To AD/HD mates...do you always feel you are recovering from something?

 

I hate to post all the things that are going on around here because if I did everyone (and not just the AD/HD mates would be telling me that my husband is a rock star to still be on his feet).  It is true there has been a heck of a lot of crap....death, leaking water heater that caused a mold issue and required part of our wood floor to be removed, an acrimonious divorce in his family that seems to be pulling his parents into the drama who in turn are relying on him to support them, 10 days of company, and a heavy work schedule because this time of year is prime work time in his field.....all since the last week of January!??!   He definitely deserves some recovery time and I want to be sure he gets it but as we've been discussing how to help him get what he needs, I've come to realization that my impatience with it stems at least partly from the issue that is frequently needing *recovery time* from anything additional and out of the regular routine.  

I know it isn't fair to compare, but many of these things affect me more immediately and directly than they affect him and give me 1/2 a day or even a full day to recover and I am good, bring on our life. So I do tend to get impatient with his slow, plodding sense of recovery which looks a LOT like burying his head in computer games and checking out completely, when several things hit at once his attitude is a little like he is living for his cave times and I can start feeling very left out.  We seriously have a GOOD LIFE together and in general, so I don't get the escapism.  I just don't GET it, and I think that is a big part of the problem.

Plus when we have company and other issues, I really try hard to do as much to minimize the load on him.  Part of the company was his parents....he has to be loaded there, but it was a nice visit.  After that we had my brother's 3 kids for a week because we get them every year when the parents go on vacation.......We love them and having them, & I definitely took a huge lead there though he was naturally pretty involved with them too.

The problem is he gets all needy for his man cave time, and after what seems (to me) to be endless patience, I break and get snippy over something stupid.....tonight it was feeling "disrespected" by him not discussing a fairly small business decision w/o me....... simply because I start feeling a bit disconnected.  We are generally very connected, but at times like this our time together he seems to want to spend snuggling on the couch watching TV, which I think I have been clear about my opinion about that..... only good in SMALL doses. 

But I do it & even enjoy it for an hour or so, but it seems he can do it ENDLESSLY.  One night this weekend we had the whole evening together at home and honestly I thought it was time for some intimate connection, but I didn't want to pressure him and just see what happened naturally.  We had a nice evening together, but I finally broke when he started the 4th show in row of some new series he'd rented.

I MEAN WHO THINKS HIS WIFE WANTS TO WATCH 4 EPISODES of some new show that she doesn't really care about to start with and is only watching for you?!!?  I lost my temper with him.  He lost his back and we eventually both apologized, but it doesn't help reconnect when it seems like he has nothing to offer cause it is all given to ppl and things outside of us.  Sometimes that has to happen...water heaters break, family members cause stress, ppl visit, work sometimes sucks, how does he learn to plug himself back in without it coming to a fight first?

 

If you have dealt with this issue and have suggestions for us, I'd appreciate them.  He needs better coping habits in general I think......not just cause he is overwhelmed right now because anyone would be.  It is just that we can't control how obnoxious family members might be choosing to be, and if said behavior affects his parents negatively, I understand why he wants to help because if it was my family, I would want to help.  But part of my helping would be a 'come to Jesus' talk with the offender, which is NOT how it works in his family.  So basically they stress me out and I can't really offer what I consider to the be solution without them looking at me with the "we don't do that look/tone/etc"  So they stress me out just in general cause I am not big on whining endlessly while doing nothing about the problem.  This is what they do, and then he puts it entirely out of his mind......umm ok if that is how you roll, but don't expect me to handle it that way.

Needless to say, we've been extra busy, and the life we've set up for ourselves starts out fairly busy to start with; so crazy-busy can be hit with very little extra added.  PLEASE understand that I sympathize, and I understand that even without ADD, the majority of ppl may well need more recovery time than me.  I don't expect him to be the same, but I'd like a plan so that he isn't recovering SO REGULARLY. 

My idea is to slow things down & just accept less extra, but he keeps agreeing to everything....now in addition to an extra probably 10 hours he added to his schedule this Saturday, his parents are begging for another visit b4 the end of the month (WE WERE JUST THERE! but the drama is too much and they want help putting their house on the market) and they are 4 hours away, and he feels that he, at least, should go because they really do need him.  I am not sure.

Extra work we have little choice as far as doing because that is what you do in this season if you want to keep your job.  Our volunteer work is very very busy this time of year also.  It is just like a Perfect Storm of chaos, which while worse than normal, still are the kinds of things that come up and make him feel overwhelmed.

How do you deal with your overwhelm so that you stay plugged in and connected with your mate, especially romantically, when life happens??

Just to be clear

I would never expect someone to not get overwhelmed with all we've had going on right now and what is on the schedule though mid April anyway.   But if you are FREQUENTLY in recovery mode, have you developed a routine that works well for you? 

I think all the chaos right now and how well it has been handled in general is a triumph (and I need to tell him that) of the skills he's developed so far; but I also think it points out fairly clearly reveals a weakness in his ability to plug himself back in.....or in fact even seem to notice that he isn't that plugged in (that might actually be the part that hurts my feelings in all this).

I just thought maybe we need some tips from those further along than us or at least ppl who have more successfully tackled this particular issue.

Recovery Mode

I can relate to the pace of life you seem to be describing. My DW and I both have very demanding jobs and we always have school related activities to attend, or doctors appointments plan during our work week and the weekends are busy too. Even without any weekend plans/obligations, we have loads of housework to get caught up on and my Huge list of home repair/upgrade projects. Family drama I know all too well. There are many disfunctional components in our families and a lot of single parent with out of control kids causing turmoil. These problems are no surprise because the kids never had any structure growing up and the family always fixed everything for them. All of this chaos has us in the role of the "Stable" Rocks of the Family and we end up helping out. My mom and aunt are both older and I am helping them or my sister with home repair type extras, the same goes for my DW's immediate family. I am like the guy to turn to for home repair, computer, car and electronic issues. My DW is the designated therapist/peacemaker for several of her family members, so like you were describing, there is Always something adding to our tight schedule. I don't even look forward to the weekends, honestly, because as busy a the weekdays are, they are more structured/predictable in general. The chaos factor is much higher on weekends and we rarely get much couple time because of the "Extras".

Sorry for the long ramble setting up my answer to your question :) I have always needed some amount of "Un-Wind" time, no matter how long of a day I have. Before diagnosis, I used to disappear to my computer up in the game room to work on the check book, initially then get lost in distraction for hours. For quite a while now, I make a point to stay in the family/common TV area for my Un-Wind time. This helps with staying more connected with my DW because we can watch a show together or talk about our day on a regular basis. Most of the time we have a different agenda, but we are in the same area and this helps because I have not gone to a more remote location. I don't begin any un-wind time until things are in order, kids taken care of, kitchen in order and so on. I definitely try to end my un-wind and get to bed about the same time as my DW, it does not always work out, but the improvement with bedtime timing has helped, even if I'm not quite un-wound in my head. I also have learned to get up early and get my coffee, watch the news, walk the dogs and enjoy a little free time in the morning. The "Pre-UnWind" really helps start the day more relaxed and reduce my late evening time. 

I don't know what the answer is to the "Always Something Extra" issues, without being a jerk and not helping some of the family with their needs. I like to help people out, as many have helped me when I needed something. I know the "Man Cave" time is needed in us ADDer's to sort of de-frag the brain and the more we juggle the more we need some brain sorting. I have tried to do this without disappearing like I used to do and it seems to help with the disconnect that I used to cause with my DW.