Have ADHD and looking for some advice

Hi everyone,

I am having a tough time and I am looking for a place to vent my frustrations a bit--hopefully this is the right spot!

When I was a kid I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and ADHD. Having multiple diagnosis, I never really understood where one disorder ended and the other began, and I never knew exactly how my ADHD effected my life. Then, a couple of months ago, I began relationship counseling with my girlfriend of nearly four years.  We had been having a really hard time, growing more and more distant by the day. I felt like I was being constantly nagged and screamed at, and she felt that I wasn't listening. So, in December, I brought up the idea of seeing a therapist, and we began making regular visits. I couldn't handle the constant battling--I needed stability. For some, 'stability' may sound like a funny thing for a person with ADHD to desire, but I can assure that we need it every bit as much as those who are lucky enough to not have ADHD: I want to know that I am loved and share my love with another person; I want to know that I have a person I can go home to every day; I don't want to have to worry about splitting up, or losing someone. So, I was excited to go to a therapist. I wanted to bring in a stability that I was longing for.

Unfortunately, I think the therapy came too late. We met with our psychologist (who specializes in couples counseling with an ADHD partner) earlier this week for our 4th session. After some initial progress, we had had a few awful weeks and during our meeting the psychologist asked my girlfriend if she wanted me to "give up trying to work on things in our relationship." She took a couple minutes and said she thought it would be easier if we just gave up, though admittedly, she had difficulty saying conclusively that she wanted our relationship to end. Still, I felt devastated. We had spent the previous 50 minutes discussing new methods of solving our problems, and I was excited to give it a shot, and seeing her waver and so ready to throw in the towel entirely deflated me. I tried to tell her how I felt in the car on the way home, but she was beyond frustrated, and things erupted. When we arrived at our apartment, things went from bad to worse. She had gone to her car, with the intention (I had hoped), of leaving for a bit to cool off, but she came back with a couple of papers that I had left in the backseat. She put it in front of me and said “Even right after counseling you don’t clean up after yourself.” Then, we proceeded to get into the biggest fight we have ever had. As I dodged a flurry of arms and legs, she told me she hated me and kicked me out.

I feel like a child. I don't have my own apartment. I graduated from university last year and I have been unable to get a job. My girlfriend, a nurse, had been paying the rent. This had been a major point of friction for us. I always felt guilty that I couldn't help out with money, and felt homeless in a way, like I was living in a house that was not my own. Now I am living with my parents. I am twenty six years old, and I feel like I am five. To make it worse, I have zero friends. There are no people in my life that I am close with. I have always avoided friendships, as I feel anxious around people much of the time and am honestly afraid of having friends. My girlfriend had been my whole social life.  Still, thinking about making friends gives me a miniature heart attack. So, this forum will have to do for now.

I still don't know how much of me is ADHD and where I start. I don't know who I am. Without ADHD, what is left? Although I have had ADHD for my whole life, I really don't know a lot and I am just starting to learn. It has taken a while for me to get to this step. While we were going to therapy my girlfriend, who had been reading "The ADHD Effect on Marriage," would often tell me that she wasn't seeing any improvement and say that I wasn't doing anything to fix my behavior and educate myself. Things, in general, seem to move in slow motion for me and it takes me a while to process new information. I am really scared that I will never be able to have a successful relationship. I am feeling like I am destined to be a child-like figure in any relationship I may pursue. I don't want to be a child anymore, but I don't really know what to do. I can't afford to continue seeing the psychologist on my own, so right now all I have are these forums. Hopefully, my words find good company.

Thanks everyone.

By and large you are going to

By and large you are going to find more non-ADHDers here on these forums. This is where most of flock to vent our frustrations about our ADHD spouses or significant others. There are a few ADHDers on here so hopefully they will respond.

I'm sorry that things went south for you and your girlfriend. I don't know how long it has been since she kicked you out but you may want to give her some time to cool off. In the meantime, take the space as a moment to do some personal reflection. It sounds like you have already embarked on that, so congrats. You will find many nons on here that can't get their ADHD spouses to go to counseling or take their meds or do generally do anything positive. I think it bodes well for you that you actually were proactive and wanted to go to counseling, though it appears that the results were a little too late. Spend this time reflecting on what ADHD traits you feel contribute to your happiness or are part of "you". ADHD doesn't have to a bad thing. For instance, I like the fact that my husband is good in a crisis. He too believes this is a good trait. He used to be cop so of course this trait was definitely a good thing!

On your former girlfriend's side, I can understand her frustration. There have been many times in counseling with my ADHD husband that I wanted to say what she said. We get so run down you see, after so many years of promises not kept, communication issues, and financial woes, we sometimes just don't have the strength to continue on. But I think in any relationship, it's always easier to give up. If any relationship was easy, why would we bother with a commitment. The fact that she said this may indicate that she has unrealistic expectations to begin with.

In your comments regarding stability, my husband has many of the same thoughts. For months he refused to move back in with me because we were unstable. He knew that we would do nothing more than fight. And he doesn't like to fight. He was raised by parents who stayed together because they were supposed to but would fight like cats and dogs whenever his mother was having a hormonal imbalance fit. I too have a hormonal imbalance, so many of my reactions echoed the ones his mother made so long ago.

While it hurt me that he refused to move back in and it certainly caused me a vast amount of emotional strife, I now think that it was a good thing. We got nearly five months of counseling under our belts which stabilized our relationship. We've been under the same roof for a year now and things are going fairly well. We still have our moments, but what couple doesn't?

We too struggle with the money making thing. I'm the major breadwinner while my hubby is a 3X a week DJ and makes about $150...$200 if tips are good. He pays for his own way while I pay our household expenses. It's not ideal, it's stressful as h*ll actually, but I also know that he is desperately trying to find other work. But of course, not a lot of people want to take a chance on a person who has documented time management issues. In any case, why haven't you been able to find a job?

Hi dazedandconfused, thank

Hi dazedandconfused, thank you for your response. I have read over your message a few times and it is has given me a few things to think about.

As for the reason I don`t have a job well, I graduated from university last year with a double major in political science and English literature. I loved school and I did really well and plan on returning for a master`s degree. In fact, I had tried to apply this year, but I had a lot of difficulty with the paper work. I rewrote my personal statement every day for 47 days, and I never felt satisfied. I felt like Sisyphus rolling a rock up the hill--every day was the same. I would wake up, and sit for the majority of the day, hunched over my computer staring at a bank screen. It was so incredibly frustrating and I felt awful for being consumed by a piece of digital paper, so I finally said "screw it," and decided to toss in the towel for a year and hope for inspiration.

I do have a part-time job, I generally work between eight and ten hours a week in a bingo hall in a job that I acquired as an undergraduate student. It is really hard to find a job in my field. I am interested in international development. I went with seven other students and lived in rural Africa for three months performing research and doing public health and development projects and I loved it.  Still, I would take anything that would give me some kind of related experience (conducting research, writing, working for the government, an international internship, etc.) so that I can have a solid foundation for graduate school. Also, I want to be able to avoid the education/experience dilemma once I come out of graduate school. Yet, everything that I see wants a person with three to five years of specific experience which, as a new graduate, I simply do not have. It's tough and it is stressful.  I have student loans and I can only afford to pay the bare minimum every month. Money is one of my biggest stressors. I am a very frugal person, and I spend incredibly little so being in debt bothers me a lot, and having no money leaves me feeling imprisoned. I simply can't afford to do things.

Thanks once again for your response,

Bullvine

 

Your not alone

Bull vine,

 

I understand. I am an ADHD wife (soon to be ex wife), and I came on here looking for help as well. I have a similar situation, in that it is too late. I have grown ALOT in the past 9 months. I was told I was a "roommate", and ex has been living in "hell" our entire marriage. I find that acceptance is what I needed, and knew that he DIDN'T accept me. He said we needed to see someone who deals with ADHD, but by then the resentment I think was just too great. When I came on here looking for help, I will admit, I didn't think I was doing anything wrong. I think it's hard for ADHD/non ADHD relationships because each has such different views on things. I am in a psychology class right now, and it has really opened my eyes. ADHD is a chemical imbalance in the brain. My ex never really took the time to undstand my diagnosis, and I think that could be a burden. I did a lot of research, and found that I did in fact had behaviors that non -ADHD people may not find "normal". I don't mean this negative for the non-ADHD people. I just know I didn't want to be who I was for so long anymore (more like behavior wise). But I also know it takes two to tango. I think in relationships, if someone has a disorder, learn about it so you can help, not hinder. Cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, etc can help.......but that is just a start. I was diagnosed at age 38, and have been compensating prior to my diagnosis. Does it make my behavior "excusable", no, but I didn't do anything INTENTIONALLY. I am working on myself, and realized that I need someone to accept me, flaws and all. No one is perfect! No one! I think non ADHD persons struggle, as do people with ADHD, just in different ways. Compromise and compassion I feel are vital, in both partners. My ex too said I didn't listen to him, and maybe I didn't in the way he needed me too. It's not that I didn't, but that maybe I couldn't. In learning about psychology, a big part of listening is ATTENTION. What is ADHD-- ATTENTION DEFICT DISORDER. Hmmmmm, see the problem. Anyway, if you have any questions, I will answer as best as I ca. Go back to school, find something you love to do, but believe in yourself. For the longest time I didn't, because I was always told...."try harder, do better, etc". Not the best positive reinforcement. Hang in there, and you will do fine. This is a bump in the road of life, but it's how YOU deal with it that will make your future.  :)

Hi bb 2000, thank you for

Hi bb 2000, thank you for your message. It is good to know that there are fellow ADHDers out there on these forums.

I very much agree with you when you write, "I think it's hard for ADHD/non ADHD relationships because each has such different views on things." I generally feel like my girlfriend and I have entirely different perceptions of reality, and a very different internal logic that guides us. This has led to a feeling of constant misinterpretation. I always feel as though my words are twisted in a way that is very different from how I mean them, and I often feel that our fights are the product of nothing more than false impressions. When fighting I will often find myself saying things like, "no, that isn't what I meant," or, "maybe I didn't say that correctly," or, "If only you could understand what I meant, we wouldn't be having this argument."

I am curious what you have been doing to manage your ADHD symptoms. Have you found that research has been your biggest aid, or is there something else that you have done that has allowed you to gain a foothold on ADHD?

Thanks again,

Bullvine

llc's picture

I would find another forum. I

I would find another forum. I am going to (I was logging off and saw this so I thought i would respond to one more). The first commenter was correct...this is not really a supportive place at all for people with ADHD. They support the non-adhd generally. And if any do answer posts (many have no support or only one comment), they usually have a "I relate to your spoiuse" segment. 

I feel a hundred times worse now that I've spent an evening here. Because unlike the horrible people ive read about here, I have suffered my entire life with crushing guilt, sorrow and shame that no matter how hard I tried and how perfectly I clean, my house doesn't stays that way, I forget lots of things, I Lose and break things, I often can't get out of bed I feel like such a failure.

I was diagnosed a few days ago and felt hopeful.

Then I came here and started reading and plummeted into feeling very hopeless and much crappier about myself (which is saying a lot.)

I have never thought my failings were normal. I have tortured myself over them since childhood. I have never been mean,cruel or indifferent to my wonderful spouse. I do whatever I can wherever I can to love support and show him my huge gratitiude for being so kind and faithful to me.

I cried in his arms tonight I felt so bad about my defect.

He told me my good and loving qualities far outweigh my Disease and to get off this site and stay off.

I Think he is right. I am going to ask my therapist where I can find a site for adhd.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad this site is here for people who are dealing with ADHD spouses who are at the end of their rope. It is very painful. AND I can see this being good for people with ADHD who need a wakeup call, are indifferent, angry or obtuse about the damage they are doing. That iS so painful.

And plain is pain. I make no special claim on it.

I just need a place that addresses my pain and how best to work towards success in an Enviornment that doesn't compound my problem by focusing on the negative.

God bless and good luck, y'all'

llc's picture

my bad!

Hmmm....I may reassess my statement above. I thought I was accessing all forum posts as I was using the links for categories on the side bar and then clicking on post. But when I clicked on the forum page tabs on the top of the page it opened up many more posts I diudnt recognize. So it may be I was in the anger and frustration category all this time. I am still likely not coming back because I seriously feel like less than dirt after a few hours reading  (no loss for anyone here) but there *may* be more support here for people with adhd than I thought. I am not brave enough to wade through more stuff to find out, though.

llc, I see you on this site

llc, I see you on this site and am feeling your angst these past few hours.  This site has been a good place for me to vent my frustrations of not knowing what I was dealing with for over 30 years and trying to sort out what is ADD inattentive and what is his defense/offense response to his ADD.  It seems not a question of whether a person has ADD but how they have worked with it/responded to it that turns out what sort of character they have.  DH hides/lies/manipulates/denies/distracts/blusters and gives up as ways to cope. It is as though he has been wounded and needs for me to feel HIS pain so that he doesn't have to feel his own pain. His impulses have wounded me too (women, finances, crass ugly remarks).  I have a friend who had been diagnosed ADD and she, like you, tries hard to work with the way she processes things and be the best person she can be.  I keep saying to her, "Are you sure you have ADD? I never see it in you."  She shares with me the extra work it takes for her to do what other people do in less time and with less angst.  I love her for her extra efforts.  She is up front about it and this sharing is a good thing for a friendship.  You are like me in that I see you have spent a lot of time on this board looking for perspective and maybe some information that will help to understand and function the best you can in a relationship.  You husband is lucky to have you.    

carathrace's picture

positive/negative

Hi llc, just wanted to say that my husband is very much like you, and we have a very loving marriage like it seems you do too.  I started a thread called ADHD and Major Depressive Disorder that tells about him.  He also is very down on himself about what he sees as "all his failures".

I come to this site to learn how to be a better support to him.  Like you, I have found a lot of so-called "negative" talk about ADHD spouses.  I don't think of it as negative though, rather it is their experience with ADHD and just as valid as mine.  Every time I read a post where the ADHD sounds completely impossible to live with, I feel much compassion for the spouse of that person, and feel grateful that my guy isn't violent, verbally abusive, etc. etc. etc. because I don't know if I could take it.  I have received much from being here including good ideas like asking each other 4 questions before we go to bed; and wise advise like considering his at-times problematic behavior as a symptom of ADHD, not a sign he doesn't love me or is trying to hurt me.

Maybe this site isn't for you.  But before you go, you might try reading some of the forum posts rather than the current responses.  You can also click on the name of somebody whose posts seem positive to you and read what they've said.

Hey

Bullvine,

I do think research has helped a lot. I tend to now stop and think what I want to say before I just blurt it out. Organization is not one of my strong points. The impulsitivity tends to smack me in the face at times. I also make lists, but I am on meds, so they work well with the lists. With a list of things to do, I feel like I am not as distracted. I go down the list, and won't start the next thing until the above item is done. Mr. Hallowells books are insightful, but I also think that acceptance is a big factor in all relationships. My psychologist said that ADHD is not an excuse, rather an explanation. So I feel that if the non ADHD partner does not know WHY the ADHD-ER is doing something (by way of reaserch or professional help), they simply don't understand it. I agree about different views of reality. Each human being is unique and different, and we ALL have flaws. I accepted him as who he was, but I now know he did not accept who I was. I take responsibility for my behaviors now, but who is to tell me that my views are wrong compared to theirs? That is where communication comes in. Too late for us, and I hope it is not for you. Keep me posted, and if you have anymore questions, I am all ears (I think).  :)