal hell. Despite countless talks and tears he doesn’t seem to understand just how badly the ADD affects me too. So now we barely speak any more. I don’t even like to be in the same room as him. When he comes home from work I avoid him. The very sight of him makes me angry and sad and feel so alone. I can’t tell him how I feel anymore because his self esteem is so low, I don’t think he can handle it. I have no respect for him as a husband or partner. I don’t trust him at all. I don’t know what to do. I am a fighter. I am willing to fight to save this marriage. But I cannot compromise on my one true dream. I want to help him in any way that I can, but I know that offering help is such a thin line to walk. I am desperate for any suggestions anyone can give. How do I help my husband and save my marriage without giving up everything that I ever wanted for myself? Is it even possible or should I start packing?

You're not alone Alexa

Hi Alexa, I read your story during my lunch hour today and I can't even tell you how similar your story is to mine. My husband and I were college sweethearts and have been married for almost 14 years. He was diagnosed with ADHD last summer. The diagnosis was no surprise to either one of us, but I knew it was a necessary step to helping him be accountable. Early in our marriage, he had a couple different sales jobs that looked very promising and I thought he was off to a good start. He would get bored working for someone else and just decide on his own to quit without lining up another job first. He has started up so many different businesses I have lost count. He claimed bankruptcy with one business and recently dissolved another business. His wheels are constantly spinning and his tasks become bigger and he takes on more than he can handle. I don't think he realizes the emotional impact this has on our family(myself and two small boys). I often feel so alone and sad in this marriage when he gets hyperfocused on whatever business he is doing at the time. I don't think any of this is intentional on his part. He doesn't mean to neglect his family. He actually thinks he is helping us by trying to hit it big one of these days. I don't feel like he includes me in any of his business decisions. We are really lacking partnership. He makes decisions to take out loans and lines of credit without ever consulting with me. I don't know how to trust him anymore. I know I can't rely on him financially so I had to continue working. Fortunately, I love my job and I have a great schedule where I can be with the kids every holiday and summers off. That's how I justify working full time to myself. It has been hard though because, like you, I had the dream of staying at home to raise my kids. Now, my husband is staying home since he is currently unemployed and we can't afford day care. It's hard not to be resentful, but I am working on it. I have to look at how fortunate we are to be able to have one parent at home with our children. You are absolutely right to educate yourself more about ADHD. The hard part is that we cannot control our husbands and they have to want to make changes. One thing I have learned from this website is that I have become the authoritarian figure in our relationship and he doesn't feel safe sharing his thoughts with me for fear that I will "rain on his parade" as he says. He feels controlled and the more I push, the more he pulls away. I am hopeful that couples counseling with an ADHD expert will help me create that safe place for him and be able to work on building a partnership so I don't feel so alone. I have heard it's important to work in the present and future in therapy and not to spend time on the past. I too am a fighter and I can only keep trying. I will not quit until I've exhausted every resource possible. I am here to say to you don't give up if you know you still love him. There are couples out there who are making it with ADHD. Have you read the book, "Honey Are You Listening?" by Rick Fowler. He wrote the book with his wife and they have been married for 34 years. He counsels people with adult ADHD and he struggles with having the diagnosis himself. There is a section in the book on how to deal with finances that you could share with your husband and come up with your own pact. Good luck to you and please know that you are not alone.
newfdog's picture

Maybe spouce is doing the best he can

First let me point out I have ADHD and I am still working on myself. However, I think I can offer a different perspective that may or may not give you some insight and thought. If you would like more insight about me, it can be found at http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/where-do-we-go-here-long You may want to consider therapy and advice for yourself on how to cope and also help your husband. In the time of a crisis, ( yes I feel you have one) is not the time for either to be pulling away and not speaking. Even if you don't say you are angry, he can pick up on it. If you truly want to stay married, the time to work on these issues is NOW. I am still overcoming my issues with my wife complaining about things and throwing the ADHD in my face, but in her defense, at the time, neither she nor I knew I had it. Without help, my opinion is things will not improve and you will continue to become angrier and fed up. I am sorry that your dream of being a stay at home mom is not going as you planned, but that is life and we have no guarantees what its going throw at us. Again, if you truly want to save the marriage you can't be harboring resentment it just won't work. Marriage is a case of give and take, If you have to go back to work, you need to do it and be happy about it. You say your husband will not change, I am sure your husband is trying as hard as he can, and in his mind he may be trying harder than you think. While we may talk and say we understand things, also think we are doing things, unfortunately, many times this is not the case. It will need to be a team effort to repair the hurts and how to cope with the ADHD. My wife and I are still working on this. Most ADHD people are very forgetful, myself included. There are ways you can help in reminding him without being pushy or acting like his mother. If he forgets to do something, can you ask him to please do whatever. Remember we like to be asked and not told...... Speaking of mothers,.a common mistake people with ADHD make, is they marry someone who acts like their mothers. Remember, most of us, all of our lives have been hounded, criticized, humiliated for our mistakes and failures by our parents. In many cases we have suppressed these feelings, (I know I did and now am working on that) and we often feel guilty or shame for not providing or being as successful as other people. Sometimes we just need some praise for doing something good. In some cases we are children in an adult body and need to dealt with accordingly. You might want to start practicing as you have a 50-50 chance your baby will be ADHD I hope some of this makes sense to you, and I am sorry I can't put it more eloquently as other people can. If I hurt your feelings in any way that was not my intention. I hope you can try and set your anger, hurt, disappointments aside and help your husband and save your marriage, but you also need to be happy for your own well being. Good Luck!

I hope this isn't his best or we're in serious trouble.

Thanks for the post newfdog, I have a few things that I wanted to say in response. First of all, I read your original post and I have a suggestion for you about your lady friend... I too had an emotional affair several years ago, after our first bout of trouble, and our marriage counselor gave me some great advice: At this point, whenever you think about that other woman you need to recognize that it's not really her that you want, but the feeling you got from being with her. When you think about her now, it's because one or more of your emotional needs are not being met by your spouse. (Emotional needs being sex, conversation, activity time, emotional intimacy, financial... etc) In your minds eye, that lady should now serve as a red flag for your marriage. Whenever you think of her it means that something is not quite right between you and your wife. It's usually pretty easy to stop and identify what you're missing, then you can make a plan to address the issue so you can get that desired feeling from your wife. It's a brilliant warning system, actually. It's been years since I've seen that other guy and I still think of him from time to time. I'm grateful for it. It keeps me on track. You're a car loving guy... lady friend = red flag = mandatory marriage pit stop to make repairs. Hope that helps. Ok so back to me... in your above post you said the following: "Marriage is a case of give and take, If you have to go back to work, you need to do it and be happy about it." I agree, marriage SHOULD be give and take. I would LOVE for it to be give and take!!! But in my situation I feel as though all I do is give and get nothing in return. The balance is WAY off. I have given up my sexuality (spouse has low libido, mine is very high), much of my social life (spouse is uncomfortable around people he doesn't know and socially awkward... he would rather stay home), the romance factor... can't remember the last time he remembered to buy me a Christmas present or birthday gift. These are things I'm willing to "give" on for the sake of the marriage. And we haven't even begun to discuss the countless ways I give my time and energy on a daily basis to support him as he goes from one day to the next with this disorder. What I'm saying here is that it seems like I'm the only one giving. GIVE GIVE GIVE. I'm all "gived" out. This is not a marriage. It's not a partnership, not a team. It's not equal. It's me suddenly having two kids instead of one. And that's not because "a common mistake people with ADHD make, is they marry someone who acts like their mothers." I did not enter into this relationship as the "mother". Over time he put me in that role and I absolutely hate it. This disorder has turned me into someone I don't want to be. Do you know what it feels like to be in the mother role to your spouse? It's horrible. You lose all respect for them because they place themselves below you. It makes you feel scared and totally alone. I don't want to go through my life feeling totally alone. I feel like everyone has a bottom line, and mine is that I refuse to leave my child when she's young and needs me to help her grow into the best, most confident person that she can be. ESPECIALLY if she has ADD. She'll need me much more if she has it and her chances are greater than 50%. My sister has ADHD and I have a processing disorder. All of my cousins have ADD. So odds are, she's got something. I would rather divorce my husband, sell my house and move in with my parents than let my (potentially special needs) child be brought up by strangers in day care and run the risk of putting her through what my husband has already gone through... a world filled with people who criticize her or humiliate her for her mistakes. All I need to stay and fight for this marriage is for him to commit to changing himself. I realize he will never be the spouse of my dreams, I know that change doesn't happen overnight. But there needs to be some sign of effort on his behalf. He's not in denial about having ADD. He's just not making the commitment to change. I understand that change is scary for him, that this is all overwhelming for him, but guess what, I'm overwhelmed too, I'm scared too, and I'm completely out of control of the situation. I know he's not exactly in control either, but he is the only one who can help himself. He knows, if he is going to educate himself and commit to listening to the book, he needs to schedule a half hour for it every night on his blackberry and then hold himself accountable to get it done. A half hour a day. That's all I'm asking for at this point. SOME SIGN OF TRYING!!!! In your post you said: "It will need to be a team effort to repair the hurts and how to cope with the ADHD" Well, yeah! But currently I'm a team of 1. I'm the only one educating myself. I'm the one doing the Outlook tutorials and coming up with a new filing system for his office and reminding him to keep his life on track. How do I get him to get off the bench and get into the game? When he won't even do that, it feels like he's slapping me in the face. Spitting on me. That's really what it feels like. The worst part is, I can see past all of the ADD. I can see this man for who he really is and his potential is so great. I know what he could be, what he has inside him. It's all right there, just waiting for him to dig it out, little by little. He is truly a magical person inside. It's this combination of kindness, thoughtfullness, integrity, and honor. And his hyperfocusing can allow him to be so successful in anything he chooses to do. The world could be his oyster. If only he would put one foot in front of the other and try to walk down this new path. All of this I have told him. Everything in this post he's heard time and again. It's like beating my head against a wall. And maybe you're right... maybe therapy to learn some better coping skills for dealing with him and the ADD is a good idea... but my cookie jar is empty. I feel like I can't keep playing this game if he's not on the team too. Should I really have to go this alone? I'm emotionally exhausted. His ADD is too difficult an opponant to face by myself. My question is how do I get him to join the team? If he can just show me that he can commit, I can be in this thing for the long haul.
newfdog's picture

Maybe try a new approach?

Alexa, Thanks for the information on my issues, it is a new approach I had not tried. In regards to your husband. I really sense and feel your frustration and I think your husband does also. You are correct that we can have issues with self esteem and I would agree your husband is there. While I can't say your husband is depressed, I would not be surprised if he was. I am still fighting depression after the revelation and diagnosis of ADHD. While, now I understand my ADHD was a major contributor to my past actions, it does not make it OK, and all these things can lead to depression. It's hard to try and work on the ADHD or anything else for that matter when you are depressed, especially when we have screwed so much up, its like, why bother? Unfortunately, I don't have any one suggestion that will solve your dilemma. I know, you both are probably frustrated as are myself and my wife. The only suggestions I could offer are, check and see if your husband is depressed and if so, get him treated ASAP. Also depression also mimics ADHD in some areas, so it is double trouble when we get depressed. Its going to take "baby steps" to get your husband on track. I would say, try and work on a small item he has trouble with. Maybe if you can have a success with something small and work up he will build up some confidence. You were talking about the outlook program. Can you break that down even farther into smaller steps and work on one of those? I know you bought the CD or whatever, maybe you could listen to it with him and spend time together. Try and pick out one of the parts he may find interesting. I jump all over the place in my books. For what its worth, I remember when I saw the Will Rogers Follies on Broadway, he talked about how the Indians and white men differed in how they perceived things. He went on to say, the Indians would walk around to the other side and see what the person was looking at. In other words, try and look at the world through your husbands eyes, see what he is seeing and feeling. Maybe then you can see his point of view and understand how he is thinking. Then maybe you can figure out a way to reach him. I hope this gives you some ideas to try, and I am sure Mellisa will be posting shortly with suggestions. I wish you two the best of luck, your husband needs you and I know you want to help bring out his good qualities.

This sounds so familiar

Hi, Alexa - Your story sounds so familiar. My husband and I have been married for almost 11 years and have three children. He and his brother were diagnosed w/ ADHD over this past year and it has been an eye-opening year. All these years thinking that my husband is the most confusing man I'd ever known and now I know why. Without realizing it, we had put controls in our marriage that have really helped us to stay focused on each other and to keep communicating. Like your husband, mine is very successful and driven. He works so hard, working long hours, sometimes to the neglect of his family. He claims, though, that everything he does is for us, even when it takes him away.... Anyway, I digress... :) There are several things that we do that keep structure and balance in our lives: 1) he exercises every day, 2) we sit together w/ coffee every morning and chat (no distractions, no work, no tv), 3) we sit together every night before dinner w/ a glass of wine, and 4) he takes his cod liver oil (omega 3) every day. These times that we have made for each other gives me the emotional connection that I need w/ him and also gives us time to talk about things. One night, over wine, I read sections to him from "Delivered from Distraction" (he will not read books since he does so much thinking/reading/meeting for work). We were able to discuss ADHD without pointing fingers and blaming -- we were able to laugh and say, "Ha! That sounds a lot like you!" We can talk and connect then I don't feel neglected when he sits down in front of the tv w/ his laptop and works all night. The exercise and oil help to keep him on level; w/o them he is so stressed.... His muscles will get so hard and tense that he is in terrible pain. So, he gets massages every two weeks to help w/ that. He does not medicate - we have decided not to take that route so he does what he can to manage his stresses by diet and exercise. Very important. I totally understand how you feel about being the one that is holding everything together. If you were to ask him, however, he would laugh and say that w/o him this family would be living on the streets! But w/o me, the same would be true but he doesn't see it that way since he is the one working.... But, I pay the bills and completely manage this household and plan everything! It is a very fine balancing act to play to not feel like the mom or the manager.... And it is difficult knowing that things will never change and this is how life will be until I die.... He will never plan a vacation or remember to consistantly call me when he will be late for dinner or to keep his garage/closet/car neat or to remember to bring into the house his travel coffee mugs from the car or to clean his shavings in the sink or to push in his chair after dinner or to not leave his shoes in the middle of the stairs or to not throw constant chaos into my life by his last-minute change of plans.... I could go on and on. These things will never change so it is my response to these things that are the issue. Just this morning he had me in tears because I got a whole bunch of crap last night and this morning to deal w/ and it just overwhelmed me. It seems to come in waves.... But, I have to remember that this man is so sweet, loving, generous, smart ... all this other stuff I can deal w/. I just have to take a deep breath and say, "It's ok. This, too, shall pass." But, I have to keep in mind that it will happen again...and again. So, back to controls. Last night, he told me around lunch time that he would be home at 6:30. I had dinner planned and ready and he never called and came home at 7:10. Our kids go to bed at 8:00 and having roast beef and potatoes sitting on their guts at bedtime is not something I like to do. I asked why he didn't call, I had dinner waiting, and he said he was busy at a coffee shop down the road sending out some emails.... Now, this is an issue that we have probably talked about, oh, 583 times.... Please call me if you are going to be late for dinner and I'll feed the kids and keep dinner warm for you until you get home. No big deal. No hurt feelings. But will he call me every time? No way! He gets busy doing something else and the time slips away. So, we set a control last night (about time after 11 years....): dinner will be at 6:00. If you are not home by then, me and the kids will eat and I'll keep it warm for you until you get home. Ta-da! Problem solved. The only drawback is that we won't eat together as a family much during the week, but hey, it's better than tears and frustration and anger. Managing issues that come up w/ ADHD can be moderated by controls and communication. And making the time to communicate is essential because if it is not scheduled something will come up to take its place. And the partner w/o ADD has to be the one to manage everything. That is a given and if you aren't willing to take on that responisibility in your marriage then you need to pack. He is unable to manage w/o you. You have to find ways that work for the both of you w/o belittling him. One book that I read that works is Dr. Laura's book, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". There are ways to get your husband to do things w/o acting like mom or the superintendent. Another tip that works like a charm (from "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" is to always ask your husband to do things w/ "would you" or "will you" not "could you" or "can you". Try it. "Would you..." gets a "sure, honey" while "could you..." gets a dirty look.... Of course he can ... he's not an idiot.... You could approach your husband and ask to start fresh, set some controls and boundaries, and make some time. Your husband has to come before your daughter, too. He has to feel valued. Praise his good points, keep mental notes on his weaknesses realizing that you will have to take up the slack. You need someone to talk to - a sister, girlfriend, mother - someone you can vent to. Life w/ ADD is stressful but rewarding in the end. You know yourself that your husband is a wonderful person. You could walk away, find another man who will "take care of you" but he will have his own set of flaws and who's to say it will be any better? Just different.... I hope this helps. Life is not easy w/ these men. It is down-right difficult and messy and frustrating. But, he loves me dearly. He is a great father. He would never cheat on me or leave me. When his focus is on me, life is beautiful. The struggles are worth it to me because I love him. That's it. This is my life and I choose to live it ... with him.

To ShayO - Food for Thought

Dear ShayO, In an effort to keep learning, I have begun reading previously written posts. Yours really interested me. Your suggestions were very good, but to me the best one you wrote was ~ "You need someone to talk to - a sister, girlfriend, mother - someone you can vent to". The inability to connect, thus causing the lonliness and isolation, I find to be the greatest hurdle. I would further suggest that you talk to someone who is experiencing the same ADD relationship as you and your husband. I have recently been corresponding with a new friend who also has a long term marriage and a spouse with ADD. It has made a world of difference for me. I do not think a sister or mother would be the appropriate person with which to vent. Venting generally has a "victim" or "put upon" flavor to it. When you complain to a family member you are "airing dirty laundry". Your mother or sister are always going to defend you. They will begin to see your husband in a way that will alter their actions toward him. That is not what you want to happen, but it is natural for a family member to defend another member of the family. I wouldn't put that in play. You and I are really the lucky ones. We do not dealing with the typical financial issues that many ADD spouses deal with. Taking on those responsibilites make it almost impossible to eliminate the parent/child issue. Providing for the family is so tied into self esteem. I am thankful that I do not deal with that. Your ideas were very beneficial to me. Thank you, Katherine
clancy's picture

12 step program

Dr. Hallowell suggested in DFD for people with ADD to seek out a 12 step program. I finally made the commitment to a group and feel my life changing for the better. I just happened to attend an Al-ANON program because a friend was going and it was a way for me to go with someone as I felt very uncomfortable in a group sharing situation. It turned out that this group was right where I belonged as my mother was an alcoholic. I know you aren't the one with the ADD but when you wrote that you are "emotionally exhausted" , I connected because that is what I hear and read over and over ," we come to the Program because we are exhausted". Perhaps you might want to consider a 12 step program for co-dependency. The support from the group would help you not to feel alone. The wonderful thing is you would finally be taking care of you and learn how to let him take care of himself. It's very, very hard to let go, I understand that very well, as I 've been doing that for too many years with my ADD spouse. But I finally did and I'm seeing the benefits in my life, my husband's life, and both of my adult ADD children. I'm in there for the long haul too.

Will respond soon

There is SO MUCH in your note, that it will take me a little bit of time to organize a coherent response to you - but I intend to do so within a couple of days.

Melissa Orlov

re:How do I fix me

I read your comment a couple of days ago and again today. I am certainly not a doctor or a therapist but I was diagnosed with ADD about 6 months ago and I also have a daughter who was diagnosed about 10 months ago. Since that time I have read about 10 books on the subject and I do internet searches almost everyday. Has your doctor considered ADHD with BiPOLAR? That's what I would guess from your description of your symptoms. Again, I am no expert but I have done alot of research since my introduction to this new world. There are alot of good books out there. Driven to Distraction is good to read first and then Delivered from Distraction by Dr. Hallowell. If it's only ADHD, then there are several kinds and Healing the Six Kinds of ADHD by Dr. Amens is a good book to search through to see if you recognize yourself in there. Also in DFD Dr. Hallowell mentions a supplement called EmPowerplus that has been having great results on Bipolar and ADHD amoung other things. I was told of this product from a completely different source than my usual "sources" . By a friend who has a child that may be suffering from Bipolar, her sister did months of research, found this product and is raving about it's success for her Bipolar. My friend relayed this news to me and I looked at their website. Then, the other evening I was re-browsing DFD and noticed the product mentioned in Dr. Hallowell's book. He says that he takes it himself and that he has heard of other doctor's who have had success with their Bipolar patients. I also probably need to include that it is not yet "scientifically" proven so I guess doctor's cannot "officially" endorse it. Good luck to you.
ohlookitstom's picture

Not Too Late

I say it's not too late even though I'm still struggling with 'fixing' me a dozen years after I 'discovered' ADD in myself, then late 30s. I will 'summarize' my thoughts briefly here: it's a lot of work, and YOU will need to make some adjustments and concessions that you probably don't want to do. But you can lose your companion/spouse, or you can decide if it's worth it to hold onto that thing you do that drives them nuts. Just think about it in those terms NOW, rather than trying to undo it all later. For me, seems that I should have worked a little harder earlier on, too. I suggest that you get a GREAT counselor familiar with ADD issues, symptoms, and one with whom you are comfortable; you can't figure this out with just a blog, books, or on your own. You're resourceful and that how you've gotten so far... in spite of yourself. I went to three counselors over the first four years before I met "Al" and he remains a friend today although he's retired from practice; I've found a new counselor, finally, in Phyllis and she's just great. But, it's what YOU do about it that matters... it's up to YOU. It's not about the meds; they are crutches that a doctor can prescribe to help get your mind off of your distractions long enough for you to learn the right things to do to progress in everyday life. You then need to learn to deal with your new life as it is NOW. But this is HARD WORK on your part. When I discovered and accepted an ADD diagnosis, I was just post-divorce but in a new relationship with a wonderful but very strong woman, one who eventually couldn't put up with 'me' any more. I tried to involve her in understanding ADD and those matters, and she did indeed try, but only for a while; her patience with me grew strained as I would fall back to old habits, and she wasn't very forgiving of that for the 137th time. I wonder why. She stayed with me for most of about 9 years; we were together a long while, each with one child from a previous marriage, but we both grew weary, and we grew apart. We 'separated' once for a number of months. The latter recovery was just another test to see if I'd changed enough to meet her standards, and I had not changed enough. I lost this wonderful gal in my life, and it's more than 3 years now and it still is kinda hurtful. Dr Hallowell's DFD book includes his statement to 'find the right spouse' (or something like that). Marry the right mate. I'm paraphrasing. I'm also kinda trying to still figure that out. But I know that Dr Hallowell's books and even these recent online forums have been very informative and helpful and encouraging. I suggest that you dig deep down into your psyche and try to figure out a way to let your spouse know that you do indeed cherish that person, and work hard on making those changes stick. Don't be so stuck on resentment that they're tryign to change you.... YOU are trying to change you, and you'd better make the changes that work for you. You need this person, you want this person, and you will rely on this person. I didn't prove it to my Peggy. I've had several other relationships of significance since, and I've had failings of relationships since. Seems I still have some things to figure out. These things don't just go away, if they're within one's self... I'm kinda writing this to myself here, but I think it applies. I wish you success in figuring you out for yourself. It IS up to you. Your spouse can be a real great benefit in that process. It's harder without one.