From the brink of divorce to hope for the future

Not even a week ago, I was ready to divorce my husband.  I only work part-time so I've been applying for full-time jobs like crazy and planning my escape.  And then something wonderful happened.  My husband started on Concerta.  The first couple of days he was irritable and he would say "I'm sorry I'm being so irritable".  At first I thought "here we go again" because he took Adderall and it was a disaster.  And then I realized - he had apologized to me.  Sincerely.  Without being prompted.  It was working.  The next day, we took the kids out to a moonbounce place and he was present, like actually there with us, involved, having fun with the kids, not focusing on how loud or annoying the place was.  The next couple of days after that he was being loving, he actually turned off the TV so he could focus on something I was telling him.  He set reminders for things he needed to do in his phone.  He told me he can see for the first time how his behavior has affected me and the kids.  He has been in counseling for the past month as well, but it wasn't until the meds that it was like a switch flipped.  I know that he will still be forgetful and that he will probably never be a good planner or as on top of things as I am, but he never was.  It wasn't the disorganization or him "slacking" off on things that was going to end our marriage.  It was how mean he would get and how short with me.  The meds seemed to have taken that edge off.  I have my husband back.  The man I fell in love with.  I am relieved.  I am also nervous, because I don't want it to go back to how it was.  But at least I have a glimmer of hope now.

I love to hear stories like

I love to hear stories like this...where the meds really do make a big difference for the people suffering from ADHD and those who love them. Praying that things continue to improve for you!!

It's no magic cure, but it is helping a lot

Thank you!  We still have a lot of hurdles to jump over, but the meds have helped a lot.  At least I'm not getting nasty comments and impatience with my every word or action anymore.  For me, there are a lot of other problems his ADHD causes, such as him being forgetful, saying he'll do things and not doing them, just general irresponsibility.  But I am a very independent and patient person so those things are not deal-breakers for me.  The shortness, temper, and general irritability he had with me and was starting to get with the kids was what was pushing me over the edge in terms of should I stay or should I go.  I know there is a long road ahead, but at least since the meds, I feel like we're doing it together and not like I'm his enemy anymore.

Congrats & hope for the future!

Momof2 - Thanks so much for sharing this. It's truly wonderful to hear!

My partner (ADHDer) and I (the non) are separated, but we are maintaining contact and have shared that we have hope for the future. We recently had an "exchange" the other day that just brought ALL of the feelings and reasons we're separated back to the front of my mind (and his, too, I'm sure!)  Then, a day later, something magical happened - I shut up! I didn't poke, pick, or try to get things "resolved". (texts, calls, etc.)  Where did it go? Well, he called me (seldom happens), we apologized to each other, and, for the first time I remember, we actually NAMED what we were sorry for. And... I actually listened and heard him as much as I think I was heard. 

He's been working his BUTT off these past few months, and it was so nice to see a break in the clouds! (I've been working my butt off as well, but that's another post.) I know what personal "ah ha!" moments feel like, and I'm so happy to know he's having them! I look forward to sharing our "ah ha" moments with each other in the future, too. Your post is very encouraging in this dream!

Also, it sounds like you're really up on your medication info, so my apologizes if I'm insulting you with this. Concerta is a great med and the body can adjust making a higher dose necessary for some patients. Just keep this in mind *IF* the "edge" reappears. I know I'd fear the worst if I saw it return, and would REALLY like someone to remind me that the meds may just need a tweak, so, here ya' are. ;)  

Pbartender's picture

Nice to know about Concerta. 

Nice to know about Concerta.  My doctor is starting me out with low dose Concerta.  Those first couple of days...  Wow.  I was almost giddy.

Just a week later, and it's already having a much, much more subtle effect.

 

Pb.

Pbartender's picture

I am now, what your husband

momof2toddlers,

I am now, what your husband was then...  and my wife is not so different from you.

Your story gives me a little hope that if I can do better and be a little bit patient, things will get better.

 

Pb.

Pbartender, I hope things do get better for you

It has been over a month since my husband started the Concerta.  He already had his dose doubled a couple of weeks ago.  We are still struggling with some things, the biggest being that he does not work steadily and rarely works on applying for jobs.  We may very well lose our health insurance this fall as a result and if he can't get his meds anymore, I fear the worst for our relationship.  

I still maintain though that my biggest issue with him before he started the Concerta was how absolutely horribly mean he could be to me, and how impatient he was.  The medicine has worked wonders in that department.  It has also given him the ability to see how his behavior affects me and our kids, which helps a lot.  Before, he always thought I was attacking him.  Everything was an attack in his eyes - if I said we didn't have enough money to pay a bill, I was personally attacking him.  It was unbearable to live with.  It feels impossible to be married to someone you can't have any serious conversations with.  I got to the point where I thought if I'm doing everything by myself anyway, and on top of that I'm being treated like crap, why bother being married?

Try to be patient.  You have to understand that there is usually years of resentment and hurt built up on the part of the non-ADD spouse.  In my case, the person I love so much and would do anything for was treating in a way that he wouldn't dare treat a random stranger.  It is so painful and eventually in order to survive, that pain turns into hardness and sometimes anger.

Making an effort goes a long way, at least it did for me.  I felt like at least he was trying.  And to me, him trying showed me that he loved me and didn't want to lose me.  

Pbartender's picture

Patience can be a tough one

Patience can be a tough one for me, especially when I know something's wrong...

I am a problem solver and a troubleshooter by nature.  It is one of the most difficult things for me to stand by and do nothing, when there is something that needs fixing.

I know my wife has a lot of things she needs to work through, and that I can't do that for her, and that there's not much I can do to make it happen any faster (in fact, I'd probably just compound the feelings).  That's actually much of the original problem between us...

My wife is the sort who needs some space to cool down, when she's feeling upset.  But I have such a hard time telling if she's upset to begin with (thereby making it worse, because it looks like I'm being insensitive), what it is she's upset over (thereby making it worse, because it looks like I haven't been paying attention to her), or how much time she needs to herself before she's ready to talk (thereby making it worse, because I'm pestering her when she wants to left alone).  The wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey ADHD sense of time just made that all worse.

It wasn't so much that I didn't know what I should be doing...  I just couldn't get the timing right.  There came a point, when I essentially ignored her for weeks at a time, because she was always upset about something (the underlying cause being that I was ignoring her :P).  When she finally complained about it, I started paying attention to her, but in the usual (then undiagnosed) ADHD fashion, I hyperfocused it, and she got upset and complained that I was being too "clingy".

So...  I was always upset, because I had thought I was doing what she wanted me to do, but she'd complain every time I did it -- I never understood what it was I was doing wrong.  She was always upset because I couldn't seem to figure out what she wanted and when.  It became a vicious cycle of the symptom-response-response sort that the books all talk about.

I've not had the sort of plannign and organizational problems that a lot of ADHDers seem to have, but it's memory and attention and all the interpersonal relationship stuff that results that really kills me.  I'm hoping that medication, training and treatment for the ADHD will help break the cycle, so that the two of us can get back on the same track. 

I've found a local ADHD counselor/coach (who accepts our insurance, too!), and my first meeting with her is next week.  I can't wait to see how it goes.

 

Pb.

Clone...

I've read several of your posts and I don't have any time to elaborate right now, but your ADD personality sounds VERY similar to mine. Definitely focus your troubleshooting skills on you and give her time to notice that the new behaviors are Real and not the latest Hyper-Focus that will go away after a little time. I know how exciting it is to find out there is Something to explain what has been controlling your brain and meds and therapy can change things, almost immediately, for the better. It is gong to take time for your DW to feel better about things, so patience is something that we need to continue to work on.

It sounds like you are off to a great start...

My spouse is on Adderall and

My spouse is on Adderall and while I think in the morning it does help him focus on work and I can DEF tell when he hasn't had it, I don't think it's done hardly anything for our marriage issues in re: to ADD.  When you say it was a disaster for you, can you expand a bit?

Adderall

For my husband, the Adderall just made him a lot more anxious, on edge, and irritable than he already was.  He went from mean and short with me to so irritable anything would set him off.  Then for the few days after he stopped taking it, he had mood swings like crazy and erupted in anger, almost in a rage, at dinner one night over nothing.  He said Adderall helped him focus at work, but it did nothing for any of his other issues and gave him anxiety.

Once he started the Concerta, he was like a new man.  He has already had to have his dose increased twice.  I can always tell before he can when it needs to be increased because he starts getting irritable, short-tempered, and defensive again.

Like you said, I can also tell if my husband has forgotten to take a pill.  He procrastinated getting his prescription filled once and went two days without his meds.  He was right back to his grumpy, defensive self when he didn't have the meds.  I can tell within an hour in the morning if he hasn't taken it yet.

Even though we still struggle and have had ups and downs, the biggest improvement since he's been on the Concerta is that we can discuss the problems and issues without him freaking out or getting defensive and angry. 

I hope that helps and if you need someone to talk to, vent to, whatever, I'm here!

Not much hope anymore.

My DH is now on the highest dose of Concerta and it does not have the same effect it did in the beginning.  It does help a little, but since he has stopped going to counseling, it only goes so far.  Unfortunately, we are back on the brink of divorce.

How many times can you have the same promising conversation, things get better for a bit, and then the bottom falls out?  It is not a healthy way to live life.