12 months ago I spoke with a friend who was diagnosed with ADHD, we spoke about his symptoms and it all made sense, maybe I had this mystical ADHD thing. Of my own volition, I seeked out a psychiatrist and was soon diagnosed. I seem to recall my wife was against me 'wasting the money', mainly because she was just as clueless about ADHD as I was - before that, I really had no idea about ADHD symptoms at all, I was clueless that I had it. - mainly my sense of underachievement was my reason to get officially diagnosed.
Prior to diagnosise my marriage wasn't great, we had had relationship counselling a few times, which neither of us really stuck to the advice from. But I really didn't think that ADHD had played a huge role in our problems - my coping mechanism was to create lots of systems to manage everything. Our life was already full of to-do lists, whiteboards, post-its, shared calendars, reminders, multiple banking accounts with limited money in each, the lengthy sit-downs to plan our weeks, months and years ahead. My wife was admittedly sick of my 'over planning' and it was cause for a LOT of arguments....
We also had problems over the years with my impulsivity - when we were younger it was occasional binge drinking, but in my older, fathering years, it's more been about deciding to stay up late with my son to play games or spoiling him with new toys, or blowing the shopping budget and getting lots of high-quality foods (in my defense, I used to be a chef, I think this is less an impulse and just a preference).
So when I got diagnosed, I was like "Holy crap, HOLY CRAP!" - I was just doing all of what I was doing, what I was making us do, that was just my brain's way of coping! For me, it was cause for celebration, the more I read, the more I realised that I was doing most of what was recommended - and now I could narrow in on how I could make my wife OK with my annoying habits and we would be the happiest, most loving, collaborative and most productive family in the world!
But my wife has gone the other way... she has gone into a deep state of depression, anxiety and is angry at not just me, but at friends, family & life.
She is obviously dealing with grief - but instead of sharing that with me, communicating with me, she has steadily cut down our communication, our collaboration and our joint decision making. She's gone into full recluse - she decided one night a few months ago she wasn't going to sleep in the same bed anymore, and in the past 4 weeks, she wont even talk with me - we are strictly on a text message communications.
the problem here: In my mind (and according to my psychiatrist and ADHD coach), I have dealt with all of the ADHD symptoms I am aware of that affect our marriage.
But according to my wife, I am broken still and my ADHD is the "cause of every single problem that we have or ever had" - she told me those exact words only a few hours ago, right after she told me that I am doing nothing to treat my ADHD, that I need to up my medication (I am on a very high dose and I am already booked in to see the Dr again..), and that if I "died right now she wouldn't care"
I REALLY don't know what to do anymore - I am doing everything I can in the physiological and behavioural legs (Mel's 3 leg stool anaology), but I am 100% flying blind on the interactions leg - I do not know what I am doing that is causing this kind of anger response, I have no way to communicate, and I am seriously sick of the angry bursts from her, and the threats to get a divorce...
the only response I get when I ask her what I need to be doing is "Fix your ADHD" or "Stop denying your ADHD is the problem"
We've done the ADHD couples seminar, we've had Melissa tell my wife point blank "you need to control your anger response" and "the stool only stands up if there's three legs" - but my wife STILL turns around to me and says things like "you are the reason for my anger, nothing else" or "I will only talk to you when I see you are taking steps to improve your ADHD"
Even when it came to doing the seminar and activities, she refused to collaboratate - the only thing she gave me during the whole program was a few lines in a text: "your symptoms to fix: Impulsivity, Inability to prioritise, Inability to deal with stress"
- No suggestions on HOW to improve
- Just forcing me to get more drugs - not suggesting how that might help
- No longer communicating with me or giving me any feedback (unless it's in an angry outbursts about increasingly petty things, or where we have a difference of opinion eg. the order in which to prepare a meal)
I love my wife, but she's in a dark place - she's either gaslighting me, or I am a total nutcase and really don't realise the shit that I do to her - in which case, I am still flying blind. None of my friends, family or people close can suggest what I am "supposed" to fix, and she's told them point blank to stay out of it. We're seeing an ADHD specialist couples counsellor, I really hope this will improve things - but it feels like too little, too late... either way, I am almost certain that my wife is not going to get any treatment for herself (she refused to get proper treatment for post-natal, I don't see why treating her anger is going to be any different).
Sure, there's two sides to the story - but getting my diagnosis was the worst thing that ever happened to me -
My stool is lying flat on the ground here - seriously feeling trapped and considering filing for a seperation. I really wish my wife would see the story from my side.
PS - we live a really fulfilled life, and we've built it around most of her goals - we have her family living with us who we emigrated here from overseas (at our joint expense), we have our dream home, our son is healthy and happy, and she has a very succesful career that allows her a lot of flexibility (and me too)... she's not been enjoying life for a long time, ADHD just feels like the best thing for her to blame.