ADHDer, Divorced, and Well...

It has been a year. I made the mistake of leaving. As any successful woman who is on her feet in a similar situation she proceeded with the divorce steps. She begged and pleaded for me to stay that night. I felt  I only wanted to separate but she said  if I left it would be over. She had enough of the issues over 14 years. I knew I had issues and wanted just a break but eventually on the night I left I was drunk and couldn't hear her pleas just my temporary pleasures.

Naturally the ADHDer avoids the conflict and signs the papers and agrees to terms that cannot be met either financially or morally. Being the ADHDer, I take full responsibility for ruining a beautiful thing. We have two kids-the younger one on Strattera for ADHD and has Asperger's. I never fully accepted my diagnosis until recently. I learned much from just reading books about ADHD, its effects on marriages, and the root causes of when it all began with me. Being in my mid 40's, I have come to realize it is inherited AND from the environment you grew up in as a child. Both parents I believe have mental issues. Although I am the youngest of five, I can see that none of my siblings have the traits. However, I can see how a very tense, hostile environment between parents can mentally scar a person long term. My parents (both in their 80's)are still married but their conflicts both mental and physical had me in the middle being the youngest-my closest sibling was seven years older than me. I do believe and joke that maybe I was a mistake due to a night of drunkenness by my father. I for the most part joke about it but maybe it was true. My parents both prior to and after my birth in early years, fought constantly due to lying, affairs, money, family situations, and/or just about anything. The negativity and mental stress of this on a daily basis repressed much my ability to interact with people.  I would hide behind my parents in social settings, I would cry over little things, I hated loud noises, and I would run from the house crying when there was arguing, etc. Also I believe for the most part that the youngest of five allowed me in no way to express an opinion good or bad. I was basically led around like a lemming not allowed to do my own thing or be who I wanted to be. Through all this I had a decent childhood, was active, did things/activities with both parents (alone), and somehow got through it. But yet for the most part relive the bad memories and not the good ones.

 In my marriage many many issues we had were part of the ADHD circle of evil: numerous failed jobs, lying on a daily basis, poor spending habits, high amounts of debt caused by me or initiated by me, hyper sexuality, poor communication, inattentiveness to her needs and needs, easily distracted,  arguments over nothing, excessive alcohol to escape her wrath-which I started in the first place, pie in the sky ideas, negative outlook on life, underachieving in all aspects, unfinished projects, no self-confidence, irregular sleep patterns due to computer, drinking, TV, porn, etc.

I read much of the ADHD and Marriage book that Dr. Orlov has published . Whatever you do READ IT!. ADHD is a diagnosis that can be managed and not cured. The saying, "It takes two to make a thing go right", should be practiced in healing a marriage with ADHD present. . There is no cure, similar to high cholesterol or diabetes has no cure, but their treatments to manage are parallel: medications(examples,CONCERTA vs. LIPITOR) , therapy (PSYCHOLOGIST/PSYCHIATRIST vs. CARDIOLOGIST), Healthy living (MENTAL and PHYSICAL for both). In a marriage the spouse will give you the assistance because they love you and you need to TRUST them. The last thing a NON-ADD spouse wants is the "D" word. A person who has high cholesterol would need the same help by the spouse encouraging them to exercise, eat healthy, go to MD appointments, etc. So like some people with conditions, I can categorize my diagnosis as chronic ADHD, untreated for 40 years.

It has taken me a year to realize all of this. In the next three weeks, I am committing to following every step, small as they may be, to plan, change and MANAGE my ADHD. I am setting up things immediately to start anew. Emotionally I will mostly be doing it alone. She has offered support but I refused saying her plate is too full to manage mine once again. I am single, in debt, and trying to survive a heavy heart.  I miss my old lifestyle: not only the kids but her. It isn't her success, beauty, material things, or even the kids. It is just my deep LOVE for her that was there along. The wiring is NOW connected between the heart and brain.  I see them a lot and we are amicable for the kids. They are stronger than me at this point. She is happy, determined, beautiful, less stressed, and glowing. Not knowing how it hurts but she says she is better off now. I believe her. I know much about nothing. I am jealous of how she has come out of it. Both camps or side takers have advised you are better off with out him/her.  I am not and as my love is still there. Since our divorce other issues as a result or are conditions in ADHDers have been exposed.  At this point it could not hurt more than what I have done. I told her on the phone the other day in another argument about something stupid in the past that I dwell on still, that friends have probably told her that she is too good for me or why did you ever marry him. She didn't deny it. Like I said I still love her and wish it were the same. I know I could change to be a loving, caring husband for her.

Finally, do not blame the ADHD for the marriage problems. You may have not known the many symptoms, played your usual self as an ADHDer, or did not realize the hurt you were causing. Sometimes it is too late like in my case. It will also only hurt you if you blame yourself. That in itself will cause more damage to your mental and physical wellness. Read anything you can get your hands on about ADHD-pre, during, and post diagnosis. It will help you. Talk open, although with ADD it is hard to do, with your SPOUSE. If they are smart, they will help and be proud of you that you are seeking help from them and others. The first you will get is a hug and a kiss.

Each day is a battle. Do not think you are weak or pitiful for being the way you are. I have for a year. It has been nothing but broken promises, crying, silly efforts to get back wuth my wife, a hospital stay, and a year lost. Tell people about what you need to go through, seek help to pay bills, create a daily schedule, set small and big goals, and never make decisions when black clouds are hanging. I now see all this. Set up a plan for managing this, but you need to follow through on it and give 100%. At some point that wiring between your heart and brain will connect for the first time during your marriage and emotions you never felt will come out. Enjoy those moments. I did not since the wiring was not hooked up until recently. Take care.