40 years of treatment, made a lot of progress but it's not enough... it is really hard on my wife.

I've been on Ritalin in one form or another since I was 5. Been diagnosed and rediagnosed several times in 40 years. Been to psychiatrists, therapists and counselors. Learned new and better ways to live life and compensate for weaknesses, enough to keep a job longer than 6 months. Got married, had kids, saw more counselors, learned new skills, got better at being a husband and father. BUT I feel like I've hit a wall. It's been a long while since I've seen any marked improvement in my ability to compensate for my innatentiveness and impulsivity. I don't notice things things that need to be done as often as I think I should. Maybe once every day or so, I notice that the dishwasher needs to be emptied and I do it, or realize that there are half a dozen dirty socks or t-shirts lying around the tv room and I put them in the basket or I wipe the dew or frost off my wife's car windows after I do mine. BUT It isn't enough because most of the time I could trip over things that need to be cleaned up or put away and I'm so focused on whatever random thought happens to beon my mind at any given moment that I just don't see it or I do notice it but I think I will remember to come back and do it when I'm done googling something or I clear this next level of plant vs zombies. Problem is, the google search leads to a youtube video which spawns another creative moment and to a tangent I willingly follow like Alice. The chances of me getting back to empty that overflowing kitchen garbage can before my super responsible wife does it is prety slim. AND if she should ever decide to ask me to do something, to "help" (yes I know, cleaning up after myself is not "helping", it's my responsibility) Anyway, should my non-stop, super woman wife, actually ask me to do something around the house, I either dissappear to the bathroom with "IBS" or suddenly turn into a 10 year old who refuses to do anything he's asked to do, because my mom bossed me around and I'm not letting anyone boss me around. My psychiatrist at the ADHD clinic diagnosed me as having oppositional defiant disorder as a comorbid disorder with ADHD so maybe that is a contributing factor. In any case, my apparent lack of consideration for anyone other than myself and my defensiveness towards anything my wife says to me, are destroying my wife. She is a "highly sensitive introvert." Unfortunately for her, she married her complete opposite and over the years it has taken it's toll on her. I want to get better, but sometimes I wonder if I haven't gone as far as I can go. I will always have ADHD. Maybe if I hired a personal coach to follow me around all tbe time around all day, reminding me what to do, coaching me through moments of defensiveness and laziness, I could be a better husband and father. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier on her if I just moved out so I wasn't such a burden on her. Me being out of work for the last 3 months has just added to her stress and constantly being around her, she has plenty of opportunity to nag, which I don't really blame her for but it makes me angrier and angrier. The more she nags, the more resistance I feel building inside of me. Am I that childish that I resist just because I don't like being told what to do? I'm not good person if that is truely what is going on in me. I don't see myself that way but they say the proof is in the pudding and actions speak louder than words. How do I get better? Is there a "next level" I can be shooting for? How much better can I get? Are there ultimate limitations with ADHD? If so, how does one know when to stop fighting and accept who you are? Am I wrong to want to just be normal and feel like Im an okay guy? Somehow, I doubt that I'll ever see that day, at least not this side of heaven. Anyone else out there going through similar circumstances? Is ther any hope of being a husband that my wife can respect, trust and depend on? Sincerely distracted,
carathrace's picture

the wall may be just a hurdle

Hello, creative. I see that a lot of people have read your post but no one has responded yet.  Maybe it's because you ask some really hard questions.  The heart of the matter seems to be that you feel you've hit a wall in your progress with your ADHD symptoms.  Yes, you will always have ADHD.  And there's a certain amount of acceptance that needs to come with that, both on your part and your wife's.  At the same time I think the acceptance needs to be balanced by solid attempts to improve.  Just yesterday my ADHD husband, who I thought had resigned himself to his symptoms, surprised and pleased me by ordering & beginning work in a new workbook from Ari Tuckman, who has lots of good strategies to help ADHDs organize, remember and reduce distraction.

And there are other things you can try.  Have you ever worked with an ADHD coach?  I'm not talking therapist, this is someone who can give you hands-on help with daily tasks.  Have you considered trying Adderall instead of Ritalin?  My husband found that Ritalin was not strong enough for him, and his psychiatrist told him that he vastly prefers Adderall over Ritalin for his patients.  Another idea is taking Melissa's course with your wife, to improve understanding and communication between you.  It sounds like you're already in a familiar nag-resistance-anger pattern which you can stop; Melissa's very good at helping with that.

You may find that that "wall" was just a little hurdle and not insurmountable.  My husband and I have found that we have to keep saying to ourselves and each other the words from a silly movie named Galaxy Quest:  "Never give up!  Never surrender!"

Hi, again, carathrace :)

I have the workbook, Understand Your Brain, Get More Done, By Ari Tuckman.  It's a fantastic resource, and I'm glad your husband got it :)!


P.S. I like your silly mantra.  I also like Predator, "Do it, do it, NOW!  What are you waiting for ?????" said with a mangled version of Arnold's accent ;).

Reasons ADHD treatment can be stagnant, despite efforts

Hi creativegeniusO,

I understand what you are talking about.  Completely.  I had been treated with medication for twelve years and it is only in the past few months that I have found the type of relief and productivity I have been desperately seeking.  It has been frustrating to the point of madness to be trying SO HARD, but to seem like I wasn't try hard ENOUGH to my husband, and also to have disappointingly inconsistent results for myself.  I did EVERYTHING.  I read about ADHD ALL THE TIME, I had a psychiatrist who trusted me and therefore indulged my many, many, many dosage readjustments upward (and downward!) and medication changes (I've tried them all, it seems).  I was seeing a psychologist to help me with my ADHD, and she was great.  Yet, my marriage was falling apart, I was stressed out ALL THE TIME because I couldn't meet my own or my husband's expectations, and despite my willingness to "try differently,"  I just could not, for the life of me get my shit together.  I would have moments of success, followed inevitably by a collapse of consistency I could not explain.  But I KNEW on some level, it was coming.  I was great at work, where life is more structured.  But even that started to become extremely difficult.  So not only was I not feeling as productive or dependable at work, but things were escalating at home.  I felt like I was losing it.  I would read all these posts from non-ADHD spouses, and think, "But I'm not like that.  I'm not lazy.  I am a hard worker.  A really hard worker."

And yet, I felt like I deserved a C- everyday.  Why?  

Last November, I read a life-changing article by Dr. Sandy Newmark where he talked about food sensitivities and ADHD.  This is the type of article I would have scoffed at in the past, but I was just desperate enough to read it.  I knew, on some level, that ADHD doesn't just get worse.  In it, he says that people with eczema or other allergies probably have a food sensitivity that can significantly impact their ADHD symptoms.  Well, I have seasonal allergies and eczema, so I suspected a food allergy.  Reading up more about it, I decided that based on my eating habits, gluten HAD to be the culprit.  Gluten and casein (dairy), which may not break down properly in people with ADHD, and the byproduct is a narcotic-like substance.  When my meds wore off, I used to feel a little drunk, and that's when my husband and I would fight the most.  I therefore was terrified for my medication to wear off, and had sleep issues, and read that some people with ADHD benefited from an evening dosage of meds.  So I was medicated 24-7 to sleep and also to prevent fights between my husband and me.  A month after giving up gluten, I no longer felt drunk.  I still wasn't functioning well enough, though, so I began to see a nutritionist, who recommended starting with an elimination diet and allergy testing (iGa and IGg food sensitivity, not the type that can kill you).  I have over a dozen and a half food allergies, which I found out this spring.  I started seeing a Naturopathic Doctor (who did the testing) and I had also been told by 3 different integrative practitioners that I am a "poor methylator," which means I don't process toxins very well.  That, combined with my food sensitivities, was why my ADHD was getting worse in spite of my ridiculous efforts and dosing.  So now I take a methylated, or broken down form of my B vitamins, which I can only get from my Naturopathic Doctor.   This shit is so powerful, that when I started taking it, among many other symptoms, my kidneys began to swell and I was peeing a million times a day.  My body was desperately trying to process toxins, as my Krebb's Cycle (chemistry) had been stuck my ENTIRE LIFE.  Within a week of this reaction, I realized my ADHD medication was too powerful in conjunction with my methylated B's.  Even though I thought it was never going to happen (nor was it my goal, AT ALL), I voluntarily stopped taking my medication.  This was over 5 months ago.  I have never been clearer in my entire life.  I can get more done, I'm not stressed out all the time, my husband finally agreed to counseling 2 months ago, and my marriage is getting better.  I can focus better, my hyperfocus on the wrong things is not as bad, and I can finally learn from my mistakes!  I can re-direct myself.  I can plan ahead better!  I have been on time when going places, and even early!  I can count on myself to BE EARLY!  It's because I am actually clear enough to make adjustments in real time like my husband does.   Woo-hoo!  I take Homocysteine Factors L-MTHR with Metafolin.  I have to take it 3 times a day (I take it with meals to remember).  I tried cutting back on this, but I can't.  I just revert to my old self.  I have ADHD and I do need to take something.  But this works better than anything else I have tried.  I don't know if you are a poor methylator, but there is an easy way to find out.  Go to the store and purchase some B vitamin supplements.  If you are up all night, you are a shitty methylator, like me.  In any case, if finances allow it, find a good Naturopathic Doctor.  My insurance covers the visits and I only have a $10.00 co-pay.  They treat people with ADHD, and there can be different reasons your ADHD sucks as much as it does.  What you are doing is not giving you the results you want, so it's worth a try.  I was skeptical about this shit, but these doctors are true scientists with an amazing understanding of the human body.  People all around me have noticed a huge difference, so it isn't just my opinion.  And we all know 5 months without medication would certainly be disastrous if there wasn't an alternative.  We ADHDers do need some form of treatment.  This is the one that works for me!


P.S.  I am up with a cold, I don't have sleep problems anymore.  Done drinking my chamomile tea, and I am heading back to bed!