I have ADHD!!!
The impact on my marriage has been devastating, in fact it may have killed it completely. The Jury is still out right this moment but this being the fourth time my wife has asked me for a divorce the odds are not in my favor and honestly they are pretty slim.
I know without doubt that I truly love my wife with all my heart and everything I am.
But I am coming to realize just how badly my ADHD has caused me to hurt her. Although I am now reasonably medicated ( thanks to her) I have never done the research into what I am really living with and learned the behavioral and psychological tools I need for coping with day to day situations that need to be learned in addition to having ADHD meds. It's become clear that having an in-depth understanding of the different symptoms such as anger, addiction, procrastination, forgetfulness and so on is an absolute must for anyone that lives with ADHD.
I would go as far as saying that if you are in a long term relationship or planning to be in a long term committed relationship that you had better acquire these skills and master them quickly as possible or the odds you live a content and loving life with your partner is slim to none.
What I think those of us with ADHD need to know is, by not fully understanding what we are dealing with puts us in the position of not fully understanding the position we put our partner in and how difficult it is for them to live with our day to day struggles. If we don't get it how can they?
An Example: I say to you that I love my wife and I really mean it but here's the kicker. It became so easy for me to get lost in my own little world that I became withdrawn from hers. I would come home from work and expect her to be loving and greet me with a smile and a kiss as she is cooking dinner and after we ate dinner I would trot of to zone out on the television while she cleaned the dishes, did the laundry, took the dog out, etc. As I sat there zoning out on mindless bubble gum it didn't even cross my mind that showing her that I loved her would be getting out of my chair and helping her so she could bring her day to an end as well and if the thought did come to me it would disappear just as fast.
Here's one even better: for those of us that experience anger and frustration it's a very difficult and ugly reality that manifests it's self in many different ways for many different reasons and therefore is hard to notice it growing larger and larger over time until one day you explode or absolutely lose it with your partner or in front of people that you would never want to see you like that.
For me, my anger got worse and worse over time and mostly towards my wife because she was unfortunately the one pointing out how disengaged I was and I resented her for it.
Eventually she had enough of my lashing out and attacking her with verbal abuse.
The worst part for me was when I had to admit to myself that I had an anger problem and that I was verbally abusing my wife, the one that I say I love so much remember? If you want to try on a real mind f**ck, try to reconcile knowing you deeply love someone and coming to the realization that you are abusing them. My wife is a kind and loving, beautiful person but she became angry, resentful and withdrawn because of my continued abuse. How do I feel? Pain, sadness, sorrow, guilt, shame?
Yes, all of the above. She didn't deserve it, any of it.
What I am saying in all of this is, not knowing myself and how my brain works kept me from realizing that I was not involved in my wife's life or our marriage. I was not living up to the promises I made when she married me. I was just a guy she was living with and not a very nice one at that.
The best advice I could give to anyone that is reading this and can relate to it in even the smallest way is:
Yes, medication is a wonderful thing when prescribed correctly but it's not the end of the road. You still have to do the work, put in the time to learn everything you can. Read all the book (no matter how tedious it is) watch all the videos, find a good Psychologist (that knows ADHD) join a group and anything else that you can think of and learn as much as you possibly can.
In the end the more you know yourself, the better your chances of avoiding my painful mistakes and living a happy life.
As to what's next for me? Well, I need to take my own advice and begin my own quest for knowledge and find the source of my anger and gain a deeper understanding of what I am up against and how to best to control those parts that I can. Hopefully when I have found the best version of me my wife will be able to live with what I have become and choose to stay. To be truly honest considering the hell I have put her through for the past eleven years it's going to be a pretty tall order and just short of a miracle if she does. God willing.
Now go, learn, live, love and be happy.