A definite change in our lives!


My husband and I have been married for more than 10 years now. We are very respectful to each other and we try to keep our relationship  healthy... I have been helping him in whatever I can, even though I never knew that he had this problem before we got  married (he did mention to me that he had to take these pills for concentration, etc, etc.. but he has always been a "normal" guy to me, I considered him my "perfect fit", the "man of my dreams".. and I did not even know what ADD was! We married in total romance and love for each other.. And I never thought that this ADD thing - whatever it was - could make things difficult in our marriage.

By the way, when we married he was finishing his Residency in Psychiatry. He finished his residency and was considered by his peers a great Psychiatrist. I am very proud to say that he indeed is an excellent one. He is calm and he understands families, he is great, he gives wonderful insights into cognitive therapy, etc... but... he cannot work as a Psychiatrist!! Why? Because even though, he has finished his Residency a few years ago, because he has problems with concentration he was not able to pass his Step 3 (final test for licensure). He tried a couple of times and always failed by a few points. IT WAS VERY FRUSTRATING!!! More than anything, especially because these exams are extremely expensive.

I have a PhD  (I started before getting married, finished after we got married, before having kids!) and I am a college professor now and I have been the ONLY source of income in our home. Because he has never passed his exam that granted him his medical license, he could never afford enough money to pay for his student loans. If I haven't finished my education, I really do not know where we would be today.  Anyways, after sometime I had to make a decision: or pay his students loans or feed our family (we have 2 kids at school) and pay our rent and deal with our credit card debts. So, in order to try to balance our incredible bills, I stopped to pay his loans... and now, the Bank is coming after him, asking him to pay everything in full (a crazy amount of more than 200K).

He has been applying for several jobs in his area of expertise: counseling, mental health, clinical service or research... His CV is great, he has even done research in a very well known university in Europe! but either he is way over qualified or he needs a licensure. No job for him with this super beautiful CV! Last year, with some of the credit we had, we started a home business... which is promising, but in the economical times we live now, it seems just impossible. I also am very busy trying to grow in my career and helping our kids succeed... (by the way, our 5 year old son is taking the same steps as dad... same pattern.. but he is already in a special education school: at least this is available now.. and was not available 40 years ago!)

My husband has been very much cautious about his deficiency and never had told anybody about that, not even his family. Only about 2 years ago, he told his mom and dad and siblings what he had, what it was, etc. He grew up as being considered a "challenging child" and only now, his parents know why... He only discovered what he had in college, when he finally was diagnosed with this problem. 

Like many here, we too live in a very hectic situation... I struggle to pay our debts... and my husband struggles with everything else. Recently, his doctor told him that his case is one of the worst he has seen so far. He is extremely distracted. Just to have an idea, this morning he got lost on the way to take the kids to soccer... it is not far away from here, it can be a little tricky to get there, but he has been taking them there almost every Saturday! Now, after 2 or 3 Saturdays of vacation, he was not able to take the kids there, he got totally lost and drove for more than one hour in a wrong direction. When he called to tell me that he was lost, I re-directed him, but he did not pay attention, I believe to my words and he went totally OFF route!!

Needless to say that I was very frustrated ... because I am paying for the soccer classes for the kids with sacrifice... and the kids missed again because daddy was extremely distracted/forgot how to get there and did not find his way, not even with the GPS!! (he said the GPS was not working right). He is on medication, but nothing seems to help, when he is distracted he is distracted. (We had a discussion over that... I sometimes need to remember to be more patient, I think.) And it was after this discussion that I decided that we need help, I need help, he needs help and I found this website.

Where should we go for financial help? Can the government help us with his school loans? Can the government help him with his Licensure exam? He has been offered jobs as a Psychiatrist, but when he tells that he has no license... our nightmare starts again. I need to know what to do and be very much prepared because I know that in the future our son will face the very same challenges.... and I am afraid that we will not have any financial resource to help him if we do not find help now.

Can you help?

Thank you so much for reading this and for giving us any advice!!!

Could you look into how the ADA affects ADD

Your husband should fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accommodations must be made for the disabled, including those with ADHD. Would it help him pass the test if he was in a room alone, if he wore noise-cancelling headphones, etc.? As an academic, you must be familiar with those things, would they help? I may not be telling you anything you haven't thought of already.

The thing about being overqualified is a problem. As a university graduate, I get that all the time for entry-level jobs. I wish I had some suggestions for you there.

Carmen's picture

Psychiatrist-couselor-a family man and a supper ADDer:)))

Hi, yesterday evening we were praying about this whole situation and my husband just wrote a letter to a congress person. We are now waiting for the reply. There was no help when my husband was at college. He struggled alone. With, let's say a "little shame" to be different, to see things in a different way. So, he thought he could do it without help, as well!  Nowadays, as a professor at university, I do have students who require special accommodations. And I was wondering if the American Federation of Medicine would have the same. YES, they do!! Now they do, not a few years ago. My husband is seeking now to know if any of his previous tests could be considered somehow... or a lesser fee, or anything that could be done... this would be great, if true. We talked a lot yesterday and things are moving on... I really appreciate him, all his tremendous efforts to succeed.. because the road has not been an easy one... Reading so many posts of struggling wives and husbands who suffer with ADD/ADHD, I know he would be able to give excellent advise to ALL, being a doctor, a Psychiatrist, a counselor, someone who really values family.. and of course, a super ADDer:)))). Time will come:)))

He should make a wonderful psychiatrist or therapist

Someone who struggles with ADHD issues should be wonderful at diagnosing and counseling people with the same problems. You sound like a wonderful supportive wife, not like me with one foot out the door. Best of luck to you both.

Carmen's picture

A dual exercise!

I think I probably have a "task" in life, being a wife of an ADHD husband, who is a psychiatrist, and learning so much about this problem. Because I live with it I can probably be helpful to others who suffer from the same situation at home. But when he gets his license... he will be the source of help to many. I pray that this  will happen soon. Now, I understand how frustrating this can be for a partner and the "foot" out the door (and sometimes the other "foot" is the only thing "holding" us, the rest is already out) is the response of a very tired and hopeless heart. Many times, it seems that "out" is the only place we want to be! So, we should work things out, speak out, and try out whatever it is possible before we are out there without knowing what to do. The problem is that we feel that there are no other resources. We are financially and  emotionally exhausted. But hang in there. What I do, when the situation gets worse and I think I am "home alone", I do a mental exercise to think where is the good in all this. How I can maintain the head off the water, how I can change some things, and especially how together we can have a healthy and strong relationship. It is a super dual exercise, not easy, but possible. And it is DUAL. Only together there is a possible way to fix things... I think that these ADHD men should be very thankful for their wives... In general it is their wives who open the way for them to have a better life! I wish you will be recognized for that, and wish you a wonderful success!!!!!!