ADHD by association?

Hi!  I am a newcomer to this forum and site (and very thankful that I found it via the book!).  I am a non-ADHD spouse, with a husband and two kids who have ADHD.  The kids (one boy, one girl) were diagnosed about 5 years ago, and are doing very well on meds (Concerta) and lots of support and modifications at school.  My husband has never been formally diagnosed, although we both realize that he has ADHD based on his symptoms and the symptoms we see in our kids.  He recognizes himself as a "classic case."  He recently started taking meds as we are in the middle of the downward spiral talked about in the book, and I am feeling completely overwhelmed (Melissa's story could be mine, word for word).  He is not convinced that the meds will work, despite the success we've observed in both our kids (I also recognize that they may not work for him, even though they worked for the kids).  In any case, on to the topic of my post...are there any non-ADHD spouses out there who sometimes feel like they have ADHD by association?  I am normally a very organized person, but I find many days lately where I forget the simplest of tasks on my to-do list, and it's really out of the ordinary for me.  Back to the book...I'm highlighting so my husband and I can have 'story time' each night, and he doesn't have to sit through the parts that aren't relevant to us. :)

I think for me personally it

I think for me personally it is a matter of finding a way to process everything coming your way and the 'non-vital' (or what we deem as non-vital) information/things just get pushed to the back of our minds and that is what causes the forgetfulness and disorganization. When your every thought revolves around someone else, what they're doing, what they might do in the future, what they've done in the past, fear that nothing will ever change, how you're going to fix them, etc. then there really is no time for anything else. I was so overwhelmed after 14 years of putting everyone else's problems above my own that I didn't even recognize myself anymore. All I knew for sure is that I hated the person I had become. I hated that I had tried everything and nothing worked (had been doing all of the "classic" wrong things). I took a step back (more like a leap off of a cliff) and finally started paying attention to MY LIFE around me and not worrying about fixing everyone else. Try and relax and keep in mind that it takes a while sometimes for them to find the right meds and see the maximum benefits of them. We can all relate to the downward spiral and the overwhelm. Get off of the roller coaster for a bit. Recognize that you have no control over his behaviors and decisions and let him work on himself. You work on you.


Thanks, Sherri.  Today is a

Thanks, Sherri.  Today is a really rough day, and I'm having a difficult time backing down and just taking ownership for me and my actions.  I'm feeling only minimally optimistic that our marriage can survive this...yes, even after 17 years!  You'd think we had it figured out by now.  I wonder if what's happening is that now that my kids are getting older and more independent, I have more time to focus on the problems in our marriage, and it's really getting me down.  Before, I had 3 young kids, and all my effort went into them, and I just basically sucked everything up to keep our family together.  But, now I'm feeling resentful that I have been the one over the years who has sucked it up and gone to counseling and taken anti-depressants, and only now is he starting to take meds.  And that's only because I literally begged him to do it.  He's taking them because he knows I want him to, not because he wants to.  We've been spending time for the last couple of nights reading through Melissa's book together.  Last night before we started (we're only on chapter 2), he said, "OK, let's see what's wrong with me tonight."  Not the best attitude for change.  I recognize that I am a player in this too, but what about everything I've done over the years to keep us all on the same path?  Now that I'm asking him to put some effort into it, I'm being unreasonable.  I hope tomorrow is a better day!

reply to ADHD by association

It is funny that you mentioned the ADHD by association. I was just thinking that. I am new also to this site. I want to get the book. The first few pages sound just like what we have gone through....for 26 years! I have 3 kids all with different "levels" or symptoms of ADHD. The one that was hardest to work with was the inattentive disorder. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a kid, took medicine for awhile but then his mom took him off of it(I think she has ADHD). He hasn't been on it since. He is in construction, so he is physically active and that helps, a whole lot. When he has rest and no physical activity he is almost bouncing off the walls bugging people! Anyway, back to ADHD by association, I sometimes feel like I cannot concentrate anymore, can't focus and am disorganized, I was never that way before! I am so glad someone else made that comment, I am not alone!

ADHD By Association .... cont

I too am new to this website.  My daughter was diagnosed about 3 years ago, but we never treated her with meds until about a month ago.  She's on the lowest dose of Concerta (18mg) which seem to help a bit in some areas, however her teacher said she hasn't seen much of a change in her grades or attitude at school.  She's still quite "daydreamy" "listless" as the teacher put it.  She's not excessively hyper, just fidgets a bit, and is slow to respond, focus on tasks etc.  She's very smart, but just unable to process quickly.  I think the teachers think that there is something else wrong with her.  About a week after she went on the meds, she did a science assessment and went up 6 grade levels - the teacher showed it to me in disbelief and then stated "Well at least we now know she's not daft!"  I was so shocked, it may have been a thoughtless comment, but I can't get it out of my head. Mornings are a nightmare with my daughter still. So slow, she needs to be reminded constantly.  I'm ashamed to say I resort to yelling, because I'm loosing my patience.  But my husband, bless his heart tries to help, but because of who he is, he just makes it worse. I start most of my days crying lately. I've tried charts, lists, reward systems, timers, warnings, discipline, etc.  I don't know if it's ADHD or just stubbornness but she looks at them a few times, and then ignores them. 

My husband - her father, has not been formally diagnosed, but has every symptom there is.  I plan on purchasing Melissa's book, because after I read the 2nd or 3rd paragraph on the free printable copy about a person being married to someone with ADHD, it was like she had written about my life.  Things I thought,'s like living with 2 kids.  Our marriage is not much of a marriage the last few years.  When he's stressed out, esp if dealing with our daughter, instead of sticking thru, he runs away.  Literally, I'll hear his car pull out of the driveway and he'll disappear, hours, overnight, days, weeks....I used to worry that he was hurt, dead, having an affair.  The latter I still don't know, but doubt it honestly.  I'm left to pick up all the pieces and deal with everything.  Make all the decisions.  Then when something goes wrong, or doesn't work out the way he would have wanted, he makes it abundantly clear that it was my fault.  Yes, probably true, but it's like I'm a single mother with 2 children not a married mother with 1 child.

I used to be so organized - in every aspect of my life.  I've made so many accommodations for my daughter AND for my husband, that I don't even know who I am anymore.  Over time, especially recently, I feel like I'm loosing my mind and like I need to go on meds because I can't focus, sleep, concentrate at home/work/life in general.  I used to keep a tip top house, not anymore.  I used to be extremely organized, not anymore.  I loose things, repeat the same questions over and over again, because I forgot the answer, or that I don't even remember asking it.  Want to sleep in the day and stay awake at night.  I don't want to go to sleep for fear of not letting go of that day and fear of the next one, don't want to wake up because I don't want to deal with whatever is coming that day.    I feel lost, alone, and like no one in my circle of friends understands.  I feel like I have ADHD and have even joked that it might be contagious!  A comment above mentioned putting your life on hold - that's me.  Some days I just want to walk away from it all.  I never would, I love my family dearly and would die for each and everyone of them.  But honestly, I don't know how much more I can take before I think I may have a breakdown of some kind.

I am grateful for this site so that I could air my feelings.  Thank you.