Healing Myself While Still Living Together

Forgive me if this is jumbled, it's really late right now.  My husband posted here before me.  In a nutshell, my husband sought treatment for his ADD after our marriage was in dire straits 6 years ago, was good about getting treatment, but gave it up eventually and slowly stopped his medication all together.  Big surprise, our marriage is in a state of falling apart.  Except I am in much worse shape emotionally than I was before, and I was a wreck then.  I can't stand myself, my relationship with my husband, and had lost all hope of any of it changing until I stumbled on this website.  The day after I read about everything I could here, I had an epic blow up at my husband - again - because he was blaming me for his problems - again.  This sent him searching the internet for direction and, lo and behold, he stumbled onto this website on his own.  It opened his eyes to understanding me and himself.  Honestly, I didn't think that was possible.  It hasn't been until now - 6 years since we last tried to fix our marriage - that I have read something that has spoken so much truth to what both my husband and I have experienced as a couple together.  Melissa Orlov is a heaven sent.  Being married to someone with ADD, or having it yourself is a complicated situation.  It's very easy to see why people give up on relationships of this kind.

The problem I’m finding now is mustering the strength to begin again.  I can’t get myself to reset my gears.  I’m so exhausted from my blow up at my husband a few days ago, my internal compass is failing me, I’m ashamed at how utterly dysfunctional I’ve become, and the stress is so bad that I am feeling it in my entire body.  I need a break from him, but it would devistate the kids.  Yet I truly CAN’T go through the vicious cycle with him again.  I spoke with my husband about these feelings and he is taking the last few pills from the last time he got treatment to help him out until he can get something else from his Dr.  It's Adderall, so it helps in some ways, but he becomes over focused and it's hard for him to break away from what he's doing.

I don’t have any friends to talk to and my family, especially my mother, is so burned out with their own issues that I know if I try to seek support I would be stressing them out further.  I made an appointment with a therapist to work out my stress and find ways to cope in my relationship, but it isn't going to be fore a few more days.  I can't stand that my kids are feeling the stress, too.  My boys, 9, 7, and 4 are acting out and rolling their eyes at me more.  I'm a disappointment and I am surely fighting depression.  I can tell they're thinking, "Emotional and Depressed Mommy can't do anything fun because she's tired or stressed out."  "Don't lose your shoes or Mommy will lose her mind."  "Great, I'm getting the 'don't make me repeat myself lecture', AGAIN."  I'm so cranky that I'm a ticking time bomb around the kids.  Living with me right now is not fun for anyone.  What will become of me if my husband and I have another freak out session?!  I think I might explode into a puff of smoke and cease to exist.

Popping my head back in.

Okay - I had to check back this morning to make sure this wasn't a senseless rant.  I couldn't tell last night, lol!  I want to add how grateful I am that my husband came here, put himself out there to get help, and recieved such wonderful advice.  We're off to the pumpkin patch with the kids to forget about our troubles for a time...wish us luck :-).

A thought to share

Hi, I am relatively new to this site, having found it a few months back but never having posted anything.  Today, I am feeling the need to express a few things and after looking through the recent topics and posts, came upon this.  I relate to this post very well.  My husband and I have been married 13 years, and about six yeaqrs ago while getting some marital counseling, a therapist "diagnosed" him w/ADHD.  At that time, he began medication (focalin) and instantly, we (me more so) noticed changes in his behavior.  However, he was having some side effects and decided he did not like those, so stopped taking the meds a few months after.  Since then, we moved for a new job for him, and after similar struggles w/career issues, he began medication again, this time under the care of a physician who was treating him for high blood pressure.  The dosage was much lower than previously, likely due to a concern for the HBP, and he has never seemed to work on getting an effective medication regime going.  He goes in and out of attempts at exercising (hyperfocusing on it when he is in a phase) and does the same w/attempts at good nutrition.  Rest is a joke for him, as he stays up very late, most often falling asleep on the sofa.  He self medicates w/tons of caffiene, drinking pots of coffee and diet coke daily.  I could go on about his sypmptoms, but suffice it to say, we most certainly fit the stereotype of a couple living w/unmanaged ADHD in one spouse and I am the point where I am hungry to just work on what I can do for myself to live a happy, contented, fulfilled life even while he does not fully accept the diagnosis nor treat it. 

I recently purchased Melissa's book and am working my way through it.  I relate to your comments about not knowing if you have the strength to yet again do this cycle thing w/your spouse.  Recently, some issues around finances and deception reared their ugly heads, and over time, that really began to weigh on me, and I found myself eventually in my doctor's office having a pretty nasty panic attack, with blood pressure elevated (and historically I have been a 100/60 kind of person).  Though being the kind of person who would rather use tiger balm than advil or tylenol for headache, i found myself agreeing that it was time to begin a combination antidepressant/antianxiety med.  And I will say, I am so glad I did.  I find that physically I now feel balanced enough to not take every little thing on as a burden--prior to that, the tensions that seemed based on such petty things to me compounded and each one seemed like the straw before the straw that would break this camel's back.  I feel clear enough to really think through what are truly the issues for me.  I feel that I am able to be present w/our kids and work on my individual relationships w/each of them--and that is so very important to me, as we homeschool them, and thus I spend a lot of time w/them.  I feel like I am physically able to once again be the person I know myself to be.  So the thought I specifically wanted to share with you is to seriously consider beginning some sort of medical treatment yourself.  If you are committed to working on this, I would bet you would need it.  And if you are unsure, I would think you would need to at least get chemically balanced before you can be clear about what you really want/need--to try to decide w/out that may be unfair to yourself and your marriage.  I look back and remember all the times I thought "I don't think I'm depressed . . .BUT" and I realize, that was a clue to myself that I WAS depressed.  And of course, now I see that of course I was.  Anyone would be, trying to manage such a life over time.  So, when you read your comment that you are "moving toward depression" and your comments about your kids' perceptions, be gracious w/yourself and consider that you are likely already there, and just as your husband can benefit from treatment, so can you.  I know I have already in just a month or so, and on only half a dose of Lexapro. 

Blessings to you and yours!   

YES! This is the first piece

YES! This is the first piece of advice I would give...STOP discussing ADHD, let HIM get help and deal with it and YOU get help and work on your emotional health and then, together you guys can meet in the middle, but for now pumpkin patches and just lots of mundane, quality time together could be just what you need to 'reset'. PLEASE be patient with him, as long as you see progress, then you're doing wonderfully! He will stumble, screw up, forget things, be late, etc...becuase the ADHD does not go away overnight or with a pill. His conscious decision to come here and seek help from those who have 'been there, done that' is AWESOME. Kudos to you for recognizing his efforts. A lot of "thank yous" (from you both) will help too, even when it is uncomfortable, don't let each other forget how much you appreciate all of the efforts.

Another good book for you to read might be CoDependent No More by Melodie Beattie. It helps you detach from the ADHD and focuses on why we fall into the patterns/vicious cycle with them and why we let our moods be dictated by someone else. It has been a Godsend to me. I love Melissa's book, but was the only one here interested in reading it. So, for now, I am focusing 100% on me and getting control of my own emotions and being rid of that ugly anger that plagued me for years and robbed me of the joy in life.

Best wishes to you both...you're both very lucky to have spouses who are willing to recognize their faults and work on themselves. It truly does take two, and both parties have to simply LET GO and start fresh. Sometimes it takes a huge leap of faith, but it is worth it in the end.

Thanks, Venting, and Wondering

Thank you both so much for sharing your experience and bits of wisdom.  I am very interested in reading CoDependent No More and ordered it yesterday.  And yes – I am terribly depressed, but some days are much harder than others, so it isn’t constant.  I get out of bed every day and do find joy in doing things here and there when things are quiet, but I fight an urge to curl up on the couch and just rest constantly.  I’m moody – sometimes I want to cry, sometimes I want to laugh, sometimes I want to run and hide.

For more reasons than just my husband’s ADD (which is enough to send me to the funny farm), I need to seek treatment.  Starting 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder, had a miscarriage, and gotten pregnant again and suffered the entire pregnancy with debilitating hyperemesis.  So emotionally and physically that really wore me down on top of my husband no longer taking his ADD medication.  Toss a bankruptcy in the mix.  Since the beginning of the year, I found out I have the anatomy of glaucoma.  I’ll expand on this in a moment.  I’ve also had an ablation (to help treat the effects of my bleeding disorder) which left me in recovery for about 2 ½ weeks, my 4 year old was stung by a bark scorpion and ended up in the hospital needing antivenin, then I had a hack dentist drain my dental insurance on one tooth that needed a filling replaced, but he ended up doing a root canal, which didn’t work, so I went to a specialist for the root canal, which earned me a crown, which ended up cracking my tooth, leading to my tooth needing to be pulled, and now I have an implant without the crown because I’m waiting for my insurance to reset in January to finish the work.  The pain from the dentist experience that was drawn out over the period of about 4 months wore me out more.  Then my husband’s mother found out she had breast cancer, we came to stay with her for the summer to help out, then decided to stay.  Then began a stressful flurry to find a home, move our things from AZ, and do it all before the kids were to start school in August.

So, the glaucoma:  This means I don’t have any serious symptoms of it, but I’m at risk for developing problems.  Now, I’m of the frame of mind that I should cross that bridge when I come to it, so right now I feel blessed to be doing well.  However, in the back of my mind I’m terrified at the thought that I would have to rely on my husband to care for me should things get worse.  I just don’t trust him enough. 

Now – did I mention that we have a son with ADD and another who is high-functioning autistic? Lol, yes, I need treatment to cope with everything.  The anti-depressants I was on before didn’t work after a time.  I tried to get my pcp to help me figure something else out, but she just wanted to increase my dosage, which only made me feel much, much worse. 
I’m in the process of getting my hormones tested right now.  This could affect how I respond to treatment for anti-depressants.  GOOD GRIEF.  Seeing this all typed out is a realization.  Yes – I HAVE to start focusing on healing myself and I NEED my husband to take care of himself.  I just can't go through the cycles we do in addition to all of this.  I think this is also why I feel like I don't have it in me to begin again.  I know everything has been stressful for us both, so us both getting treatment is imperative.  Today is my therapy appointment.  It will probably just be lots of paperwork today.  Why does therapy have to be a slow ascent out of the trenches?  I guess it's like avoiding "the bends" in deep sea diving.  Going too fast is dangerous?  Lol, I want a quick fix.  

sullygrl's picture

Oh my goodness, run, don't walk back to your doc

Demand that they start looking into something that will help you.  I've been on anti-depressants for a few years. sometimes adjusting the dose works, soetimes it turns you into a walking zombie. Sometimes adding a second medication works. Soetimes switching works. the point is, you need to make sure your doctor is looking into all this and trying different things to see what works for you ASAP. Anyone in your position would have a gard time coping, that was a lot in a short time to deal with for Superman.

And of course, as mommy, it doesn't stop, but try and get those "calgon, take me away" moments as much as possible. By yourself and with family (but honestly if pumpkin picking is too much with the whole family just bring your son...it's HIS pumpkin) Take care of yourself. Otherwise you can't take care of anyone else.

And my S-I-L has the best quote for times like these. "Just remember, if mamma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy"



Thank you for the hugs and encouragement, sullygrl.  I've relied on the support I have gotten from here over the last few weeks.  I'm at a new crossroads now.  I went to that therapy appointment.  Apparently, they scheduled me with the same therapist my husband is seeing.  So, at the END of my emotional first appointment, she says she can't keep me and will call me after she's sent my case to her boss for referral to someone else in the practice.  I have this little complex, you see, because my mother handles me that way.  She listens and then pushes me away because she isn't good at handling conflict or anything that a batch of cookies and tea can't fix.  So, being told, "I can't help you, but I will call you soon to let you know who can." really felt like a low blow by fate.  Have I gotten a return call?  Nope.  Not even after following up and talking to her in person where she promised a follow up.  And that therapist, well, she apparently is ADD, too.  Great.  She's the one helping my husband.  At least she can relate to him.  And he feels like he's getting the support he needs.  I just am not keen to return to that practice for myself.

I don't have many options as far as other therapist and psychologists in the area since we now live in the country.  I did find a psychologist nearby in a major city.  He has an incredible reputation for managing medications well.  He called and said he doesn't bill insurance companies, but would give me the necessary documentation for me to take care of it.  So, $200 for the first visit and $100 for each subsequent visit would need to be paid out of pocket.  Well, our pockets just got robbed by a city tax loop hole involving our past bankruptcy.  Turns out they don't have any record that my husband filed his taxes for the year we owe - yet he swears he did file.  That means it can't be included in the bankruptcy.  I could try to argue that it is VERY likely he didn't file and that he doesn't remember things correctly, but he is so sure he did file, so I am trying to be supportive.  There isn't much we can do to prove otherwise anyway.  Because my husband says we were never summoned to court for the garnishment hearing (again - it is VERY possible he did get it and he doesn't remember), we missed out on being able to have a say in the amount they take.  Today, they took more than 20% of his paycheck.  Ouch.  Goodbye awesome psychologist visits.  Hello $$$ lawyer to try to negotiate a lower garnishment.  At least my husband listened when I begged him to hire a lawyer instead of taking all of this on himself.  He was already confused by everything and getting quickly depressed.  I couldn't take over because just trying to get on the same page as him is like pulling teeth out of a crocodile's mouth:  he's ready to snap at me at any moment and isn't giving up the needed information very easily.

My husband is sticking with his therapist appointments and attended his first CHADD support meeting last Sunday.  He's trying really hard to straighten himself out.  He is still cycling in and out of managing his ADD, so the mood swings and jerk behavior are still a problem.  I keep telling myself he just can't help himself.  I feel so unable to function with him.  Still hitting my head against a brick wall.