Any non-ADHD spouses suffer from a mental disorder/illness themselves?

I'm curious if anyone else suffers from any mental health issues while also dealing with their ADHD spouse.  I suffer from depression and I know that this only makes our marriage harder than it already is with the ADHD issue.  I'm not BLAMING my adhd husband, but I know the issues the adhd causes in our marriage has made my depression worse.  For the first time I'm thinking I could use some therapy myself, as I think about how negatively the adhd has impacted me in our marriage.  Of course my husband needs therapy and I desperately wish he would do it (and we could afford it, we would seriously have to put it on a credit card if we were to do therapy right now). 

If you're in a similar situation, do you feel your own disorder takes a back burner to the adhd issues?  Are you effectively treating your own disorder? 

I never considered myself

I never considered myself 'depressed' until my after giving birth to our daughter and then I suffered from post-partum depression for 14 months. Long story short, I started meds and it turned my life around. Made me more able to cope. I went off and on meds during some of the worst periods of our marriage and can honestly say that I think my husband used to think that me taking the meds was the answer to all of our problems. I admit I was less angry when I took them, but I didn't want to stay on them forever just so I could be 'less angry' with him..and they made me gain unreal amounts of weight. I tried to explain to him that ME taking meds didn't make HIM behave had nothing to do with the other, but maybe in a way if I were less angry maybe he would have enjoyed being around me more. I don't know, it's just one of those things you never know...but I stopped taking them because of the weight gain, but I weaned off of them slowly and didn't have the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and anger I had before taking them anymore so I considered my time on them a success.

My husband made me go on anti-depressants

...because I was angry at him. After all, why should I not be overwhelmed with joy upon discovering that my new spouse did not intend to work, and I would be expected to support the household, go without medical care and do all domestic chores.

So I took them to placate him because I was the "bad guy" because I did not like the status quo. I hated them! One made me totally lose my emotions and the other had no effect except for having to take half a day off every month [which we could ill afford]. He finally began to take some responsibility at that point and got a job, because our counselor told him too, not for me, so I got less angry and he 'let" me stop drugging myself so I could tolerate being married to him. I never insisted that he take meds, just get some sort of treatment. Now I guess he finds it easier to take a pill every day than learn new ways to address his behaviors.

I mean no disrespect, I

I mean no disrespect, I honestly don't...when I see/read your story my heart breaks for you...but if you don't get out of the 'victim' mentality and start taking control of yourself and your life then you'll NEVER be happy. There is no way, on the face of this Earth, that anyone would MAKE me take medications that I did not need to take. You're LETTING him destroy your life...and hating him the entire time. YES, I fully understand what you're going through and I fully feel that he's got a lot of blame...but start carrying your OWN blame and if he won't carry his then get out. Either ways you need to learn how to deal with this situation with a completely different attitude. Getting rid of the victim label is your first step to regaining your life. You're not his're his enabler.

Sorry...I just literally am shocked that you feel he MADE you take medication that you did not need and I think this speaks volumes about A) your fault in the problems in the marriage and B) where you need to start making changes IMMEDIATELY.

I know you mean no disrespect

Your comments are constructive even if critical.

He said he'd leave me if I didn't do something about the anger. I still feel that being angry at him and threatening to leave him if he refused to seek work is the only reason he did it. It's certainly easier to stay home and watch tv all day than to get dressed and go to work. If he thought I'd continue to tolerate him leeching off me, he'd still be doing it.

I took the drugs to placate him, to show him I was willing to work on "our" problem. I was hoping it would make him love me enough to go out and get a job.

Honey, I have done a LOT of

Honey, I have done a LOT of stupid things in the name of love, so I get the mentality..and I understand what you're saying. I had his friends even commenting to me "why did you stop your meds?" when I stopped taking them, so I KNEW he was telling them that I was the crazy one, the one that needed medication. I suppose they thought I had this mysterious "anger disease" of unknown origin or cause. Idiopathic Anger Disease..that's it! Sigh. I took the meds for post partum depression, which was very real, they had the added bonus of me being a bit 'numbed' and less angry, I will admit that, but I could control my anger (although I wasn't aware of how for the longest time) and when the PPD was gone, I wasn't taking them anymore. I am a 'fixer'. I wanted to FIX my life so that I wasn't angry anymore. We all know how well that goes over with someone who has ADD...being 'fixed' (me pushing him to 'hear' me, me having to resolve all conflicts RIGHT NOW and be 'right' 100% of the time) isn't something they're real interested in. :-P

I do not want to upset you..or anyone else in the battle for their lives against ADD. I want to help in anyway that I can, and I'm here to learn just like everyone else. I hope you'll soon learn to draw the line and set boundaries for yourself. When you stop letting them take more of you than you have to give you'll really start to turn things around. ((HUGS))

I have schizoaffective

I have schizoaffective disorder - bipolar type.  I just recently posted some of my frustrations in this area.  My treatment, for the time being, consists of counseling without meds.  It works well until I run into a lot of stress.  My ADHD husband has been joining me for my counseling to help us smooth out the stress between us.  It helps some, but only temporarily - and if you read my post of complaints, you'll see it's kind of hit a wall right now.  

Does my schizoaffective get put on the back burner?  Yes and no.  My husband is definitely all for me getting help.  That's pretty much where the agreement ends.  He questions whether I'm actually ill because I do so much of the housework, taking care of the kids, organizing everything for him and my ADHD daughter, etc. (he still has a prejudicial notion of what mental illness is from movies and TV).  So, when I am having problems with my illness, he often thinks it's because I'm seeking attention or trying to get revenge or just being difficult.  When he has problems, he doesn't own up to anything, he just says it's due to his ADHD.  Basically, in his eyes, ADHD is an excuse for his behavior, but my schizoaffective is neither an excuse nor a reason for mine.  He's allowed to be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, but I am not allowed to become depressed or start hallucinating due to stress because I'm actually doing everything.  If I'm irrational and angry, it's my mental illness - if he is irrational and angry, it's because I made him angry (or someone or something else did).  My anger is always irrational (it must be since I'm the one with mental illness) and his anger is rational, justified and based solely on provocation.  While he admits his memory is not the best, his memory is far more accurate than mine is or could possibly be - everything he remembers is perfectly accurate, while what I remember is often selective or, even, invented.  We constantly are figuring out ways to make things easier for him to handle with his ADHD, but no allowances are made for my schizoaffective (the irony is, I've been determined to be disabled by my mental illness - so even the government recognizes I have limitations!) 

I would definitely seek out therapy.  Even if your husband doesn't go, you may be able to find ways to cope with problems that arise.  There are sliding fee scale counseling centers all over the place, maybe you can find one in your area?  I have found that without a sympathetic ear to hear the problems I have at home, things are much harder for me and my symptoms are much more out of control.  Until you can find someone, maybe being active in this forum can help take the edge off.  I feel very strongly that dealing with an ADHD spouse can exacerbate symptoms - it's stressful having an ADHD partner and stress is never good for any illness, mental or physical.  So, it's important to do what you can to try to take care of yourself.

Pink's picture

I did becaue of him

I have a husband with ADD and hasn't been working for 10 years plus. I have been in counseling for 3 years and now finally in a couple counseling. My counselor told me that I am in the stress home for 24 hours.  Most likely nothing change... next year... I see the same thing.. same fight.... and same problem.   My counselor recommend to make a small change for myself.... he and I know that the pill doesn't solve my problem with my husband. But, it might provide me with some sense of comfort and to go easy on the stress.  I do now take the medication for stress and depression. I am not depresses but I do need it in order to manage living with him. Of course... he looks at it oh... I am the problem not him.   When we went to the couple counseling she understand what I am in... and she explain it to him but he is in full denial of taking in charge of himself. She know that I take it to manage to live with him. He get very angry and mad a lot.  He doesn't know how to talk in low voice and in calm voice.

I think when you live with someone who has ADD it does cause a problem to the non add. I have never took any medication in my life. It is just him... and he think now it is me and not his ADD.

Can I make it?

I suffer from depression and take medication which serves me quite well. I still struggle daily with ups and downs, bouts of crying and times of elation. I always keep matter what...I am a survivor and that is one of the things I am proudest of. My husband of 14 years (18 years together) has ADHD and not until I saw Dr. Oz's show yesterday did the light bulb go off that this is the definition of my life these days. My husband had joked to me that his doctor had commented on the fact that he had ADD and that it was pretty funny - it seems to be a badge of pride for him which I think is also an excuse to not deal with any responsibilities. I checked in at this website and I have been crying ever since. I don't know if I can deal with this anymore. He was so totally attentive to me in the beginning and now I am invisible - he flits around constantly from helping a friend to attending a neighbor's children's soccer game to playing with his dog - I may as well be invisible. Everyone else gets the extreme love treatment that I enjoyed in the beginning. This is not a normal relationship where couples experience a fading of lust but a growing of closeness and love. There seems to be nothing rational going on here. I feel like the mother of a very small child who even talks like one at times (he is 60 years old). It would be laughable if it was not so sick and frustrating. Nothing about my life feels normal anymore. One minute he treats me like a slave and barely deserving of his attention at all and then he seems remorseful and looking for forgiveness (never admitting any wrongdoing). It has gotten worse as time has gone on. I am going crazy - I have left for several days at a time because I will explode if I do not. I value my friendships and feel badly that I have shut out my friends in the last few years. It is impossible to explain the situation to people who have not experienced this before. I am too exhausted...I have been a Mother since I was 21 and now that I am 54 I feel that I can no longer take care of someone who cannot focus as much as our grand-daughter. I have BEGGED him to read about this and to get help - I feel like a FOOL that I have wasted so much time. How do I stop wanting to help him - how do I let go of hope that things will get better. I feel that I must not be at the bottom yet or I would give up and make a for me. Life is too short but he is my friend. I know that the leaving is coming...I WANT TO SCREAM...I want this to stop...I just want mself back and the pain is that I am starting to realize that myself may have to be without him. My kids are worried about me and I don't know if I can make it. I am fading. To read other people's comments has made me realize that this is the time to change..but how?

I'm feeling better

after struggling with depression for a year or more. It helps that I have taken the room upstairs, I actually feel a certain comfort being away from him. Stress has always been an issue for me and in my forties, my blood pressure took off. The beta blockers I was on made me depressed, forgetful, weak. I had the same side effects with two other medications. I knew all the years of stress had finally gotten to me and I told him things would be different. I joined a gym and told him to take over the bills. I knew darn well we could lose the house but I had to try something different! Over a year later, I managed to lose enough weight and get off the meds but I never really felt the same again. 

So, you know, in about four years, my ADD husband drove us into a financial wall by maxing out all our credit cards. One day, he tells me that I need to stop using the credit cards (and I'm the cash queen!) I told him he better check and make sure someone else wasn't using them and I guess that's what he had to do to realize it was him. Then he blamed it on me! He actually said it was because I didn't pack him a lunch! $15,000 of unsecured credit card debt and $0 savings! I absolutely lost it. I screamed and cried. I felt like I got hit by a truck and I knew it was coming! I cried for months if I was alone. All I wanted to do was sleep. Yeah I was depressed! What kind of future do I have to look forward to? It's hard to be optimistic. This kind of lifestyle can't be good for anyone. 

Thank God I have a room upstairs.


I don't have a mental health issue, but have had Sjogren's Syndrome--an autoimmune disease--for 22 years.  I'm also an 11-year breast cancer survivor.    My health issues have also taken a backseat to his ADHD and OCD.  It's incredibly difficult to concentrate on what you need to do for yourself when all of your time is spent raising a family with little help and trying to be everything for everyone.   As a result my Sjogren's has progressed more rapidly and is now causing some signficant concerns.  (As an aside, my husband has never, EVER been to a doctor appt. with me to find out about the disease or offer me support...not in over 22 years.  Painful, that, and add no emotional support for having cancer either).  My husband has failed to "see" my illness and still believes I should be doing much more....I can't begin to describe the anger I had to get thru for that belief.  I'm still working thru it.

Now my husband is gone....I asked him to leave, and while my symptoms haven't changed much I feel much less anxiety and that is ALWAYS a good thing.  I am focusing on my health much more intently and seeing new doctors. 

I wish you all the best.

hockeymom11's picture

mental illness

no diagnosed mental illnesses with me, I  do think I have Sherri's "idiopathic anger disease" as well!!  I'm on the verge of depression, but I don't think I need meds (yet).  I still can get up, I LOVE my job, I LOVE my kids and although exhausted still take good care of them and I LOVE my hobby (playing hockey).  So I guess I'm only depressed when I'm around my ADHD husband and clinically I guess they can't label me "depressed" because it doesn't encompass my life. 

I've pretty much told him it's over, we just have to get to a point financially so he can move out (he too spent all our money on gadgets etc).  I told him to buy a bed for upstairs and I've been on a massive purging cleaning streak.  I think he also is a borderline hoarder so our house is cluttered with years of computer parts, wires, junk (NOT like those hoarders you see on TV though b/c I'm extra organized!!).  Purging though has made me feel good, like I'm starting a clean new life by myself.  Things won't change with him, but I"m gonna make damn sure they change with me!!

good luck to all and ((HUGS)) to all who struggle through this.  Just know you are not alone.

My husband has ADHD, I have ADD


I am new to this site, so this is my very first post. I have been married for 17 1/2 years and we have four boys. My husband has ADHD, I have ADD with a history of major depression. Two of our boys also have ADHD. I do feel like my ADD takes a back seat to my husbands ADHD because I am still the one that has to do the mental work of planning, making and keeping appointments, purchasing groceries ect... Our house is a disaster and as a rule we are always late to everything, often including paying bills on time. I really struggle myself to organize and remember things, but when I have to try to remember things for four kids and my husband it feels impossible at times. My little purse calendar is a life savor if I remember to look at it every day. My husband has had many different jobs over the years and we have never had much stability, financially we have struggled since the day we were married. Because in my younger years I had severe debilitating depression, I feel like I need to guard myself from being too overwhelmed. I did feel like I needed some security in my life and was frustrated with my husbands seeming inability to find and maintain a job that adequately provided for our family so I went back to school and got an RN degree. My plan was to only have to work part time and still make a decent amount of money to supplement my husbands job. I love my job as an RN but feel pressured to work more than part time as my husband lost a good job a few years ago, and now works opposite my hours 30 hours a week at only $9.00 an hour. He doesn't seem to be doing anything to find or create a different job or career to support our family, instead he spends most of his time away from work playing online multiplayer games. He hardly pays any attention to me, our kids, or the house (which is falling apart and needs much repair). He is taking meds for adhd but he has also gained a ton of weight and complains a lot about his back or his head ache or his ED. I feel like he won't even attempt to use organizational tools or to structure his time on his game to a more realistic level. So, it all falls back on me. With my history of depression my my own add issues, I feel less than adequate to carry the load of 'life'. I especially resent his game addiction, choosing pixels over real life and his wife and kids. I know it is all stressful, but marriage is suppose to be team work. I have never felt like we were a team, I have only felt alone.

Does anyone else have issues with ADHD spouse and online game addiction?

hockeymom11's picture

video games

My ADHD husband is TOTALLY addicted to video games. I'm guessing he has spent close to $20,000 over the past 14 years on games, gadgets etc.  Melissa Orlov said that the speed of video games releases dopamine in the brain so these folks are actually self medicating..  Sucks for the spouses as I've been ignored for 12 of my 14 years (after the hyperfocus stage wore off and I must have become "boring")

I can't stop the video games, and I'm sure there's porn in there too. He's recently started smoking again and our marriage is over.  He can't move out because he can't afford it so he sleeps upstairs and spends most of the days on the computer.  I stay downstairs and take care of the home and kids.

Not the future I saw on my wedding day, but I know I'll get through somehow.

My husband too

My husband definitely has a thing for games.  He does, thankfully, tend to rotate his interests.  For a few years, he was living and breathing poker.  Since he couldn't find friends to play with him enough, he went online to play.  He would play from when he got home from work until bed - sometimes that was the wee hours of the morning.  When he talked to me and our kids, it was only about poker.  Even when our son (ages 2-5 during this particular interest) went to him for advice or help with something, my husband could only talk to him using poker metaphors and references.  It drove me mad!  He's also been through other game hyperfocusing.  For a while, it was chess - even by himself because he had an electronic chess set.  Then it was Tony Hawk skating games - I even timed him one day, he spent 15 straight hours playing.  He only stopped for bathroom breaks - didn't even eat!  Oh, and Pokemon games!  He takes it to work and plays on breaks.  Oh, the things he spends days on while playing Pokemon!  I'm guessing games offer enough fast-paced or enough variety that it holds their attention better.  If you're so fed up, try taking out the hard drive and hiding it.  Maybe he'll get a new interest.  Then again, he may go out and buy the most expensive "new and improved" hard drive he can find.  I suppose I should really pay attention more when my husband's interests change.  I may be able to offer ideas to others about how to move from one interest to a different one - especially because every now and then I get the "dating" hyperfocus.  It drives me nuts because I'm a fairly independent person with not a lot of need for the mushy and gushy part of life - but I know I'm lucky to get it when I have it.  And it sounds like a lot of spouses out there would kill to have them be the object of the hyperfocus once in a while.

adhd spouse addicted to gaming.

First I asked my husband to cut down on the amount of hours he plays the game, without any success. Then I told him one day that since he can't cut down, I wanted him to quit. He told me that he is an adult and he shouldn't have to have someone telling him what he can and cannot do with his time so he would just move out then. It is sad really. I want my marriage to be till death do us part. Sometimes I think to myself, "I can't believe I am going to take that from him and just live the rest of my life knowing that I will always feel alone and ignored in a marriage that is suppose to be two living as one." I guess I find myself giving up hope that he will ever really be interested in living in the real world with me instead of the  fantasy world he chooses every day. So, I don't think hiding anything is going to be the answer. It would be like hiding alcohol from an alcoholic, they would just go get more or go somewhere where there was alcohol. I just wish he would want to choose his family over a game, I don't want to have to force him to spend time with the people in his life who are suppose to mean the most to him. Does choosing to stay in a marriage with with an adhd spouse have to mean that we as the significant other will always have to carry the brunt of the stress and responsibility? I know we are stuck in the 'parent- child' cycle and I don't know how to get out of it. Does anyone have any tips about how to get out of this rut?

I've just recently been

I've just recently been diagnosed w/depression and anxiety.  I'm sure it has to do w/the turmoil our marriage is in right now because I've never felt this way before.

Does it take a back burner to his ADHD?  Absolutely not!  I won't let it.  He doesn't know I went to the Dr. and he doesn't know I'm on meds.  I told him I was working on improving myself and I am.  I can't take care of him or my children if I don't take care of myself.  The only person that can allow your disorder to take a back burner is yourself.  Put yourself first.