NEW FORUM AREA

We've just posted a new forum area to which we hope you will contribute - "What Gives You Hope".  Quite a few people on this site have noticed that a lot of what gets said is negative because people who seek the site out are often really suffering.  Yet people do make real progress in their ADD relationships...so we wanted people to be able to post about it here.  What has helped you?  What does "progress" look like in your relationship?  What gives you hope?  Your ideas will help many people, so don't be shy!

milagro5's picture

Hope

Our sense of humor. I think ADDers have a unique sense of humor and my husband and I laugh a lot (I'm inattentive ADD and I suspect he's got at least a touch of adhd) Also the sex is good and we have a beautiful healthy boy son, 1 yr.

milagro5's picture

Hope

Also that my parents help us with our young son. This helps in dealing with stress of being new parent.

Both my parents have elements of ADD/ADHD and have struggled with finding as much success as they would like in life but at least they are not in jail. They have held jobs for many years, retired, own their own home. I am always grateful for all of the above when I remember the speaker I heard at Chadd conference in Denver several years ago about the number of individuals with ADHD in jail or abusing substances. Also my family and my husband do not gamble or abuse substances (other than nicotine and my husband has made some productive efforts to quit smoking). This is something to be thankful for. Also we are pretty curious and intelligent people with most of us managing college and some several graduate degrees (the later, me actually). This helps with self-esteem and future job options though financial stability is still a challenge. We have our families though to support us a bit as we strive to bloom in life. We are late bloomers, but someday we'll get there and this site has helped me remember that fretting about things and blaming your spouse isn't going to help us get there; supporting each other is.

milagro5's picture

Hope

Also we have always been big church-goers and I think church or spiritual support in some form or fashion is helpful as Search Institute and others have noted. Being a good ADDer, and I suppose a broad-range thinker I have been involved in everything from ultra-conservative religion to far-left forms of Unitarian universalism but the humanistic element of them all is really helpful to me.

insight

I get hope when I experience some new insight into my ADD boyfriend's behavior.  We live a 2 hour drive apart and decided to meet halfway.  He has this amazing ability to navigate because he intuitively sees the big picture and notices things like changes in terrain, etc.  So he gives me directions to the park and as usual I am not able to find it. 

When he realized that his nonADD girlfriend could not follow his simple directions, he got a little impatient.  After all it was so easy and obvious to him.  Why in the world doesn't she get it?  Why doesn't she pay attention to where she is going? Why is she making my life difficult and cutting short our time together?  he didn't say these things but perhaps this is why I heard some minor impatience in his voice. He was impatient with my directionally challenged nonADD behavior.

So instead of ADD being the problem my nonADD was the problem.  My inability to find the park was making our visit shorter.  I suddenly realized that my nonADD behavior had some real drawbacks.  THese behaviors were my weaknesses and I didn't like him pointing out what I already knew.  I wanted to defend myself immediately. 

So I began to empathize with him.  When he is told that he has a weakness he reacts with defending himself.  He doesn't want to be criticized for what he already knows his failures are.  And he isn't deliberately doing things to irritate me no more than I am trying to irritate him.  

But I also began to reconsider what I could do the next time he gave me directions so that I could improve my nonADD behavior.  Perhaps I need to write down the directions, draw a map of what I think he is saying and then repeat it to him.  Perhaps I should ask for some landmarks because he has them all in his head.

This holds major implications for me to reconsider processes that could help us interact regardless of whether it is ADD or nonADD behavior that is resulting in conflict.  This gives me tremendous hope that we will be able to examine some of the really troublesome behaviors together. 

I had trouble finding this topic and I think it needs to be on the front page. 

Elisabeth's picture

Living with ADD

 

Thanks for putting up this section as a forum.  It is great to read other positive stories about living with ADD and be able to share tips and pointers in this way.  While I understand a lot of people come to this forum as a last resort and are therefore stressed, emotional, suffering and feeling very hopeless and are reaching out for genuine help, I have found that the general response from others on this site when I have offered help from my experience of being a part of a healthy and thriving relationship involving ADD has been negative - to the point where I felt guilty about it and have had to defend myself and my relationship.  Just because we are going well, people assume we are young, naive and have no idea what is really going on.  People have difficulty believing that you can live with ADD without it living you.

My boyfriend and I have made a point of the following, and this has helped keep our relationship on track:

1. Understanding as much about ADD as we can.

This includes knowing what his symptoms are, when they are their strongest, what can trigger them to make them stronger (like fatigue, stress, time of day) and knowing how his meds affect him.

2. Understanding my own behaviours.

It has been important for us both to know what stresses me too and what I tend to (over) react to so we both have a good understanding of situations that can either of us might be feeling on edge.

3. Communication

We are very up front about how we feel about what is going on in our lives at any particular moment.  His ADD leaves him hyper-sensitive so we never start a conversation such as "We need to talk" and then put it off.  If something needs to be discussed, it gets hashed out there and then.  We also are very open about social engagements that may be stressing us and we have signals we give each other in public - such as a hand squeeze if either of us wants to leave (I suffer a bit of social anxiety) so as not to make a big deal in front of other people.

4. Time Out

Sometimes my boyfriend just needs to zone out.  He is fully aware that there are times when this isn't appropriate, just like I am fully aware that there are times when he just needs this.  If he has had a full on day (whether it has been full on due to ADD or not is regardless), he often just gets home, we have a cuddle and then I let him zone out surfing the internet or playing his favourite video game.  He is also aware that if there is some reason I can't let him zone out, it must be important because I wouldn't deny him that time otherwise.

5. Acknowledgement

For his ADD, positive reinforcement and acknowledgement is a really important and helpful action I can give him.  But it is also important for me to receive the same back - as it is with anyone, whether you have ADD or not, it is nice to be acknowledged.  When I notice he has done something, I am not afraid to let him know I really appreciate it (and I do), and the same goes for him.  

6. Looking at the Positives

We have often had a laugh at ADD and we have also discussed the positives of my boyfriend having it.  From the little things - like having the most left-of-centre conversations - to the bigger things - such as his ability to remain so calm in the middle of chaos, whereas I just lose my head - we look at how ADD complements our relationship and the two of us for the better.

 

10 days ago, my boyfriend proposed to me last week and I had no hesitation in saying yes.  He often says he would not take his ADD away if he was given that chance, and I would not have him any other way.

Cheers,

Elisabeth

 

Thanks

Thanks so much for a place to look for the positive, the hopeful and maybe even the funny.  Does anyones ADDer get hurt more than usual....bumping heads, tripping, getting stuck in small places....nothing serious.  After I check to see if he's ok, he'll say "go ahead"  meaning it's ok for me to laugh.  He's just so funny.  One time he was angry about something and went storming out the patio door.  Of course he forgot to open the screen so he ends up standing on the deck holding the screen in his hands.  We both had a good laugh and he forgot his anger.

Totally, I want my ADDer to be a comedian!

ADDers are VERY funny if they have a sense of humour about themselves that is! My boyfriend has found himself stuck in round about doors...with a bike...

He's fallen off beds, bumped his head, put his underwear on backwards and not know until he really has to go to the bathroom, almost walked out of the house with his shirt on inside out...the number of hilarious moments have been many and continue to this day! LOL

He has many BLOND moments!

Hope

Day before yesterday it became clear that my partner was feeling very overwhelmed by her job and had huge amounts of shame over things she was "hiding under the rug" because she didn't know how to handle them.  I've known she was having issues at work; but before now I haven't had the time or the inclination to help with them.  I'm not sure what shifted.  Part of it is that my work is shut down this week so I have more time and energy.  But part of it is that my partner feels more open to me, more willing to consider making changes, and that's a huge gift.  I'm grateful for the resources we've found on the web.  This site keeps me from feeling isolated and it gives me some great ideas.  Another site for adults with ADD provided a worksheet to help move from a place of being paralyzed by shame to being able to take action - and it worked with the biggest issue in front of her.  We've agreed that she will spend an hour a week reading ADD self-help resources on the web.  I also went in with her to work over the weekend to organize her desk and I'm going to go in a couple of more times before I return to work.  If these things don't help we're going to hire a coach.  I also have a renewed focus to meditate and exercise everyday to keep myself calm.  Her inconsistent performance at work is scary for me - we've been together for ten years and she was unemployed for four of them.  The meditation and exercise are having the extra added benefit of improving my mood in general - I'm happy and optimistic.  While I now see how serious the work situation is, I have hope that change for the better is possible.