I'm new here. Could use some help.

Ok, I read that one shouldn't vent so I'll try not to!  But just have to get some things straight to make sure I'm not crazy! I have confirmed in my mind that my husband has ADD, which I suspected, & not sure if I do too or if I'm just a mess from dealing with this situation.   I don't hardly know where to start....there's just so much.  I think I am losing my mind most of the time trying to deal with his 18 yr old son who also has learning disabilities (reads at a first grade level) and probably ADHD and autism also.  The things I have to do to accomodate the weirdness and chaos in this household is unbelievable.  I try to have a good sense of humor and laugh it off, but the crazy things get to me sometimes and I need someone to talk to instead of venting to my (grown) daughter and my sister.  We get a good laugh from a lot of it, but I am getting worn down to a frazzle...physically and emotionally exhausted.  I feel like i have been sleep deprived since I married my husband 3 yrs ago.  Don't get me wrong,  I love him tremendously.   He is a wonderful man,  caring (most of the time when he's not distracted) and we are still very much in love.  But some of the little things I have to do like:  I have to hide the bath towels in my bedroom closet because his son will take them into his room upstairs (into the blackhole I call it) and they never come out!  Same with dishes.  I have to buy new plates, silverware, towels etc more often than i should because he will not bring them downstairs and I have refused to go into his room.  It is so filthy the other day, the cable guy was here to fix our tv and i couldnt let him go upstairs because i was afraid he would call child services and we would be charged with neglect!  I am not a clean freak, but I do keep the downstairs clean, although I am exhausted from picking up after them.  Yes, I have nagged, cajoled, talked nicely and every which way possible to try to get my husband to make him keep his room clean, but to no avail.  His son is very hard on electronics.  My husband has replaced his computer 4 times in the last year, not to mention playstations, etc.  Anyway....I'm rambling, I apologize.... It's not just the household mess...my husband's driving is a cause of horrible anxiety to me.  Tailgateing, driving off the road constantly...etc.... I have given up trying to convince him that it is NOT me and just absorb all the stress inside.  There is just so much weirdness!!!!!  This of course, is just the tip of the iceberg.  Sorry,  I meant to write a concise, poignant account and get some feedback, but I seem to just be venting.  I will continue to do some research and work on my sanity.  Thanks.


You are in the right place...

What you have just described sounds like a real big combination of things. You are not crazy and neither is your husband. You picked a good book to start this learning process.

I was undiagnosed until the age of 43... Really?!? I looked at the doc like He was crazy. He was seeing me for anxiety attacks that I had never experienced before. My life seemed to be unraveling before my eyes. He asked me to read "You Mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy" by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo and Edward M. M.D. Hallowell. I read it with a highlighter in 3 days, unheard of for me to even finish a book. Hmmmmmm... Sounds a little ADD, doesn't it?

Your husband will need to realize there is a problem and us ADDer's don't like to see our problems as we have failed or let down so many people, including ourselves, that we can rationalize just about anything we do. There is so much low self-esteem, guilt and frustration that goes with this condition. The good news is stimulant therapy, combined with counseling and a lot of re-training our brains from the bad coping mechanisms can result in very dramatic differences in our behaviors. The ADD Never goes away, but it can improve a bunch.

There are many people on both sides of this ADD thing that have been an immense resource for my 2 year experience with ADD. Keep reading and learning and hopefully your husband will begin to see what ADD really is about and not just the stereotype label that is used as a punch line. Best wishes to you...


I'm new to the ADHD world too


ADHD is new to me, too.  (The diagnosis, that is.)  My two sons both started medication in the past two months and I am sending my husband in for screening, too.  When my oldest son was diagnosed, the psychiatrist had me read "Driven to Distraction."  I felt like I was reading about my husband from cover to cover.

Right now, it helps me to know that I am not alone and that I am not crazy but some things in my living situation are. This board and my readings have helped me identify and label what is actually going on. For example, having 3 ADHD men/boys in my house explains my exhaustion!  I'm really not a low-energy person, but all that caretaking is taxing. Just having clarity helps find solutions to some of the problems and to break some of the bad patterns that have built up.

Like you, I have a lot of trouble with my son (the elder).  The chaos his condition brought into the family really strained the marriage and compounded our own issues related to ADHD.  Fortunately, my husband is willing to treat his own ADHD and work as a team as we resolve some of my son's behavioral issues. 

I've lurked on this board for a few weeks now and have vicariously received support through the postings here.  I hope to see you around more often.


thank you!

thank you yyz and jj!!!! your words have encouraged me.  it just feels so good to know i am not alone and other people understand the chaos that is my life!!!  last night i tried to approach the subject with my husband but of course he immediately got defensive (i was careful to word things in a gentle way) but he accused me of calling him a moron and addle brained! his interpretation of my asking us to BOTH work on some issues that effect us.  of course he attacked the book as well as me!  i am so exhausted emotionally!  he is so stubborn and the years of undiagnosed symptoms have taken a toll. his denial is a real issue, but he does love me and i love him, so i will continue to learn more subtle techniques and solutions and take care of myself by setting boundaries.  the good news is we are leaving today for a 2 wk (much needed and deserved) vacation to alaska!  (we live in the midwest) and are both excited and giddy.  i'm hoping he can relax (of course that is hard for him) and maybe have some serious discussion when the time is right.  i will definitely be back on this site!  thank you so much for your support!   Judy


Maybe an easy to read book would help?

My psychiatrist suggested "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!" by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo and Edward M. M.D. Hallowell

This book convinced me...  I was 43 when I was diagnosed, so I was pretty skeptical. I was a fairly high functioning ADDer (Not Hyper). I think I can safely say I am functioning much better than I was two years ago. Thirty minutes after my first Adderall I felt like a wet blanket was removed from my brain. Maybe if your husband has a chance to look things over, on his own, no pressure and while nobody's looking he will open up a little to the possibility. Even if he reads to prove to himself he does not have ADD, he may realize he has and he can feel better almost immediately.


Have A Great Vacation

I must say that the reluctance to seek treatment is a bit baffling. 

My husband, who is pro-medication (he goes to the doctor for every ache and pain) and will seek treatment for everyone else in the family (my depression, our sons' adhd) has a lot of embarrassment about his own adhd and doesn't like to talk about it much.  I, on the other hand, want to talk about it too much and must learn to tone it down a bit.  When I see a behavior that likely stems from ADHD I'm almost giddy from that discovery because I think it is something that we can now start to manage.  Hooray!  It really does make me feel more positive about the future.

I will keep you posted as my husband's treatment progresses.  His screening appointment was yesterday.  Most likely, he would have been prescribed medication.  He missed the appointment though.  I really, really, really want to say, "That's typical ADHD behavior!."  "HOORAY!!!!"   But I'm biting my tongue.  :)  He feels bad enough about missing it.


P.S.:  Did you know that people with ADHD tend to have high IQs? 

Reluctance to Seek Treatment

I understand the reluctance to seek treatment.  As someone with ADD, let me try to explain.  Remember that one of the core issues with ADD is FEAR OF FAILURE.  There are a few things that can happen once we make the decision to seek treatment...

1) The professional will place expectations on us (or create the expectations in YOU) for us to make some changes.

First of all, we are not AT ALL convinced that we are CAPABLE of making changes.  Secondly, if we TRY to make the changes, we could very possibly FAIL (and we expect that we will!).  This will make us feel even MORE hopeless than we did before.  At least if we are not really trying, we can convince ourselves that we COULD improve if we really tried.  It leaves the door open.

2) For those who do not think they have ADD: The professional might say that we have ADD.  

For ME, the diagnosis was a relief.  But it's also a little weird to realize and accept that something is wrong with our BRAIN and it is completely out of our control.  For some strange reason, it can be more reassuring in some ways to think of ourselves as "lazy or stupid" than as having a disorder!  We know how to blame ourselves or others (we have done this all our lives!), but we are not sure how to proceed in blaming a disorder or if that is even appropriate?  And we tend to assume, at least at first, that ADD is a "cop-out" and just an excuse (just like most of the human population thinks anyway!).  So then we have to go through the process of believing it, learning about it, accepting it and also deciding on whether to share the news with others (and who?) or to hide it?  And then we STILL have to figure out what to DO about it and how to treat it after all these years of coping with something we never even knew we had.

3) For those who DO think they have ADD: The professional might say we don't really have ADD.  

This is actually the scariest one for me, because once we embrace the idea that we have ADD, we feel like we finally have a REASON for all the "lazy, stupid and crazy" things we do all the time.  If someone tells us we don't have it, what are we left with?  Actually BEING lazy, stupid or crazy!  And THEN what do we do if we feel like we have already tried everything we know to be different, and it hasn't worked?  Then we will have to face the idea that maybe we really are just a TOTAL FAILURE AT LIFE!

4) The professional might say we have MORE than JUST ADD.

They might tack on a diagnosis of learning disability, depression, OCD, ODD, or a host of other things on top of ADD!  Yikes.  That is not really a pleasant proposition for most people.  One thing to deal with is already hard enough.  We are easily overwhelmed as it is, and the idea of managing a combination of problems is really scary!  (Think total SHUT DOWN here!)


So, dealing with someone ELSE'S problem (spouse's depression, son's ADD, etc.) is totally different than dealing with our own.  Supporting and getting help for someone else allows us to feel like we are NOT FAILING--we are HELPING!  But getting help for ourselves creates all kinds of new opportunities to FAIL, especially for people like me who have an incredibly strong desire to PLEASE my spouse.  If I also have the pressure of pleasing or disappointing some professional who is trying to help me...yikes!  I hope this helps you understand the reluctance and to have compassion for it.  It doesn't excuse a refusal to GET help.  But it may at least explain the reluctance to seek it.


Reluctance to Seek Treatment

ADD Wife,

Thanks for your explanation.  It does help, some...   But, like a few others on this forum, I am here to support, gain knowledge and sometimes vent, in hope of having a brighter future.  My ADHD husband is fully aware that I am "still here", eager to help and support him.  He continues to fight (why should that not surprise me!  We have fought most of our 30 years of marriage) against anything that will perhaps help with his chaos.  He sees a psychiatrist, is on medication for the ADHD as well as depression and anxiety, has been to counseling, in the past, but stopped going (Maybe the pressure you spoke about?), has read many books on the subject and even was the first one to come to this forum (see "Newfdog" - "Long, Where do we go from here").  Well, without looking back (the past depresses me) I think it was something to that effect.  At first, like you said, it provided an explanation for so many of the problems that we encountered along the way and encouraged us to try and work through our mountain of issues.  Wishful thinking "again" on my part (stupid me) but it turned out to be just another "hyper-focus" scenerio where he just touched on the surface of the issues to make things somewhat better in his perspective and as far as I am concerned he thinks this is good enough and refuses to get help.  I am sorry to be negative but after almost 4 years of dealing with this disorder, with very little progress, (you can see by the amount of times my husband has been on here, unless he is on here with an alias) that he has chosen to remain on a different page, so to speak, which he still thinks gets him off the hook but continues to push me ever so slowly further and further away.  I am really tired of fighting frustration almost on a daily basis even though I have set my own boundaries and have stopped with the enabling and am trying to do what is best for me.  BUT WE ARE STILL LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD AND THE DYSFUNCTION CONTINUES TO TORTURE ME NO MATTER HOW MUCH I TRY TO IGNORE IT!!!!!  URGH!!!!! 

Yeah, I Get It

I totally understand what you are saying.  This is one of my FEARS (imagine that!) - that I am just "hyper-focusing" and that once I make a little bit of progress and feel good about it, I will move on, but my DH will be left standing there thinking, "What just happened?  We were just getting started; it's not over yet!"  Can you see how debilitating and paralyzing our fear can be?  I have not even really started (although I have been on medication for 2 years and have seen a counselor on and off throughout that time), and I am already worried (and expect) that I will FAIL at this process.  And I fear that one day my DH will finally give up on me, assuming that it is impossible for me to change (is it?).  I feel like I am in a no-win hopeless situation.  It is overwhelming.  Sometimes I feel like the hill (mountain!) is too high to climb.  But what choice do I have?  I have to try.

I have made our bed every day for the past couple of weeks.  This is a HUGE accomplishment for me!  But if I were my DH, I would probably be thinking, "Seriously?!  I'm supposed to be excited that you MADE THE BED?!"  It seems so utterly ridiculous that I would even consider that to be an accomplishment. And yet for me, it is.  How HARD it must be to live with someone like that (me)!  And yet, when I think like this, I just further damage my self-esteem because this leads me to start thinking, "What in the world could he possibly see in me?  Why would he stay with me?  What's the use?  Eventually he is going to figure out that I am a loser and that any hope for significant improvement is futile."  

...this kind of mental dialog can create a lot of reluctance!  We don't want to do anything to speed up the process of you coming to the conclusion (in our minds, obvious) that we are hopeless.  And if we seek treatment and FAIL, this is where you will end up, isn't it?  But if we drag out and resist the "seeking treatment" part, then you have to hang on a little longer, waiting (and hoping) to see if something really can make it better.  You still have HOPE - but if we try and fail, we will destroy your hope and then there is nothing left for either of us.  This is NOT a conscious action--I did not even think of it until this moment when I just typed it.  And so now I feel guilty about that.  UGH!!!

And while this site is great for me to commiserate with others and feel understood, I have to say I have not seen a lot of success stories to encourage me that it is possible to make significant progress and improvement.  So I am still living with this fear that even if I try really hard, it will not work, so maybe it would just be better not to try if trying will only prove it?  :(

FYI... 2 years after Diagnosis and you are still here.

ADD Wife... I believe if your attempt to better understand ADD and it's affects on those around you is past the 2 year mark, It Cannot be a "Hyper-Focus" phase :-)

You made the bed, that' great... A pet peeve of my DW. So if I'm home and the bed is un-made I will make it and not say anything, even though my DW may think her mother (who lives with us) did it, I make it anyway. I think it takes a long time before any of our changes will appear to be genuine and not "Hey... Look what I did, yay me", unfortunately. Don't beat yourself up so much. You are trying and that is more than a lot of people do, both ADDer's and Non-ADDer's included.

Positive: My DW sent me a text the other day asking me to "Not give up and she knows she can be a challenge too" I felt SO good! It is hard for us ADDer's who tend to need instant gratification on projects to be 2 years into a Major Project and be un-sure of an outcome, believe me... Just finishing my year two, post diagnosis, I totally understand.

I am trying to stop looking at ADD affects and look at what can make my DW happy. So... I am off to do the yard now and get off the pc, which is still apparently something I am on too often, even though I'm in the living room, not away in my office...






I "second" yyz...

I have found that it is easy for me to remember to criticize or lament my ADHDer's shortcomings and faults, but I often forget to praise his strengths--especially those he has recently developed, such as being less impulsive, hiding his irritability, or even showing up on time (or, at least, close to time). Praise counts for so much, especially for folks with ADHD who are trying to overcome some challenges.

Thanks for the kind words...

It really pushes me back when a negative gets thrown at me, like the positives never happened. Today I got grilled about a credit card balance. (Right after about 4 hours of working in the yard) We paid most of the balance off last month ($400), we had a Real Tight previous pay period and had to use it on groceries and a few other things, but I DID Not buy anything for me personally. So deflating... I've done things like this is the past, but how about Not jumping to conclusions, maybe. I pay all the bills, balance the check book and have done so for the last 8 years. I don't hide statements... So I will update everything tonight and show her where the balance went on the credit card.

The roller coaster SUCKS, sometimes...

Back to the check book...