The Big Conversation

End of week two, and I did something I couldn't imagine doing even a week ago.  I broached the subject of ADD with my husband.  I didn't really plan it, but suddenly the moment was upon me and I jumped in.  We were in the car, him driving, and I know, because he has told me, that that is the easiest place for him to talk about "serious" things.  I think by serious he means important.  I made a note of the time, so I wouldn't stress him out by going on "too long".  I began by asking him some questions, which just sort of came to me from my reading about ADD, and my years of observation about how he seems to experience life.  Do you feel like it's only a matter of time before people figure out you're a fake?  Do you think all your achievements are mostly due to luck?  Do you feel like there are a million important things you've forgotten to do, and you're waiting for the S#*t to hit the fan?  Do you always feel behind, or like there's a catastrophe just around the corner?  He looked at me like Duh! and said, yeah, like doesn't everyone?  I said no, many people don't feel those things most of the time, and I didn't, either.  I asked if he thought it was just difference in style, or was it striking to him that he preferred to have two computers, a television and music playing while he "worked" then take a "break" to play video games while leaving all that other stuff going, too?  He said, sort of smiling, I suppose you're going to tell me that's not normal.....  I said I know you think it's a "guy" versus "girl" thing, but that I believed other couples could make plans, share dreams and disappointments for more than five minutes at a time, and without one of them flipping blindly through a magazine, or turning on the television, or leaving the room.   He said I suppose you have a way to fix it?   Gulp here we go.  Well, I stumbled on a book, with no idea that this was something to even consider, and I think you may have ADD.  We're at the seven minute mark now.  Hurry it up.  It's caused by a brain needing more stimulation than usual to stay focused on something, and when the brain doesn't get it, just keeps looking for more.  I told him there might be ways he could not feel out of control, lost, like a fake or a lucky loser.  Totally just my take on the process, but he only cocked his head and said I suppose there's a pill for that.  I said people use counseling, medication or both to help.  He said I'm not taking medication.  Pulled into a gas station and got out.  Eight minutes. 

We're done with the subject for now, but at least the seed has been planted.  And 24 hours later he related a comment his boss made about his organization skills, and he was bothered a lot by it.  Hope dots are connecting.  A week with a lot of ups and downs.  Why do I have to keep learning the same things over and over?  How can I have good boundaries, self-esteem, and objectivity one moment, and be crushed and discouraged in the next?  I'd really rather not keep zooming from patience to frustration, from cool observation to mind-tripping, from loving understanding to numbing loneliness -- at least not so many times in a day!  I suppose I should sleep.

He sounds kind of like me...

I knew there was something wrong with me. The anxiety attacks were bad and I had never felt that way before. I went to the shrink my GP recommended and and within 10 minutes he said he thought I was ADD. I was shocked and looked at him and said "I'm 43 years old... Don't you think someone would have noticed before now?" He gave me something for the panic attacks and asked me to read "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo and Edward M. M.D. Hallowell" and come back and tell him what I thought. I read the first couple of pages, then had to get a highlighter for all the things that seemed to be written about me. It sounds like he is open to the possibility, so maybe he would be willing to see a psychiatrist???

Good luck... This diagnosis has changed my life.



Next step

Thanks for the encouragement.  I'm not sure what the next step will be, probably wait for the right moment and ask if he's thought about it.  He probably won't bring it up, do you think?  His usual response to "big talks" is to lay low, see if it goes away, and check in now and then with a cheerful "So, how's it going?" to see if I'm "over" it yet.  If he is willing to talk about it again, he will definitely be open to suggestions from me, cause that's how we work!  ;)  There is an MD in a city nearby that treats only child and adult ADD and ADHD.  That's one option.  Or if he wants to read first, I'll have that book on hand.  We also have access to my Employee Assistance Center counselors - but I'm wary of that due to hearing all the stories of misdiagnoses. 

Your experience reading about ADD made me smile -- my first knowledge of it came from "Is It You, Me, or ADD?"  I read stories there that were so like ours I was laughing through tears the first twenty pages.  I never knew anyone else always left all the cupboard doors open (except my husband's mom, and one of my daughters.)  I will get the book you mention.  I want him to have something written with him in mind -- the one I read seems a slanted toward the spouse.  Whew.  Onward.

That was the 2nd book I read...

Very interesting... My suggestion was the first book, then I wanted a second book to get more of an idea as to how I affected the ones around me, and I hoped my DW would read it, sadly she did not. She was too overwhelmed at the time. I think you want the ADD specialist or make sure the other guy has experience with it. The book was all I needed to believe I had ADD. It was like reading about myself and I thought nobody could think in as screwed up of a way as me... What a relief to read it was not Just Me and my poor choices/actions/reactions.

When you say "He probably won't bring it up, do you think?  His usual response to "big talks" is to lay low, see if it goes away, and check in now and then with a cheerful "So, how's it going?" to see if I'm "over" it yet.

That is classic ADD and I was exactly like that. It is so hard to muster the guts to re-start a conversation that had so much anger. ADDer's live in the "Now" and hope past pain just disapates. I was also a Master at "Almost Closed" drawers and doors :D I am glad something I said was of use to you... If your spouse Wants to get better, the tools are there. Once I knew what the Hell I was dealing with, I never wanted to be like that again. The ADD never goes away, but you can shove it down to where it has minimal effects if the ADDer is willing to take it on. Good Luck!