My ADD wife was diagnosed today

Hello all,

After a month of reading this forum, I'm delurking to introduce myself and to announce that my wife was diagnosed today with ADD overlapping with Aspergers and OCD.

We've been together almost 20 years, and last month I got to the point where just couldn't see how I could continue in our marriage. After years of my continually reminding my wife about what upset me in our marriage, she was still interrupting me, not keeping her agreements (with her latest boss as well as with me), not doing housework, procrastinating on other responsibilities, spending most of her downtime in bed reading or playing online games unless there was an opportunity to shop or socialise, monopolising almost every conversation, and putting my stuff away where I couldn't find it until several years had passed and I accidentally discovered her latest cache. On my birthday a couple of months ago, we were about to go out to dinner when she announced she didn't feel she had the time to celebrate my birthday; and when I became upset, she appeared genuinely puzzled as to why. Her spending and her inability to stay on top of paying bills got us deeply into debt and in trouble with the tax office. Eighteen months ago the tax office proved to me that my wife had been lying to me for years about taking care of our taxes, and threatened us with court action, so I took over our finances. I'm the chief cook and bottlewasher and I learned over the years that I can have as clean a house as I want, as long as I'm willing to do it all myself, not expect to rely on my wife for anything, and not have any time left over for anything else. If I was sick or facing a work deadline, the house quickly became a disaster area because no-one was filling in for me.

Yet whenever I confronted my wife, she told me how much she loved me, and we made plans for how we could improve matters. At my instigation, she began to see a psychologist six or seven years ago and was prescribed antidepressants, which she continues to take. Because an improved mood from antidepressants was about the only improvement, and because my wife would swear black and blue that she would do what she agreed yet still not do it, I suspected her of passive aggression.

When I got to despairing last month, I made one last-ditch attempt to find an explanation for my wife's behaviour by Googling a combination of her worst behaviours. Lo and behold, I discovered your website here.

I have to tell you, that was a lightbulb moment. Reading this forum is like reading my diary. Many of the accounts here could be taken blow-by-blow from my own marriage.

Excited to find an explanation which just clicked with everything I'd experienced, I shared the information with my wife. She too was struck by the similarities and excited to find an explanation which made sense of what we'd experienced in our marriage - not only her behaviours, but my responses as well.

I persuaded her to ask her doctor to refer her for assessment. Today was the assessment, and as I said earlier, the psychiatrist diagnosed my wife with ADD, Aspergers and OCD. He is prescribing her Ritalin. According to him, here in Australia we don't have the pharmacopia to treat ADD which is available in the US, and there's some red tape to go through, but my wife is expecting to start on Ritalin in a couple of weeks. She will also go back to her psychologist, who shares the psychiatrist's practice, for non-pharmaceutical therapy.

I have to thank everyone who contributes to this website for helping me make the discovery which brought me back from despair. Once I began to understand that my wife's neurotransmitters could explain so many of her behaviours which frustrated me, I began to see that it wasn't her intention, that it was a disease for which she never asked. As a result, a couple of times over the past month my wife has acknowledged that I've become more tolerant and understanding with her. A couple of weeks ago we sat down together and made a schedule of household chores which we divided up together, so she would have more structure to support her; and strike me down if things didn't suddenly begin to run more smoothly. The fact that she'll begin treatment soon gives us both renewed hope. Thankyou for that.

I'm still somewhat in shock over the reality of the diagnosis. Over this past month, I've been able to tell myself that maybe I'm mistaken, that maybe my perceptions were grossly faulty, that perhaps my wife doesn't have a(nother) lifelong disease (along with diabetes, PCOS, depression, etc), that perhaps this is something which could be resolved simply with some left-field adjustment I'd never heard of. Well, today does away with all that. It's a fact now, and now I have to look at what I want to do now that I know my wife's condition. Give me a couple of days and I expect I'll be back in the swing of things.

Peace to you all.