I have been reading on this site on and off for about a year or so now. I have never been one to post on any forums but now I am in desperate need of help and some kind of encouragement from people who are experienced. I did recently purchase Melissa's book and have also gotten Dr. Hallowell's book, Driven from Distraction though I'm not done reading either yet.
I guess I'll try to explain my situation and see what you all think. I know my wife has read this blog and forums on occasion so I suppose if she sees this she'll probably figure out that it's me. Hi Honey. I love you.
Anyways, we have been married for 7 years. Most of which I think we both could agree were wonderful. After our daughter was about 3 years old I started seeing some things in her behavior that were concerning. These behavioral issues were really familiar to me and I started to see many of my own issues in her. The older she got, the more apparent it became. After doing some research it wasn't long before I realized that it could be ADHD. It also explained much of why i struggled so much as a child with making friends and fitting in. But the attention span and hyperactivity really drove it home for me. I have always had difficulty with my attention (reading, homework, listening) and i was always very hyper as a child and still can be as an adult at times. But to summarize, I got tested and it was confirmed that I had ADHD a few years back. About a year later, my daughter was also diagnosed as well.
By then, I was really starting to beat myself up about it and felt horrible about this curse that i had passed onto my daughter. Around the same time as this came to light, my son was born. With that, we had also just purchased a house, were already getting over our head in credit card debt from my impulsive spending habits, and my daughters behavior was starting to become difficult to handle. Add to that many sleepless nights and exhaustion from my son waking during the night. The stress levels were really beginning to mount and would only grow from there. I had also started taking Adderall at this time and it was really helping me (mostly at work though), however when it wore off I had mood swings and was really tired. I tried getting my Family Doctor to give me something for the evenings but i got nowhere with that. And I should also mention that i was taking anti-anxiety meds for the past 10 years at fairly low dose for tension headaches and mild anxiety.
During all of this, my wife and I also began fighting more and more. Mostly about stupid things that I could not let go. I was defensive about everything and had to win every argument. I would raise my voice and many times yell in front of the kids. My poor wife had asked me time and time again not to do this but I could not get control. The stresses of our finances, problems with our daughter's behavior, grudges against my in-laws, constant bickering, lack of sleep and motivation to do chores were all mounting up. I believe all of this contributed to my downward spiral but my ADHD was at the root of it I think.
My dear wife tried many many times for a couple of years to get my attention and get me to snap out of it, but i only got worse. The anger, frustration, and stress continued to grow between us and we both gradually become different. I lost sight of what was really important and became jaded with everything. My horrible spending habits continued to rack up debt. I began to alienate my in-laws more and more. Our sex life began to dwindle as well as the affection. She tried so hard to pull me back up and open my eyes. I did not see the pain i was causing her and I said many hurtful things that I would later come to regret and she would not forget.
Eventually, I started to see the writing on the wall and began the process to try and turn things around. I found a good therapist and have been going once a week. I dumped the family doctor in favor of a psychiatrist who increased my meds to the proper dosages. I started reading more and more to try and learn how to fix myself in hopes that I could become a better person, father, and husband. Unfortunately though, it was too late. Our home is close to being foreclosed on and my wife has now separated from me. We are sharing time with the kids and still talk every day. We still love each other very much and we both would like for things to work out.
It's been about 6 weeks since we separated and I have been on a mission to turn my life around. Every chance I get, I try to do good by my wife and others. I am happy as a school child every chance I get to see her and hug her. A soft peck on the lips feels so wonderful yet hurts so bad at the same time because it is time to leave and go back to my house. My attempts at affection beyond that are no longer solicited though. She has closed herself off to me to a certain extent. She has built a defensive perimeter around her heart and will not let me back in. Although she acknowledges all of the good things she sees me doing now, she still reminds me that she wanted this to happen when she was trying to get my attention for the past several years. Is it too late? She does not have any answers for me as to if or when she can let me back in her heart. It hurts so bad that I let her down and I hate myself for letting things get to this point.
I never again want to be that asshole that I have been. Nothing will stop me from becoming the best man I can be for myself and my family. People change for the worse sometimes, but there is no reason why someone can't change back or do better than ever before. I refuse to let my ADHD and anxiety screw up my life anymore. Anything it takes...
But, sadly my poor wife is an unknown at this point. Too much hurt may have caused irreparable damage now. She said she hopes that she can one day open herself up to me again and give this marriage another shot, but she is not sure. She's not ready to call it quits completely but to me it's not looking very promising. Then again, I am VERY impatient. Right now, all she wants from me is time and space to try and heal. I'm struggling to not push her or pursue too much but it's so hard. I can't just let go. I'm scared and anxious. I can't imagine my life without her now. I love her so much and have sworn to never again become that person who caused all this. There is nothing I can do now but let her come back to me if and when she is ready. Being the impatient problem solver that I am makes this so much harder. I just want to fix it but I can't.
So that's it in a nutshell. I've probably got a lot of the timeline of events mixed up and left out some important things (thanks ADHD!) but hopefully that will do. I know this is already a lot to read so if you are still with me, thank you!
My questions to you all, and hopefully Melissa and George if you read this:
Does anyone have any success stories they could share where you have brought your marriage back from the dead (even divorce or separation)? If so, were you feeling as hopeless as I? What did you do to turn the tides?
What about those non-ADHD spouses out there that have been able to accept your partner back into your heart after being on the brink? Any words of encouragement?
My wife is not open to marriage counseling or going to therapy for herself either. She also may have slight PTSD from a traumatic experience that happened to her a long time before we ever met. She has told me that this traumatic experience is at some level affecting her ability to trust me again with her heart. Though, it is in no way related to me or anything that I have ever done.
I am planning to highlight passages in Melissa's book for her to read that I think she may benefit from if i can get her to do so.
So to wrap things up, if anyone has any encouraging words, tips, or wisdom to share, I would be very grateful. Thanks for reading!