Advice please

Hello everyone - Linsy here. I need advice about accompanying my husband at last to see the specialist ADHD psychiatrist, and how to manage this event. 

What do you think I should do that would be most helpful? I think I should sit quietly and continue to be supportive. I married the guy in sickness and in health - it has been very very difficult, but he is still my husband and the father of my children. And I will go through this in order to help him find peace and restore at least some of his damaged relationships. Thanks for anything any of you can advise.

Only a thought

Linsy, no matter what happens to your relationship with your husband, you have been an extremely good wife. But sitting quietly didn't make you that good wife, trying to get your husband help is what makes you a good wife. 

About the appointment.

Is there anyway you could provide the psychiatrist with a letter ahead of time or at the beginning of the appointment with a list of symptoms that you have witnessed.  I don't think it has to be a secret letter.  You could probably provide your husband with a copy at the same time.  At least then you know that you are on record, both know where you are coming from, and it gives the doctor a basis as to where to start the questions.  (have to make it short and sweet though, you want him to actually look at it and not put it to the side for a future read!) Then, I would just sit quietly during the appointment and at the end ask the dr what he thinks about your letter. 

It may be very different in the UK than it is in the US as far as medical practice goes.  Here in the US, I have always found it more helpful to seek the guidance of a psychologist or social work counselor when dealing with my symptoms and my marriage issues.  As a social worker myself, I have worked with a lot of psychiatrists.  My current psychologist specialist will back me up when I say that the MD's are more about prescribing meds and focusing only on what they are trained in than about listening to symptoms and lifestyle combined.  I have also learned that in the US, ADHD is often misdiagnosed by psychiatrists.  People are told they have bipolar disorder or obsessive compulsive behavior, or anxiety and depression.  Then they are treated with the wrong meds, the symptoms don't improve and people are back to square one.   

keep us posted as to how it went

I'll keep you all in my prayers, including the psychiatrist,

Hard to function

Linsy's picture


Hi, in fact I have already emailed the doctor with a list of symptoms, which he responded to by reopening the case and inviting us both back in. None of the symptoms in the letter that I listed are anything that I have not communicated to husband before, so no surprises for him. I have no idea what happened in the first appointment, but believe that husband's denial - even though he got himself referred - led to him playing down the worst of it (or even failing to mention any of the more outrageous aspects such as total incompetence in spite of brilliant brain, extreme idleness etc). It is also possible that he has no memory of any of it, which is why he always seems to be bewildered by my feedback. As his family babies him (the man is in his 50s!) I am the only person in his life who expect him to step up to the plate and be a man, my equal partner, husband and the proper father to his children (not another child in the house as my son's psychologist put it unhelpfully).



Our experience at our first Dr's Appt

Now keep in mind it was my husband that went searching for reasons for what was 'wrong' with him, and we were both shocked when his internet research and testing himself came back with ADD.  He is an inattentive ADDer (and oddly almost never inattentive to me) so we deal with no hyperactivity, and since we both have family memebers with hyperactivity that became our mental picture of ADD....I didn't even know you COULD have it without the H!

With all the symptoms fitting, we started researching and reading......and lets be honest I did most of that while reading to him what I felt were the pertinent parts.  He LOVES to be read to, and he loved having me encapsulate the info vs him having to read it all himself.  The first resource we found also turned out to be one of our best to this day (we are going on 5 years post diagnosis) and that was Dr Hallowells Delivered from Distraction (we've also read of his Driven to Distraction,  and Answers to Distraction, and his newest one Married to Distraction).  Let's see back before his diagnosis (we had to wait 3 months for his appt) we also read one by Dr Amen identifying 6 types of ADD (didn't really seem to help us) and I tried several times to read 'You Mean I am not Crazy, Stupid, Lazy'--something like that and it got RAVE reviews from the AD/HD mate, but didn't do much for me and I didn't even make it through much of it.  I think that is one that really is most targetted to the ADD partner, and mine never got around to reading it.  Another one that was very helpful was I think ADD & Romance which really helped us see where ADD affected a lot of the marital conflicts we'd started having.

So armed with the info from our reading and totally convinced he was ADD, we started talking about what his doctor needed to know.  We were told many doctors (and this was true of my husband's) mostly use the life story for diagnosis.  I think you have to show impairment in several different areas of life before a diagnosis could be made.  I had an extremely intelligent honor roll student who completely failed out of college when he had to schedule himself.  So there was 1.  We had been fighting about stupidity for a good year, so there was 2.  He never really has had much in the way of work issues. 

So we decided to focus mostly on his history of feeling like he was different from everyone and feeling like he was a fraud somehow throughout his young life, his early school history followed by a horrible college experience of playing all day and not going to class (he did get his degree unmedicated but did it in the military when he was back to a regimented schedule).  Dr Hallowell says this is a VERY common ADD experience of falling apart in college or when your classes get harder and you can't bluff you way through them without studying. 

It became very clear that his greatest successes came when his schedule was most regimented, and oddly (to me at least) there is nothing he complained (and still complains) about more than having a regimented schedule.

Also Dr Hallowell has the 5 question 'test'  that most doctors use to ask you about impairments --honestly I thought it was mostly useless, but I printed it out and hubby filled in his answers.  Then there is a MUCH more helpful 70 question (only yes or no) section that Dr Hallowell himself came up with as a tool that I also typed in and printed out his answers to.......I think he got a 70% yes rate which Dr Hallowell says was definitely in the ADD range.  A friend we suspected and agreed to take the test got a 97% and decided not to really pursue anything beyond meds.......they struggled along for a while but they just got divorced last March :(  I really thing that 'test' is a fabulous tool for identifying ADD behaviors.

We told the Dr what we'd done and he took info, my husband had made up a kinda outline of his life where he felt impaired by ADD so that when the Dr asked he wouldn't forget anything important.......honestly I don't think he even used it as if he got stuck, I knew the story, and could just say "do you want to tell him about your summer program at Penn State, etc, and honestly he'd just go from there because of course he knew his story, and he really wanted the diagnosis.  He really wanted help.....there was no denial at all until that NEXT year when the meds didn't do all the work for him and he REALLY wanted that to be all he needed to do.  That year was the one I was ready to strangle him!

Anyway it was basically a talking appt, and his history clearly showed impairment caused by ADD, so he walked out with a Ritalin script and we'd asked for a coach, so we had an appt with a pychologist in 2 weeks.  It was pretty easy and painless, and they wanted me there to share anything he might not have been aware of, so I am not sure why they allowed your husband to even go alone the first time.

Hope your appt goes well!!


Linsy's picture

Thank you!

So much for sharing. I have no idea why he went without my input the first time. Complete waste of time.

I sent the list of symptoms, and told the story. When I look at it I see impairment all the way through - school, university (college), every working experience (except his own business when he had a firm ex soldier mentor keeping him up to the mark - but when he left the business fell apart leaving us in huge debt). And his relationship with me, his family, his friends (always falling out with everyone), his own children. Pretty well every aspect of his life poor man. Retreats into such deep denial though that I am not sure he has the strength to face up to it all without consequences.

From my own point of view I KNOW I cannot live with the man in denial. It just makes me too nervous and cross.

Thank you so much for your kind wishes... on we go!