The ADHD Brain in a Relationship

"I realized that the Greg I am always mad at is not the same person as you. You're two different people in my mind... And I find that kind of disturbing.


It's like I am seeing two things simultaneously: a Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing. On one hand I have this incredible clarity and understanding, but on the other-- anger, mistrust, and fear. I feel both of these at once when I look at you. I don't know why I have these overlapping views, but it's clear something very serious is off. I have developed anger to perfection... I'm so used to it, I can't switch it off. And I am not sure at all what turned it on in the first place. It was never there before.

Everything is really simple in your mind, isn't it? Like, very straightforward and simple? There's not an endless stream of options, interpretations, analyses or layers, is there? When something is, it is what it is, right? That's how you think. With me, every action, word, sound, smell has a myriad flood of simultaneous interpretations and layers and feelings and ideas associated with it. It this great multifaceted dragon roaring through my mind at the speed of a bullet train, and it's whizzing by so fast you can't see the details... Just big swatches of color, an abstracted version of reality flying by at several hundred miles per hour. So you grab onto the largest, most obvious swatch of color and take a snapshot of it with your mind. You associate that one color with the current reality playing before you: the man, the situation, the words, the actions. That color forms your interpretation of what the plays out. You snagged that anger, that mistrust, that rage because it stood out loudest against the other feelings as multifaceted thought tore its way through your brain. Simplicity, clarity, straightforwardness, peace, interest, appreciation, and admiration all blurred into the background. Anger flashed out in red, blinding you from all other shades of reality. This is what life is like for me. I see so many options all at once that I can only grab on to the one with the strongest emotion tied to it. This is impulsivity... And I've lived with it for so long I don't think I knew there was any difference between how I think and how others think until now. I grew used to it because that's how I always functioned. Ten thousand simultaneous thoughts, and a thousand impulsive and over-the top reactions. Even with positive things I am driven to extremes......................


It's all about that buzz of feeling... What is the newest thing in stores? What is that new thing on TV? As soon as one item grabs my attention, it loses it, and I'm on to the next. I am so overwhelmed with thoughts and choices that I can't hone in on any one of them. I'm both indecisive and impulsive. I'm always putting one toy down and toddling over to the next, finishing most projects but managing to get distracted the whole way through. Conversely, I can become so absorbed and consumed with a hobby, a period of history, a TV show, a novel, that I wear it like a new skin and reinvent myself to emulate it... Until it loses it's shine hours later. The high is gone, and the down hill is boring, so it's off to a new... SQUIRREL! I think I have "functioned" this way for so long that I never considered it might be a totally different way of thinking compared to most people. And being so used to it, I never noticed its negative and damaging aspects to my personality. I never knew any different. There is so much noise in my head it's not funny. I can never relax. NEVER. Even when I'm relaxed there are 20994782 thoughts going through my brain. Constant chatter. No "off" switch. I can count on one hand the times in my life where I was truly relaxed, truly at peace... Running your battery dead every day drains you. The stress builds and it makes you crazy. You reach a boiling point... You lash out and don't have a clue why. Emotions just flood and there is no stopping them. No releasing them. No destructive action to satiate the bloodthirsty,
roaring tide of unmitigated fury. It rages on until it burns itself out. There's no smothering it. It's like being awake for five days straight-- no sleep makes you crazy. I am wide awake all the time. Always in high gear. I never sleep.

But my God, the creativity that results from all those layers and simultaneous thoughts... The rich experience of life... The all-encompassing feeling and smell and beauty... Everything has seven thousand dimensions. And everything is seven thousand times as beautiful. That's regulated and managed ADHD in my life. That's my norm. Not the bullet train. Not the simultaneous and unrelenting confusion. I don't know what threw me off track so hard? Maybe it was inevitable as I got older. But in my head... It's a crazy, magical, terrifying, wonderful place..."

Marcopoly6942's picture

You and I, the same

At 7, I was diagnosed with ADHD but my parents (mom has adhd but did not know it back then) did not have the means or knowledge to help me; as such, I felt inadequate, different, that something was wrong with me. Long story short, I moved from Chile to Canada 18 years ago, I learned English in two years, got into an honors in economics that later became a Masters, I even was accepted to the PHd program, which I did not do. I'd always had issues with my relationship with my wife (fathnd brother also have adhd) but had become a real problem the last year when I finally hit rock bottom, got depressed and sent to see a physiquiatre who only after 4 visits had me diagnosed.

I am struggling for so many reasons being the deal breaker with my wife the fact thqa she doesn't seem to understand how important is for me that she shows real interest in helping me/us. It's being a year, and she doesn't know much, besides what I email her, on adhd and giftness (I did not know I had special abilities such as, for example, I can solve easy looking yet complex puzzles (i.e., unblock me) in the hardest mode in seconds, some of them can take me half an hour, but some of them, I almost don't think, I just keep moving the blocks and they start flying one after the other - this was very exciting to find out); thus, it hurts me so much that she doesn,t educate herself on the issue. In addition, growing up with her old school, never let her mom win a decision father and careless brother adhd affected her greatly for which she needs help as she has a real inability to surprise me, make me feel sexy or desired. I used to go the extra mile trying to make her happy but always got disappointed since never got back the reaction I needed; as a result, I stopped doing it to which she showed not issue. her father does not talk much, is 75 and of average intellegence. She is bright but not verbal, I am verbal, passionate, a problem solver and have new ideas about absolutly anything but can really talk to her about. I guess what I looking for is for words of encouragement. Last week, because of me, we went to our first marriage therapy but what I can say, I feel hopeless, like she'll never be able to help me be the best I can be for her. She does'n know how to push my buttons...:(



My guess is your wife...

is not impressed by your ability to do puzzles, etc. I'll tell you would have made me want to push my husband's buttons. If he'd shown a genuine interest in my needs. If he'd kept the house clean, since he wasn't working. If he'd made sure the floors were clear and safe for me to walk on (I'm mobility impaired.) If he had made me feel like I was more important than whatever TV show he was watching.  Your post sounds like "tit for tat," like if you "push my buttons" (I assume you mean that sexually) I'll pay attention to you. There's nothing in your post about loving your wife unconditionally, just about the problems she has and what you want from her. Women want to be loved for who they are, not feel like they are there to meet some else's needs. If you read the posts from wives of ADHD men here (including mine) you'd see that we long to love you, long to be your partner in life if you will be ours, long to be special and not just another object to hyperfocus on. If you feel like that, let your wife know.