New to the forum- ADHD wife here...

I was diagnosed in the fall at 33 years old... I have always known I was different.  I actually have ADHD (combined type) with a side of OCD and anxiety.

I have been married for 9 years. We have a 3 year old son and another baby due in November.

I didn't believe my diagnosis at the beginning- even though it was made after 6 months of therapy, family interviews, looking through old report cards, cognitive tests... 

I am not your 'typical' ADHD-er... I did well in school - getting almost straight As. Once in awhile I would get a B (for me that was a major bomb). I went to the top law school in the country and have worked full time as an attorney (for the past 5 years). I've never had a car accident- other than rear-ending someone once on an icy road. I don't lie. I am good with money. I do almost all the housework and scheduling.

I have accepted my diagnosis- because I have now researched it enough to see the pieces fit together for me... My symptoms are more impairing in my home realm than at work. 

My primary problem is controlling my emotions. I am a very intense person and experience highs and lows that cause me tremendous pain, embarrassment, etc... Over the years, I have learned to control my behaviors very well... I feel enraged on the inside- but I rarely rage or lash out, outwardly. I can feel intense sadness and suicidal- but I retreat to my room and cry alone in my bed. I can feel exuberant and manic to the point of jumping around uncontrollably and laughing... well that one I let myself express...

 After I have a mood swing, I feel incredible self-loathing about my inability to control myself and my emotional side. I wish I wasn't so vulnerable to my moods and so sensitive and so irritable... etc... I find it incredibly embarrassing. Especially amongst my colleagues- most of whom are wholly logical and dispassionate.

Until my diagnosis- I was getting increasingly anxious and depressed about this.  I was on concerta in the fall- which was AWESOME. My anxiety was gone immediately and I had MUCH BETTER control. My therapist surmises that I use so much energy trying to control myself that it has created unbearable anxiety...

Anyway- I have had to stop my meds as I am pregnant and I am struggling.

Can anyone relate to this?

Hi, by the way! *waves* I have read this forum for months and feel like I "know" some of you.


Hi.  I'm a nonADHD wife of a

Hi.  I'm a nonADHD wife of a man with ADHD.  (At least, I think that I'm nonADHD!)  Anyway, I do struggle with my emotions.  We have a saying in our family that the [rosered] family women "feel things strongly."  And we do.  I do a lot of crying in the car (when I'm alone).  I think it's OK to cry but it's obviously not an optimal solution.  I don't like crying in front of people, and my ADHD husband really does not like it when I'm emotional in front of him.  He doesn't get mad, but it obviously causes him distress and then he feels guilty and then, in his words, his brain shuts down and he can't do anything effectively.  

So, for what can you do when not on medications:  Have you tried meditation?  I haven't, but it's highly touted for helping with anxiety and depression.  There are lots of books and DVDs available, if you're not in a physical location or financial situation to work with a real live human being (like a therapist) to learn how to meditate.

Good luck!


Thanks for taking the time to respond and make a suggestion.

I have to admit that, although I am sure it would be good for me, I hate yoga and meditation and all of those activities where I am forced to slow down. I am so impatient and fast-moving and frenetic that it feels tortuous to have to slow it down and focus on my breathing... And generally my mind is wandering all over the place and just focusing on not totally flipping out... It really agitates me.

Having said that- I truly do appreciate your comments and your effort to help me... It was kind!



I'm too impatient to try

I'm too impatient to try meditation, too!  But I had to put in a plug for it.  I'm sure it would help me...if I would give it a chance!

Some things to try

I am the non-ADHD husband of an ADHD wife. My wife does not like the idea of medication so she is trying some other things first withsome success. She sounds similar to you in that she is very driven, does well at work, and has tremendous mood swings. Talk to your doctor about what types of exercise you can do while pregnant. Regular exercise curbs her mood swings a lot and helps her to focus on things other than her emotions. Also ask about what vitamin supplements are safe, especially fish oil. Finally, eat proteins, especially in the morning. Hope this helps.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Hi Ljlekan,

Thanks for your suggestions. And just for telling me your wife sounds like me. I haven't seen really anyone on this site that has symptoms that exhibit quite like mine...

I take omega-3s (fish oil in tablet form) that are safe for pregnancy, vitamin D and do already have a very high protein diet. I also limit sugar and refined carbohydrates.

I was very into exercise before getting pregnant- I had 4-5 workouts a week for at least an hour (combo- weight training and cardio) and I LOVE exercise.

Getting pregnant took 2 years- so I am pretty cautious now... but have been walking on the treadmill (on an incline), and using an elliptical... Ths has only been about twice a week though... And I would like to do more! It would probably do me a world of good. My excuse has been that I am TIRED and coming home and taking care of my 3 year old until his bed-time leaves me wiped out...

Having said that- I KNOW I can work to fit it in and now that I am in the second trimester, I have more energy... so I will try it.

Thanks again for your suggestions...

Is your wife on this site? It would be cool for me to talk to other ADHD women who exhibit some symptoms like mine. :) Good for her from trying to combat her symptoms without the meds... But just to let you know- the day I took my first pill, it was like a huge weight around my neck of anxiety, stress, sadness, struggle... was lifted off- INSTANTLY. There shouldn't be such a stigma about them- If she is still struggling despite her best efforts- maybe she would benefit from them. I'm not pushing here- just sharing info. I was on ritalin and then concerta (both methylphenidate) and not a high dose either (ritalin was 10 mg 4 X a day and concerta was 36 mg). You can tell really quick if it's helpful to you or not!


Anyway- best of luck to you both!


What helps my mood swing

The Omega-3, protien, v-D are really good. Another thing I add to my list of vitamins everyday is a calcium magnesium and zinc liquid complec and a B-stress mixture. These vitamins affect my mood drasticly. I also take a couple tsp of chlorophyll, it helps boost red blood cells and to carry oxygen your brain and musle tissue I love it. It's a great internal deoderizor too.

It's in the works

I am glad to hear you are working so hard to combat your symptoms. I also appreciate your interest in sharing with my wife. She is not on the forum.....yet. I am hopeful that she will check it out some day. She is currently going through testing for not only ADHD but a full psychological screening. We went through an extremely hard period in our marriage and as individuals. I started therapy and medication for depression and this site was recommended by my therapist. We are still navigating through this but things are looking more promising. I hold out hope for us even though she cannot yet accept her role in our marriage problems and my depression. I will definitely let her know that there those like her out there willing to share their stories. Thank You.

thank you!

I have been meaning to respond to this for several days- even typing out long answers which are then lost when I get called away from the computer (when I later open the page and hit 'submit', the site informs me that I have to log in again and my answer appears to be lost)...

Anyway- I just wanted to say that I really admire you for being on this site and trying to understand your wife and your relationship. Also- having been clinically depressed before- I wanted to say, hang in there! Go really easy on yourself and try to cut yourself some slack. I am glad things seem to be looking up. I hope your wife can learn how to support you better, since that is such a lonely heartbreaking thing to go through. My thoughts are with you.

Again- thanks for taking time to engage me on this topic. It was very kind- and for me- kindness goes a looooong way.


Possibly bipolar?

Hi Smilingagain!

We have some similarities... I was diagnosed with ADD about 10 years ago (I'm 44 now) and I also did well in school, keep finances in order, household tasks under control, etc. that don't fit some typical ADD/ADHD patterns. My symptoms are also more impairing at home/with my non-adhd husband (emotional and impulsive responses, getting "stuck" on a topic, etc.) I also have some similar emotional highs & lows, although yours sound a bit more extreme than mine.

I have recently been back to a new psychiatrist and actually went through a whole battery of tests YESTERDAY. One thing that has been brought to my attention in the past weeks/months from seeing new psych professionals is the possibility of bipolor disorder. When I read your description of the extent of your mood swings, it matched almost EXACTLY some of the "testing" questions I've been asked to try to figure out if bipolor might be causing some of my symptoms.

One thing I have also noticed is that in the past few years, my hormonal fluctuations affect me DRAMATICALLY. If you've noticed a big difference in your moods (higher highs, lower lows) since you've been pregnant, I'm wondering if that also might be at play. Basically, if there is some bipolar going on PLUS pregnancy hormones... I don't know what that would feel like, but sometimes my emotions plus hormones make me feel like there is a circus of either "sadness" or "laughter" or "other hysteria" in my brain and the prospect of how to "express" those feelings can be overwhelming.

My psychiatrist prescribed lithium for me a couple weeks ago after a particularly troubling "down" mood. I haven't noticed a huge difference, and not sure what your options are while you're pregnant, but wanted to at least mention the bipolar thing if you have not considered it yet.

(FYI, Google "bipolar adhd" and there are a bazillion sites to check out - It is fairly common for adults to have both adhd AND bipolar).

Take care!!




What's really funny is that for many years I secretly suspected I had bipolar disorder... I actually went to the psychiatrist before marrying my husband in 2003 and sought an assessment thinking I had cyclothymia (rapid cycling bipolar)... I meet all the criteria for it, other than that my moods change quickly and I am not delusional or having breaks with reality in my highs... However, I went completely manic (out-of-control) when prescribed  the anti-depressant zoloft... I wasn't having breaks from reality then either, but I did things like wear a bikini and heels to the bar, spend a lot of money I didn't have, act promiscuously (which for me is out of character). I also shaved my head at a party... like- CRAZY highs...  When I stopped the zoloft, that behavior stopped. Apparently when you medicate a bipolar person with anti-depressants, it can induce a mania... so there's that.

Anyway, the therapist from 9 years ago told me I was 'too high-functioning' to be bipolar...  I was just starting law school at the time and had been sober for a year... so I dropped it and moved on thinking I was just destined to be extremely intense and emotional... making life for myself and my loved ones exhausting and INTENSE.

After Catherine Zeta Jones revealed she was on the bipolar spectrum, I thought to myself, she is pretty 'high-functioning'. Maybe I DO have something on that spectrum... And that is why I sought treatment about a year ago. I walked into the doctor's office saying, "I think I might have bipolar disorder".

My psychiatrist told me that bipolar disorder and ADHD are the most frequently misdiagnosed or mistaken for each other diagnoses... And that they are also often co-morbid (found together)... After all the testing he concluded that my problem is primarily ADHD and OCD- but when I have asked him, "so I'm not bipolar?", he says "I can't rule it out- but if you do, it's very mild". He says the reaction to zoloft could be an indication of bipolar or could just be a medication-induced high, which can also happen to people with ADHD... so I'm not really sure.  Remains to be seen if I have any bipolar in the mix. That diagnosis does scare me a little, I must admit... just the idea that I might lose it and have a psychotic break...  but all I really care about these days is trying to get treatment to feel better and to behave better for my poor family... I am hoping it's just the ADHD and my positive reaction to ritalin and concerta make me optimistic that I wouldn't need anything else...

Thanks for your insight and your comments. Your symptoms sound very familiar to me... I get 'stuck' on topics as well or ruminate more than I should about things. And I definitely am more prone to have intense symptoms during PMS or as a result of hormonal imbalance... But my psychiatrist says that is pretty common for ADHD women... Luckily, I have less lying in bed all day and feeling like I don't want to live, since having my son. It's like my body knows it's not allowed. I would do anything for my kid. When I have a tough time, my husband takes my son out or I go over to my parents. 

Good luck with all your testing! I hope you find some answers! It is so hard to live with such intense emotions. I often wish I could skip lightly through life on the surface sometimes... but that is not my lot, apparently. I seem to have the gift/curse of feeling everyone's emotions, taking them in as my own, reacting and overreacting to every comment, facial expression, action. I can't choose to coolly detach. It's just not in me.  My brain takes me on a lovely rollercoaster. I am strapped in for the ride. HA!

Anyway- cheers to you. Thanks for your comments. I wish you the best and hope you remember to laugh at life in your downs and remember that they will pass. That is my best advice. Hugs.

I'm a nonADHD wife, but like

I'm a nonADHD wife, but like you, I have intense emotions.  In my family, we say, the ladies "FEEL things."  It is challenging.  Sometimes I feel like I have no skin (that is, to protect me from the outside world); everything goes straight through to my heart and brain.  

My parents used to say, "This, too, shall pass."  When I'm in the thick of it, that's hard to take to heart, but it is true.


I often say that- that I feel like I am missing skin or a protective membrane...

This too shall pass- is the best mantra ever!

As an aside: quite apart from all the ADHD, non-ADHD stuff on this site, there are definitely also gender issues at play... :)

My non-ADHD husband does a lot of the annoying things that the ADHD husbands I'm reading about tend to do. :)

Like what?

Smiling, you said "My non-ADHD husband does a lot of the annoying things that the ADHD husbands I'm reading about tend to do. :)"

Could you list some examples? I often wonder which of my DH's behaviors can be attributed to ADD vs. just being a man. Hearing what you also experience from a non-ADD husband would help :)


Hi there,

No problem! First of all, to explain the dynamic between us- we both work full time (me as a litigator and he as a financial analyst) and have one child and another on the way. 

In terms of our home responsibility, I do all the essential tasks that have to be done on a regular basis: the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry... my husband does the garbage and recycling (half the time) and paying the bills (we get late notices for most of them on a regular basis). My husband is great with our son though and pays him too much attention, if anything... He also selectively decides to do non-essential projects and will do those over the essential day to day drudgery that I am stuck with. I have asked for help with the housekeeping and cooking and shopping before and he might make one meal- but then things revert. I also tried to make a chart of responsibilities so I wouldn't be stuck with all of it, but he says that is too anal and unneccesary.

His idea of "cleaning the kitchen", is putting dishes into the sink and soaking them. He doesn't take the extra step of either washing them or putting them in the dishwasher and then wiping down counters and putting food away. He seems to think these things do themselves.

His idea of laundry is putting all the laundry into one load, not reading any labels to see if anything needs any special treatment... possibly putting everything into the dryer (and not hanging the things that are meant to hang) or possibly forgetting altogether, so I have to do it in the morning to prevent mildew. If things do make it to the dryer- he refuses to get them that night and insists that he will get them in the morning and put the dryer on for a few minutes to 'fluff things up', but invariably forgets and I have to do it. If I try to nag him to do it the same night or try to do it myself, he claims I am anal. 

He frequently complains that my meals are boring and repetitive (which they are- but they are healthy, fast to prepare and yummy) and about once a year he'll pout and say he is going to cook- then he'll look up some elaborate recipe and ask me to go get the ingredients. I'll scour 3 stores for them and bring them home and then he'll abandon the project- sometimes after slicing a few tomatoes or doing the first few steps of the recipe- says he realized that it would take an hour- as though that part of it is surprising (ummm- read the recipe- it says that right on it!) and then I'll be stuck with all these random expensive ingredients.

He'll take up a new home reno project- like putting up shelves or something, buy the material and then never put them up or just drilll some holes in the walls...  He recently tore the roof off our shed in the back yard because , 'the wood was rotting', but he's now left it unroofed for 2 weeks and it's rained for half of that time.


for some reason I couldn't type any more in my last post...  too many characters?

There is more...

The very first and last things my husband does in the day is check his email... He's attached to the financial markets for his job, so I understand... but it's annoying! He is on his computer or iphone or ipad (he has 2) most of his waking hours. Sometimes I text him to get his attention.

He has a hard time giving me undivided attention- but if I am not super affectionate and responsive in the 10 minutes he decides it's time, then he accuses me of being mean to him and not loving him...

He loses or forgets his keys, wallets, credit cards, phone often, to the point where my 3 year-old will say to him "Daddy- put your phone and your wallet here so you don't forget them!".

He'll say he is coming home at 5 and then won't be home until 6:30 and he won't call and he'll be aggressive when I am pissed about it, instead of just apologizing... he'll accuse me of being on his case constantly...

On the Non ADHD front:

He is very thoughtful and always gets great birthday, Christmas, mother's day gifts, etc...

Once a month, he spins into a whirling dervish and cleans the whole house, unsolicited...

He has never been fired and he is generally very very reliable.

He is emotionally very even and doesn't get sad or angry often, despite the fact that we do bicker.

He does not have that gregarious charismatic personality that lots of us with ADHD have- he is an introvert and close with only a few good friends and family.

He is very focused and works (at work) methodically, without having any problems with deadlines, etc...

He is very good with money.

He doesn't have any addictive tendencies- food, liquor, substances, sex, video games... He is very moderate and puts himself to bed at 10 pm every night...

He doesn't flirt with other women or have female friends beyond shared friends or work colleagues that he keeps at arms length...

As I mentioned in my past post- he is a great dad and he will drop anything for my son at any time. that includes his computer (not for me- but for my son)...

He makes a point of letting me sleep in once a week (we trade off weekend days)... Now- it's true that when I wake up the house is trashed (whereas I clean as we go so my husband wakes up to a clean house) ... but I need the sleep so that's a trade-off I can deal with...

Not sure if this list was helpful... There are probably more things... but those were top of my list.




smilingagain, you could be the female version of my DH..

I was reading your post and saw so much resemblance in you and my DH. He is diagnosed with ADHD and has OCD also. Like you, he is a litigation attorney, working full time, no car accident, good with money, does housework, and does not lie. He is also very intense at work, as if he exhausts all of his available attention and energy at work that he comes back home only with a cranky, tired, and irritated self all the time. 

I see signs of all ADHD symptoms in him - losing things, forget things, no follow up to finish, etc, but they seem mild when compared to other people described on this forum. The bigger issues with him that I cannot put up with are his anger outbursts and "hyperfocus". Well, this hyperfocus phase was the reason that I fell in love with him in the first place because he focused so well to show me the best of him. Now I am talking about a different hyperfocus, as in he is pinned down on a little detail that he completely forgets the big picture or the main purpose of the circumstances. He admits that he has OCD symptoms, but denies ADHD, since he believes OCD is affecting his work performance. He has difficulty with writing at work. He writes several pages, and rewrites the whole thing over and over, which takes him forever to finish one case. Also when doing research/discovery, he tends to diverse or go too deep in the topics way beyond what is needed and ends up wasting so much time before the deadline. Did you ever experience similar things in your profession? 

He always links his anger outburst and mean behaviors to stress from his work. Due to the difficulties mentioned above, he does not feel confident in his career. Did you feel your anxiety and mood swing related to work stress? How are you coping with that? 

To the contrary to OCD, he shows the other end of the spectrum also - he most of the time fails to pay attention to things like, email and text messages. So many times, he mistyped appointment time, date, and address, which drove me nuts! If he ever re-read those messages for 2 seconds after hitting the send button, he would have noticed those mistakes. I am not talking about regular typos here. I am talking about the importance numbers, that could result in big difference! This must be from ADHD traits? 

You seem to have your married life under control and I am happy for you. I read your husband has a calm personality with less up and down emotions. I wish I was like that too. I don't think I can do this with my sensitive and fragile character. I can see myself in two outcomes if I stayed in this marriage; either I completely shut down like an icy stone or become the same cranky bitter witch with an empty angry heart. How sad. 

I can relate in some ways...


I am very confident and capable on the job for the most part- I actually do better the more deadlines I have. The more balls in the air- the better I seem to do at work. but give me one boring thing to do, and I am toast. That's when I procrastinate and miss the deadline and have a hard time. But if I am stressed- I can somehow get it all done...

There is one major exception to that: Last summer, when I went into treatment (eventually getting diagnosed in September or October with ADHD and OCD), I was struggling to do anything at work. I missed a few deadlines, I would waste days googling random shit and just not being able to crack down. I had a mounting feeling that it was all building up to me having to resign. I thought I would either be discovered as a fraud and fired (deservingly- in my my mind)- or I would just have an emotional explosion one day at work requiring me to immediately resign... I was discussing quitting my job with my husband because it was stressing me out so much. Eventually- the therapy (and part of that was meds), helped me right the ship and I actually got a performance award at work this year. I hid my near-breakdown really well, I guess. The few people I confided in (later) told me they would have never guessed it.

When I struggle at work- it is not with perfectionism and rewriting something over and over- it is with leaving everything to the last minute and then struggling to meet my standards at that point. OR- it is with leaving out one of the key issues- usually because I think the conclusions there are obvious- not because I didn't think about it... I have to remind myself to "show my work". if that makes sense. It was always like that in math and science at school... I could usually get the right answer but not usually by the customary method. I am an intuitive thinker and I hate having to explain ever step of my thought process... I think A-B-C-D really quickly- but will usually only feel like explaining A-D... but it's necessary in my job to lay out all the steps... which is FRUSTRATING and BORING and ANNOYING and PAINFUL to me... but it must be done... And then there are situations where I can't explain how I know something- but I just do. Usually that relates to human reactions...  They won't take that settlement offer. but if we up it by 5K and I pitch it softly, they are going to counter right where we want it. I've always read people well and can manipulate them easily--- something I NEVER intentionally do in my personal life, but can do quite effectively in my job...

I am prone to careless mistakes with numbers, times and figures... I can also have typos in my emails... I am too impatient to reread more than once and my mind corrects the small mistakes... I've managed this by getting my secretary to proofread and setting an automaticspell and grammar check on my emails... Nonetheless- I still have errors here and there... which is embarrassing. But with home stuff- I almost never screw up scheduling- my child's appointments, school stuff (trip forms, etc)... That's where I am OCD checking and rechecking and rechecking... Also- I've enver been late to pick him up or broken any promises to him... My parents were always chronically late. At camp every year I would go away for a month and there was a visitor's day at the 2 week mark... Every year I'd wait for half of visitor's day by the fence for them to arrive and they would show up with an hour left, miss lunch and the "show" and I would be in tears wondering if they cared about me or why they didn't make it earlier... EVERY year. And I would tell them every year how important it was to me. Anyway- I will not do that to my son. He is my world and I am determined not to have him miss things or feel unloved due to my issues.

Anyway- I am sorry you are struggling with your husband in the home realm. I may have given you a false impression about my situation. My husband is calmer than I am and less up and down with me... but he can be quite harsh and punitive.  My husband and I are not getting along perfectly by any stretch. He says I am angry and defensive and irrational. I think he is right some of the time. But he is also an anal, picky man... and he sometimes pushes me over the edge...  like coming down on me about how to cut a banana, or how to stock the pantry (he will take everything out and then lecture me like a child about where the spices go, where the soup goes, etc...). those kinds of things make me FLIP OUT. He is genuinely baffled my by anger and says that that doesn't know why I wouldn't just embrace the 'proper' and 'best' way to organize things. My response is that I do all the shopping and cooking and cleaning... so why does he even care to oversee how I organize it. I know where I keep everything. Why is my way 'wrong'? Is it because he deems it so? Anyway- that argument is pretty classic for us- just lay it over different areas of our home life...

Has your husband tried meds? I found my anxiety and depression and bad temper/mood were immediately lessened PROFOUNDLY within a half hour of my first dose. My husband noticed way less snappiness and rage on my part and said I was much sweeter... I don't think you should have to just harden up over time... Your husband might be in the wrong job if it stressed him to the point where he comes home and acts like an ass. When I come home and act like an ass- it is never due to job stress- if anything it's home stress that does that on it's own (having to work a full time job AND carry 90% of the home load and then get nit-picked about how I'm doing it).

Anyway- sorry for the rambling. I hope things improve for you.