Need to get my life back!


  Hello to everyone, 

I have come across this great website and have just started reading the book. I have always known that something was not quite right but can not believe all the symptoms that have been confirmed. My mother in law, spouse and youngest daughter have what I have previously described as itchy brains. Distracted, compulsive, impulsive, oppositional and risky.  Brains ticking at a million miles an hour unknowingly upsetting so many people.

My life has been turned upside down and I am struggling to get it back on track.  My husband is a great person, he is very loving and affectionate, funny and generous.  He is a great cook and I know he loves me very much. He has always been very hard work though, awkward and not logical, unable to see the right thing to do, making quick WRONG decisions. He has brought so much hurt to my life, with alcohol and substance abuse, ruining 99% of the social occasions we have ever been to. Urinating over me and his children, losing things, being aggressive. For a long time I thought he was an alcoholic because he couldn't control the amounts he consumed, spending money we just didn't have, so he sought counselling but they said it sounded like relationship issues as he had convinced them that I was controlling as I have always had to make the responsible decisions.  He just couldn't see any of the damage he was doing. I have basically had to be his parent for 13 years.

I recently found out in a very traumatic way that he had slept with my best friend several times just before we were married and then we had her as a witness.  I know these things happen in life but no one can believe what he has done because everyone thought he was a good guy, a social hand grenade with alcohol but a good guy. This was his best friends wife who it seems was preying on him but still he did it three times. All the time blaming me because he was in victim mode. I was doing the lions share of everything so was exhausted and not interested in sex.  It hurts so bad that he let her manipulate me, he says he just had to forget about it. How can you forget about being so wreckless? He came out with psoriasis all over his body so it must have affected him some how?  I also found out that he had paid for sex under the influence of drugs. Regretting it soon after but managing to forget. He is a very sensitive person so I know that he will have been affected by this even if it will have been short lived.

He is trying extremely hard to get focused to save our marriage but I can't see him ever being able to be a responsible adult. He has been to the doctors (we live in the uk) but they have sent him away saying that there isn't really anything they can do as there is only a place in London that deals with adult ADHD. I cannot carry anymore of this responsibility, I am broken into tiny pieces. My parenting skills have gone out of the window and he has had to step up and do most things for my girls. They might not get done properly but he is trying and given the way his brain is he is doing very well. I am on anti depressants which devastates me as I grew up with a single parent with serious depression and I have tried so hard to be a responsible parent.

We have started to read the book together and most of the time he agrees with it but there is a part of him that thinks there is nothing wrong.  I can not carry on without any support, ADHD is consuming my life and I feel terribly alone.

Sorry to have written so much, I couldn't stop once I started. It has been very therapeutic. Any comments or advise would be greatly appreciated.



Isn't it great to know you aren't crazy?  ;)  I've been married 36 years to my creative, insulting, affectionate, inattentive, procrastinating, fascinating, infuriating ADD guy.  I stumbled on my awareness of the existence of adult ADD quite by accident about 9 months ago.  My guy has not been diagnosed or treated -- we've had two very brief conversations about my "diagnosis".  Yet I have to say those two chats HAVE made a tiny but noticeable difference, and that gives me something to work with.  I understand the NHS in the UK can limit your options for access to specialists for a diagnosis and treatment.  Write your MP  :)  !  Many folks who have ADD in the marriage also have financial difficulties (lord knows I do) but if you can save up or budget to see someone at your own expense, I encourage you to at least explore it.  My reading on this forum and in books on the subject seem to offer a lot of hope with medication.  But there is other treatment (counseling, coaching, etc.) so keep digging in that area.  I know, I know, why do you have to do it?  Because you are here.   HOWEVER, don't let this research continue the idea that ADD is taking over your life.  Your guy is not his ADD -- anymore than you are his secretary/maid.  You are both still individual humans with lots of potential and possibility.  That's true right up until the last breath.  Figure out a way to not obsess.  Meditate, walk, yoga, keep regular appointments with friends where you talk about food or shoes or music not just crappy relationships.  Us non-ADD spouses, in order to get life's daily business done by SOMEONE, tend to do what works, what seems easiest, but this all too often leads to exhaustion, resentment, victimizing, martyring, etc.  My favorite recent quote: Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.' -- Nelson Mandela.  

So my point is to start looking after yourself, and don't tell me you don't have time.  You know that looking after yourself will strengthen you to better handle what must be done.  Many spouses in troubled relationships get depressed... but you are not your mom.  (I can relate - I know now my mother was depressed from her early 40's until her death.)  Are you familiar with the principle of cognitive dissonance?  That your brain has trouble holding two conflicting beliefs at the same time?  The most famous psychological experiment was asking people to give other people electric shocks... eventually some people who initially were very opposed to doing it, gradually got okay with the idea.  When faced with a situation you "hate" you either leave the situation, or learn to "not hate" the situation.  In order to resolve the cognitive dissonance.  I think this is where depression can come from... you "accept" taking on more and more, while the resentment and the hurt and the disappointment get buried.  Spend more time healing yourself (you don't even need to "solve" your problem to get started!) and you will have more strength, clarity and compassion for yourself and others to figure out a way forward.  By healing yourself you can sure use medication and counseling if you need/want to, but I'm walking about sleep, exercise, meditation or prayer, time outdoors, time doing a thing you love..... See what I mean?  

There is more hope in this statement than you realize:  We have started to read the book together and most of the time he agrees with it but there is a part of him that thinks there is nothing wrong.  He's reading the book with you?!?  Wow!  He agrees with some of it?!?  Wow!  YAY!  There is a part of him that thinks there is nothing wrong?  Well, yeah, that part is called denial, and it's a defense mechanism he's probably been using since he was 7 or 8 years old.  He's going to need some time (the rest of his life?) to nibble away on that.  You both, if you can continue to move on together, will move in and out of grieving for the life you wanted and didn't get.  But at the same time you can get starting on living better the life you DO have.  Here's another point to celebrate:  He is trying extremely hard to get focused to save our marriage.  

and another!  he has had to step up and do most things for my girls.  This is great!  Enjoy the break and don't feel like you've failed... Systems break down when they overworked and not maintained... that sounds like you just now.  You don't need a vacation to Bali to take a breather and get your strength back.  You don't need everything fixed at once.  You just need a few minutes a day to step out of the muck and look up! Look around!  You've been probably just been looking at the muck for a while now.  

In closing, it sounds like your guy is making an effort today.  Tomorrow maybe it will be less so.  Then better again... Try really hard not to fall into what many of us non spouses have done... the moment our spouse starts to get it, we move from "when will they wake up" and go immediately to "too little, too late."  That may be true, but give yourself some time to adjust before you decide that.  I don't mean to sound glib, but I'm starting to enjoy my old-age wisdom and love to push it at people.  The sun came up today, you are still breathing, you have a roof to sleep under and a warm blanket, and that is enough.  I don't mean this as "your life isn't so bad, other people have it worse" .  Rather, I mean take comfort that you have enough, that you are enough, and you are okay.  And you always be.  Best wishes.  

Thank you so much for taking

Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment. I am so glad that you picked out the positives, I can see them clearly now. I will definitely take your advice and spend a little time on myself enjoying the simple things in life.  I love your comments on a few minutes a day to look around. That is one of my downfalls, I want everything fixed at once.

thank you again and best wishes to you too.

Before I forget, I first want

Before I forget, I first want to comment on you saying you want to fix everything "today". Welcome to the lovely world of codependency. In my own experience, it was vital that I recognize my codependency for what it was...because it was the beginning of the end of my anger and of my being a victim. Co-dependent No More by Melodie Beattie...get it. Read it. Read it again. It will explain clearly to you why you have let his ADHD drive you to depression, why you want things 'fixed' right now, why your life is so intertwined with his behavior that you cannot see who you are anymore...aside from the wife of this man who has ADHD and who has done all of these horrible things. That is NOT who YOU are. HE DOES NOT HAVE TO CHANGE FOR YOU TO FIND JOY IN YOUR LIFE AGAIN. Believe it. It will change your life. Lastly, you have not failed your children...or anyone else for that matter...because you have become depressed. You didn't know it was because you're are depressed because you're trying to fix things that you cannot fix. You're depressed because you feel that all of your efforts to fix that you CANNOT FIX have failed. That doesn't mean you're a failure, it just means you're attempting the impossible...and accepting that you didn't cause his ADHD and you cannot fix his ADHD will bring you peace you never thought possible again. YOU DIDN'T CAUSE IT AND YOU CANNOT FIX IT. You can, however, change how you react to it. 

I won't list the hurtful things my ADHD husband has done...some very similar to what you've experienced...I will just offer you my sympathies and tell you that my DH is the same way re: 'forgetting'..but not really 'forgetting'. It seems as though he does these horrible, hurtful things without any connection to how they are going to hurt everyone in the end...including himself. He never forgets, he lets it all add up to a heaping pile of guilt that nearly destroys him. I feel it is all centered around the inability to cope with life, normal stresses and extra ordinary stresses alike. They seem to be unable to see past the end of their noses...and, as someone said recently, it is as if it never dawned on him that what he has been doing for 2+ years was not just hurting him. Give him some time to digest everything. Try your best to have sympathy for what he is going through, but never again at your expense. Recognizing that these decisions/behaviors ARE hurtful and do have consequences is one of the best places for him to start opening his eyes to the world around him. He most likely feels extremely he should...but he has to move past that too. Do better from here on out, that is all either of you can ask of the other. 

I would strongly suggest, for no other reason than your own peace of mind, move mountains if you must...but get him to see someone professional. He cannot do it alone...and you are not responsible for him and his ADHD. Reading the book together is a keep up with that in the meantime.

(((HUGS))) you aren't alone. You aren't crazy. You do have the strength to pull through this. Take some time and process everything and then resolve to get on with your life...I promise you that nothing else has to change for you to start living your life again. You have the power within you...find it and use it.