Lost, confused, frustrated, and hurt...

Until recently I thought I had developed the proper skills to cope with my ADHD.  The reality is that I have not.

I am now living in my own apartment, away from my wife, and consuming any and all information I can find on ADHD, and marriage.  I picked up the book last night (an adventure in and of itself, 4 book stores later).  I have read it cover to cover once, and am on my second pass.  During this time I find that I am asking myself the same question over and over: "What right do I have to subject my non-ADHD wife to the life I have been?"  

Is it fair to her for me to put her through my learning curve?  Its a lot to ask, and I can't help but think that the equation is much simpler without my contributions.  

I am in counseling, on the meds, trying everything I can think of and read about to mitigate my negatives; but is it enough?  All the resources elude to benefits of ADHD, but I can't seem to see the forest for the trees.  I'm locked in this cycle of seeing my shortcomings and the impact it has on those around me.  I can't ask my wife to work this out if I am not sure that at the end of the day the negatives can be counteracted, or that my positives make a difference.  

I'm not even sure I can keep this level of effort up, or if I am hyper-focusing in a burst.  I'm sure my wife shares the same concern.  I know she is worth the effort and energy it would take to be the husband that she deserves.  I don't know if I can achieve this before its too late, if at all.  This fear is crippling.  I can't continue as I have been, and there is no way I can know if I can figure this out at all.  There will always be a kernel of doubt. 

The weight of my constant failure is unbearable.  I know I can't be messing up as much as I think I am, if I was I would not have had the same job for seven years, or be working on the intensive long term side project like I have, or married.  Everyone my whole life has told me how smart I am, but with the added 'just no up to your potential.'  It makes you wonder if you are even capable of meeting your potential at all.  

I know I need to speak with her about how she feels about this challenge, but I don't think that its fair to want her to stay through this.  I don't want a failed marriage to be the latest and greatest in the casualty report of my ongoing battle with ADHD.  At the same time my wife deserves to be happy and relaxed.

I'm lost, my self confidence is shattered, up is down, and it hurts. A lot.

I am sorry you are feeling so

I am sorry you are feeling so bad. I found some good reading in here. Its a lot, but there are so many people here that are and were exactly where you are right now. Your here and its a start. Dont give up on you.

Thanks for sharing

My wife has been diagnosed with ADHD and OCD. I am new to this forum and have found some contort here ... None of us are alone. I'll be thinking of you as we go through this together. I am on the other side of the coin and feel similar to you. The fact that you are posting here means heaps. Being married and alone at the same time is unfortunately too common even when mental health is not an issue. Take care friend.

Less lost, still confused, a bit frustrated, and more hurt...

I spoke with my wife today.  I think it went ok.  

In the book there is a section on boundaries.  One of my wife's boundaries is to have a stable home, its one of the things that attracted me to her.  She can't have the levels of instability that I brought untreated in her home.  I explained to her about the ADHD, before she only had the symptom descriptions from a bit of google searching.  She was calm and asked questions, and I answered each in turn.  Parts of the explanation visibly hurt her, mostly about the hyper-focus courtship. After I had finished I told her that its going to be a life time battle, and that I could only promise at the best 'good enough'.  I also told her that I can't ask her to go through this adaptation to the ADHD, that it would take a long time, that I would have to try an unknown number of medications and dosages and methods, that I would have to learn tools and skills, and that I was not sure that I could reach the end of the journey.  

I think its unfair to ask her to sacrifice her necessary boundary to help me through this.  In the face of not knowing if there is an end at all.  I also told her that I want her in my life, even if its just as friends.  Something she agreed with.  In her calm soft demeanor she asked me for time to process this information.  I let her know that was ok, and that if she needed a book or two on the subject I was happy to give them to her.  With that I said my goodbye and left.  

When I look back at the damage I caused, the pain I inflected, the lines I crossed, they all run so counter to what my core beliefs are that I am nothing short of disgusted at myself.  At each turn my actions hurt her the woman that I love so much and so deeply.  There is nothing I can say or do to repair that damage.  As the saying goes 'if you can't be an example, be a warning.'  Heed my advice ADHDers, don't wait until you shred your marriage to start work on yourself.  It is very important to know that the symptoms will roll over into your adulthood, and will rear their ugly heads.  The woman you love deserves to know what to expect from you.  Even if you think you have it under control.

This is my cross to carry, it should never of been allowed to harm my wife.  It did.  That too is mine to carry.  I wonder if the cost of marriage to an ADHDer might be too high.  On top of that I don't know if I can make someone else pay for my 'gift.'  

When I left she was not upset.  I will take that as a good sign, and stop thinking about it for the evening.  

Thank you for your support.  It helps a lot to put this out there.  

I am crying after reading

I am crying after reading this. Your wife is so so so very lucky that you love her enough to know that letting her go might be the best thing for you both. Looking back, there were about 3 major turning points in my marriage where I wish my husband would have done this. I feel horrible for saying that, but since he is still being hurtful and he still refuses to admit his ADHD is out of his control, I really wish he loved me like you love your wife...and just let me go. Your wife is lucky. Don't give up. Just being able to admit that you can't control your ADHD is a huge first step in the right direction.

Get busy..roll up your sleeves. Identify just the 3 top behaviors that are hurtful to your wife and start taking steps to making real change. You are light years ahead of most of the husbands with ADHD here. Don't give up.

This is a very critical time

This is a very critical time for you and your wife. I commend you for your efforts to understand this disorder with the hope that you understand that this is a biological disorder- it does not mean you are "broken"- merely it presents challenges that you and your wife should address together. Please let her/give her the opportunity to understand and offer up to you what she is wanting to do at this point. You may be surprised. Your willingness to try to understand adhd and desire to overcome and achieve a "higher" level of function is huge! Work with your wife to get past this if possible- please dont shut her out or make decisions for her as to what to be "exposed to" or not. Its best when there is a team effort.

Me... 2 years, 3 months ago...

I was diagnosed at age 43... I went through ever emotion you can think of, from the elation of finding out why my brain did what it did, to the extreme guilt of knowing how much pain was my responsibility. You are on the right path, but these changes in you will take a while and take even longer for your spouse to realize the new improved behaviors are "For Real" and not due to your new Hyper-Focus on ADD. This website is a great resource and I see several of my favorites have already chimed in on your post. Get ready to dig in for the long haul and know the rest of your life Can be Better. Better for you and better for your family. Don't forget that you did not create Every problem in your marriage, but you probably created your fair share, so this healing process is going to take a bit of time.

Most guys don't do what you have already done. You Own your ADD and what role it has placed in your relationship. Take a deep breath, you are doing great!


@SherriW13:  I'm still not so

@SherriW13:  I'm still not so sure that its the best thing for 'Both' of us.  Its upsetting to know that I thought I was one way, the way that attracted her to me, and that in reality I am something different.  The ol' bait and switch.  She does not deserve that.  No one does.  I am sorry that your husband has not snapped out of it.  I wish I had some insight to give you.

@lululove:  I understand that its a biological problem.  At the same time the engineer in me knows that if I ever delivered a project as not 'broken' as I am id be out of a job.  The first thing that I have been working on is to accept that I am the way I am, it will take a while before I don't think I am in some way malfunctioning.  As for shutting her out, I haven't. For her I am available day or night, hell or high water.  I am at this moment unsure if she wants to work this out.  If she does, great! If not, that will hurt like hell.  The ball is in her court.  

@yyz:  If this is what doing great feels like I never want to do badly...

A good family friend called me up today to see if I would go out with the guys tomorrow.  After a long conversation with him I found that I was blaming myself for what I have done.  While my actions and consequences are my responsibility my friend was obstinate that they were not my fault.  That the ADHD was to blame.  It took me a while to agree with him.  Until this afternoon I had saddled myself with the tasks of fixing myself, adapting to my condition, finding a second job (the benefit of 'working' through a tough time is that I can top off my savings), and blaming myself for my mistakes.  

He convinced me that I should, in this order, stop blaming myself and continue to get out and see friends.  He posited that if I followed what I was feeling and continue to sequester myself that over time it would be harder to be sociable.  That the difference between the 'cat lady' and I was a matter of degrees.  To make his case he stated that there are two prongs to my current status.  One, that I have to work to improve my management of the ADHD.  And two, that to be able to relate to my wife at all in the future requires me be able to use my social muscles, by getting out at least twice a week.  I think that makes sense.  

Each day is getting easier, I think that the books help (or the 14 hour workdays..).  I have also been phasing in each new coping method.  The one that works the best is sticky notes everywhere in the apartment.  Each note has a box for each day of the week that I check off when the task is completed for the day.  I use this at work on my whiteboard.  It works very well there, all big tasks and even repetitive tasks that I do a lot go on the board with a checkbox.  The real trick will be in updating the notes once a week.  I might make a note on the calendar to update the sticky notes (calendar has big things: rent, car payment, etc.  Notes have daily little things: breakfast, dinner, shave, etc).  I'm still working on the long term details...

I miss her a lot.  I thought about her in the store tonight, and it brought back all the fun times we used to have grocery shopping.  We used to talk the whole time.  We used to talk for hours, about everything and nothing.  I miss my best friend.  This empty apartment sucks.  

Thanks again for your support.  I am very grateful that their is a place of people that know what I am going through, on both sides of the ADHD coin.  Thank you.

Negative neurocircuitry patterns to "break" out of

A great book to read, on a different but related note is "my Stroke of insight". It has one very important suggestion and that is to make a concerted and conscious effort to break out of negative thinking patterns because it can keep creating this constant negative feedback loop. In other words, fight from becoming a Donny/Debbie downer and eventually you will bexome happier. Just thinking..

You should be very proud of yourself

And your wife is very lucky. As others have said, you own up to your "ongoing battle" with your ADHD and the impact on your relationship. That is a HUGE step. You obviously love your wife very much. Have some faith. She can decide for herself whether this is something she wants to tackle with you or not.

Second that

As an ADD spouse, I would like to emphasize several points made by others.  To all those who said "Good for you!" I add, "Good for you!" 

Please don't make the decision for your wife about what is best for her.  Your guilt won't give you very good insight, and I would find it patronizing if someone else would choose for me if my spouse was "worth it" or not.  And if you don't want to repair the marriage, own that, rather than projecting it onto what is best for her.  I'm not saying I detected any hint of that from what you shared.  I'm just mentioning it because I have been guilty of it -- At times I have been so miserable I tried to get him to leave me.  Then I could be the injured, blameless party.  Thank God he wasn't paying attention during that conversation.  LOL

Your friend is right, don't beat yourself up.  Do continue the positive steps you are taking, and look for evidence you are using your new skills over time.  I.E., make an appointment with yourself two weeks from now to follow up on whether you are still using your reminders and calendars, etc. rather than assuming you will notice if you stop.  I don't know how your diagnosis / separation came about -- but for me and my guy, if he hadn't come to understand we were very near the edge of the cliff, he wouldn't be making the changes he is today.  And he is nowhere near where you are already.  I understand your comments to YYZ about if this is doing great, you don't want to do this great again, but from the other side, you had no sense of how bad things were before.  Where you are now, there is room and hope and growth and learning.  Where you were before... maybe not so much.  I don't think my guy would ever, ever want to go back to the day "before" we understood ADD, and perhaps on your strong, sunny days you would agree.  There will be plenty of days like that ahead.  Best wishes.

Suggestions from the Trenches

Every good book I've ever read about ADHD recommends therapy for the ADHD partner (and Melissa recommends it for the spouse as well).  I ignored this crucial piece of advice like it was merely a minor suggestion for the longest time, to my detriment.  Are you in therapy (and the second part is critical) with a therapist who understands and can give you appropriate suggestions on how to make progress with your ADHD?  This requires someone who actually understands ADHD quite well, and that will require a little ground work on your part.  I lucked out by clicking with my therapist immediately.  She totally gets me.  I have not had the same luck with the psychiatrists that prescribe my ADHD meds, but had no problem "firing" one after I having the distinct impression that he barely believed in such a diagnosis and treating me like a drug addict (Drug addicts don't EVER forget their meds, dude!)  There were about 3 others who didn't get me, but I wouldn't give up until I found a winner.  But if you're willing to go to 4 bookstores and have had the same job for 7 years, you have the determination to accomplish that. 

My therapist is helping me get out of the mental muck that my anxiety (and it sounds like you have a lot as well) and sadness surrounding my collapsing marriage have caused.  Anxiety isn't the best thing for ADHD.  This is an understatement of epic proportions.  In fact, if you look up some of the symptoms for anxiety and depression, there is some overlap with ADHD symptoms.  In other words, your stress is making it so much harder than it already is, and trust me, I know how difficult to struggle with ADHD symptoms.  Anytime I get really anxious, it really decreases the effectiveness of my medication.   Also, if you aren't getting enough exercise, now is the time to start.  It will decrease your anxiety level, make you feel better, and help you concentrate.  Nothing makes me feel better than running for 1/2 an hour or more (rarely have the time for more, though).  Don't think you don't have time for it.  Make the time.  You don't have time for the worsened ADHD symptoms that result from your sadness and anxiety.  I'd bet anything that even though you're busting your butt, and are making inconsistent progress, that your symptoms, are at least in some ways, WORSE THAN EVER as a result of your emotional state.  I'd tell you to get more sleep, but I doubt you can based on your anxiety.  I'm having trouble with this as well, but I do sleep better when I exercise.

Good luck!

What ADDmomof2 said...

I completely agree about anxiety making things worse for ADD symptoms, especially on the ADD Meds. Like ADDmom said, I have discovered a huge difference in how my days go when I get my 5am power dog walk in and after work, getting my second PDW in. I'm not talking about exercise making a little difference, it makes a HUGE difference.



Journey wrote that song for me?

@Lululove: I have added your suggestions to my reading list.  I think I am caught in a negative feedback loop.

@Sdelo7: I am hoping and praying that she decides she does want to tackle it with me.

@Gardener447: Thank you.  The notion that there will be brighter days helps.

@ADHDMomof2:  My therapist is a specialist in ADHD, and more importantly I trust him.  This is an extremely important part of managing ADHD.  As well I have been trying to go to the gym 5 times a week.  I stopped when I found that I had lost 35lbs in 4 weeks.  It turns out that I lose weight and don't eat on the medication.  I have been working on enforcing healthy eating before I attempt to start up exercise again.  The lack of sleep is also very hard.

My wife and I spoke on the last Sunday in August.  She told me she loved me.  She also said that she was not sure if she could live with me, and that she had considered a 'you have your place I have mine' arrangement.  She also told me how she was feeling about the situation, and that she had been doing some reading about everyone's favorite topic.  I felt it went well.  When I left I was happy.  Throughout the week we spoke over the phone and it was almost like things were back to normal.  Almost.

In the last week or so I have tried to spend some time with her.  No 'shop talk' allowed, just time with her.  She has been resistant to it.  I understand she needs some alone time, and I have been trying to respect that.  Its been hard.  The anxiety is not helping at all.  My adderall dosage was doubled, and last thursday I had what my doctor referred to as a 'negative reaction' to the medication.  It turns out that you can chemically induce a depression.  I am trying so hard to sort out my head, and its getting harder and harder.  I can't tell if I'm making any progress at all.  Everyone around me thinks I am.  Hell I'm even up for a promotion.  But I can't shake the feeling that I'm losing the war.  I feel like I'm alone in this.  

My therapist only see's me once a week for an hour, I have no close friends to talk to (the family friend is also her fried, he has taken a neutral stance), my mom is very negative in general, and my brother only asks me when I'm going to file for divorce.  I go to work, I come home and sit in an unfurnished apartment and am haunted by the world in my head.  I don't know if I can keep doing this.  I have no clue how to get out of this.  I can't even pinpoint what the hell 'this' is.  I just know I'm running out of hope.  

I just want to spend time with her.  I don't think I'm asking a lot.  An evening or two of watching an old movie for the Nth time, talking about nothing.  Or dinner at that sushi restaurant we like, and a walk through a park.  Like we used to.  I miss her a lot.  

My dh asked me for a list of

My dh asked me for a list of things to give the counselor to work on. Maybe you could ask her to make one for your counselor, or see if she would be interested in going with you the one time with her list. This will help the doctor help you. Im finding the best tning so far is , no matter what, he is not arguing with me. I'm still frozen, but less defensive.. I still have some major stuff back up on me and get really mad, but i think I'm processing. I hope she is processing too. What happened to the friend that wanted you to go out?

I can relate to your anxiety

I can relate to your anxiety and fears. I am, of course, the non-ADHD wife, but I can still completely relate. I wanted to point something out to you that I hope will help. When you are interacting with her you are seeing 'positive' things. This alone is enough to give anyone a good feeling about things. What I'm saying is, for example, right now most of the interactions between my husband and myself are a train wreck (we aren't separated, but it sure feels like it may come to that). I leave very few interactions feeling positive. Please try and see this as a reason to have hope and not give up. These situations are all about developing the ability to persevere even in the face of our own fears. Surviving the aftermath of when the train finally derails and every one steps out and looks and says "what the hell happened to this marriage??" takes patience and strength. My source for these is my relationship with Christ, although I still find myself 'forgetting' this a lot and suffering more than I have to because of it. We all have to find something to draw strength from...and ideally this comes from within. I cannot imagine how lonely your apartment is and I totally relate to the overwhelming feelings of sadness and loneliness that make you want everything to be OK, right now! I am, as I said, in a very similar place. I want something from the person I love that he simply isn't able to give me. My goal, today, is to draw from my own inner strength so that I may come to some kind of peace about where I am in life and accept that I only have control over myself (well, my emotions are out of control, which is another whole issue...but I digress). Also, I feel that our own actions can significantly improve these situations and I'm working on that as well. Take each moment of anxiety minute by minute if you have to. Talk yourself through it..work through it...post here..just somehow get through it and with each passing time you'll grow stronger and more capable. I don't think your wife is going anywhere...and with enough time she will start to trust you again and start to heal. There is nothing wrong with being lonely and sad and wanting to be with your wife...nothing at all. But once you learn to be happy with yourself and don't NEED this so much, THAT will start to show through too. If she feels that you're emotionally depending on her 100% for your own happiness then she will feel that any reconciliation is simply to make you happy and not so much about the mutual happiness of both parties. I hope this makes sense, I haven't had coffee and am getting ready for school. Just know you're not alone, we are here to help you through. I just wanted to reply because I relate to a lot of what you're feeling.




Dear zozeer, your post really

Dear zozeer, your post really moves me because I hear the struggle you are going through. It is one that i know well, but from your wife's perspective. Take heart because you are doing all the right things. It sounds like your wife is doing that as well- in that you guys are taking it slow. Use this time to get your tools to deal with not only the adhd, but your feelings around it and yourself so that you can deal with the whole wonderful person rhat makes zozeer. Let your wife have the same because it is a whole new way of thinking. You have time, though you may not feel that. Your wife loves you, and you are talking, learning about this new development (which is the diagnosis). It can be better, though the road will be rocky. Not only you, but ALL of us are works in progress. It is not like you turn on a switch, and then you are DONE! Lol. I am glad you are reading and learning- and at the same time please remember to embrace/ honor both yourself and your wife. This is as important as any med you take! No self flaggelation on yourself, no blame on your wife. Learn and use the wealth of information available to FiNALLY move on in a POsitive way. No it wont be easy, but things that are worthwhile rarely. As my friend yyz likes to say, hang in there! :)

That's that

It looks like this is the end.  I spoke to the wife today.  She says she cant live with my ADHD.  She also said a slew of hurtful things.  I don't think she meant much of it.  There was something I can't quite put my finger on.  She also said she would not spend time with me. 

I'm too hurt and tired to fight for my marriage anymore.  We have been separated for two and a half months.  The marriage was having problems for a few months before that, with the ADHD and some other of our issues as the cause.  I don't think my ADHD is solely to blame, I think that we were unable to balance our respective baggage. 

Not knowing was the hardest part.  Now I know where we stand.  I don't like it, but it is a comfort to know.  Thank you for all your support.

I feel numb.

I'm so sorry. I read

I'm so sorry. I read something today. Someone was writing about trying to save their marriage and this is part of the reply: " Eat well, try to sleep well, exercise, go places and do things you find pleasing, anything that restores you. As for restoring hope, the best thing, i think, would be to proceed very slowly. Get your feelings in order. Get your words in order; you'd be surprised at the distance between what people want to say and what they say, especially when in distress. And, most important, don't try to go back. What you had before is not only gone, it's what got you here. Even if your goal is to save your marriage, think of it not as restoring the old, but creating something new..." i keep hearing it over and over in my head. "It's what got you here..." .... When you are ready it will be time for a big change in thoughts; time for new, new everything. New awareness, new direction, new goals, new ideas, new acceptance, and a new forgiveness to yourself. Keep moving forward and keep up with your good work. Maybe it will help remind your dh of the good times and bring some positive interractions to remind her of the great person you can be. What made her fall for you in the first place.

I am so sorry. I can't wrap

I am so sorry. I can't wrap my mind around the 'giving up' concept AFTER finding out about ADHD when you have a spouse who is willing to actually acknowledge it and do something about it. I am in the opposite situation...I was excited (I am the non, my DH has ADHD) and thought it was great..we finally had something to work towards. A year later and he's taking meds (very happily) even though they are changing him and destroying our marriage...and willing to basically do nothing else. No recognition of what it brings to the table. No acknowledgment of the hurt it has caused. Not even so much as admitting that our realities are different because of it, but that doesn't mean I am a horrible bitch.

I hate to see someone willing to work on their ADHD and be shut down. Many of us would love for our spouses to want to try and admit that it is a problem in the marriage. You should be proud of yourself that you can see the damage and were at least willing to acknowledge it and try to make things better. You cared enough about your marriage to try. That says a lot about who you are and what kind of person you are. I hope things turn around, there is always hope.