Help Needed For Desperate Husband Of ADHD Spouse

I apologize if my issues are addressed elsewhere on this site-I just don't have the time to read everything and could use some help.

2 years ago I broached with my wife the possibility that she had ADHD; she took the suggestion well, stating that she always felt she was borderline for it and had a family history. She started meds but any time I suggested that what I had read (Mostly Driven To Distraction) on the issue indicated that in addition to meds she needed a coach or someone to help her function in ways that worked for her, she resisted.

2 years later, she finally started seeing a coach at a respected institution, but I still don't see or think I necessarily will see light at the end of the tunnel. I've read Ms. Orlov's book as well as Married To Distraction; I understand intellectually that my wife isn't doing things (or more often not doing things) on purpose. I try to be patient and try not to react when she forgets to do something time and again.

We have 5 small children, 3 on the autism spectrum, and a lot to take care of to get through the day and the week.  I do the calendar, food shopping (except bulk items) kids school lunches, dinner most nights, make appointments, try to remind my wife of what's coming up, and on and on. I am concerned that I have taken too much on but cannot rely on my wife to take on any of the responsibilities I have.  Her sense of time is so different from mine-it's really that something is either now or not now. She loses track of time and is late getting kids from school, to school, to appointments, sometimes just spacing on them even when we speak about an appointment 10 minutes before she's supposed to leave. 

She is not happy that she's not using her time better; she's been trying to start a business, which seems contraindicated to me for someone with no business background, no experience really paying bills, and with her symptoms not yet managed. We desperately could use some money from her but I've resigned myself to not expecting any.  She embarked on this venture without talking with me, possibly because she feared/expected (correctly) that I would ask some basic questions-what's your business plan? How much do other people in this field make? What's your market, etc. The upshot is that she's made little progress at all. I've tried to be supportive-have not given her dropdead dates for the business to be at some stage, have signed her up for free classes our city offers on starting a business, I've written emails for her to ask for testimonials for people who attended a workshop she gave (with her permission, knowing that i could write and send the emails in 5 minutes, and that she might never get around to doing so).

When she's in a structured environment-a summer job where she runs her own unit at a camp-she does fine, but without someone's expectation that she will be at work from 9-4, that some kids will be at her unit at 10 am. etc., she just loses weeks and months.

I love her dearly but resent that my efforts are unacknowledged (she has difficulty saying thank you to me) and am concerned about the effect on me of repressing my frustration. She wants me to be encouraging but when all she has is a lead that someone gave her, which experience has taught me may never be followed up on, what can i say that's sincere and positive?

At some points she seemed to be expecting me, on top of my 2 jobs, to run her business, without ever being aware that embarking on this based on that assumption without consultation was not fair.

I know that change is hard-it's hard for me too, and I'm far from perfect. I do feel that I have tried to be patient and supportive, and could use wisdom on how to be while she's still working on her symptoms, with no timeframe in sight for progress (and with her reluctance to tell me about what she's getting from the coach-I just know she's not using a timer so that she can register when a half hour has passed as I've heard is sometimes done, and I must confess I don't know how much thinking and processing she does outside the sessions)-how to protect my mental health, not build up resentment and anger or direct it at the kids, and how to be the best spouse for her that i can. I'm only human but when I react with a fleeting facial expression when she's forgotten to do something important (give medications to a child, e.g.) or with a silent pause, she jumps on me. I sometimes point out that there are consequences to me from doing something she was supposed to do.

I could go on for much longer, but I think you get the point. I've tried to empathize with her, tried to find from her how she'd like me to remind her of her schedule, but nothing works. Until I remind her of something I don't know whether it was a good thing, whether it was needed but resented by her, or not needed by her and resented. It's a moving target. One day she was supposed to get something for a child for school the next day-we spoke about it but when I was in a store that stocked the item I thought better safe than sorry and picked it up-sure enough she had forgotten it or somehow thought it was needed until 2 days later-she wasn't angry that I had anticipated her forgetting. I try to take on all the things that are hard for her and easy or relatively so for me, but it's never ending and I don't get points with her for trying or doing.

Thanks for reading this far, and in advance for your insights.

 

 

Frustrations

I understand where you're coming from and empathize.  I would suggest finding a counselor and making an appt. for both of you.  Try to find someone who is knowledgable about adult ADD.  We had a counselor who knew about ADD but did not have an understanding on the impact it has on relationships/marriages, and it did not help us progress.