My husband and I have been together for 10 years, married for 7 next month, with two small children and a puppy (because I'm crazy and thought I needed more work on my plate). My husband was diagnosed with ADD about two years ago. He has suffered with it undiagnosed for his whole life. When we found out it was ADD it was the biggest relief to know that there was a reason for our conflicts and his struggles and there might actually be hope. Two years later, he has tried multiple medications and combinations of medications. We've tried counseling but have not been able to find a counselor who specializes in ADD, who can see us when we are available (we work alternative schedules) and who we can reasonably afford for the frequency we need to see them. I know that counseling would help, but we just haven't been able to get it. In the meantime, I'm doing everything to juggle all our lives. I've been the person to make the doctor's appointment, call in and pick up the prescriptions, read all the books, contacted the various counselors to try to set up appointments. I've had to leave work countless times when he was too overwhelmed to manage the kids. I know he wants to work on this. He loves me and he wants us to be happy, but the cruelest irony of ADD is that you're asking people who cannot focus or stick with something to focus and stick with working on their issues. How does that work? We can talk all night about a plan for making things better, but by the morning he's forgotten, or his enthusiasm for the plan is gone and he's on to something else. I am so utterly exhausted, emotionally and physically drained, and I basically feel like I've been ripped off. I never expected marriage to be easy, but I didn't expect this. And I envy other relationships where the husband is mentally present, at least some of the time. When I hear about a friend's husband doing a job for her around the house, without a fight, without him losing his patience and breaking things, or acting like a spoiled child because he doesn't want to do, I am unbelievably jealous and feel an even deeper feeling of sinking hopelessness. I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. I recently bought Melissa's book and have been reading it. I find it fascinating, and I find it enlightening to read how he feels and what he experiences with his ADD, but I also get the very clear message that unless he is willing to make a strong, consistent effort at following the steps and finding strategies that work for him to manage his symptoms, thing will not improve. I can't even get him to read the darn book because he's too distracted!! IRONIC? Yes! "Hey hon, I need you to read this book to save our marriage", "Ok, I will when I get the chance." I know what that means. It means it's never going to happen. I feel like garbage. I feel like a horrible, awful, mean person that looks nothing like who I was 7 years ago. I hate that my children have only ever know this version of me. I don't know how to change it. In my mind stopping the nagging means that I have to keep my mouth shut, which is just as unproductive as the nagging! I feel stuck. I know I'm willing, I know that he's willing, but he's not able. And that's the irony of ADD.
Last night, at the height of an argument he said to me, "I have a problem, I'm not well! Would you treat someone who has cancer this way?" And all I could think to say was, "Why do you think when someone who has cancer passes away that people always think that although it's sad, it's a blessing for the family too, not to have to struggle with caring for a dying person anymore. Because it's just as hard on the families, and your ADD is just as hard on me as it is on you."
I'm road blocked. I'm miserable. He just emailed me to tell me how much he loves me and how sorry he is, but I feel numb, because as nice as that is to hear, it's not enough to make things better.