How to stay consistent with treatment?

So...my wife had a pretty epic blow up at me this morning because of my inability to see the problems I am causing.  I get into this crazy cycle where I am doing okay with seeing a therapist and taking medication, but then inevitably I "fall off the wagon". i.e. start missing therapy appointments, stop taking medication and then the cycle starts all over again.  My question for the successful people is, how do I avoid this?  I am not even aware that I am doing it.  That's the main problem in my marriage is my lack of awareness.

This article basically describes me to the letter:

http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/men-adhd-who-arent-convinced-it-matters

I am convinced it matters, btw.  I just often lose sight of why it matters or again, my awareness.  Thanks in advance for the tips and responses.

some suggestions

I am a non-ADHD spouse but one of the things that my husband has done is set up calendar reminders.  I believe  he has said is that he gets caught up in something else and has no sense of how much time has passed and just misses things.  I'm not sure your technical ability but basically my husband uses a Google calendar that ties in with both his phone and computer, it then alerts him when he has appointments and even his medication.  We share calendars so that I can add reminders too.  It seems silly but we have reminders for everything from taking out the trash to having sex to meetings for business. I don't know if either of you are open to it but I also help remind my spouse, nicely, when he has stuff to do.  Once it becomes part of his routine I generally no longer need to.  I would imagine your issue is just an organizational one and creating new habits.  It took awhile even for me to get into the habit of scheduling so much of our life.  At first both of us used to even forget to write the reminders. :)  The other thing my husband told me is that he HAS to do things when he thinks of them or he will forget.   If he cannot do them immediately then he uses a task list and we have post-its all over our house but they remind him of things.  If he remembers something while he is driving he usually calls me and asks me to put it in his calendar.  Organization, diligence, and teamwork.  Quite honestly, my husband used to triple schedule things, be late constantly or just not show up at all, now he always (well 99%) is there and on time.  I hope this helps. 

buckeyeaaron's picture

I am a very techy guy so this

I am a very techy guy so this will help me a lot, thank you.  I am not sure if you have read Melissa's book, but I have "time tunnel vision" and it sounds like your husband does too.  It's so hard for me to see and plan for things not in the now, but I just wired up my iPhone to my Google calendar and I am going to start there.

2.5 years post diagnosis

I have not missed more than one dose of Adderall since my diagnosis because I don't like how I used to feel, simple as that for me. I keep learning about ADD and it's effects as well. The ADD will never go away, so I know I must be vigilant or risk losing everything, like I almost did 2.5 years ago. YYZ

"falling off the wagon"

I often see this when working with couples.  The spouse with the ADHD is only reminded to "take care" of the ADHD when things are bad, but when things are good they stop thinking about it.  I call this "going on vacation" and it is hurtful to your relationship because it gets in the way of your partner being able to trust you.  In fact, if you are in the habit of "going on vacation" as you describe (ignoring appointments, stopping meds) you create a roller-coaster experience for your partner that will result in her not being empathetic towards you for it's too dangerous for her to be so.  In your model, if she is empathetic and "easy" with you, then the result is that you become "worse" again by stopping taking care of the ADHD.  She learns this pretty fast, so what really happens is that you not only hurt her, but you hurt yourself.  Wouldn't you rather that she could relax around you and enjoy being with you without fearing that by showing her joy she encourages you to "fall off the wagon"?

The way to stop this is to create a specific reminder habit for the meds and for the appointments.  Set an alarm in your cell phone to remind you to take your meds at a time of day when you are near them (i.e. breakfast, etc.)  If you are a multiple times a day pill taker, set multiple alarms.  Set them to go off every day.  Set a once a month reminder to refill your scrip, about one week before you actually need the meds.  Set it at a time when you can immediately act on it (i.e. Saturday morning rather than when you are at work).  If you are taking a controlled substance, set an alarm to remind you to contact the doctor at the interval needed (this time during working hours!)

It may sound pedantic, but your getting this operationalized (if you want to think of it this way) is incredibly important for these reasons:

  • consistent use of meds allows you to be your best most often
  • getting out of the "going on vacation" cycle sets up the most likely case where your spouse can learn to trust you again
  • by making the effort necessary to always take meds you communicate to your wife "I'm serious about this, and about our relationship - I love you"

Make this a priority.  It's worth it!

buckeyeaaron's picture

Thank you for the quick

Thank you for the quick reply.  I got in to see a therapist yesterday and have another appointment next Thursday.  I just moved so I had to have my records transferred over for my old therapist and they won't be able to restart my medication until they get those and I meet with their resident psychiatrist.  For now, I am trying to be very calculating about what I say and do.  It takes constant effort on my part and I feel that I will probably fail at something else before it happens.  

We are reading your book together.  I ordered it from Amazon and had it overnighted.  I hope this helps in the interim.  The book is definitely speaking to us as a couple and it's almost disturbing how accurate it is.  Are you sure you weren't watching us via a webcam or something?  :-)