I wrote an entry a couple of months ago about how excited I was about finally realizing the work I needed to do. For background I was diagnosed with ADHD 7 years ago, after making it through the first 37 years of my life (and college, medical school, residency, 3 years of marriage, and the birth of our son), without the diagnosis. Meds "turned the lights on" and made me feel different and objectively helped me a lot. The problem is that I never addressed the behavioral, organizational, and executive functioning issues of ADHD until about 3 or 4 months ago, when my wife told me that after years of dealing with me and my ADHD symptoms, she had no feelings for me anymore.
In the past three months I have returned to my psychiatrist and optimized my meds, I have started a rigorous exercise regimen, and most importantly, I have enlisted the help of an ADHD coach, who has helped me create systems to organize my life and helped me find strategies to manage my ADHD better. The coaching has been great. Tasks I used to dread, like sorting the mail and executing a list of errands, have become infinitely easier. I do them faster and with less mental effort than ever before. My change in meds, not to mention my new level of fitness that has come with diet and exercise, has also helped my ADHD immensely. From a personal perspective, I am, dare I say, incredibly proud of myself for having done all of these things. Now I'm working on the consistency part, making sure I sustain these changes permanently. For the first time in my life, I finally have fully treated ADHD, and it feels great to be able to say that. It's sad because it makes me think about what I could have accomplished if I had been optimally treated earlier, but I'm still happy with the real and profound changes I've made.
Sadly, though, with respect to my marriage, these changes may have come too late. My wife in the last few months has mentioned to me how she kept waiting for certain things to change and they never did, and over time these things wore at her emotionally. I didn't waste large sums of money or engage in self-destructive behavior; I have been a good parent and a successful professional in a difficult job. But the "consistent inconsistency" - the unreliability of completing mundane tasks like taking letters to the post office, sorting through mail, cleaning or cooking consistently, etc. - took its toll on her. She felt unsafe, like she was in the midst of a "parent-child" dynamic that people on this blog know all too well. Finally it came to a head 4 months ago when she told me she didn't have feelings for me anymore...
So now it's terrible. I still love her, of course, and want to stay together. She for her part wants to leave and considers us functionally separated. She wants space; she wants to live apart for 6 months to a year. She tells me there's a 90% chance things won't work out, and sadly I believe her. Her rant is that she put up with all this stuff for years and it has got her to the point that she has nothing left. My counter to that is that all of those things that drove her nuts was my under-treated ADHD, and now, even by her own assessment, I have resolved most if not all of the issues, like the organizational and functional stuff. So therefore she should see that and feel better about me. Well, to her, none of what I'm doing has any effect on how she feels about me - the emotional damage, the breakdown of trust, etc., is just too great in her mind.
I guess I write this as, well, as catharsis for myself, but also as a warning to those guys out there (and it does seem to be mostly guys) with ADHD who think it's not a problem. It's a problem - a big one. In looking at and reading about others on this forum with ADHD, I realize my symptoms are relatively mild, but try telling that to my wife. Now I can argue that two years ago, when we really started having problems, that she should have spoken up for what was bothering her (she's a psychologist, after all), and we should have entered counseling then instead of two months ago. But the fact of the matter is that my ADHD until very recently was under-treated. Now the damage that has been done to my life and marriage may be irreparable. Yeah, I know we are just at the very beginning part of counseling, but it seems that my wife is so drained and so resolute about leaving that it'll be miraculous if she has a change of heart.
These changes I've made in myself recently are real and genuine, and I'm happy about them, but ultimately, I'm sad - no, I'm devastated and heartbroken - that they have likely come too late. Please don't let this happen to you! If you have ADHD and are in a marriage that is struggling, it's a near sure bet that your ADHD, diagnosed or otherwise, is a huge problem. Get information. Get diagnosed. Get treated, and fully - with meds and behavioral/organizational changes. Don't wait as long as I did to fully take control of yourself - I might have been able to save things if I had found out sooner. My hope may be all but gone, but I want to keep it alive for others. Get the help you need...now.