The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (LONG)

Well, lately I have been very active on this site and many people have commented about how much my posts have helped and enlightened them.  However...you can probably deduce from the sheer quantity of my posts in the past few days how many hours I have spent on this stupid computer.  That naturally means I have not been doing other things...IMPORTANT things!  This is where I turn my "Good" strength (written communication skills, compassion for others) into a "Bad" or a weakness/failure, because I will hyper-focus on such written communication and ignore my more pressing responsibilities.  And now it is 11:15pm and my dh has been in bed for at least an hour, and I am STILL on this blasted computer!  We have not had relations in probably 2 weeks.  How could we when I never go to bed at the same time?  This is a source of tension for us already.  But he goes to bed promptly at 10pm every night.  I have told him that is just TOO EARLY for me.  I don't know what the appropriate compromise is.  I'm not sure why it bothers him so much whether I come to bed at 11pm or at 1 or 2am, if it is after he has gone to bed either way?  But it does bother him and for some reason, it does make a difference.

This brings me to the Ugly.  He has been really irritated with me for at least 2-4 days now.  He does not know what I have been spending my time on, but he knows it is not on whatever he has expected (or hoped) I would be doing.  My bag is still not unpacked from our lake weekend.  And I was late meeting him for that (see my "Mother's Day" post).  I'm not even sure when I last showered (sorry but you are all strangers anyway so I am just being brutally honest).  I have not been to work yet this week (I work part time and my hours are flexible, but I do have to go SOMETIME!).  Usually he is very patient and kind.  Starting this weekend, he has been especially stressed out and almost mean.  He has overreacted to comments I make.  He has visibly and verbally restrained himself from saying what he really wants to say.  He has barely listened to me.  I am super-sensitive, and even more so when he is acting this way, so I have started asking if he's okay, if something's wrong, if he's upset with me.  We have argued very briefly (mostly just strained comments on both sides) several times in the past 3 or 4 days.  He has been reading Melissa's book.  For awhile I thought it was really helping him to understand, but now he just seems so IRRITATED.  

Yesterday in a discussion we had regarding our ADHD son and some school/grades issues he is having, my dh mentioned that he knows (from the book) that our son probably needs some help or further treatment for his ADHD beyond just his medication, but he personally can't fix it and doesn't want to be responsible for solving it.  I am wondering if he is starting to feel overwhelmed and responsible for managing both an ADHD son and an ADHD wife?  Maybe he fears it is his job to help us both, but he doesn't know how and he is too busy putting out fires to even stop and consider what to do?  

Tonight we went to our son's JV baseball team banquet.  It had somehow not made it onto my calendar, so I totally forgot about it until a friend called me and asked me to bring something to her at the banquet tonight.  At that time it was about 4:45pm and the banquet started at 6:30pm.  I was standing in a store 15 mins away from my house (which is 30 mins away from the restaurant), buying items for the art teacher since I am the homeroom Mom for our daughter's class.  The person collecting all the gifts will pick it up tomorrow afternoon.  I am down to the last minute to get this gift (of course)...and I haven't even put out a request to parents to collect any money yet!  So I am just buying the gift out of my pocket and planning to ask (and hope) for reimbursement from the other parents later.  I called my dh right away to let him know about the banquet.  Then I decided since I was half-way through shopping for the basket of goodies, and it is "due" tomorrow, I should go ahead and finish up.  I knew it would make me a little late but I figured it was better to finish the task while I was in the middle of it so that I would not have to come back tomorrow and then deliver the gift to the school (25 mins away private school) before the coordinator needed to pick it up.  This way I could finally go to WORK tomorrow without wasting time running (duplicate) errands.  

Then I had to come home to meet dh and pick up our son.  I could tell he was irritated that I was late (by 15 mins).  Then I asked him if I should just stay home with our other 2 kids (old enough to stay alone, but it is a school night).  He snapped at me that if I did not want to go, then I should have called him so he could have left 15 mins ago.  Ugh.  Now I am in trouble, so I quickly backtrack, "No, I DO want to go. I was just asking what you thought."  I also had to collect the item that my friend asked me to bring to her, which is what reminded me of the dinner in the first place.  This irritates him more bc we can't leave right away.  I have no time to prepare anything for my other two kids to eat.  I tell my daughter she will have to just fix herself a sandwich. We have to take my dh's car bc mine is low on gas and I knew I did not have time to fill it up before I came home.  On the way to the banquet, I was telling him that I talked to an administrator at school today regarding my concern that they have not scheduled an event honoring our headmaster who is leaving. I decided to talk to her bc I was beginning to feel responsible for it (not at all my responsibility), and I needed to "turn it over" to someone else.  I knew I would not be able to let go of it in my mind until I was sure that the right person was aware of the concerns. But as I was relaying my conversation with her to my husband, I did not think he was listening--he just seemed very distracted.   I even asked him, "Would you rather me not talk about this right now?"  But he said it was okay if I could just let him listen and not make him talk. Fine. But then as I continued, he jumped in and said, "You don't need to take on that project!" And I snapped back, "I'm NOT--that is my whole point! I was trying to turn it over to HER!"  

We arrive at the restaurant 15-20 mins late.  It really did not matter, as everyone was just getting settled and going through the buffet line (BBQ).  Somehow the conversation at our table with friends turns to me staying up late (I think I brought it up).  Our friends ask, "How late is late?"  And for the first time that I can EVER remember, my dh breaks our cardinal rule that we do not criticize each other in public. He tells them (in an obviously frustrated tone) between 3 and 4 AM.  Yes, there have been nights that were that late, but usually it is between 12-2 am (not that this is much better).  I try to interject (defensively) that I usually fall asleep on the couch and I am not really UP that late.  Then someone asks what I am DOING at that hour?  My dh says in frustration, "That's a good question!"  I know I probably deserved it, but I was really hurt by the whole thing.  And he truly NEVER does that to me in front of other people, so it scares me.  Now I am really worried that he is VERY upset with me about something (or everything).  

And without telling you the whole story (see my previous post "Why Would He Set Me Up For Failure?"), over the weekend, DH commented in front of his parents that he was really close to just hiring someone to decorate our lake house since I haven't done it yet.  That hurt me too.  If you have read my other post about this, you will remember the struggle I went through 2 weeks ago trying to shop for furniture like he asked me to do.  We were very close to selecting and ordering something, but then my "spring break" week (without kids) ended when I was not quite finished with that project, and I had to get back to other responsibilities.  So I put the furniture-and-decorating-project on hold.  

In the meantime, I collected photos, designed and edited a 6-minute slide show with music for the Volunteer Banquet at our kids' school (he is the chairman of the volunteer organization) and helped plan a farewell reception next week for 3 teachers who are retiring this year.  I also researched local ADHD coaches, contacted two psychiatrists (he doesn't know about that part yet) and talked to a friend about her experience using one of the doctors with her son.  I came up with an idea to create memory books for the 3 retiring teachers and began to collect the pictures I will need.  I signed my daughter up for the babysitter's course she wants to take, requested the forms I need for my older kids' sports physicals on Saturday, helped my other daughter prepare for a piano recital this weekend (she did NOT want to practice, so making her do it has been very high-maintenance!), FINALLY made an appt for my older daughter's orthodontist consultation and picked up her library books for her, as well as scheduling my mammogram which I have put off for about 3 years now.  I ordered and picked up all of our prescriptions and made dinner last night.  And oh yeah, I put together a gift basket for the school's art teacher to be turned in tomorrow.  And just for fun, I took my kids to the Grand Opening of the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in our neighborhood at 6am this morning--they had a great time and got t-shirts and hats.

.......AND I also spent way too many hours in front of my computer. And I didn't do any laundry or housework. And I forgot to send my child a lunch today so I had to go and eat with her so I could bring her some food.  And I don't have gas in my car.  And I forgot to take the garbage can to the curb yesterday when DH was out of town.  And I forgot about the banquet tonight.  And then I was late.  And then apparently I was talking too much or doing too much or doing the wrong things or unnecessary things?  And now I am still up and on my computer at 12:34 AM.

I started out with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but there hasn't been much good in this post.  Sorry.  I guess I am the one who needs some encouragement this time.  

I will post another message about my AWFUL conversation with a "supposed" ADD/ADHD therapist which did NOT help my outlook today...

Wow...let me see if I can

Wow...let me see if I can tackle this, my soul sister.

Your first few paragraphs could probably be written by my husband...are you sure you're not him, disgusing yourself, to make me have to think about these things? lol

I cannot give one solid reason why I want him to come to bed with me...at least a few nights a week...but I can say that it probably has to do with this picture I have in my head of  what I would like my marriage to look like. I do enjoy the time with him, I enjoy having him physically beside of me, doing nothing else but just sharing time with me watching TV. When he is on his phone or computer it just simply takes away from the experience for me. I sometimes want his undivided attention. I know that sounds crazy, considering we're typically going to sleep watching TV, but it just feels better to me for him to be doing nothing but cuddling with/laying next to me. What I have come to realize is that we will not always understand each other...his needs may seem crazy to me...mine to him...but if it is a TRUE need then it has to be something we're willing to give. As in every situation, there is always room for compromise and I'm hopeful we'll eventually find some balance. As of right now, his typical bedtime is about 3 a.m...mine is about 10 p.m. Someone suggested to me that I approach him with the compromise that he come to bed when I do for an hour or so, give me the cuddle time I need, and then he is free to go back to the den or back to whatever it is he needs/wants to do. I haven't mentioned it to him yet, as I am hoping that HE will take the initiative and find the balance for us so that I don't have to, once again, 'take charge' and be put in the position to feel like I'm giving him 'rules', even though it would be more like a compromise. It is degrading and hurtful to have to ask for your husband's time and attention.

Although I think you're right that your husband is probably irritated, I think you may already know why. I admit it does irritate me for my husband to 'do nothing' (i.e. spend every waking minute on his computer, PS3, messing with his phone, etc) and 'forget' to shower and various other things he really needed to do. I make it a point to get off of my computer before he comes home (even if it is just as he pulls in the driveway) and not to get on it again unless he goes to the den or otherwise occupies himself. If he wants to talk or spend time with me, I am going to be available if at all possible. I am going to guess, from the conversation at the banquet (again, could reverse that and it be me and my husband), that is he most definitely upset that your schedule (life) is so different from his. He may be worried about what you're doing on the computer, but probably more to the point he's just simply feeling neglected. I imagine it would be hard for him to put this into words, to admit it to you, but his anger is telling you something...and my guess is that he is hurt. He wants more than what he's getting from you. Quite possibly he's 'picking' on "the housework" and "the lake house" to get the message to you, in a round about way, that he wants/needs you to check in with your husband and be involved. Please take my advice...as someone who quite possibly feels his pain...please listen to what he's 'not' saying..to his demeanor and attitude..and don't blow it off or take it lightly because you don't understand. I KNOW you care and I KNOW you are trying hard too, but focus your efforts where you feel they are most needed...and right now it feels to me like your husband may be sending out an SOS. I truly can see myself in his behaviors (irritated, short tempered, critical, pointing out faults in front of others) and in the end all I ever wanted was for him to stop doing things that hurt me. My approach (your husband's as well) SUCKED...but it was all I knew to do at the time.

For a while, the more I learned about ADHD, the worse I felt about it. At first, to be honest, I would read things and think "how could this person admit that they knew they were hurting their spouse, but claim they just couldn't help it" and it honestly made me more angry at him and less sympathetic. When you're first learning what goes on inside the mind of someone with ADHD (as he is, if he's reading Melissa's book) it is almost impossible to wrap your mind around the idea, thought patterns, and 'differences'. It is literally like asking someone to believe something that they've just simply never even thought of as possible. It is VERY VERY VERY hard for me, for example, to witness an action of my husband that is hurtful, and convince myself that it wasn't him, it was his ADHD. I'm looking RIGHT AT HIM...of course it was him, right? Wrong. Along with disbelief comes sadness. "wow, he may always do hurtful things, but I'm just supposed to accept it because he can't help that he has ADHD?"  It is a LOT to take in...and when you're taking it all in, and at the same time LIVING with the symptoms right in your face, it is overwhelming. Sometimes, the more I learn, the more scared I get. Maybe he's coming from this place too...of overwhelm and fear.

All of the other little 'irritations' are probably just a symptom of something much larger going on here and will hopefully subside once you get some things in place to help better manage your ADHD and he comes more compassionate and accepting of your ADHD.

I would start with two things that seem to be key in your struggles of late. First, set a timer and DO some housework and laundry...even if just for 30 minutes each day, you'd be amazed at how much you can get done in such a short period of time. Give him something tangible to sink his teeth into. Second, set boundaries for yourself for bedtime. If you like to read, and staying up later than him to read (in bed) is an option, then just join him at 10 but stay up later reading until you're ready to go to bed. My husband drank Sleepytime Extra tea (with chamomile and valerian root..2 tea bags) for a while to get back into the routine of going to bed earlier...and eventually he was able to do it...until he stopped ADHD meds...but that's another whole thread. I don't think it is fair for him to ask you to be in bed, every night, at 10 o'clock...but I do think it is fair for him to have some reasonable expectation that he will fall asleep with his wife next to him several times a week. These are two things that you can start to work on TODAY. Eventually they will become 'routine' and part of your life and you won't even notice what you're giving up (computer time) for them. 

Hope this helped some...(((HUGS)))

Sherri

Update

Hi Sherri!  Thanks so much for your posts this week.  I have not been to this site for a couple of days because I took your advice and worked on my To Do list BEFORE I turned on my computer the last couple of days.  Yesterday I got LOTS done and it felt really good!  I made sure I did several things that were NOTICEABLE to my dh, and I even scrubbed my laundry closet tile floor on my hands and knees.  Something (soap or detergent, I think?) had spilled on it literally YEARS ago and then years worth of dirt was stuck to that.  My 9 yr old daughter told me today, "Mom, you did a good job cleaning the floor!"  Wow.

My husband had the EXACT reaction to reading his first ADHD book that you described--made it worse instead of better.  That was why he has been so irritated this week.  We finally talked the other night, even though he is not yet finished with the book (almost!).  He basically feels totally hopeless now and even more angry than before.  But I really think it's going to be okay once we move to the next step and I learn to start managing my symptoms better.  He will not leave me; our value system does not allow for that, and he even reassured me of that when we talked.  But I think that is what has made him feel hopeless and probably somewhat trapped.  Now that he is beginning to understand that there is truly a problem which is never going to be fully resolved, I think he sort of got scared--that things will never get better.  He was so upset that I decided maybe it was time to go ahead and broach the subject of professional help.  He was very open to it and willing to participate in any way!  I told him that the cost just for the eval is $600 and he said he didn't care if it cost $600, $1000 or $10,000 - he is ready for me/us to get some help!  So I called yesterday and the doc's office (the good one, NOT the quack!) emailed me the questionnaire forms for us to fill out.  He has already completed his form!

I had another productive day today (two days in a row is unheard of for me!!!).  Although, I must admit that I doubled my meds dose (yikes!), so that probably helped.  I have been thinking that I need to increase my dose and I asked my doctor to prescribe it a week or so ago.  I was on 50mg Vyvanse--I wanted him to prescribe the 50mg and also a bottle of 10mg so I could add them together and try 60mg for a few days to a week, then 70mg, etc., until I found the right dose.  Apparently, that is not legally permitted, so he just prescribed 60mg.  But I don't think that was enough either.  So the past two days I have taken two of the 50mg (100mg!).  I do think that is more than I need (I felt slightly nauseated the first day and a little shaky the 2nd morning), but I have a feeling 80 or even 90 may be close to what I need, which is a lot more than 50.  Anyway, I'm sure the psychiatrist can help me with all of that once I get started with him.  A lot of people here and in books I read talk about Adderall, and I wonder if I should try that.  I was also thinking that maybe he can prescribe something for me to take in the evenings when I need it like days when I have social functions.  In the past year or two I have become more and more anxious about social situations, and those events are typically at night when my meds have worn off.  

And Sherri, I went to bed just slightly after my dh last night and he reached over to put his hand on my arm as he was falling asleep (I was reading).  It was nice, and like you said, I think he was glad to have me beside him.  So I will try to get in a better habit of going to bed with him at least a few nights per week.  Tonight I was working on a project (not just piddling around on the computer), so he did go on to bed without me, but I think it was okay with him.  He is more relaxed on the weekends.

The biggest new system I have tried for the past two days is a very detailed To-Do list.  Just MAKING the list has been time-consuming, but I think it was worth it.  And when I have time I will try to create a form for it on my computer so that I don't have to write or organize it so much.  I read in another post that our (ADDers) To-Do lists are always twice as long as other people's.  I did not understand why, but now I think I do.  It is because we have to put things on our list that other people would just DO without thinking about it.  And we are also usually behind, so then we have all those catch-up tasks on our list too!

One funny thing that my DH said when we were finally talking about it was that he wonders why I can't apply my hyper-focus to laundry?  I tried to explain that laundry is a BORING CHORE that has to be done over and over and over no matter how well you do it at any given time; but when I say that it just sounds so awful, like I am an insatiable child who doesn't want to do anything that's not fun.  But I am trying to at least be honest.  Laundry will never get my adrenaline pumping!  But I know it has to get done, so I've got to figure something out to stay motivated.  I used a timer and a list yesterday to stay on task.  Today I had so many things to do that I didn't need a timer because I had to jump from one thing to the next faster than that and there were a couple of things I HAD to FINISH--I could not just stop after 15 mins if I wasn't done.

Getting sleepy now (yay) and I have a full day again tomorrow with piano recitals and sports physicals for my kids as well as finishing a couple of projects I am working on for school year-end activities (teacher gifts and a farewell reception honoring retiring teachers, etc.).  So I'll say goodnight and sign off.  But I wanted to say thanks to Sherri for the good suggestions!!

Great Start!

It sounds like you are heading in the right direction! Don't fret about the dosage. I'm prescribed 60mg Adderall per day. I usually take 50mg, but sometimes I needs the 60mg depending on when the day starts and how long it needs to go. Keep up the good work! One thing to note... You will see how much better you are able to get things done, so don't try and add more things or you may find yourself over-whelmed again. I did this at first, just trying to make up for lost time. Just keep your daily list realistic :-)

YYZ