Chronic stress and panic attacks due to ADHD spouse and children

It is excellent advice, if and when an ADHD partner has acknowledged the havoc caused by their behaviour and sought treatment, to look at one's own behaviour and attempt to modify it to help the relationship. But my problem was that I was suffering chronic stress and panic attacks due to the daily, sometimes hourly, shocks, rages, let downs, violence, hypocritical criticism, shouting, overspending my earnings, accidents and chronic poor behaviour that I was subjected to by what turns out to be three male ADDERS in the home.

When I took the decision three years ago to get my partner out, so that I could deal with my children, I was diagnosed with chronic stress, anxiety and panic attacks, and medicated with beta blockers. These worked in mitigating the adrenalin rushes, the horrible panic attacks, the shaking hands, weeping, awful plunging, knotting sensation in the stomach etc that the constant shocks had caused me. I was on a very short fuse at the end of my tether. Three years later, I am calm. I am able to deal with the youngest, now diagnosed and on his way to treatment - even when he sounds off with '‘You just annoy me and bate me every day. You are an idiot and I don't like you" when I tell that, no, I will not buy him an 18 Xbox game as he is only 12. He is much improved by firm, consistent discipline and lots of love, instead of the crazy nitpicking and violence handed out by his father. However, in spite of removal of father, his behaviour was still illogical enough to warrant further investigation, but nothing like so appalling.

The older one has been on Ritalin for six months, and is transformed from the frightened, miserable boy who had dropped out of university, completely unable to cope, into a functioning young man. We have ways to go, but it is such a relief. Not so easy to spot in him, as he has no hyperactivity whatsoever, but does tap and fidget.

My question is, when it comes to controlling one's own anger that is part of the stress reaction, how do you do that with the maddening ADDER still in the house and furiously obdurate in their denial? Particularly with menopause symptoms that strip one's resilience bare (as does PMT) in addition, I don't think it is possible. You risk suppressing your feelings in unhelpful ways, and making yourself even more ill and miserable while you force yourself into unnatural reactions. Far better to create some space between you, I believe. It is vital that non ADHD partners look after themselves first - there is no way they can look after anyone else until they are strong and fit once more. Looking after people with this condition is shattering.