Hi all. My name is Tim. I currently live in London, UK and am approaching my 60th birthday. I found this forum after finishing "The" book.
I am a retired fire officer and former primary school Governor (kindergarten to sixth grade translates I think for the US audience). Spelling will be English so please excuse the "S" where you expect a "Z" and the addition of U in words where there is none in North America. My role within the fire department, as well as the school, included screening for specific learning difficulties, autism, mental health issues and general welfare challenges from external sources. I never considered myself an expert in any of the screening work, nor the child protection role where abuse or neglect was suspected, but the latter is always dealt with via social services and the law courts in the UK. Despite my lack of professional training (few Governors are ever doctors of psychiatrists for instance), I felt that my radar was reasonably good when screenings took place.
Yet it wasn't until my nephew was diagnosed with Asperger's that the light bulb moment occurred and realised that my brother (his father) was almost certainly living with the same high functioning condition. I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder (actually they called it "manic depressive" back then) and, as often is the case with anything connected to mental health it became the taboo that no one was allowed to talk about - I really wanted to, but the response each time was to be shut down by friends and family.
Whilst reading Melissa Orlov's book, every page ticked a box about what was going on in my life, my marriage, my relationship with friends and former work colleagues (I'm now semi-retired). When I started to suggest that maybe I had the condition, the overwhelming response from some of my closest friends has been that it was the elephant in the room for years. I have no idea why anyone didn't see fit to mention it, but there we go. The biggest issue at home is that I am married to the polar opposite of myself when it comes to organising trips, events and life itself. As well as the "usual" list of behaviour cycles that the book highlights so clearly, the parent-child issue is painfully present as well as my ability to talk for England that can be brought down to Earth with train crash speed to shutting down and not uttering a word.
I can write what I'm thinking in a manner that people clearly understand although (as you'll notice) it's usually verbose as a simple yes or no without qualification or embellishment just seems rude. It's verbal communication that is problematic as I can't delete the last wrong word or edit a paragraph that was unwittingly critical, negative, accusatory or argumentative. That lack of editorial control when speaking should teach me to shut up for ten seconds until I've thought properly about how to respond, but that doesn't seem to work either at the moment, because as soon as I am constructing a sentence in my brain, the distraction is that I am being attacked and I have to defend myself and that just gets too overwhelming. I also swear (cuss - potty-mouthed expletive ranting) when I'm excited, annoyed or impassioned about stuff - good or bad.
Paradoxically, I spent 28 years leading and managing firefighters after I was promoted myself at operational incidents without it being particularly stressful. In hindsight, the ADHD may have contributed to some of the relationship conflicts that occurred at the time. Profile wise, I know we're all unique, but some of my own traits don't necessarily align with the stereotypes of the condition. I am untidy and need to make what seems like a huge effort to put things away and in the right place each time, but I'm getting much better at that after years of practice now. In 35 years of full time employment, I was late for work just twice. I do most of the washing and a fair share of the washing up and domestic chores in the house too. I love to cook, so that's never a chore. We are both procrastinators though, but I'd rather stay up until 2am washing up than get up early to do stuff that's unfinished, whereas my wife will be happy to leave things until the morning then she'll get up at silly O'clock, go for a swim and a gym class and maybe a run and be back for breakfast and a clear up. This is her "normal" full on a crazy busy organising adventure after adventure.
It would be easy to say that maybe that's just my impression given the difference in expectations and perspectives from one partner to the other, but friends and family routinely tell us that they get exhausted just reading about what we've been up to (almost ALL of which is organised by her-she is amazing). What has now become clearer is that it's not the actual organising so much as the engagement, enthusiasm, co-planning - sitting down together to actually help and show some sort of personal attachment. I don't know why I have so much difficulty in achieving this. It doesn't seem like an unreasonable request to chat about an adventure, but the allegation that I'm oblivious to things around me is clearly confirmed by our closest friends.
I'd love to work on things from start to finish most of the time, but even the relatively quick jobs will get put to one side because of a distraction. We're currently selling the family home in order to move closer to the grandchildren and I've been managing the arrangements for care for my mother with Alzheimer's since February that's gone awry in the last week (dispute between mum and a care worker - not ADHD related), All of this adds to the stress and distractions though.
I love my wife dearly, but it's clear that I am the cause of her unhappiness and I cannot counter that. She has said that she feels lonely and unloved, which having read the book I understand this is "textbook" stuff for ADHD partners. I'm hopeful that we haven't left it too late, but I will leave without a fight if I continue to be the source of her sadness. I'm not one to give up, but I need to try something different and maybe some space between us will help a complete meltdown.
So that's where we are, because it is WE and not just me, I get that. I'd love to hear from everyone what works best for you. What were the deal breakers? What strategy or tactics reaped results? What's the one thing you'd avoid if you could start the ADHD effect journey you're on all over again?
Thanks in anticipation of your responses.
Submitted by Sollertiae on
As an Australian, I welcome your use of 'u' and the 's' and the 'll', we can match. Also, what an awesome career to have - so varied!
Can I ask if you have, or are seeking treatment for the ADHD, or whether you still have a dual diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and ADHD? Managing the distraction from jobs and tasks will really be helped by some form of treatment. Likewise the rejections sensitive dysphoria (that sense of being attacked? Is an actual thing) can also be bought under control quite well which will help with ... everything. Certainly some sort of counsellor might be of great assistance to you. They can help walk through some of the reasons things happen (impulsivity in speech, etc), and techniques to try help control them.
I do believe Melissa's book emphasises this, and I cannot tell you how important that it is - dedicate time to you and your wife regularly. No interruptions, no phones. Do it walking, get something to fidget with, or have background music if it helps you focus... but if you want her to not feel lonely, then you need to bump her up your priority list and keep her there. She is kind of crying out for it in the chatting and planning because it probably feels like the only time she can find a reason to ask you to spend time with her.
Admittedly, not the best way, but she is trying. If that doesn't work for you - and to be honest chatting about an adventure and the planning that goes into it is possibly the worst thing to ask someone with ADHD to do - then you need to think of a way to either make it work, or actually go out of your way to offer her some regular (weekly at least) engagement that works for you and for her. The reason why it is so hard is that with the 'now' and 'not now' aspect of your attention, talking about something that is in a future that is not now is possibly almost impossible. There are of course people with ADHD who love to plan, and plan, and plan (and never get to the doing!), for most anything further ahead of a week or so outside of routine is a fog filled land of whatever happens. Especially if it is not your idea to start with, or necessarily something you yet have an interest in and therefore can hyperfocus on. Maybe ask yourself at what point do you normally get 'onboard' with her adventure planning? That way you can let her know that you aren't ignoring her, or find a way to help the conversation carry some of that part that you engage with.
Otherwise you are going to need to talk to her, and yeh. I get that this is hard. The inability to communicate emotions and thoughts verbally is pretty common in ADHD. Especially if the emotions are strong - how do you get everything out, or where to start? RSD makes everything extra hard (what is your brain hurting itself, what is actual rejection?) because you don't even get to the starting point. As a strategy though, one leaps to mind immediately (and is in the 'Book'). You are clearly able to express yourself in writing so beautifully in writing*, so this is perhaps the starting point for helping alleviate your wife's sense of loneliness and lack of communication. Write to her. Write how you feel, about how she makes you feel (positive!) and what you are struggling with. Explain why you can't sit through these chats and that it isn't her fault!
Are you able to read okay without getting distracted? Because if so, you could ask her to write back to you if it is too much to do it face to face.
P. S. You might want to try for an ADHD pov on coping techniques, places like https://totallyadd.com/blog/, or HowtoADHD (YouTube). They have some good resources and talk more about the different symptoms. https://blackgirllostkeys.com has some really, really good articles on RSD, (https://blackgirllostkeys.com/adhd/adhd-rejection-sensitive-dysphoria/) and many other excellent articles.
* Hah! I don't have ADHD and still write verbosely - a lecturer of mine once described my writing as 'Byzantinely-Baroque.'
Thank you too
Submitted by Timthetangent on
I have an appointment, but no diagnosis yet. And I'm assuming it won't be the GP who diagnoses, that'll be a referral and on it goes. I have a friend's address nearby I can use after the house is sold so I don't interrupt the process and progress of treatment though if deemed necessary. Our family talk meets (the kids have both flown the nest now - just the two of us) need to be planned and structured or rather the frequency of them needs to be somehow enshrined in a schedule so it doesn't go off the boil. Once a week (as you say without gadgets, phones. cruise missiles or meteorologists interrupting us) seems to be the recommendation on threads and in the book. Emergency meetings can always be called too, but so I'm being clear here, this is hypothesis at the moment as it hasn't happened yet. We've historically had meets to exchange diary entries right back to the Filofax days of the 1990's but with syncing electronic diaries, this now rarely happens. The embellishments and meat on the bones of appointments (e.g. who needs the car or if this is in connection with another social event) is often lost without this interaction. I always lost it unless I wrote it down - something I previously attributed to a head injury and coma in a motorbike crash as well as the occasional lacunar infarct from over 30 years with type 1 diabetes. It's a complicated brain we all have I'm sure, but this personal medical history of mine probably doesn't help to pinpoint what's causing what.
I'm fine reading alone and can even manage it with some background music and noise (planes, trains but not automobiles - that makes me sick). I do the bulk of the writing in the family. My wife is actually a very good writer, but she prevaricates and really doesn't enjoy it. It's not just those of us with ADHD who come into conflict with doing stuff we don't like to do.
Thank too for all the links. I did a screening for RSD and it's the least prominent aspect of the ADHD profile according to that test, but if I've learned anything these past 3 months it's that my perspectives on things are not always the same as everyone else's. This is a great resource. Thanks melovely.
NB as I'm new on here I should explain that the singular Melovely and the collective Melovelies refer to fellow human beings, regardless of gender. Without this explanation it might look patronising or sexist and I'm in enough trouble already with my foot-in-mouth-disease. I have been known to insert both my size 12's in my mouth at the same time. I do come in peace and so if I'm upsetting anyone, please let me know. It's never my intention to hurt or offend. Some people work very hard to be unkind and offensive, but some of us do it without trying. That it's unwitting and unintentional is of little consolation if you're the person being hurt.
All good, I have met people
Submitted by Sollertiae on
All good, I have met people with foot-in-mouth-disease from ADHD, as well as other causes. :) I also have many elderly relations from the North of England who do love a good 'love' or 'lovely' no matter the face I make at them. Can't say I have heard 'me lovely' in a long time though, so mostly I snorted with laughter.
You will want a psychiatrist to diagnose, as I think - much the same as over here - the types of medication that will be of help to you need to come from them rather than from a GP, given some of them are restricted due to being stimulants.
Once a week is the minimum. Don't be afraid to make it more either, but definitely make sure there is at least once a week that leaps up and slaps you in the face. Likewise it is not simply organisational talking, but see if you can at least do something in some of them - being out, going for a walk (helps focus), changing things up a little bit. For yourself and for her.
Go with what works for you. Kinda the important part. My partner basically keeps a diary where all appointments and dates go. Phone? It is dead to him when it comes to appointments. If not in hardcopy then it does not exist. And well, I would suggest that the inability to keep track of appointments is probably ADHD, but definitely not helped by other medical trauma. The coping strategies are pretty much all the same anyway whether the cause is acquired brain injury, ADHD or whatever is causing it. I find too much stress turns me into a ditz who forgets everything. Brains, they be hard.
From my own experience, RSD has this horrible tendency of being worse for the people around you even if it is not the most prominent thing, and it can do lasting damage in one sentence. At various point in my life, I might only have had RSD for one week out of every month, but then spend the rest of the month trying to undo the damage. What is helpful about it is that there are good techniques that can be learnt to put in some distance, that are pretty useful for everyday life in general and pretty much any relationship. As you say, most things are transferable to the general populace and not only ADHD.
I also hate writing. It is what I do a lot of at work and find no enjoyment in it. Much like the dishes. But I like drawing, so that is how I often communicate. About finding something that fits. :)
Submitted by Exhaustedlady87 (not verified) on
I'm a Brit in California, so I welcome the UK spelling.
I would perhaps suggest that the reason you never had much issue with your condition when it came to your work was because you enjoyed it, and it being quite a high octane job with lots of adrenaline rush moments, it really appealed to you and plays into the ADHD brain (there's quite a lot out there on ADHD brains liking stimulation and hence why you'll see a lot of risk taking behaviour - glad you found a positive way to get that rush). My husband also has less trouble at work, because he loves his work and it's very interesting to him. He's also very verbose (academic), and well spoken, except when it comes to personal stuff (at least, historically, that was the case).
I would say the thing that has brought about the BIGGEST change in my life was him going on medication. I don't think he realises quite how big a difference it has made to his life and to those around him. We had a rough period of experimenting with different drugs and doses, with some turbulent side effects, but now he's found one and a dosage that works I can honestly say my life is night and day different. He sits and listens, he doesn't fidget. He doesn't interrupt me or others. He makes fewer inappropriate comments. He's more aware and respectful of others. He plans things more. He makes lists. He doesn't forget as much stuff. He doesn't order lots of random crap on Amazon. He's more focused at work. He's more focused as a father. He's less impulsive. Honestly, medication has saved my marriage to the point where I have made it a condition of my staying. I was ready to be out just six months ago. I was done, fed up. I didn't want to be with someone I couldn't rely on and who felt like another child to me. But it's like he's a different person now. I don't get anxious anymore when he goes out with our 4 year old, fearing there'll be an accident because he's not paying attention. I don't worry about the finances. I don't worry that he can't step up when I'm sick. He's very slowly changing my view of him from just another dependent I have to look after to someone I can count on. Even my friends have commented on how different he is.
We have not tried therapy as, personally, I don't feel I need it, but I know some couples do. What I would say has worked for me is making a list of the stressors in my life and brutally trying to cut down on all of them, also him just going to the doctor and taking the meds reliably without my asking. As a result, I am less stressed and his daily actions are changing my view of him, but also, he's being very patient, knowing that I have been pushed to the brink and beyond in terms of my mental and physical health in keeping the family together and sorting out the chaos over the last 4 years, and that I need time to recover from that level of burnout. We are just existing peacefully, quite platonically right now. Whether my romantic feelings can recover towards him, only time will tell, but it's been a good start and I have hope that as more time passes where he demonstrates dependability, and I recover more from my burn out, perhaps some of those feelings will return. But it can't be rushed. He has to be patient. I forgave him everything ages ago, but that doesn't mean I forgot.
To answer your direct questions, in summary,
What worked best for me? - Removing all possible stress from my life and simplifying it. My husband taking charge of his own condition and going to the doctor and taking meds (don't make your ADHD treatment her responsibility - that's parent/child stuff).
What were the deal breakers? - Feeling that I was in a relationship where I was drowning, screaming for help, and my partner was standing on the boat, oblivious, right next to the life saving ring, drinking a beer and enjoying himself.
What strategy or tactics reaped results - Medications. Nothing else had much impact on him. We could talk for years and he could try his best, but I only saw viable change when he took meds. For me, taking charge of my own stress levels and forcing us into a stable financial state that then only had to be maintained not gained again. Also, routine. Both my husband and 4 year old do best with a routine that doesn't vary much, and though often I'm driving that routine, it keeps our lives stable and the more he gets used to it, the more he just does what's required (though I often still have to prompt and chivvy along so we don't get off schedule - but again, it plays into a low stress lifestyle).
What's the one thing you'd avoid if you could start the ADHD effect journey you're on all over again? - There's little I could have avoided because I just didn't know the problem was there. Had I known, I would have insisted he go right into treatment and then likely little of the damage that has been done would have happened. And I would have been more heavily involved in ensuring the financial stability of our family.
Final random point, one of my biggest issues with my husband is him not being present even when he's physically there. It seems he's always sucked into one device or another. Granted, he's working when he's on them, but still. I want him present and engaged with our daughter when he's at home. If you're like that too, try not to be. There have been times in the past where I have wanted to take a baseball bat to his computer, he's been that sucked in. It's infuriating and demoralizing to feel less important than an apple device, especially when there's lots going on around you, where you're actually needed, but you're just head into a computer, like an ostrich in the sand. I don't lose my temper easily, but boy did that make me mad.
One way he moderates his computer use is that he goes out to do stuff at the weekend with our daughter so he can't be on his computer. He has a phone wallpaper that says "what are you looking away from?" to remind him that he's not focusing on what's actually in front of him, and he tries to do his work (academia never sleeps, there's always work to be done) before she wakes up or after she's asleep, if he still has more. But even so, I frequently find myself shouting to his study to ask him to get off the computer and participate or help. I try to give some leeway as he's not playing computer games, it's actual work, but still. That's one of our biggest issues, but at least when I ask him to get off, he does. So that's something, and it's definitely not as bad as before he was on meds. I no longer feel an urge to hurl the ipad into the loo ;).
Also - edit - Don't be surprised if your wife doesn't respond as positively to "the book" as you do. Personally, I felt that it placed a lot of responsibility on the "non" spouse to change. I know it's been said that Melissa wants the non partners not to "try harder" but to "try differently". But when you're just burned out, it still feels a lot like someone is saying "it's your job to fix it, again." And I was just plain fed up of everything being my responsibility. I was exhausted. So really, I'd advocate taking yourself off down the doctor yourself for an assessment and planning your own treatment rather than presenting your spouse with "the book" as if it's a cure all and expecting them to be as enthusiastic as you are about it. At the point I was at in my life, I wasn't sure I had the energy to do what the book was asking of me as a non-partner.
When my husband was diagnosed he felt optimistic, I did not. I felt like I'd been given terminal news, and I honest to God went through a serious grieving process, because it was official, he'd never be who I thought I had married and I'd never have what I thought I had signed up for. Do not be surprised if your wife reacts differently to a diagnosis than you do. The best you can do is take charge of your treatment yourself and just follow through on whatever you want to fix or do better. Many people on here have said that after years and years of ADHD behaviour, words don't cut it anymore. They need to see action to believe it. It's a bumpy road, that's for sure, but it doesn't have to be the end of the road.
What medication is your husband on, ExhasutedLady?
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
Hi there, EL... I understand every person responds differently to different things, but that medication sounds like it really worked wonders for your husband. May I ask what he is taking and what dosage? Thanks!
He's on Adderall, I think
Submitted by Exhaustedlady87 (not verified) on
He's on Adderall, I think quite a high dose, maybe 30mg, but he also takes a "booster" dose at the end of the day, 10mg as he was metabolizing the main dose too fast at the end of the day and the sharp comedown was frankly making him an irritable, argumentative A-Hole (lol - glad we only endured a month of that because I was ready to serve him divorce papers had it gone on any longer). He tried Ritalin too, but it didn't work as well, and we tried varying doses of both, and he recently tried a week of some fancy newer drug, but it just made him nauseous, so he's stopped looking for something "better" (if such a thing exists), and is just sticking with what's working well for now - the Adderall plus booster dose. But he now takes it come rain or shine. He tried to vary it up to start with, and take breaks on the weekend, but I said if he was worried about dependency he had to talk to the doctor about a plan rather than experimenting with it himself, with me and our daughter as collateral to his chopping and changing meds taking schedule - not cool. It took a few talks to reinforce that the meds were NOT just for work and work hours, but for weekends and evenings too, and that he wasn't allowed to just randomly not take meds whenever he felt like it, and if he doesn't take them, he has to tell me so I can be aware that he's not on point properly, and I will take the lead with chores or our daughter.
The benefit of the booster dose is that it's small, and it makes the effects of his meds last longer, until just before bedtime and then they wear off so he can sleep. Beforehand, the effects were wearing off right when he was coming home for dinner, so work got all the benefit of the meds and I got F all.
I really can tell when he doesn't take his meds, and I'm lucky that he gets up first and I go to bed really early, so these days I rarely interact with him when he's not on them. I know some people don't like how they feel the meds "dampen" their personality, but I would say that he's still who he is, just a less exhausting, more responsible version, and one I much prefer.
He recently asked me "What happened, you fell in love with this awesome guy and then what happened to change that?" My answer - "Life happened. Situations came that required me to need someone to depend on in a way I didn't need to when we met, and I realised I couldn't rely on him. I suddenly had all this adult responsibility (especially as a parent), and it felt like it was all on me." But I feel he is more dependable now, except when it comes to our daughter's sunglasses. I can't tell you how many pairs of those he's lost ;) But all in all, it's been a helluva roller coaster year, but he's improved so much that it's easier to let the occasional forgetfulness slide, especially when he now remembers he forgot something, and generally goes back to get it. I don't feel like every little thing irks me anymore. It's a vast improvment.
It's worth mentioning that my
Submitted by Exhaustedlady87 (not verified) on
It's worth mentioning that my husband had an in depth ADHD assessment in June (that cost a lot and took 4 hours), and he ranked in the 96th - 99th percentile for as BAD as an issue could be for 5 out of the 6 variables tested (most of them being various executive functions as ADHD is sometimes referred to as a condition of executive function). Emotion/Empathy was the only variable he was tested for where he was almost neurotypical. So... yeah, he really had it BAD. This wasn't ADHD Light. We were up against it hardcore, and I'm actually quite amazed at how big a turnaround there's been.
I would say that my husband could, and probably still can, be sensitive to real or perceived criticism (RSD stuff), but as he's of a scientific background I managed to get him to approach our conversations about his meds with the view that "his meds were an experiment, and I the experiment observer." Thus, if I asked if he had taken his meds, because he had emptied the trash but not put a new bag in (or whatever it was), it wasn't because I was having a go at him about the missing trash bag, it was because I was making an observation that he hadn't seemed to do that when on a particular med or dose, so had something changed? He began to view the information I was sharing with him less as criticism, but as necessary feeback for him to draw any cause and effect conclusions about the effects of his meds on his actions and behaviours. Of course he still got defensive sometimes, but I'd just repeat that I was making an observation, not an accusation, and then he'd usually come around, because even he can see that he can't notice what he doesn't notice, because he doesn't notice it (lol).
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
All of these posts were really helpful, ExhuastedLady. Thank you so very much. I am so happy that your situation has improved so much... amazing!! :)
It is a lot better and I'm
Submitted by Exhaustedlady87 (not verified) on
It is a lot better and I'm lucky that he was never in denial about his condition and was 100% on board with treatment with the doctors. I didn't have to fight him on that. I'm also lucky that he was able to take a measured, rather scientific approach to treatment, as it somewhat allowed us both to take a step back and talk about it impersonally, as if it weren't him, but a patient called ADHD we were both attending to. The ability to discuss it dispassionately helped curb rows and temper flares on both sides.
I think I briefly mentioned routine but I'll touch on that again. One of the executive functions he struggles with is short term memory type stuff, as in ask him to do something or tell him something and (pre-meds) a few minutes later, *POOF* it was gone from his memory. The benefit of routine is to do with repetition. The more we repeat something (be it a thing or action), the more that thing goes from our short term memory into our long term memory (you'll see this from something basic such as learning the words to a song, down to learning long pages of lines or a complex dance routine - repetition, especially when combined with some form of action or physical movement, helps to aid in long term memory storage of things - lots of interesting research on that out there and its also why making and breaking habits can take such a long time too).
I've always found that if my husband can establish a routine, he does very well with it, but if there's a change to that routine, it takes a long time for him to adjust to remember or incorporate the change. Thus, I have worked hard that our week and days have a predictable routine. He now gets up before me and without my needing to prompt, always makes tea and coffee and empties the dishwasher and puts it all away. He gets to do emails while I do breakfast and get our daughter dressed. He then amuses our daughter while I make her daycare packed lunch, and he takes her to daycare on his way to the office (it's all within walking distance). At 5:30pm, he comes home, participates in dinner, assists in the bedtime routine, and then gets free time to do as he pleases once our daughter is asleep at 7:30pm. On Saturdays, he and our daughter always cycle to the farmers market. We do a shop in the afternoon, and they often go to the park too. On Sunday, they have an outing - the beach, indoor playground, aquarium etc. Wherever they want to go that day. If she falls asleep in the car, he just drives around until she's done with a nap. I generally stay home, try to rest, and do a bunch of boring household chores which I don't mind doing as I listen to various documentaries to keep me occupied. Perhaps some would argue this level of routine is boring, but he does travel sometimes for work, there is some flexibility in weekend activities, and because everyone knows what to expect, the whole household is less stressed.
The other thing is that he can struggle with memory recall. I notice this less now he's on meds, but he used to say, "The information is in my brain, I just can't get to it." And he was right. If you prompted him with something that jogged the memory, he could recall it exactly, but he couldn't spontaneously summon the information. It's why so many people say "I already told you that a million times..." to their ADHD spouse. I found this most prominent for me with chores around the house. I didn't want to have to keep telling him what to do and what needed doing, but he couldn't seem to recall what I'd told him a hundred times before, so I just stuck a massive list on the wall, which he can refer to. And when my daughter was a baby I genuinely had a list on the wall too of things to do to soothe her when she was crying. It was a "no excuses" approach - can't remember? Well, you can still read, so refer to the list.
I do still take the lead on a lot of things, just because it's best that I know everything going on and can make sure what needs to happen, happens, but that's mostly for my own peace of mind these days. I would say the relationship is more like lead pilot and co-pilot than pilot and passenger these days. I'm still in charge, but if I really need it, he can take the controls. It's not equal yet, maybe it never will be, but it's a darn sight better than what it was.
Submitted by Timthetangent on
Your words are extremely helpful and quite poignant too Ms Exhausted. Thank you.
I was aware that my wife might balk at having to read a book and feel that once again she has to fix things. I did suspect that might be an issue, but she's a tough cookie (we're both obstinate too which adds nothing positive to the mix). I agree that sorting out meds/the way forward with my condition is MY job. The resolution to the issues, of course, have to be done jointly or not at all I finished a letter to her today. I haven't named "her" yet on this thread as I have yet to introduce her to the site (it's of course in the book). It's a resource which I hope to share with her. I'm sure the non-ADHD contributors will have stacks in common with her and she's a proper red coat (the nickname we used to give to the organisers, like the entertainers who multi-task and sort everything in Butlins).
Your words have been really enlightening and helpful. Thank you again.
Happy to help in whatever
Submitted by Exhaustedlady87 (not verified) on
Happy to help in whatever small way I can.
For me, resolution of the relationship issues was something I wanted to tackle after we'd sorted out the medications. Partially, because then I'd have a better idea of which issues there actually were still to resolve jointly (many issues mostly just sort of cleared themselves up with the meds alone - like inattention and inability to follow through), and also because I found the meds journey - finding the right ones and right doses - just wasn't the right time to be working on certain stuff. Some meds had negative, behavioural effects - such as quick temper and angry outbursts. And that wouldn't have been a good time to be tackling difficult issues, mostly because my husband was already being an argumentative <insert expletive> over even the small stuff. We knew it was the meds that were causing the temper problems, but we had to wait to see if it'd level out by the end of the prescribed 2 or 4 weeks of that particular med/dose. My husband could tell his temper was rising on certain meds/doses, but said he had no control over it.
Of course, how you approach your journey is entirely up to you, and everyone is different, but for me, working on the joint issues was only something I wanted to do AFTER finding a stable medication. Otherwise it just felt like I'd be adding fuel to the fire. I can't imagine the fights that would have ensued had I broached tough subjects while he was emotionally unstable from the medication tweaking phase. It wouldn't have ended well, and I probably would have been more hurt, unnecessarily so. For me, it was kind of a period of biding my time and trying to focus on me instead - what I wanted and how I could positively affect my own life.
However, once a stable meds situation was established for my husband, and there were no more raging out of control emotions, we were better able to discuss some of the deeper issues in a calm manner. And because his demeanor had changed so much from the meds, I felt much more like what I said was listened to and actually acted upon.
I would say that this is a great forum but there are a lot of people for whom things haven't worked out. Thus there are a lot of posts that are quite sad to read, as the people in them are in a lot of pain (even my inital posts were not great - quite depressive in nature because I felt depressed). The positive of being on here was that I did find a lot of people who could commiserate and relate to me, which was valuable, but I didn't see many posts from users that gave me hope things could work out. It's just something to be aware of. I believe it's likely a common bias on support forums, as people doing well don't generally need to post as much, so the content tends to lean towards the negative - people's struggles (which are all very real and viable). But from what I can tell, the difference between the situations that don't work out and hopefully yours, is that where people didn't get happy endings, their ADHD partners, for the most part, were either in denial about their ADHD or refused to be treated properly for it and commit to treatment long term. If you are willing to address your condition, and not deny it and the impact it's had, and undergo treatment and work together on your resolution, you're already off to a great start. Melissa has a post about how "ADHD doesn't ruin relationships - Denial does", and that's a good one to read if you haven't already :) When I first read it I was in such a negative mindframe I just couldn't connect with it, or even agree with it really, but I see better where she's coming from now.
I've had to change a lot of my views and expectations about what I can and should expect my partner to be able to do, and be more accepting of the life that I actually have. Instead of expecting him to just take the lead on certain things, I now just divide tasks based upon our strengths, and sometimes I do just have to plan things for him to then execute. But that's been a whole process of my own I've had to come to terms with. There's definitely work to be done on both sides.