Getting through to my non-ADHD wife

I was diagnosed with ADHD in October last year after I was in the hospital for a suicidal event.  I had a major breakdown when my wife walked out on me, totally destroyed by how I treated her.  I had no clue what was going on, of course, and this site has really helped me understand why our marriage fell apart.

A lot has changed since then.  I actually got a much better paying job, and I am doing so well there thanks to Focalin.  My wife told me that I was always tearing her down and that she isn't going to walk in my shadow anymore.  She says that I always expect perfection out of her.  She also feels like she lost everything about herself because of her marriage to me.

It makes me feel so sad.  I am crushed and destroyed over all this.  She told me once that looking back she can see that I never loved her, even from the very beginning.  When she said that, the only thing I could think of was the hyper-focus of the courtship wearing off, and I had no idea.  It makes so much sense, but she won't connect the dots, she says she is done.

We have a divorce pending, and I just really feel like if she would take the time to see how ADHD affected our marriage and that it can be fixed, then we could have a major breakthrough.  The problem is that she was out of the house, binge drinking, and already decided to file for divorce by the time I was diagnosed.

I don't know what to do, and every time I reach out to her it makes matters worse.  Even though meds help me focus, I still struggle with my sarcastic tongue.  We have been married for almost 10 years with 3 kids.  I have finally arrived with a great salary in my career, and I think we could have everything we always wanted because I am determined to do everything I can to not let my behavior destroy anymore.

What should I do?  I am so lost, so ashamed, so desperate.

Diagnosed in May 2009...

You have done what most ADDer's have not. You got the diagnosis, are taking the meds (And they Help), you realize how the ADD affected your marriage and Own it, it sounds like you have apologized (If you have not, do so) and continue working on better coping skills. Similar to your situation, I thought that too much damage had been done and I was not sure if my changes would come in time. Most of the Non-ADDer's do not expect the changes to "Stick" and they are just your latest Hyper-Focus. This is understandable because of the repetition of poor coping skills, like you mention your Sarcasm... I'm the same way with Sarcasm and after medication I'm even better at using it, but still fight the urge to use it on my DW during a conflict.

You have zero control over what your wife chooses to do, so just knuckle down and re-invent yourself. "Perception is a Bitch" I always say and it takes a long time for people to see your changes as the "New Normal". The Old ADD You will be assumed for quite a while and you can only deal with it until you begin to see people treat you differently.

You sound like you are on the right track, so keep up the good work.

I agree....

Keep up the good work is right!  I am the wife of an ADHD husband and I am soooo proud of you.  My husband and I many miserable years of marriage, and I was just about to see a divorce lawyer myself, when he "came around" and decided to begin medication.  I understand that you are a new person, that you want your family and your marriage back and that potentially, things could be "happily ever after" for all of you.

I also understand that she has separated herself from the marriage and you are in the process of divorce.  Understandably, that must have taken alot for her to do.  Ten years married is a long time, and three children together is a huge commitment.  I have to say, had I gotten that far, I don't know if I could/would turn back either.  The amazing transformation that the medication can bring is so unbelievable, that she really needs to "see it" and "live it" first hand.  I do hope that you have interaction due to the children, and it will be visible to her that you are a different man from the one she planned on divorcing.  You can't force her, or rush her or anything.  Baby steps and consistency on your part will show her that this is the real deal, and maybe you can (if nothing else) get her to put the divorce on hold.  Tell her about this site and let her look over the posts.  You know there is hope, I know there us hope, MANY of us here know there is hope.  She just has to see for herself, and you can't fault or blame her for that.

Wishing you all the best with your treatment and behavior modification, and certainly hoping your wife will see the difference.

on the right track

You're on the right track - and it's true that you can't do anything about her actions - you can only change yourself.  It sounds like she is going to have to work out her own issues, which seem to include alcoholism.  If she indeed has a problem and it's not just her binge drinking because she was fed up with the marriage, that could have serious repercussions for the kids and you need to mention it to your lawyers.

Focus on yourself.  I spent a lot of time worrying about what my husband was thinking or assuming about me (I am the ADHD one in our marriage).  After my diagnosis, i felt like he was jumping on every mistake and getting mad because i should be 'fixed' now that I know what's wrong and i'm taking pills.  It wasn't the case - he's learning alongside me what changes I can make, but I am (and have always been) sensitive to criticism from him.  Once I was worried that he was upset with me for something - I can't even remember what it was, - and his response was, "no i'm not mad at you, but so what if I was?  there's nothing you can do about it but go on doing what you need to be doing right now."  which is true.  One foot in front of the other 3rd Chapter.  You're doing so well and you have a great job.  Keep on keeping on, as they say.  Be the best Dad you can be to those kids and prove everyone wrong.  it takes people a while to register change.  They will.