Still battling with DH's symptoms after all these years. Finally got him in for an assessment with Dr. Bilkey in Barrie, ON. Of course I had to arrange it, after months of DH never quite getting around to it. Then of course, we were 40 minutes late, because DH did not confirm the correct location before we left..., and then, DH came out with a negative diagnosis - which almost ended our marriage. I had told my husband prior to his assessment, that I hoped he had ADHD, because if he didn't, he was just an asshole. So, after the negative diagnosis, it seemed, he was just an asshole.
Except that the behaviours continued. And in such a prevalent and consistent pattern (for both of us), that when we read The ADHD Effect on Marriage, it seemed that it was based on us, and our interactions. Not just based on us, but included actual examples from our lives. (And when I say we read the book, of course I mean that I read the book, and pointed out a few excerpts for DH, as he has difficulty finishing anything longer than a newspaper or magazine article.) I still believe that he does have ADHD (my sister - a physician, agrees). I just don't know what to do.
My belief is that Dr. Bilkey's assessment was inadequate. DH provided no childhood report cards, no photos of his belongings strewn about our house, all over the floor, strewn across counter tops, nothing about repeatedly buying replacements for things he has but can't find, or buying things he's forgotten he already has, no details about regularly having his bicycle lock cut off because he's lost the key yet again, nothing about the 10 years of back taxes I had to complete for him when we got married, no details about losing his wallet monthly, or his impulsive spending that keeps me constantly bailing us out of debt, nothing about losing our toddler sons on vacation, etc., etc., etc.
My understanding is that for a positive diagnosis, impairment must be present in two areas of life (and while I do understand the necessity of certain criteria - when followed blindly, they can lead a psychologist/physician to exclude exceptions to the rule). So unfortunately, while DH's home life is extremely impaired, he has developed coping mechanisms that allow him to manage well in other areas of his life.
Unlike many others with ADHD, DH is well paid, and has a successful career as an airline pilot (the third marriage counselor we saw, who was supposed to have had some experience with ADHD said to him, much to my chagrin, "You're an airline pilot? You can't have ADHD!"). But here is how this works, and why it is a perfect job for someone with ADHD: the variable, non- 9-5 schedule provides variety, and my very sociable, extroverted DH constantly works with new people each time he goes into work, so his environment provides lots of stimulation. He does "short haul" flights (so a number of flights each day, rather than one long flying day overseas) which take him to a number of different destinations each day. He spends overnights in different hotels in different cities. He is late for work EVERY SINGLE DAY, but because his check-in time is an hour before departure time, as long as the flight leaves on time, there are no repercussions. And there is no direct supervisor to see that he is late every day. He has developed an extremely charming personality to compensate for his perpetual lateness and disorganization, so he will show up with coffee for everyone, or chocolate. He LOVES his job, and he is very good at it. He loves to fly - whether piloting the plane, or as a passenger, and the job itself is very structured, with strict checklists that he must abide by when preparing for flight - so a perfect fit for him. Also, he is amazingly focused in an emergency (I often wonder if this is why he is always late - he actually enjoys the excitement of it). The adrenaline of an emergency causes him to focus - I have seen it first hand in emergency situations with our sons. (In contrast, I am a teacher - type A, extremely orderly and organized, but I fall apart in an emergency.) So - no impairment at work.
All of our good friends are well versed in DH's "time vacuum", or "vortex", as we all like to call it. But as I said, he is charming and generous, and genuinely a lovely, kind person, so he is easily forgiven for his shortcomings. So - no impairment in his social relationships.
My current plan is to contact the Springboard Clinic and the ADHD Clinic here in Toronto about services, coaching and counseling. Fortunately, while my husband is not completely onboard about his potential ADHD (After his negative diagnosis, we joke that he does not have ADHD, he has ADHD symptoms. Well, I'm joking when I say it anyway.), he is open to counseling and coaching. I am considering discussion of a second evaluation, but am also trying to consider the ramifications of another assessment. Another $2,000 is less daunting than the possibility of a second negative diagnosis. My only hope for a positive diagnosis is that DH might take some responsibility for all the pain and stress he has caused (and continues to cause) me, and actually make a concerted effort to change his behaviour.
If you contribute to this forum, and have been assessed for ADHD, I would greatly appreciate your sharing the assessment process/procedure you experienced. I am very curious about how the same condition can be assessed in such a variety of ways, and about how self-report can play such a large part of assessment, when self-awareness of ADHD behaviours is so poor.