9 months since diagnosis - I feel better, my wife says I'm worse

The cause of our arguments is no different - disconnects on household chores, getting so "stuck" on irrelevant facts while she is talking about something serious, forgetting nearly everything - except for things that don't matter...I could go on, but I'm sure this is not new for anyone who has or is close to someone with ADHD. Our arguments start the same way - but from my perspective she seems more enraged at my inattentive behaviors and patterns. I'm just confused because I feel like my treatment is working (at least I think so) and I'm not sure why our relationship has not improved. At times I feel I should go off my meds and return to the "less worse" way things were with my wife. 

My back story: I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD almost 9 months ago and have been covering the "easy" stuff first - med management, diet, educating myself about ADHD etc. The "hard" part has not come easy and I wonder if I am alone. Of course easy and hard are relative, but for me the hard part is rebuilding all the damage and hardship brought upon my wife, family and friends. Part of me feels so much better, but I often get even more frustrated than before since I feel I *should* be able to communicate effectively with my wife and not repeat old patterns. I feel the unbearable weight of me transforming her into, as she has put it, "a person she doesn't recognize", she seems to be stuck on all the past hurt I have brought upon us. Wasn't this supposed to get better?  I'd be very interested to learn if there was a catalyst for others that may have precipitated adults from looking at ADHD as a diagnosis. For me, in retrospect, it was the birth of our children about 2 and 3 years ago. As we  know I didn't just "get" this so, why now? The realization that my children pushed me over the top is another burden of guilt. I try to remind myself that everyone carries a full bucket and what makes it spill over should not carry significance. I hope I can show enough improvement so my wife can more actively engage with my treatment - letting go of what can't be changed in the past and realizing that the often patterns and behaviors of the ADHD are changing. Hopefully improving.

I'll stop there with hope that someone can relate an experience so I don't feel I am alone.  Plus, I find it ironic that most posts on this forum are quite long and I don't want others like me to stop reading after the first paragraph. :-)

V.

I am the nonADHD spouse of a

I am the nonADHD spouse of a man with ADHD.  My husband is in his late 50s.  He has been aware since he was a child that he often got depressed; I think he started his on-again, off-again treatment when he was in his early 20s.  The ADHD diagnosis did not come until two or three years ago, after he lost his job.  This was the second time that he was let go from a job during our marriage.  In retrospect, the job issues and many other things seem likely related to ADHD.  In the first job, he didn't get along with his boss, and when the time came for project renewal, my husband was not retained.  In the second job (which my husband did not get until more than six years after the first lay-off; yet another ADHD related phenomenon), my husband left a vehicle running while doing business, and the vehicle rolled away and hit a tree.  Pretty classic ADHD inattentiveness.  Our marriage had been getting worse for years.  Yes, I've been the nagger, the parent to everyone (we have two now-adult children).

To respond to a few of your comments:  1) I think that having children is a big stress for many people.  I encourage you to try to not feel guilty about this.  2) I also think that it is common for there to be something of a letdown after an ADHD diagnosis.  "Oh, we know what it is, you'll get better right away, our lives will be wonderful, yada, yada, yada."  But life doesn't work that way.  I encourage you to encourage your wife to educate herself about ADHD.  I think it will help, especially to learn that the treatment isn't an overnight cure and that both spouses need to work on changing what have become ingrained patterns of communication and behavior.  3) Your wife may be suffering from unrelated stresses.  See item 1)!  While my husband was struggling in his second job (the one involving the runaway vehicle), I felt like I was trying to drag my older child, kicking and screaming, through high school.  It was hard for me and I felt all alone.  So, even though I knew that my husband had his own issues, and I tried to be sympathetic, I also was just worn out and scared and TIRED. 

Good luck.

 

It's a "Process"...

I am closing in on three years post diagnosis of adult ADD at the tender age of 43. Several things you have said remind me of my journey.

First: "The cause of our arguments is no different - disconnects on household chores, getting so "stuck" on irrelevant facts while she is talking about something serious, forgetting nearly everything - except for things that don't matter...

Old habits are REALLY hard to break. Growing up not knowing you have ADD can cause people to develop different ways of coping with adversity. Anger, denial, lying are some examples of coping with the shock of suddenly getting smacked in the head with a new issue. I call my ADD life like "Being in a Fog", oblivious to just about anything that is not "On Fire" right in front of me. After meds, you are probably more Aware of the argument Causes, Aware that you can get stuck, Aware of things you forgot and so on. The ADD does not ever go away, but the meds can help you and new use of your awareness takes time. It's a New Language to me and I'm 43 years behind a NonADDer my age.

Second: "the hard part is rebuilding all the damage and hardship brought upon my wife, family and friends."

I felt/feel exactly the same way. My initial fear was that Too much damage had been done to my marriage to be able to save it even with my new tools. I'm Still a "Work in progress"... My family has noticed more of a difference in my, but my DW has been slow to let go of the anger as she has had to bare the brunt of my ADD adult behaviors. I don't know the answer here, but changing perceptions about know behavior takes a while to create New Perceptions of expected behavior.

Third: "it was the birth of our children about 2 and 3 years ago. As we  know I didn't just "get" this so, why now? The realization that my children pushed me over the top is another burden of guilt."

Think about it this way... If you have just gotten the ADD diagnosis, you were probably a pretty high functioning ADDer. I believe I was too... I coped pretty well with things and somehow had balance in my life for a long time. After the birth of my DD#2, I KNEW a third child was Totally out of the picture... I knew that I just could not handle the extra load. One of the things I read was "1+1<>2", "2+1<>3" and "3+1 certainly does not equal 4" It is like for 1+1: There is You, Your Wife and The Couple, that is not two. 2+1: You, Wife, Couple, You and Child, Wife and Child, and Couple & Child, which is A LOT  more than three. My take is that I "Juggled the right amount of oranges for a long time", but when I had too many oranges things began to get dropped, leading to my diagnosis. Your children did not cause this :)

You are not alone in this journey and there is A Lot of help here.

 

 

My husband's first "ADHD

My husband's first "ADHD unraveling" came about one month after we found out I was pregnant with our daughter. Before we were married he said he did not want anymore kids. (we each had one child from our first marriages) I told him I did want another baby and we really never discussed it past "well, we can talk about it". (STUPID STUPID STUPID) I won't go into the details of it again, but it was one of the worst times in my entire life...up to that point...and he has topped that one a few times since. I have always felt like his 'unravelings' have triggers...and maybe the added responsibility of a child is a common one for ADHDers. On the other hand, I have a friend who went through something very similiar to what I did when I was pregnant and her DH is not ADHD. 

I can tell you guys this, just being AWARE that you started to unravel because of *insert any given life event here* and you actually acknowledge it is a HUGE part of the battle. Please don't use the pain you caused during these times to add to your guilt...but use it instead as a reminder of what you don't want to do in the future. Sometimes the memory of past pains is the only motivation we have not to repeat the same patterns/behaviors.