becoming numb

I've been married to my husband for 17 years. I realized some time after our youngest was diagnosed with adhd that my husband my have it too. So after much research he agreed that it was possible and got the official diagnosis. This was about 5 years ago or so, when he was in his late 40's. I lose track anymore. I am 9 years younger. At first, things went well. We read and talked and I did whatever I could to help him. At the same time, things slowly started to deteriorate. He has become so closed off from me. By that I mean, when I walk into the room, he doesn't see me. When I say something to him, he doesn't hear me. Literally. I have to yell to get his attention, repeat myself, repeat myself again, then explain what I am talking about. If we are watching the same program together and I comment on it, well, see above again. He works out of town during the week but will go days without calling me, and when he does, he calls me late at night, then is yawning so much he can't hear me. All conversations are one-sided. I talk. The only response he can give me is "um-hmm" or "huh". If I press for more, he agrees with me. With EVERYTHING I say. He will never disagree, but on the rare occasion he does, if I ask why, as in, tell me your side, he gets defensive, short and raises his voice. When I say I was only asking he denies he did any of it. He walks out or the room while I'm talking. If I say that he was rude, he says he thought I was done talking. All he seems to care about is watching TV, eating, and non-stop eating. And let's not forget about sleeping. He can sleep until 10 in the morning, get up and be taking the first of about 4 naps a day on the weekend within the hour. In between those naps he is watching TV. I do 100% of the household chores. I ask for help and I am told, okay, I will, but it never gets done unless I throw a fit or start doing it myself. Then he jumps up saying he was going to do it for me. I also work full-time, take care of all the finances, and have Fibromyalgia. Oh, and don't forget about the youngest child who is 15. He is not on any medication and is doing well in school, lots of friends, and frankly is just doing better than his father. My husband is on medication but IF he remembers to take it, he is most definitely not on the right one, or dosage. I have never been to an appointment with him because he A. Forgets to tell me about it and B. Thinks they work fine. Mind you, we have had many discussions where I say how I feel ignored and unloved, but every time he acts surprised, like he is hearing it for the first time. He never notices anything wrong. When I ask for explanations, all I ever get is "I don't know". He cannot give me a valid answer for anything. Within half an hour, he has forgotten the entire conversation. He has to be told to go to bed or he will stay up eating and watching TV all night, and I have to wake him in the morning because he will hit the snooze button until god knows how long. He has a long history of not telling me things because "it's not a big deal", when actually it is. I have been made an ass many times not knowing things. Nothing is important to him. He will go buy himself personal things he needs, and food he wants but will never ask if there is anything I need, or things needed for the house. I don't like to tell him to pick anything up anyway because he will buy 3. He is also a hoarder, sloppy, and let's not get started on the tools. However, he has plenty to say to the dogs. Sex no longer exists. The house needs many repairs and has dozens of unfinished projects. He is fully capable of doing these things. One of the things that attracted me to him was his ability to fix anything. So here I am, getting numb and thinking, it just isn't worth the trouble anymore. I'm so tired, ther's about 1 or 2 days a week where I just physically collapse and can't do anything.

He isn't there

This is dh too nearly everything you said.  Even the spending so many days "out of town".  Even the hoarding.  Even the non-communication.  It is like he is not even there at all.  I think we have compromised ourselves too much.  I think their isolation from us is a way to hide truths from us.  There is so much about dh's life I don't know about.  It makes a person suspicious and lonely. What are they hiding with their not giving us any information?  I am sorry this is your life with your dh too.

help yourself

Kathy, I am so sorry you are going through this. I lived that way with my ex--he literally moved into his own room and would walk in there and lock the door --CLICK -- if I would try too hard to talk to him or address issues. I was a shell of a person who shuffled in and out of bed on the weekends and evenings. It felt too hard to take a shower on certain days and I "collapsed," too. Call it depression or fatigue or can't take it any more, but your psyche is telling you something and it is great that you know this.

How awesome that your son is doing so well! It is going to make such a difference in his life that you are there and have helped him at this young age--maybe something your spouse didn't have? If you read many posts on these boards, there are so many similar stories. A lot of your spouse's sleep and attention issues seem to be related to ADHD. 

My advice? It will be hard when you are so overwhelmed and worn out, but for now: stop wanting him to help or participate or address his ADHD and focus on  helping yourself and your kids. You won't be being mean--you will be giving yourself the gift of taking care of yourself. Have you read Melissa's book? The first advice is to help yourself. If he weren't there, what would you do? Hire a kid to help with jobs and chores. See a counselor. Try to understand that yes, your dh's issues are significant and he will eventually need to address them to have a better family life and life for himself, but in the meantime, they are not personal. 

Hopefully your spouse will see what he stands to lose. At some point you can get to a place where you can ask him to work on his issues. In the meantime, take good care of yourself. Read some of the success stories. My best to you. 

carathrace's picture


The only thing I would add to lynninny's exellent post is that I wonder if he's also suffering from depression?  You seemed to indicate that things have deteriorated with him since he was diagnosed -- is that correct, or did you have these same issues with him before the diagnosis?  I was wondering if, either by a reaction to his meds, or just by knowing he has ADHD, he is in a depressive state.  The way he's checked out of everything sorta sounds like depression.  He might benefit from different meds, especially wellbutrin.


I second carathrace, it does sound like the meds are not doing anything for him or might even be making him worse.  Any chance of getting some feedback to his prescribing doctor?  In the past I've gone so far as sticking a piece of paper with notes in my husband's hand as he leaves (he tries to get the first appt of the day) and telling him just to hand it the dr if he doesn't want to bother reading it.  Of course he has to decide if he trusts me :)  But it's actually worked a couple of times :) :)  But beng serious, the doctor really should be made aware somehow that he is not getting reliable feedback, self-reporting can definitely be a problem when we are talking about brain meds.

Did it all and still lost it all

I think,no, I know that I have given up. Nothing I have done has helped and I am a very sad person. I just don't care any more. This has taken everything I have and I have become someone I don't know any more. I won't tell him anything that is wrong any more or I will hear that I am a negative person and I ruin everything. Hearing that was my breaking point because it broke my heart. I have no one in my life who understands and that is very lonely,but telling someone doesn't change my life either.  He is happy with small talk and doesn't care that I am unhappy. He just stares at me or says he's sorry and goes and watches tv. He will never know what he has lost with me. I am smart,kind,funny and affectionate....I think he lost a lot more than I did. I am not perfect,but no one is.  I have to protect myself from the hurt and be quiet about what I feel. It is the only way I can survive. Thank you for listening to me and may God help all of us.

Sorry I've been away, got

Sorry I've been away, got busy with work and other activities. Yes, he has depression and PTSD. He was a paramedic for over 30 years and it took it's toll on him. He takes medication now. He tried Welbutrin before and it turned him into an absolute monster. I like the idea of giving him a note to give to his doctor, but if I don't even know when the appointments are, well, that wouldn't work. Plus, he'd probably forget it in the car. 

I do believe all of his meds need a good workover and he told me his next appointment is "sometime" in October. I think I'm going to call myself to confirm. And then make sure I go. 

Thanks for all the kind thoughts.