My ADHD: academic struggles and lack of awareness

As a child, about the age of 8, I was diagnosed with ADHD.  I was given medication (Ritalin) and sent on my way. After being singled out every year of school after that-told I was LD and frequently embarrassed in class by the teacher, I decided to learn some strategies to help me concentrate in school. I started by marking the time on the clock on the wall and trying to attend to the teacher as long as I could while trying to absorb every single word and understand what she was saying. And when there was a pause, I would look up at the clock to see how long I was focused on her. I ultimately stopped taking ritalin because I didn't want a crutch and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and that I wasn't a failure. The time was short at first and then it got better. I eventually stopped looking at the clock, I filtered out unimportant things, turned my brain on like a tape recorder. That worked for me.  Prolonged concentration became easier for me. I noticed my grades started improving and by the time I finished highschool, I had a 3.2 GPA. Cumulative 2.8, but I passed. My first 6 months in college were okay, then I was hit by too many distractions, I lost my focus and dropped out of one college after two years and transferred to another for a fresh start. Ended up changing my major 6 times and eventually dropped out again after 2 years. Went back to school-community college this time and went to my original major and was not able to get into the program. Decided to switch to a sister program and got in. Spent 4 years in a 2 year institution. As adulthood had fully set in, I had 2 part time jobs working 2nd and 3rd shift while in school full time. I ultimately passed and began working. Work was very easy for me because I was able to use a lot of strategies to be successful. I often didn't have to think twice about it. Of course, I decided to go to grad school and finish what I started. I would have my master's in 3 years if I did it right. I was hit by the distractions of life and after the first semester I got booted out. I had to wait a year then restart. I made it somehow getting through the premature birth of my daughter, moving 2 times for employment, frequent threats of divorce, loss of identity, the writing off of my family, occasional organization problems at work, isolation and the inner turmoil of my own efficacy. I passed by the skin of my teeth relying heavily on my classmates to clarify things for me and helping me stay organized. I re-took 2 courses when they came back around the following year. I had to retake my national board certification and because I missed a few things regarding my licensure, I have to wait jobless for another week for my background check to be completed. I had realized by the end, that my strategies were no longer really working and didn't have enough time nor energy to refine them. My lack of awareness is my biggest limitation I believe. 

Life at home has been very rough. Up until 2 weeks ago, I really thought my wife hated me. She yelled at me all the time telling me I have to "man up" and "get my shit together." I had no idea what she was talking about. We've been on the brink of divorce for about 2-5 years with intermittent spells of incredible bliss. I had to cut all ties with my family because of their hatefulness towards our relationship, so that ended some fights between us. When I started clinicals, I began cleaning the house more often and caring even more for the needs of my daughter. My wife and I agreed that she was the financial chief in our home and that was settled because I was not as good as she was at it. When everything was done, things began to slip at home. I would not pay attention to how hot the stove was when I was cooking, I'd leave the front door unlocked, I miss my street while driving, I'd forget to answer emails, call certain people back, take the trash out, etc. My wife just began to get more and more angry with me and I didn't know why. I was doing everything I possibly could to mend our marriage, be responsible and have things done before she could even think about it. Nothing has worked and I don't know how to make anything better. Of course I'm jobless right now, that doesn't help. I'm not aware of many things that make her angry. She's fed up and so am I. We finally put it together that it was more of an adult version of ADHD. I've been off of any ADHD medication for about 20 years and I'm really considering seeing the doctor, get diagnosed to get back on medication in hopes that my concentration can be restored and our marriage can begin to mend. Today, we took our daughter to see a kids show. I was short on paying the parking attendant and we were going to be late for the start of the show. While my wife had our daughter, I ran to the ATM then the parking attendant to pay him. I also asked for the quickest route from the parking garage to the theater. When I turned around my wife and daughter weren't behind me. I walked back into the parking garage and my wife had flames in her eyes. She said I disappeared and she couldn't find me. Two families were helping her find me and I had left my bank card in the machine. I thought she was with me the entire time. I need to get some help before something bad happens. I'm very discouraged. 


Hello. I'm very sorry you are struggling but happy that you are seeking help. Your story certainly does sound like the ADHD script. I'd highly recommend getting to the doctor. Meds should help with the concentration problems but won't be the full answer. I'd also recommend a counselor experienced with ADHD. You might also read, and encourage your wife to read, Orlov's and Pera's books. You and she can see just how pervasive ADHD is in a relationship.  Good luck finding the right path.

Dear Jon Jon, Your post

Dear Jon Jon,

Your post sounds so familiar!  I was not diagnosed with ADD until well into adulthood.  As long as there is well-managed structure to support me I can cope and sometimes even excel, but left to create my own structure I crater!  In graduate school a simple mistake almost ruined a $7,000 piece of equipment and several months of another students work.  I was unable to efficiently organize my time between research, teaching, and coursework.  Because the only time I had no distractions was the middle of the night, that's when I studied and did my research.  After a year of this my brain had no natural sleep patterns and I was a wreck.  But I had no idea why tasks that seemed so easy for the rest of the department were impossible for me.  And my apartment was just normal meals, piles of dirty clothes, dishes undone, bills left unpaid not because there was no money in the account, but because once placed on the mantle they were forgotten until a threatening letter showed up.  I now know that I used caffeine and nicotine to focus, but that, too, was destructive.  I felt like life was a complicated game and everyone had a copy of the rulebook but me!!  I left graduate school with a Masters degree, while all my friends stayed on for their PhD's.  It may sound like finishing a Masters is a very focused and non-ADD thing to do, but the truth is I chose academia because it was the only environment where I could almost understand the rules...there was a predictable progression of degrees and at each level you knew what you had to do to achieve a given degree, and I was incredibly interested in the field, so I could more easily focus.

When I became a stay-at-home mom, with no external structure or schedule, life began to unravel.  Eventually I was diagnosed with clinical depression and began therapy.  Luckily for me, as the depression lifted my counselor was able to see an underlying soup of ADD symptoms.  For the first time in my life I was able to understand that my mind doesn't work like everyone else's....they indeed had a different rulebook.  My husband and I were able to understand some of our issues through the filter of ADD.  Turns out he thought A LOT of my ADD behaviors were intentional, because those tasks were so simple for him to remember or complete.  For him to behave that way it would HAVE to be intentional, and I can understand now why he was hurt and angry.  He now understands that juggling the house and kids was far more difficult for me than almost any other job might have been.

It has been a long journey, and we have really struggled to understand our differences, but I can offer this advice:

1. GET HELP! get diagnosed, get medication if it helps, and get counseling to help you find strategies that work.  ADDers cannot use the same methods that others do when it comes to organization, time, creating schedule and structure ;there are professionals out there that understand and can help us think in ADD-friendly terms.  In my experience counseling was key to getting my life back!

2.  Find a support network of other ADDers.  Finding this site is a great start.  They can be a shoulder to cry on, a swift kick in the bottom, and a great source of out-of-the-box strategies.  They also tend to be very creative and a lot of fun to be around.

3.  Marriage counseling is helpful if your spouse is willing.  Your wife probably has no idea that you work twice as hard as the next guy to accomplish half as much !  You just need to figure out better ways to do things, ways that work with your ADD.  You guys are partners in parenting and in life, and understanding the differences in how your minds work will help you come up with strategies to take the sting out!  Once my husband understood my ADD a little better, his linear, logical mind came up with great ideas!!  I was forever burning up tea kettles on the stove, or forgetting my mug in the microwave until it was cold again.  He bought me a hot water dispenser.  No more fire hazard!  I need visual wallets are all REALLY colorful, so I don't keep leaving them on store counters.  The list goes on........

4.  DON'T GIVE UP!!  Knowing that you have ADD is half the battle won.  Learn to manage your ADD so that it doesn't manage you!!





Hi Jon Jon!

I agree with the above. I know that it would be preferable to not need the meds, but as an adult you have responsibilities that you didn't as a kid and you need to get through this overwhelm. Adding to the overwhelm is the fear of your wife's judgement/anger.  For me, the spousal anger makes my screw ups exponentially more numerous and frequent.

I do the same stuff you do (people getting angry because I've 'disappeared' when I thought they heard me say I had to run out to get cash, change a diaper, move the car/whatever). I'm medicated now (3 years almost) and it's still hard for me to tell if I'm doing the right thing, or WHAT the right thing even is.  For example, I asked my husband if he could carry the 25 lb bag of rice in from the car. 30 minutes later he is still playing with the iPad on the couch. Did he not hear me? Should I ask again? If I ask again will he bark at me that he heard me already? I need to start dinner and I need that rice... should I just go get it myself? If I get it myself, will he snap at me that he HAD heard me but since I failed to tell him that I needed it now, he didn't think it was a rush and so now dinner is going to be delayed and it's my fault? etc. etc...  but for the most part the major stuff gets done and I'm working (although, of course, not earning enough money).

I cannot imagine how I'd get through my day now without meds. I've got too many responsibilities to go unmedicated-. I WAS un-medicated for 10 days last month(involuntarily) and it was pretty scary. I'm currently trying to find a specialist in ADD because my current doctor really doesn't know anything - she's just a GP who took over for my doctor that moved out of state. I'd like to really figure out HOW to get my shit together and make more money (I don't care about 'finding myself' or living up to my potential or any of that stuff that 'normal' people figure out before they get to be my age). All that matters at the moment is money. Fortunately, unlike a lot of ADD-ers, I'm not distracted by any unattainable dreams, but I am running into walls because in spite of the medication I am always so exhausted I am never getting ahead and feel like I'm only just barely making it to the next day.

Hang in there & let us know how you are!


Busting my ass-not working....

NO, I haven't gotten help yet. Why? I put it on the back burner to continue my pursuits to find a job. I will for sure call tomorrow to make an appointment. My license has still not been processed. Of course that is my fault because I forgot to send the background check information and complete the licensure test. I did get 100% on the test and the background check is still processing. My wife and I are very frustrated. I've been holding down the responsibilities of the house solo for a while now. She still comes home and finds something to yell at me about. There isn't a day that goes by where I didn't make a mistake somewhere. It doesn't matter what it is, I can't get it right according to my wife. She likes to bring up everything that has ever happened. I tell her, "Fine, I did it, it was my fault, I take full responsibility for what happened, I will try my best to make sure it never happens again..." It doesn't usually happen again, its always something else that is similar. 

Tonight we had a big fight. She called me incompetent. She also said that a long time ago, her friends and family members said that there was something not right and that there were red flags [about me]. I have yet to figure out what these red flags are. I kinda feel like she is having some emotional instability from the recent loss of her father 2 weeks ago and we buried him on saturday and the dwindling savings  because of my current lack of employment. We live 3 hours away from the closest family so I feel like I'm her punching bag to take out all of her frustrations. During our fight tonight, she kept the lap top in her lap and every time I said something she would say, "research shows that you have a problem and you would say things like that." I don't think it was a very healthy and productive fight.  I told her I didn't care and that I was over it. She then said that our marriage was a lie:

I never told her that I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. I felt like I had adapted enough to overcome it. She said its hereditary or it can be. She said she now has to worry about our 3 year old daughter. That really makes me feel great. That if I told her back then, we may not have that beautify baby girl sleeping in the next room right now. And who wants to talk about how you can't do this and can't do that? Especially when you are trying to have a relationship with someone. She keeps asking me every time we have a fight: What have you contributed to this relationship. I don't really know anymore. She shuts me down with everything I say. I tell her: I've loved her with every bit of my being, I would push her out of the way of a speeding car, I'd give her my organs to save her life, I gave up my horrible family, I went back to school to make a better life for us. She always says, "I put you through school, I reminded you to do your assignments....etc. I have xxx dollars in debt now, so what have you contributed to this relationship." I guess theoretical self sacrifice isn't really contributing. We've been together for 13 years. Something is keeping us together. She told me tonight she assigns me physical labor to keep me together because I can't handle anything else. Thats pretty degrading. We need marriage counseling. I'm her pack mule. 

I also didn't tell her I was physically abused by my father. He'd hit me, throw me against the wall or onto furniture- things like that. It didn't come out until a Thanksgiving a 5 or 6 years ago where he said and did some things, so I tried to kick him out of my house and he wouldn't leave. We almost had a brawl in the living room but my wife stopped it. I wanted to put him in the hospital so bad. She was very upset with me for not telling her about all those painful memories with him when we first got together. She told me I lied. She asked me if I "forgot" about all those things that I didn't tell her or if I was withholding information from her. She said tonight she didn't know who I was. 

Was that my embarrassment or shame? or was it the ADHD? Did I intend on tell her those things and got distracted and never got around to it? I have no real idea. I responded today like I was embarrassed and ashamed but it really could have been the latter. I may never really know for sure. 

The thing I hate the most about this disorder is that I don't know what I did wrong until she tells me, everything that goes wrong is often or appears to be out of my physical control, yet I'm still to blame for it. To her, there is no amount of good that will erase the bad. No matter what happens today, whatever happened 13 years ago may still be relevant today.

I'm sorry, but I'm sure you can see how sad this is, hopeless and pathetic. I will get help: I'm going to call the doctor and find a set of counselors: marriage and ADHD types and I hope to report some kind of improvement next time.  Thank you all for the advice, compassion, empathy and testimonies. That gives me hope that this can get better. I hope I have better news next time. 

Good night

barneyarff's picture

Let's see, you are using all

Let's see, you are using all your energy doing all kinds of things except the 2 things that will help you the most.... counseling and getting a job.

And no amount of good will ever erase the past.  Just like what  your dad did to you.  HOWEVER, your need to have a workaround for what your dad did to you and quit blaming all your "bad" adult life on him.   I mean, you are an adult now so he can be out of your life if you choose.  And she can have a workaround for the 13 years of hell you put her through because you refused to continue to get help for your ADD but you need to start RIGHT NOW managing your symptoms.  Good Lord, if your dad still came over everyday and beat the crap out of you, you'd be upset.  You not managing your ADD is like that to her.

Sorry, I don't feel very sympathetic.  If  you can't handle all of the things in your life, then quit having so many things in your life.  If you need a simple life to manage, then do it.  If more ADDers would just quit making everything so damn complicated, we'd all be better off.


As for the "giving your organs to save her life"  Of course you would,  that's interesting and fills you full of the endorphins you need.  
But reality is that you need to show your love by picking up your socks, getting a job and putting the milk away.  for an ADDer, true love is doing all those boring things that happen in life but need to be done even though there is no rush of endorphins.  Only when you do those things, will your wife feel love.  

Learning how to argue

Hello Jon. I'm really sorry you and your wife are going through this. As the non I can understand your wife's anger and resentment and stress.  I've lived them. But that doesn't mean we nons have the right to treat you poorly. We learn to fight from our families and I know the lessons I got were flat out wrong. Bringing up old, supposedly resolved issues, is inappropriate. Ideally we would praise what you did accomplish and not nitpick what was left undone. That being said, it's also important to do what you tell her you are going to do. Write it down when you make the commitment. Set reminders to make sure it was done. Do the important things first. 

I think your wife would benefit from a counselor of her own too. Your marriage can not thrive until she truly learns to forgive and let things go. But she will also need to see you actively managing your condition in order to reinforce her choice to forgive. Best wishes to you both.

Lots of similarities in our

Lots of similarities in our relationships. You sound a lot like my husband and I can see a bit of myself in your wife, though I try not to make my husband feel badly about his shortcomings. It doesn't work because he can feel my disappointment and I inevitably still get blamed for making him feel bad.

Good luck!


I resonated a lot with this post, and much of it sounds like my inner monologue in situations where I am feeling hurt or defensive. We too have yet to pull the trigger on therapy, and my experimentation with meds is still ongoing. My wife also gets into extremely angry moods and says things that I feel are going too far, or at least things that are absolutely not productive. I too generally default (most often rightly) to mea culpa. One thing that a therapist told me is that these kinds of fights are never productive. They only cause more trauma in the relationship, and both parties should disengage and agree to come back together when things have calmed down. I've had basically no success attempting to do this, and I think for both of us couples therapy is the ticket.

When we fight she often asks the, "what do you contribute" question. Usually this is far enough into the session of her yelling at me that my mind is totally blank and I can't offer much in the way of any answer. I feel totally impotent; no possible valid rebuttal; quivering and unable to think. The vast majority of what she's saying is true, and in that moment nothing can be done but resolving to do better. Talk is cheap. All the physical things around the house that you and I do manage to get done just seem ridiculous and petty to bring up in response. The planning, goal-setting, and logistics that we play a far lesser role in trumps that handily. Even if no one can be said to be playing the villain, it is still legitimate to feel degraded. You and I desperately need that counseling to begin to teach us how to communicate the love we feel and establish the bond we yearn for.

My wife as well takes almost everything as lies. When I said I would do X and don't, that was me actively, in full comprehension, lying having had no intention of ever doing it. These responses from our spouses are completely understandable, and I've come to believe that the pain we cause by our (in)actions is dwarfed by the painful conclusions they feel our (in)actions must mean. My wife will swear up and down that she does not give a damn about my intentions or what was in my heart, and she is right that in the end actions are the only concrete expressions of love. Nevertheless I am sure she is more hurt because she thinks it means I don't care about her, that I see her as a useful idiot, that I only think about myself, that springing into action for things outside the household proves it, etc etc. We need to get better about the inattention, but the central theme from nons on this forum who are getting to better places is ditching the notion that the slip-ups by their improving ADHD spouse represent their level of feeling or commitment. This message is totally ridiculous coming from us.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

To take a pill or not take a pill

jon jon,

There are two examples to consider in helping yourself see that necessary medication is not a crutch.

1.  If a person has horrible vision problems - let's say 20/100 vision rather than the normal 20/20 vision - would it be 'proving themselves' to drive their family on a 100 mile trip - by leaving their glasses/contacts at home?!?!  I don't think so.  

2.  If a person has Type 1 diabetes - and let's say they were experiencing fatigue, blurred vision, sweating, and their hands were trembling - would THIS be a situation to "prove themselves' by driving their family on a 2 hour trip - while 'meditating' their blood sugar to a normal level?!?!?  I don't think so.

While it may be a tad disappointing to realize that some internal workings of our body/brain are not perfect, getting to the place of understanding that medication can help it work a lot better, is a really nice place to be.  


Progress or am I kidding myself?

This past Monday, I made that dreaded appointment with the doctor for the next morning. I was dreading it because I was afraid to admit my problems to her. Though, just taking that step was some what liberating. I told my wife and she was pretty pleased with me and seemed hopeful. The next morning while I waited in the empty waiting room having forgot my cell phone in the car, I was alone with my thoughts, trying to formulate some kind of dialog to explain my issues without being reckless and too revealing.  I went in and they took all of my vitals- blood pressure was slightly elevated and my oxygen saturation was 100%. Usually its 97 or 98% so I might have been hyperventilating a little. The nurse handed me the ADHD questionnaire and I filled it out with the majority of my answers falling into the dark grey area indicating I have a problem. I sighed, and was again alone with my thoughts. I was glad that I was honest with myself and was really trying to get help. The doctor walked in and asked me a lot of the same questions on the questionnaire and asked me to talk about what I had been going through. I spoke about the issue with inadvertently abandoning my wife and daughter in a strange place, burning things on the stove, forgetting things often and the marital problems. I mistakenly spoke about my self esteem and lack of self worth. She then handed me a depression questionnaire. It fortunately didn't indicate that I had depression. The doctor finally issued me a prescription for ritalin. I felt like I had been freed, a huge weight was lifted off of my chest and I could breath easier. I took my first dose today. And things went okay, I think. Will follow up more later. I'm hopeful for change and a new lease on life. Thanks for the support. 


Jon Jon

I did a similar process in

I did a similar process in February, but eh Vyvance prescribed doesn't seem to have done anything. Need to experiment. Good luck to you.

I'm So Exhausted's picture


Jon Jon,

I think that is great.

Vyvanse worked like a miracle drug for my ADHD spouse - sadly it shot his blood pressure so high, he was unable to use it.  

Medication is a touchy subject.  When my son was in the pre-ADHD-diagnosis stage, I refused to drug my 8 year old child so a teacher could be happy.  He was very smart, caught things on the first try, got his work done, and then was expected to sit quietly while the other children worked to learn the lesson.  That is a death sentence for an ADHD child.   We asked for him to be given something to do - the teacher said, "I have to focus on the children who aren't getting it."  We asked if he could bring a coloring book.  She said no.  We asked if he could sketch in his notebook.  She said she would not promote wasting paper, so no.

We took him to be independently tested . (We were unaware that we could insist the public school screen and test him. they do not offer that information, unless you ask.)  We paid big bucks.  So we learned he was very bright.  We transferred him to another school.  He got a fresh-out-of-college teacher who was "all-learned" about ADHD.  "This child just needs to bring a stress ball to class."  We bought him a stress ball.  The very first day, he managed to explode it - the sand/powder inside the ball was everywhere  in and on and around his desk.  LOL!

One night after my children were in bed, I heard my sons muffled crying.  I went into his room and asked him what was wrong.  "Nobody likes me.  I'd don't have any friends.  Everybody calls me 'Hyper.' "

After that, we decided if HE wanted, we would try meds to see if it made a difference.  They helped him tremendously.  By the time he was in high school, he knew when he needed them - mostly for tests - and when he didn't.  He did not like the fact that when he took the meds, he was not hungry - until the meds wore off around 6:30 pm.  Then, he could not get enough to eat. . . .

So, he learned what HE needed for HIMSELF.  He is 23, and hasn't chosen to take any meds for years.  He also had learned many life-skills along the way, so his life is running OK. He asks for help.  He knows his limitations - - but they do not define him.

Maybe you can ask those near and dear to you, if they notice any difference in you.  We were the 'against the system" parents.  We DID NOT tell the school when my son started Ritalin.  However, after 2 weeks, we did sit down with his teacher to say we had adopted some new behavior modification techniques (We really hadn't) and wondered if she noticed any improvement in him.  She brightened up and said, "Now that you mention it, I  hardly noticed him at all these past few weeks.  Yes.  I would say yes, they are helping a lot."

Do it for yourself - and it will influence your world!

Be patient.  You may have to try more than one type to find a good fit for yourself.

Good luck!


I think things are getting better

Its day two and I did notice that when I set my mind to an activity or task, I can get it done in a very reasonable amount of time. I haven't been distracted by my own thoughts and can manage distractions in my environment a lot better. I did some painting of the house this weekend and it didn't seem to take long at all. My wife wasn't telling me to get back to work and I wasn't bored. I could multi-task by thinking of relevant things that I need to take care of and get through the task at hand. I took my meds in the late morning after I went to the store and noticed a big difference in my distractibility. I feel like my peripheral vision has widened and I can filter out the nonsense. I also feel like my strategies have been enhanced and I'm not having to work nearly as hard. I feel like I am more efficient all around. I thought I would have to let the medication titrate into my system but it seemed to work immediately. I'm curious to see how my performance is like at work tomorrow. Will be taking the medication for about 30 days and will follow up with the doctor. 

Since I made the commitment to have my self checked out and work towards managing my symptoms, my relationship with my wife has improved quite a bit in a really short amount of time. We've been laughing and joking around. We've been intimate for the first time in what seems like 3 months and we are really enjoying each other's company. My frustration levels have dropped considerably since I've been on Ritalin and I didn't realize how anxious I was until it was reduced. 

I am worried that this may all be in my head, but I'm really feeling more confident and encouraged by all that has happened in such a short amount of time.  Did anyone else have these kind of experiences when they started their medications? I'm praying that this is the start of something great and my life can be restored and renewed. Thanks again for the encouragement to get this process started. 

That's great news Jon, and it

That's great news Jon, and it sounds like you are going forward with guarded optimism. I wouldn't worry about it being all in your head too much. I've had no response to Vyvance, but I think for me dopamine basically does not exist without meds, and standard ADHD meds don't directly address dopamine. If I hadn't been on Wellbutrin for the last few years I probably would have none of the chemical, and be in a much worse state. Need to see what might boost dopamine more. Tried the max dose of Wellbutrin, 450mg, a few months ago and noticed no change, so I went back down to 300. Meds are a process for all neurological disorders, good luck to you.

I had a similar experience

I had a similar experience with Ritalin. It made a profound difference within half an hour of taking the first pill. I felt like a massive burden was lifted off me. I used to spend so much energy just trying to "control myself". that vanished instantly with medicarion along with a ton of anxiety, stress and irritability. poof.

I am so happy this is helping you. Keep it up- hopefully you will feel better and better about yourself and continue making progress with your wife and the job hunt. Cheers.

Lack of awareness-Short lived triumph over ADHD

I'm only on day 3 of my medication and was feeling amazing. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness, impulsivity and anxiety from weeks before I started my medication caught up to me. I screwed up on completing all the requirements to get my new license before I passed my exam to be certified. Once I was to be certified, if I had done everything right, I would have gotten my license 24 hours later. Here I am, 3-4 weeks later still with no license because I forgot some key requirements which I had thought I had completed months ago. 3 weeks ago, I called the licensure board and asked them what I needed to do to get my license. "Oh, you just need your background check..." Impulsively, I hung up the phone, ran down the street to the nearest fingerprinting place and got them done. 3 weeks later, I finally get the results of my background check to the licensure board. I call to check on the status of my license. They say, "Oh, I see your BCI prints but you don't have your FBI prints..." I wanted to puke on the floor right then and there. I stopped to reflect and realized how impulsive I was and I swore, they only wanted BCI. The FBI prints can take up to 6 weeks.

I waited until after our daughter was asleep to reveal the truth to my wife. The days of growth and healing were destroyed in seconds. The look of devastation and flabbergastedness on her face really spoke to me. I am going to be on the streets here in a couple days or weeks. I didn't figure out what was wrong with me (the adult ADHD) until two weeks ago and I think my marriage is over before it can even heal. We have no money, we can't pay any bills, work is scarce and I can't guarantee that I'll even be working next week. Rock bottom is getting pretty close here and I'm taking everyone- that means the most to me- down with me. The crazy thing about our fight tonight, is that I didn't lose it. I didn't blow up and start dropping F bombs left and right like I usually do. This time, I was really receptive and acknowledged all of the points she was making about supporting me, financing my education and dealing with all of my short comings and her staying strong through all of it. I agreed and accepted everything, calmly. I was in control of my emotions which was great. I'm not sure where to even start if my wife leaves me with this house. She handles all of the financial things. I handle the cleanliness and maintenance. I'm pretty much screwed. I really think this is it this time. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't think straight back then before because I was so impulsive and anxious-now I have more of a handle on it, but its too late. She's going to leave and move back home 3 hours away.

I took my medication this morning before I went to work and had an amazing day. I could remember everything I needed to. I could problem solve and I could handle any situation. At the same time, I'm falling apart. Train wreck. Absolute train wreck. This ADHD has really made me feel worthless and irresponsible, knee jerk impulsive and an explosive and over emotional nightmare to my wife and daughter. I have no idea what my options are and how to overcome this right now. It is quite the low blow. I've been asking God to help me and praising him for the little victories but there is always something bigger that seems to grab me by the ankle and drag me into a dark hole. I may be destined to be alone to work things out myself. Learn to be self sufficient for a period before I can go back to being a husband and father. She's going to leave me. Its not like I'm going to have a choice. She's my only support system. My family is not an option and I don't have any close relationships with friends. I'm really going to be 100% on my own and will be the only one affected by my disorder. Its probably better that way. This is hard. This is really hard.

I'm So Exhausted's picture



I am the wife of a man with an ADHD wired brain - who is in major denial and does not take responsibility for how his behaviors cause disruption and chaos in our lives.

From my perspective you need to give yourself a Gold Star for how well you seem to acknowledge and take responsibility for your own actions - and the consequences that happened because of your lack of action.  

I am so sorry for how hard this is for you.  Consistency in working and changing will really have a positive impact on your spouse.  She will see your efforts, especially when they become habits.  We tend to get numb to  band-aid attempts at a quick repair.  Hang in there.  

Take it from a spouse who looks forward to that day in her relationship with her own spouse :)

DragonTamerWife's picture

It's only day three, hang in there.

I'm sure your wife's earlier excitement and feelings of pride for you are still there, somewhere. Beating yourself up about it isn't going to help anyone. Be tender with yourself. 

My problems have been going

My problems have been going on for a very long time and her tolerance has become so limited its really hard to say. She's away from her family and everything bad that has happened has been my fault. When we met, I had no direction and she got me on a path to being some body, she helped me grow up and be a responsible person when we were young, she helped me find a career, she helped me find God, she encouraged me to go to grad school, she stood by me all the way through it (successes and miserable failures), she stayed with me even when my family were being some of the worst human beings on the face of the planet and I didn't defend her until our child was born 5 years later. 2 weeks ago, she found out I had ADHD, 3 days ago I finally get on something that will help and the crap with my license seems like it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I don't know if she has anything left. I know who I was and what I've done, I think it may be too late. I don't know. I'm not sure what is better, to let her go and deal with this on my own or have her potential experience another life changing disappointment. I don't want to torture her anymore. Not like I had any control before.