I would give anything just to be normal.

I just found this site and I have read several post from the spouses of men with ADD. My wife is also one of the very frustrated and I am afraid ready to give up. For those of you that do not have or understand what an ADD person goes through on a daily basis, I envy you. You are the normal ones, you keep your focus, you finish what you start, and most of all you don't hurt the people you love the most. I, on the other hand, do get distracted, cannot finish anything I start to save my life. My garage is full of unfinished projects, beside my bed you can find a pile of clothes, books that I bought to help me but can't read fast enough or long enough to finish the first chapter. I am very creative and artistic but it does not seem to matter since I can't finish anything. I have had to place a notebook beside my bed at times because I will wake up with a new idea and can't go back to sleep until I write it down or draw it out. My ADD has cost me several good jobs, and over 35 jobs since I have been working, I am 42. I lost my best job a year ago and have been struggling ever since. I am at an all time low, I guess I would say rock bottom. I fear that my addiction to porn, and sexual fantasies has ended my 18 year  marriage. I hope not but I wouldn't blame her for leaving. She has put up with a lot over the years and I don't know if she has any hope left. I am very lacking on hope myself. I have tried things in the past, depression meds, ADD meds, and due to a back surgery discovered the instant euphoria of pain meds.  I have since kicked that habit of 10 years but at this point would love to have a handful. Nothing has helped, and now that I do not have a job our insurance is terrible and I can not afford to go to a doctor for help. So, what's in store for me? I can easily see my wife leaving me and taking my daughter and soon to be born baby boy, I will move in with a friend for a while until that get's old and then what? Homeless? ADD has taken everything from me.I used to always say, I could never understand how some one could commit suicide, I think I am beginning to understand. I would give anything to be normal and not know ADD.......I would give anything to be like you, if only for a day. 


My doc told me when I said I would love to be "Normal", "What IS Normal?" Everyone pretty much has issues to some degree.

I don't have all the answers, but there is a bunch of info about ADD. I never knew there was a condition that matched what I thought was the selfish, screwed up way of thinking and destructive impulsive behaviors that was me. 43 Years old... Use the doctors, websites like this one and work on improving yourself. Meds have helped me, but re-tooling bad coping mechanisms is key and that takes work. Learn from ADDer's and learn more from the sad, hurt, angry and many Understanding NonADDer's. To learn these perspectives will help. Your past is your past and all you can do is start again. People will forgive or not and all you can do is start to improve. It sucks how long it takes for things to be perceived as improving and not just a temporary hyper-focus on your ADD. Show people you are different. After my first Adderall I felt like I awoke and walked out of the fog. I will never go back there again! I'm flawed, but who isn't? Stay focused on getting better and the rest will work itself out.


Being "normal"

I keep being bothered by the continued references of how we talk about ourselves- and yeah, Ive done it too. References like the "Adhders", the "non-adhders" or "normals" (?!). I am a person witbout Adhd and am married to someone with Adhd. Those two descriptions relate to what may complicate out lives (or not) but they do not define everything of who WE ARE. I have problems with focus sometimes too and memory,, I have a bunch of things Ive not gotten done (my to-do list is substantial) and that IS, I think normal. At the same time, I can really get absorbed in the things I like to do (hyperfocus?). It is part of how our brain works- and yes there is a physiologi al basis for this. Sometimes if the balance of those processes get off-center then things get screwy. But then, maybe that is where some of the "thinking out of the box" comes from. Please, if you have Adhd, while these issues clearly make it hard to do things and bring your self-esteem down, understand that to a certain extent this is part of how most of us function. The idea is dont let this thing define you as the only thing you are. You are NOT a label any more than "nons" are completely perfectly functioning beings (hardly! Lol). Stop thinking of yourselves as defective. You are not defective - whoever you are, let the entirety of who you are be dictated by all of who you are. It is so much more than just those four dang letters!!! Check out what Simora has done, for example- or Ned Halliwell, or countless others. And are you perfect? No, course not. No one is, so now having established that fact try to move on and learn to adapt. Put aside THAT feeling of low self esteem and work to overcome these obstacles that plague you. Be patient when you can- its a longggg road sometime but the sooner you get past that block you start to move forward. You and those around you will benefit!


Well put :-)

The labels are easy to come up with and don't define us... Labels are too Black/White, 1/0, but don't account for all of the Variables that make most things in the Grey.


Labels are very powerful

Labels are very powerful though...what you have to do is ACCEPT it and then WORK with it. I think far too many times the reason ADHD defeats so many people is because the disorder itself tends to make people end up with low self worth and low self esteem..which makes ANYTHING harder for ANYONE. I don't have ADHD, but I have some past issues that scream "low self esteem!!" but it is up to me to overcome that. ADHD isn't a death sentence. It isn't the end of the world..unless you let it be. I believe, based on my limited knowledge of course, that you have just as much ability to put one foot in front of the other, draw a clear path to treatment and DO IT. You get credit for having ADHD in the aspect that I know it is harder, but harder is NOT impossible. Don't use this as a reason to give up.

DF's picture

My two cents

I'm in the new discovery phase of my issues.  Evaluations for meds is in the works.  I relate to much of what YYZ says in many of his posts. I also understand the despair of hurting loved ones unintentionally that the author or this post speaks of.  I'm not of the HD persuasion, but for me I try to hyperfocus on what matters and take simple steps.  I had issues with being up late looking at pornography for years.  I do fall off the wagon every now ant then, but in the past year and a half I've kept it at only one time every three months or so.  When I want to look at the stuff, I think of my kids every finding it and that helps me grasp reality.

I fail to complete important tasks, but after a lifetime of frustration from feelings of being stupid and trying to convince myself otherwise, I've learned to start simple.  Small things like making sure dishes are done before going to bed.  I was also cleaning the bathroom nightly so that when my wife woke up in the morning it was clean for her.  Unfortunatly this quickly began to drive her batty as it became obsessive on my part.  This of course was back when she was still putting up with me.  All she wanted to do was spend time with me or being intimate, but I ignored her needs to complete my task.  I'm not down to just one or two times a week on the bathroom, but I'm consistent with the dishes and making the bed.

I feel sadness about what I've done.  The complete mess of things I've made.  I want so bad to prove that the changes I've made in my life are for real, but after 12 years I can't imagine my wife will give me the benefit of the doubt in two weeks.  Fight the fight.  My sadness is what gives me strength.  It keeps me up at night.  And as far as the pornography addiction, I'm in a love/hate relationship with myself on that.  When I get to thinking about it, I think about my wife instead and what kind of life I want with her and who I want to be for her.  And then the sadness comes and keeps me up at night.  UGH!

SherriW13 - You post a lot and I've read a lot.  I have a question.  After so many years of neglect, how does someone with ADD get the right message across without coming off as obsessive or needy?  She's walled up and I feel like I'm being pushy trying to get across to her that I'm not like all her past relationships before marriage.  We don't talk about it, but it's in her eyes.  I know that one person doesn't have the answers and that's why we're here.  I'm seeing a problem I'm actively addressing and she's not "interested", as it seems.  Intimacy is something I'm trying to earn back, but she won't even go on a date night, talk to someone about her issues with me, unload on me or look at this website.  After 9 months I'm still trying to crack the wall to just catch a tiny glimmer of the beautiful light on the other side........

In my honest opinion, you

In my honest opinion, you don't get the message across with words. They can help, but what I assume you're doing (what you're describing) is reacting 100% out of fear of losing her...and she's going to know that. That's what you're seeing 'in her eyes'. Doubt. Worry. Fear. 12 years is a lot of years.

Having said that, you will regain her trust with consistent, positive interactions and behaviors. With the porn issue, if it takes you picturing the life you WANT (or life without your wife) to keep you from doing it, then that is what you need to do. IT IS NOT REAL. IT IS NOT HEALTHY. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO HAVE THE INTIMACY YOU NEED TO HAVE WITH YOUR WIFE AS LONG AS YOU ALLOW THE PORN TO BE A PART OF THE MARRIAGE. Take up walking, jogging, or something that will release the energy you have going on in your head that the porn 'treats'.

Schedule the nights you'll clean the bathroom and stick to it. No more. Let her know. Let her know that the other nights you will be there, by her side, if she wants/needs you. And then BE THERE like you promise.

Tell her everyday, through a quick note or text..or even face-to-face as you leave for work "I love you and I am committed to making our marriage better". Encourage her to tell you what she needs, but don't push her. Buy her a journal...to put her thoughts into...what she needs from you, if you think it would be something she would do.

You really do need to just work on YOU and trying to overcome the years of poor coping strategies you've got in place so that you have more to offer your wife than just hyperfocus based on fear that you'll lose her. Tell her your intentions...let her know what you plan to do...solutions you have to offer...and then leave her alone and work on you. Keeping your promises and consistently doing things differently (that show you're considering her feelings too) will be your best bet in getting her to open up and let down her walls. The last piece of advice, that comes VERY hard to us all..BE PATIENT.

Even if she won't go to counseling, go for yourself..for individual sessions. Best of luck to you as you start the road to recovery.

"and stick to it"

sets up all sorts of expectations and self admonishments. I think that "do your best to stick to it barring unforeseen circumstances is a little more flexible. If I set a goal for myself and fail, I can use that as an excuse not to try anymore because I "can't" adhere to the parameters of the task. If I commit to doing my best, I always go back to the pattern. People with ADHD partners need to be a little more flexible in order to cope with erratic behavior which is neurologically based. It is important that partners have an understanding of what ADHD is. We ADHDs sometimes are at a loss of how to explain things to the uninitiated, which is why I suggested the web site. Understanding is the first step. Once partners understand what we are up against,it is easier to appreciate how and when we are trying.

DF's picture

My reply to SherriW13

Thank you.  That was insightful and helpful.  As I said, the issue with the internet is all but disposed of with very rare exceptions. 

I like what you say about the schedule.  I need to do that and stick to it.  The journal I like, but I'm concerned with.  I think it's a great idea, but I am worried that she'll take it as me trying to force her hand.  I will still give it a go. 

The therapy I guess is mainly for me.  My desire to have her join me is to have a neutral place to voice her frustrations.  As I've mentioned somewhere, I've recently discovered my issue.  I know a lot I've done wrong, but I don't know everything I need fix if she will not tell me.  It's a struggle I have trouble with.  An example - I was looking for ways to connect with her.  So every morning for the past several months I would set my alarm early and would lay next to her and gently wake her with soft scratching on her back or caressing.  Very neutral and in no way was it done in a way that she would think there was more to it than waking up.  After doing this for months, I she got frustrated and told me she hated me doing that because it consistently felt like someone was poking her and she is frustrated that she would tell me and I would keep doing it.  I'm devastated.  I believe she told me, but I never heard it till this last time.  I've been driving her crazy every morning for months.

I see my situation as a common pattern with many husbands in here.  My non-ADD spouse will tell me, but I just don't hear it until they are so frustrated they are curt about the subject and fed up. 

There is one other problem too to add.  I'm always home.  In the summer I get out more and I'm active, but the rest of the time I'm home with the kids.  She needs self time and I understand that, but she is with friends when she doesn't want to be home and with the sore spot.  I'd like to get out of her hair more, but I find that I have to schedule time away a week in advance because she's always got something going on.  And I want her to have more time with the kids, but my oldest son suffers a lot of ADD symptoms and is getting checked here in a week.  He's a source of conflict a lot and he and I butt heads until I grow sad after seeing what is happening to him and I.  I work hard to identify what's behind his reactions and mine and it takes so much to try to lead by example so I know my wife is very sad and frustrated about that too.

She's a great person and I know this all bothers her too.  I'm banking so much hope on mine and my son's diagnosis.  My anxiety and anger ( which I keep at bay very well thank you ), I don't think anyone knows how easily my buttons light up.  I control it very well since I don't believe it helps anyone, but for years I would fume for days and not let it out.  I guess she always saw that anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.  I will say that I turn the switch off pretty good now.  I recognize when things are going to get me upset and I work to make light of them.  It's hard to diffuse my son with it, but I think it helps with my wife.

I'm rambling........

hey DF

Why on earth would she not tell you after a couple of days that something is bugging her? It sounds as though both of you would benefit enormously from a couple communication workshop. We ADHDs beat ourselves up enough, try not to blame yourself for her failing to meet you halfway with open discussion. As for time apart, grab your son and go somewhere for a weekend. Hiking is cheap. Hard physical activity does wonders for the ADHD brain.  And it may help with bonding, as long as you don't kill each other.

Sucking up that frustration will end up in either an explosion or depression( experience talking ) so its good to get it out with a therapist. Be an example to your son. Model ADHD coping skills and support him. Talk to your wife about a common parenting strategy. Its easy for ADHD boys to become oppositional without the right supports. Teen years and hormones are especially problematic. If he gets the diagnosis, make a point of working on strategies for ADHD together. help one another with cues and create a safe space where you can speak openly without fear of judgment.

You are a stay at home dad? Make sure you have your own interests and you, like any other stay at home parent, you need to get away from the kids sometimes too. It will help you to refocus and ground yourself so you can parent more efficiently.

Hope this helps

DF's picture


I'm not a stay at home dad.  therapy is a bit costly, but I'm working overtime to save money to do it.  I have a session scheduled in a few days.  It's the only schedule I can remember.  Part of my issue is that my wife did all the day to day stuff.  I'm just the goofball that thought life was great, but always knew something wasn't right - just not sure what.

I've recently found out about my issue and I feel that I'm on the right track now that I know.  I'm trying to be more of a parent and relieve pressure off my wife.  I know she's always tried to tell me and I even have moments of clarity when I think hard enough about it.  Now that I'm trying to take more control of some bills and kids appointments I'm way over whelmed.  I have to keep checking my calander on my phone becasue I can't remember what I've schedule - mundane tasks. 

For years I've thought maybe I was OCD since I always check each lock on the doors before going to bed.  When I go to bed, if I dare ask myself if I remembered to check that one door, I'd have to get up and check them all again.  I would go through the routine and honestly not recall if I checked certain doors.  How absolutely frustrating. 

Now that the summer is coming I hope to take more activities outside.  I hope my wife will have interest in my ideas.  Camping and hiking are things we like, but guess what, any time she didn't have fun was because she thought I was not having fun.  I'd get exhausted early and want to go to bed instead of hanging out by the fire with her.  We'd go hiking and I'd be frowning constantly.  I always looked like I wasn't having fun and I hate myself for not telling her how much fun it was doing family stuff.  I did have a good time, but it hurts to look back on those times and know that I was the problem.  I frown all the time and I look angry or upset I guess.  I don't even know I'm doing it.  My mind is always busy and I didn't know why until recently.

I have to keep up the fight with myself and earn her faith in me.

Is there a support group where you are?

Those are usually free. The people there will help you with strategies. There are books and blogs and even you-tube videos, which I like because I cant read books, tend to skim. the ocd happens when you are aware you aren't doing something and you over compensate. Happens all the time. Office 2010 has a great mail/calendar features that allows you to double alarm your appointments and displays them on your mail account. You can also set up smart phone and mail calendar to sinc to each other. If you know somebody who is good at this stuff get them to come over and help you to set it up. It is important to have them help not do it for you as you will not understand and use the system you put in place otherwise.

A new diagnosis is usually overwhelming and you'll want to fix everything all at once. Start with one task at a time. I worked through getting to apps on time first, estimating tasks, now I am decluttering. It takes a long time. Don't be too hard on your self. My husband always says, it will take a while to undo 49 years of bad habits. The site I mentioned is the Canadian ADHD advocacy organization. The videos are by experts but easy for the lay person to understand. There are many subjects on there.

I am never sure if I gave the kids meds in the am. We got those pill cases with the days of the week and the refill date is ALWAYS Saturday. Just checked with kids, they have both refilled already. Make lists and laminate, use a dry erase marker. don't give up. Have faith. Have a heart to heart with her. get a book on communication if you can't afford counseling. Read Melissa's book...together. Post here when your having trouble , people will answer. There are many ADFHDs here and we are mostly all coping.

good luck!