I feel as if I have lived in my husband's warped reality for so long, that I can't even imagine another world out there. Since my son was born nearly 3 years ago, it has become painfully obvious just how much of my attention and energy my husband was demanding of me. I could no longer live my life as a zombie, waiting for yet another one of his needs demanding attention - such as finding his phone for the 16th time that day or identifying the butter for him. I could no longer live having him interrupt me in anything and everything I did, because there was a baby who really needed me.
It became worse over those years. My husband could never be bothered getting out of bed on the weekends to care for the baby while I did much needed organization and cleaning. He wouldn't bathe our son for the first two years of his life because, my husband claimed he "didn't know how". My husband "doesn't know how" to do most things that don't involve a computer - either working or playing at one. He "doesn't know how" to go to bed at a reasonable hour in order to get up in the mornings. He "doesn't know how" to cook anything except hot dogs and steak. For everything he takes on that is out of his comfort zone - which is every task inclusive of walking from room-to-room - he asks me a million questions. He couldn't be sure if, when filling the baby's sippy cup, if there was too much milk or not enough or whether it should be warmed, and if so how much. We're talking about a cup that cannot hold more than 4 ounces at a time. He "doesn't know how" to put things away in our home because he can't remember where anything goes. For this reason, he cannot pick up our son's toys (no idea where they go in our son's room), cannot put laundry away (no idea where it goes), cannot put pots away - provided he ever washes them, etc. This is actually a vast improvement over when I first met him when he "didn't know how" to distinguish a washing machine from a dryer and "didn't know how" to turn the finally identified washing machine on.
But that wasn't all that served to solidify my feelings of abandonment. I could not count on his parents for help when they were here. My mother-in-law "doesn't know how" to sort flatware and "doesn't know how" to change a diaper and "doesn't know how" to make a bottle of formula, despite the instructions for measurement being on the can. She was unable to make toast in my toaster oven, because she could not figure it out. My father-in-law "doesn't know how" to do most of anything that involves going outside his own comfort zone, so he "doesn't know how" to mop a floor or "doesn't know how" to dust a surface. They can't work the straps on any baby item. They can't change my son's clothing. My mother-in-law, at least, would adjust her thought processes down to a baby's or toddler's method of play. My father-in-law "doesn't know how" to do anything with a baby or toddler except demand that he watch cartoons with him.
They're not much worse than my own mother, who is unable to find my home at all. I am from New York City and moved to a suburb north of it. My mother, who has lived in New York City for all of her life, is unable to comprehend the area in which I live. She also "can't" locate Grand Central Terminal - despite working two blocks from it for nearly 20 years - which is where she would have to go to get a train to my town. For my mother to come here, I have to travel to Manhattan to show her how to do it. We're talking about finding a famous landmark and boarding a train within it.
My closest friend in this neighborhood once watched my son while I decorated for Christmas - another thing I must do alone because my husband "doesn't know how" to erect a Christmas tree. My friend had only to play with my then 8 month old son at the time and feed him lunch. She "didn't know how" to feed him. She had to ask me every 30 seconds if each baby spoonful of mashed plums was "too much" or "too little". She had to ask me what to do if my son got the plums on his lips, chin or cheeks and ask me if the way she was wiping his face was the "right" way.
It seems as no surprise that I might be an ADHD/ADD magnet, since those people must find others to take care of them, and think very little of living their lives in this kind of intellectual dependence. However, all of this has changed my perception of reality to that of a very distorted view of others. I find myself not being able to reach out for help, such as hiring a babysitter. In my area, babysitters and nannies are 15-20 dollars per hour. All I can imagine in hiring one is dealing with someone who will ask me if they should play with my son's trains this way or that way and where are my drinking glasses again and if this water is too cold for my son, or how about now, is this water too cold? I imagine having stand over this person, talking them through every diaper change and having to find every toy for them when it's right in their plain view. All of that spent over hours of my not doing what I needed to do and then handing her 60 dollars for the pleasure. I won't leave my son in a daycare, even if I could find one right now. I can only imagine caretakers like my in-laws who never notice when my son wanders off or touches something dangerous. I know only my experiences when I'm at their home and I must protect my son every step of the way while they're supposedly watching him.
I won't hire a housekeeper, because despite experiences to the contrary in the past, I can only imagine one who will ask me if the wood cleaner can be used on glass and vice-versa and ask me to identify which one is the mop again. Or one who is unable to place my flatware back in its container because they can't sort it. Or, perhaps, like my husband does, they will need to ask me if they should move all of the chairs from the dining room floor at the same time while they mop and, if so, have me examine which spot to which they temporarily moved them.
This is what someone else's ADHD has done to me. I have battled two viruses in the past month - this being the season for it and all. Both times were severe enough to keep me bedridden for 4 days and 2 days, respectively. Chaos reigned in the house because I was not there to direct the simplest of tasks. I wanted to die - for emotional reasons, not a physical illness metaphor. I wanted to die because I envision that this is the rest of my life. I fear that the whole world is loaded with people who cannot figure out how to walk somewhere or fill a glass of water, never mind ever be there when I need them. I am tormented by feelings of wanting to die, because if I did die, who would ever be there for my son. It seems that in a world of 6 billion people, there is no one but me who is able to do it. That makes no logical sense, of course, but it is the way I see the world now.
When I leave my husband, I will not ever become involved with anyone ever again. I can only picture now that all men are like this, demanding an intellectual subsidy that is beyond reason; unable to even wake themselves up in the morning without repeated aid. I don't want friends, because I can only picture that they are all need and no support. I don't want family members near me, because I cannot spend much more energy directing them how to use a toaster oven.
I just don't know how I'm going to be able to survive the years of my son's reasonable dependence without sinking into an abyss of despair from which I may never emerge.
I don't know why I even wrote this. I guess because I have nowhere else to turn for listening except the people on this board who are among the few hundred individuals on the whole planet who are able to use a toaster oven with ease, but who find themselves also having to carry their portion of the incompetent people out there.
Thanks for reading.