I want to hear the SUCCESS stories

Hello everyone. I'm new here. I've been coming to the site for a bout six months but it wasn't until I read Melissa's book 3 weeks ago that I started to understand that my DH has a real condition and it is causing a lot of the problems we've been having since we got together 10 years ago. we were on the verge of breaking up until I read the book. I have been working on letting go of my anger and resentment for the past 3 weeks. might take me a while.

but here's my good news:

My DH has been the one taking the initiative to find out about ADHD and learning about treatment. We are spending a gazillion dollars (on the credit cards that he's nearly maxed out!! uhgh) on the intake process at The ADHD SPECIALISTS in Encino. We've been to 2 of the 4 appointments. They are giving him a higher does of adderall. he started it today. he says he feels calm, focused, motivated and a general sense of well being.

we have been going to couples counseling for 3 months (he started adderall 3 months ago) 

that is the longest stretch of couples counseling we've ever done. 

He says he wants to do CBT, hypnotherapy, get a coach etc. He sounds like he really wants to focus on taking care of himself.  But it's hard for me to trust that

A) he will do the work consistently (will the meds help him stay focused on the work?)

B) that it will actually work.

please tell me he will follow through. has anyone had experience where they got meds, got therapy, did the work and then had a relationship that they are happy with. I know Melissa has had that. I really want to hear more long term success stories.

I believe that if my husband and I make self care a priority we can have an incredible life together. but if he doesn't stay on track I am afraid we'll have chaos again.


Tired old man's picture

Hello, and welcome

     I am very glad to hear about the enthusiasm your husband has about managing his condition and it is encouraging to see the medications work.  If you've been here 6 months, you'll see it's clear that a lot of families here still struggle with mates that don't want to make the efforts required to heal themselves.  For we non-adhd spouses that have treatment commited mates, we should count our blessings.  Having said that, there is still, I think, an awful lot that needs to be considered and remembered.

     I've known of my wife non-functional behaviors for years and she was finally diagnosed about a year ago. And with medication, I saw some of her ADD behaviors start to improve.  (She had all the classic symptoms described in Melissa's book, and I dutifully overcompensated over the years by becoming her parent, yada, yada...)  I was elated, things are getting better.....maybe we'll have a "normal" life.  My hope had actually started to blossom again.  But then, about 6 months ago, I saw that nothing was getting any better.  It was clearly much better than a year ago, she was much higher functioning.  But the medication and life coaching had plateaued.  What the *&%&%&.!!!   We were doing so well, and well, maybe, maybe, maybe, she might actually be able to do the shopping, or wash the laundry, or wake up inn the morning and make breakfast for our child, or feed the cat regularly, or pay the bills or take out the trash.  I was hurt, then became very depressed.  It finally occurred to me that maybe this was about as good as it was going to get.  The medications were clearly working, and the coach helped organize her life, but she would never be what I projected, or even worse, needed her to be.  I finally had the epiphany that my expectations were still too high.  I wasn't let down because of her course of therapy was failing.  I realize now that it is my own need for her to be what I thought she was.....what she used to be.....what I still project and need her to be, is at the root of my suffering.  That's where I struggle today, letting go of the dreams I'm never going to see.  Don't think I'm saying we won't ever be happy or create great new experiences again, not at all.  I'm just saying that it's easy to let your expectations and hopes get so high that you lose perspective.  I realize now that it is happening to me.  The famous book "Who Moved my Cheese" clearly states the life lesson that nothing in life stays the same.  I'm trying to keep in mind that my wife and I aren't the same people we were 25 years ago when we first fell in love, and I need to change my expectations of our relationship.  Along the same line, I keep thinking about what a wise friend told me recently: "We don't see the world as it is, but as we are".  I'm trying to find where my head is at in this relationship so I can really see what our relationship needs to grow.  It's a very tall order.

   I hope this kind of helps.  Reading back, maybe it's a bit of a downer, but I wish someone last year had counseled me to be careful with my expectations, and to nurture, nurture, nurture the quality of patience.  It would have saved me a lot of tears this past Spring. 

   Feel free to write back...conversation is good.




Yes, I feel like I've probably been a little over excited. and I appreciate you taking the time to write this to me. 

In Melissa Orlov's book she talks a lot about the non adhd partner dealing with

his/her side of the fence and says we are at least 50% of the problem. I'm taking that to heart and really trying to turn my focus away from my pwADHD and onto my own issues.

I wouldn't be able to focus on my 50% if my DH wasn't taking so much
responsibility for his behavior. 

Since my DH and I started working her 6 steps we've been also listening to this
audio book "You are Not Your Brain" and I'm really seeing how my issues and
habits help keep our negative cycle going.

My main issue is habitually worry (it's clear to see why I've been trained to worry with all the insantiy my DH has caused) and also perfectionism. I really want to focus on appreciting him for who he is and apprecitating our life together for how it is. I think if he deals with the basic issues I can handle and accept him as he is. I feel like as long as he's ON THE PATH or SHOWING UP TO PRACTICE, I can handle the rest. it's just when he's in denial, in total reactive mode, depressed and not taking any action to help himself, mindlessly negative and mean, avoiding his life and responsibilities, unable to listen to my grievances or reqwuests, competely not present with me or our son that I can't handle it.

I'm meditating a lot and seeing a lot of my own negative thought patterns pretty
clearly. I'm afraid I won't be able to change them. Just wondering if any of you
have experienced this sense that you are finally able to focus on your own
stuff once your pwADHD starts getting treatment. Wondering what that process has
been like for people that are further along this path than me? how have you had
success in your own healing?

MagicSandwich's picture

OK to cherry pick the logical parts

I don't believe that non's are automatically 50% of the problem. That's just not a rational or a humanitarian claim. Seriously, if somebody is "mindlessly negative and mean" to you because of unmanaged ADHD or alcoholism, or whatever - you do not have an automatic share of responsibility to "change" as part of your wish to not be verbally abused and disrespected. 

Success story over here

We are about 4-4.5 years post diagnosis now.  The year immediately before and the year immediately after the diagnosis were probably the hardest for us.  The year before for obvious reasons, as we were just so baffled why a person so in love and so happy with their partner just couldn't seem to live up to the commitments he was making.  We had a slow progression of 'this needs some attention'  'why do you keep doing this when we agreed it was going to be handled better'  'xyz have all failed in getting you to do a b or c, do you just really not want to fix this?' then things started progressively becoming more like "WHY ARE YOU STILL NOT  DOING A B OR C, we have tried EVERYTHING!??!"

In our case I think a big part of why I trusted in his changes is that HE finally went searching for the solution....the missing piece of why he couldn't seem to do what he kept claiming he really wanted to do and I was starting to NEED him to do in order to feel like I had a full partner here.  When he came back with AD/HD (he is what is currently called primarily Inattentive--he has never had any hyperactivity which immediately makes our situation much easier to deal with from what I have read about the challenges of hyperactivitiy), we were both stunned but started researching in earnest and Inattentive ADD really fit him to a T.

After his diagnosis we were both SOOO happy to finally have a reason for the issues.  Then he sank into a grief period that I wasn't prepared for.  I think for about a year (even though he took his ritalin and was assigned a 'coach'--completely worthless man) there wasn't a tremendous of forward progress on the issues that most irritated me.  Once we had a diagnosis under our belt and the help available, I immediately lost a lot of my patience with what seemed to be dilly dallying and playing at working on his issues (a little here, a little there, a change to something else here, with nothing really getting done).  No one wants to feel like they are the only one working on the issues in a marriage as I am sure some of the ADD mates here can attest, but I can tell you it is REALLY hard when most of the issues aren't something you can do anything about cause they aren't your issues, and at that point my desire to work on my reaction to the issues was at it lowest ebb, so that is probably why it was the hardest year for both of us.  That is the year I went looking for help and found myself here....great resource!

Once he came out of his grieving period, we attended an ADD conference which really pointed us in the right direction as far as what to do, we got him a good coach even though that involved paying out of pocket for a while, he eventually switched to Adderall because he didn't like some of the Ritalin side effects, and here we are today.

He works fairly consistently on his issues, but they will still sometimes rear their ugly heads and depending on how often we have been dealing with this one, my patience will still sometimes vary.  For us at the moment, there is very little issue when life is going according to our regular (very busy) routine, but throw anything extra into it......even good things like vacation.....and he has a difficult time re-engaging when the disruption is over.  We are actively working on this one along with his coach as it is the most frustrating ADD issue we currently face.  He will never have a good memory, but he has good tools and gets ever more consistent about using them.  Now if he occasionally forgets something, it is no bigger of an issue than the few things I forget until those routine killers rear up and he starts dropping things all over the place.

That has been our experience this month due to a huge issue with his family and trying to help them move.  I drew my line in the sand and we had to disengage from the drama after I felt him disconnecting more and more from our life and routine and their issues were slowly taking over his entire ability to concentrate.  There was a week of diligent prep and getting work covered to help, there was the week we sat around up there with their moving truck loaded waiting to drive it out of state to the new home that couldn't be done because their current house closing kept getting pushed back--so basically for 2 weeks they got most of our attention--then the truck had to be driven to our house to await the closing (we are 4 hours closer to their new house).  I had no issue once we were back home putting them and their move on the back burner to only deal with again once their house closed, but for him it was a constant worry and he just couldn't re-engage with our life and routine. 

He now realizes this when it is pointed out to him that it is happening, so we took ourselves out of that equation (3 weeks of all our time and attention was all we could spare) and now he is back to getting things done for us. 

It sounds to me like your husband is like mine and that once he has the knowledge and the tools he needs, the sky will be the limit as far as accomplishments.  Just prepare yourself for 2 steps forward 1 back......or maybe even in the beginning what will feel to you like 1 step forward and 2 back!  One thing I can say through the entire process is that we've been very much in love and have tried really hard to support each other.  The more knowledge you have the better you will do at doing this.  And don't expect the ADD issues to go away........you will cope better and better but the underlying inattention, distraction, memory issues (whichever your husband exibits the most) will be an ongoing battle for the two of you.  Just be kind to each other as you battle the ISSUES together and not each other :)

I see many many many reasons for you to have hope from your post!!  Best wishes to you!

Stumbling, but Upward Momentum

Your comment about deviating from the routine and the lingering effects was very timely; I just posted a comment to that effect earlier today (or yesterday?).   I've been on summer vacation as I am a teacher, and I am FINALLY adjusting to that lack of structure as my ability to juggle tasks with no imposed schedule improves.  However, we've taken several family trips this summer, and each time we get back, my son and I are so out of sorts.  It's taken me about 5 days to recover from the most recent trip.  I even forgot my own coping skills for my anger, which includes meditation.  Then I remembered what a goof I was and meditated, accompanied by my IPOD.  By the way, Aspen, if your husband would like another great ancillary "treatment" for ADHD, I found a great one on ITunes for $9.99.  It's by Dr.  Steven Worringham (no idea who he is), and it's a 1 hour of music (hence the price) that supposedly induces beta waves, which indicate concentration.  It got great reviews, too.   I said this on one of the posts I wrote earlier, but it bears repeating:  my working memory is so porous that there's no way it could be a placebo effect.  It's called Focus on ADHD:  Attention and Concentration for Study.  It's intended for students, but I use it for any tedious and monotonous task.  I decided to use it while I meditate to block out the noises in my environment, and thought it couldn't hurt.  It seriously helps the meditation process as well.  Who knew?  I guess that can count as a creative success :).  It relaxes me as well, even if I am not meditating with it.  I am using it right now, and I can only hypothesize that it's due to the fact that a focused mind is not a racing mind?

Glad you guys continue to do well, despite the challenges of living with someone like me. 

close to "normal" amounts of distraction?

Thank you. it sounds like maybe your husband is having close to normal levels of distraction. I mean we all fall off the path sometimes. I know I do. I mean I know what i need in order to stay healthy and relatively happy but I don't also stick to my routine. and it is hard for me to get back on track sometimes. So what you're writing sounds like something I could handle. 


I'm really hopeful that in a year I'll sound like you. But you sound like you've always been "in love." I think my heart has been buried under my frustration, anger and resentment for a long time. I'm hoping with time it will thaw out and I'll be able to feel love again without feeling like I have to protect myself.


did you find that you were able to see yourself better once your DH started getting help? did you go through a time of healing yourself?