Just want to get some thoughts on my situation. I got to 41yo before I realised I had ADHD. This has since been independently verified, first by a psychologist and later by a specialist psychiatrist. At first I was really happy to have an understanding of why I am like I am. Later on, once I'd read hundreds of research papers and studies on the subject, (reading stuff Im interested in is definately not a problem I have) I was completely horrified to realise that a condition I didn't even believe in a year ago has coloured my entire life. Personality, Health, relationships, education, everything.
Now one of my children is being investigated for early learning issues and I see much of myself in her. My marriage is currently best described as "on the rocks" and after 7 years of relative calm, I'm having some issues with work colleagues now too. In the later case finding out why I am like I am seems to have caused more problems than it solved. Staff think I'm now playing on it to get away with stuff... I point out that my behavior has not changed in 7 years and stuff that I am bad at or regularly forget to do now, is stuff I was bad at or regularly forgetting 7 years ago. The only difference is that now we know why. Apparently Logic has no place in the discussion. Shame really because it's the only weapon I have to work with. I am unable to compete with meanness or vindictive behavior because I simply don't understand it or why people do it. I offend people by saying the wrong stuff all the time. In my case though no malice is intended, I've just blurted something inappropriate out before the sensor kicked in. Most of the time its ok because what I've said is funny. Occasionally it's got me into trouble though. Anyway, enough about work.
First I guess some history is in order.
I've been pretty weird my whole life. Kids thought so for my whole childhood, adults think so now. So does my wife, so do my colleagues at work. Luckily for me, I have some talents to offset my many flaws, I am better at solving computer/server/network related problems than any of my university educated colleagues. (I'm totally self taught) If nobody else can solve something, they give it to me and I do. I've also been able to understand just about any electrical or mechanical system instinctively.. something I've been able to do since I was youngish.
However, names like carecredit, creditline, readycredit all sound the same and completely interchangeable to me.. I just can't get them straight in my head so I often pay them in the wrong order or late.. the funny thing is that if I'm due to pay 100 dollars, I pay 200 or more, so it may be late, but it's double what they asked for.. interestingly they don't care.. within days I'll get a phone call telling me I'm over due again. I point out that in the past 12 months I've paid double the minimum payments.. but it invariably makes no difference to anyone. "It doesn't work that way". The irony is that none of the cards are mine, so my absent mindedness is costing my wife her credit rating. Since I'm paying off debt that isn't mine, she can hardly complain though right? (wrong, but I'm getting to that, hold your horses!)
Anyway, I also have no concept of the passage of time, I have almost no functional short term memory, I can read a 1500 page book in a night If it fascinates me, but can't manage 5 pages of something boring even if I really really need to know it. I can also program for 7 hours straight if I'm in the groove, but have no way of knowing if I'll be in the groove or making it happen if I'm not. (frustrating to say the least)
I also flare up and get angry easily. Particularly righteous anger if I feel someone is judging me unfairly. I've also had 86 speeding tickets (was 85 last night.) though I've had only one crash and that was unavoidable as someone ran a stop sign and T-boned me. My wife has a talent for putting me in situations where no matter what I do, I'm wrong, and that is almost guaranteed to make me angry. If I get angry, I usually don't sleep for a day or two as I can't shut my brain up and it has endless loud angry conversations to the person I'm mad at in the corridors of my mind. Often I try to read a fun novel to distract my mind long enough to fall asleep. Doesn't always work sometimes and if I don't sleep my symptoms get worse and worst. I had a really bad 2 day long anxiety episode recently because of stuff that happened at work, and now I'm on tranks and anti-depressants too. I am well over 6 foot tall and I weigh about 100kg and and I'm much stronger than I look. I occasionally worry about what I might do if someone really pushes the wrong levers or grabs me in any way when I'm that anxious.. though I've never done anything violent to anyone since I was a teenager. still freaks me out sometimes though as I've never had this much stress in my life and it's amplified all my moods.
I can't go to sleep early at the best of times and It's always been harder for me to get up when everyone else does in the morning. I also can't predict or understand if my emotional reaction is normal or not. Sometimes I don't react to things that make everyone else emotional, but more likely I get emotional and can't understand why everyone else doesn't. (for that matter I sometimes can't understand why I get emotional either, it can be an image or a tone of voice that triggers an emotional reaction.. really quiet odd.) hmmm, what else, oh, if I don't blurt out what I've been wanting to say and wait my turn to speak, I've almost always have forgotten what it was I was going to say by the time it's my turn. Occasionally I'll trail off half way though a sentence as if my brain has moved on and I've forgotten I was talking. Occasionally I'll resume the same sentence later without realising that 30 minutes has passed for the other person. Loads of people think several of these traits are cute and endearing.. eventually the novelty for them wears off though.
Are these the same sorts of experiences other ADHD adults can relate to?
Anyway enough history and reminiscing. Onto the marriage bit.. (I own The ADHD Effect on Marriage and I'm working my way though it slowly. Though it is full of wisdom it isn't trigging my hyperfocus like novels and stuff do so I have to plod though it.)
Been with my wife for roughly 17 years. Been married for 7 of them. We stopped being intimate at all about 7 months ago. Basically she is the sort of person who ignores and pushes though her issues, for example when she was a dancer she got up and danced with a broken collarbone and a cracked spine from an accident because in her world you shut up and deal and get the job done. Since she has this belief that if you can't push though your problems and get on with it, you are just not trying hard enough or you are weak and not worthy of respect. The irony is that she has "issues" of a serious nature, (seriously emotionally and sexually repressed unless drunk when she goes the exact opposite way, very controlling and critical of people she isn't that keen on (me and some other members of her family usually), but her tactic is to deny, ignore and have no respect for anyone that can't do the same. She will show no weakness unless drunk, at which point it all comes out, but she will remember nothing the next day. incredibly frustrating for me that we have a wonderful time or solve some issue between us and the next morning it's like it never happened and we are back where we started. (I didn't know she was drinking much for a long time after we met as I'm not all that observant most of the time. She doesn't' drink much at all now that we have kids so now I only see the hard nosed, controlling, critical woman and not the one I fell in love with that is buried in there somewhere.
I've lost much of my respect for her because she uses the drive and determination I used to love about her as a weapon against people, often it is directed against me. She is extremely critical of everything I do in the house, I've I hang up a towel I get told I didn't put the right side out, if I put something where I got it from, that isn't' good enough cos I should have known where it was supposed to go, not where it was. etc etc.
She can't let go of the many hurts I've caused her over the years (for example, If I am hyperfocusing on a good book, I literally can't put it down and will get angry of someone tries to make me... that happened the day after our wedding.. she's still angry at me about that to this day. ) Also we stopped talking like a couple and now our conversation is almost universally about the children or daily life. Also I have gotten defensive and upset many times about something real or imagined and flared up.. I know why now, but before that I didn't know I couldn't trust my emotional reactions she wears her pain like a fur stole and although she says she has let it go, you can clearly tell she has not.
We have several children under 12 and life is busy busy busy.. and I've had a referral to an ADD experienced counselor in my bag for over a month now... I don't know if it's worth following up on, because although she has said she will try it, she is going into this thinking that I am the only one with issues that require fixing. The truth is that I don't really want to be with this hard as nails wife, I want the old one back that was passionate about life, funny, cuddly, hot and affectionate, and if I can't find her, I'd rather find someone else like her. But I have children one of whom has problems like mine and I don't want her to have the crap child and teen years that I did. I also can't leave my children with my wife without me there to counteract her hard "to business" personality.. I don't want them to turn out like her simply because they will not be any happier than she ever has been if they do become like her. She is a smart beautiful, resourceful and determined woman, but she never admits to her own flaws as they are an indication of weakness and as a result I can't see anyway out. (she is a stay at home mum since we started having kids presently so we can't really afford to separate without her getting a job again too. That isn't an option though as I don't want to be away from my children. So you can imagine the level of anxiety in my life as I am living one of those unsolvable problems where I'm wrong no mater what I do that I mentioned above.
I guess what I am asking, is.. does anyone recognise my wife's issue? Is it something that can be dealt with? I am now on lots of meds (concerta, adderol, ritalin etc) to improve my situation in order to help married life, but if she isn't meeting me half way, there is no point anymore. is there?
God I hope this is totally anonymous or I am one dead monkey. :-)
Thoughts are welcome and encouraged.