I have been a member for 5 months now and this is my first post. I have found invaluable information on here, thank you for your thoughtful posts. I am having trouble finding a post about exactly what's going on in my marriage and looking for a bit of outside perspective here:
My husband and I have been together for 7 years. He was diagnosed with ADD in high school and has taken meds on and off ever since. He has never liked the way they made him feel and almost never takes the full dose for a day (for instance, he'll only take 1 in the morning and not the second pill). He has tried, it seems, all the medications in all the dosage amounts (concerta, ritalin, adderall, vyvanse, straterra, straterra and adderall together....I could go on).
One dilemma for us is that vyvanse worked wonders with no apparent side effects. It is so expensive and our insurance doesn't cover it. To be sure, if we could afford vyvanse, many of our issues would be solved. Looking into making this happen (switching plans/just buying it outright @$400/month) but not sure we'll be able to any time soon.
In the meantime, his main complaint with the other drugs is that he cannot sleep, on top of not feeling like himself. He has had trouble sleeping since he was a little boy and the stimulants just make it so much worse. So in his 20's he began a pattern of taking ADD meds during the day to get him through the work day, then drinking in the evenings to calm himself down and sleep. He has never abused alcohol nor has he ever abused the stimulants.
We have fought fairly explosively on and off throughout our entire relationship. Never anything physical, just very explosive, aggressive words and high voices and slamming doors over things that people should be able to have a rational conversation about. It always feels like we've gone 0-60 and I don't know how we got there. For the first 5 years we worked really hard on this pattern and on our interactions with one another, both agreeing this is not how we should be interacting. We both acknowledge we have equal parts to play in getting the fights to where they go, and that we both come from homes who dealt with conflict in deplorable manners. We both need to break from our patterns. We've been to communication retreats, marriage seminars, read books, and had much counseling. There is no lack of effort on either of our parts, and our communication HAS gotten a bit better.
About 2 years ago one of my husband's counselors (not an ADD-specific counselor) was trying to help my husband out with his meds as H was describing his usual qualms and difficulties. He was trying Vyvanse for a while and everything seemed much better- fights were dealt with calmly/rationally. H could finally sleep. And his mind was clearer than ever. But H's healthcare changed at his employment and we couldn't afford Vyvanse anymore. H went back on Concerta-30mg and it felt like the air was sucked out of our home. I was living with a different person and we began fighting again. H's couselor kind of laid out a timeline for him and pointed out how his thinking changed/aggression changed/ our fighting began right after this drug switch, noting that he didn't think H should get off meds-just to be aware of that. After trying a lower dose of concerta for a while H and I both determined we didn't think this drug was working well for us and he switched back to adderall (30mg?). I like him better on adderall but we still felt like he was too aggressive so the past 6 months we decided he'd go down to 10mg adderall and work his way up to see which dosage worked best. The previous 5 months seemed great on the marriage front. But H was still dropping the ball at work and a little at home. Not worried about him dropping the ball at home-I can carry quite a heavy load. But the work life had us worried. So 1 month ago he went back up to 15mg adderall. We almost split up this month. We were brought to our lowest points ever in our marriage. This is not to say I didn't truly offend him at certain instances and that he didn't truly play a part in his own reaction. But it has me wondering- how much of our fighting is due the stimulant? Keeping in mind he was drinking every evening while on it- how much does that play a part in his reaction to my offenses? Offenses such as making an off-color joke at the wrong time or saying "you promised you would help me today, and you haven't been helping very much." These are truly offensive to him and things I feel bad for and have apologized for, but nothing that can't be solved with a rational conversation.
I didn't know what to do and we couldn't seem to have a rational conversation to resolve the issues. So I gave him an ultimatum, which I now regret but I also truly don't know what else I would have done to calm him down-I had already apologized for everything I had done to hurt him. He had to stop drinking and go back down to 10mg adderrall or I was separating from him for 6 months. Also, to be clear, I had already made it known for quite a few years, but especially the past month, that I was uncomfortable with his drinking as I was beginning to see a pattern of fighting after he had drank, so I would like him to not anymore. He would say, "but I won't be able to sleep." And I understand that.
After the ultimatum, he immediately agreed to stop drinking and it has been 3 days and we had an interesting conversation last night. I feel terrible about the ultimatum, and he feels terrible for not listening to my concerns for all these years and we have truly reconciled. But he he is so frustrated with this whole situation. He doesn't want to be on meds at all, but definitely not if he can't drink. But he also recognizes that destructive pattern he's in and how it's effecting our marriage. He doesn't want to pretend he is something that he is not and wants to be accepted in his place of work just as he is, not as they need him to be on drugs. He wants to be free of ADD obviously, but ultimately, excepted just as the imperfect, unique, intelligent, caring person he is. So he's off the meds and we will see what happens with his job. I should also mention, he's a very fit and healthy person (on the keto diet most days unless he's lifting heavy) so any recommendations about working out and eating to fuel your brain are already in place. He's just a true case of ADD and has a really hard time in this demanding work world without the meds.
Are we missing something here? Any advice from your perspective?