New thoughts, new courage

Only your thoughts can endanger your happiness. Telling yourself a miserable mental story about your circumstances creates suffering. Telling yourself a more positive and grateful story, studies show, increases happiness.

I am the somewhat obsessive spouse of ADD husband. I am trying very hard to grow out of the venting, complaining, unhappy person I have become. Here is what I am trying to learn and how I am trying to change my thoughts:

My positive, grateful story:  I have been blessed with capabilities and talents and health.  I don't know if I would have ever dared to have a family if not for dh.  Our marriage and family happened to us as a surprise.  What blessing to have had children!  I would not have known the happiness and belonging (and drama) that I get to experience daily with my children and grandchildren.  What a beautiful home I have lived in for so long! Our family is healthy and intelligent and okay.  I have been able to financially and emotionally keep things together. I have been incredibly strong and tenacious all these years.  Even though no one else knows or appreciates all I have done and given, I know and God knows.  I can be proud of what I have done and assume that I can be strong in the future. I made decisions based on what I believed at the time to be good for family and love.  My emotions and psych are faltering while I grieve some losses, but people and resources are showing up. I am accepting that there is loss and challenges in life. That's life.  And there is a tearing apart, a pruning, for new growth if a person dares to live and risk and feel. I know that I have no power in myself to change dh.  I am putting my faith in God, letting go of my need to be in control and starting a quest to find where my heart can be free to explore and experience the sunshine of life.

carathrace's picture


I really like that, Jenna.  An attitude of gratitude is such good medicine.  It doesn't mean there aren't  hard things or bad things in your life.  It just means that you choose not to tell yourself that story over and over. 

Whatever you fix your eyes on gets bigger, sharper and clearer.

Great post

It's great to hear there are positives in your life. I've been trying to make identifying 3 things to be grateful for each day into a habit. It has been a big help diverting my attention from all the negatives. Good job.

Courage, Faith and Love

Hello all! Yes, I am smiling as I say hello to you all from the very bottom of my grateful heart. I have not been on this site for a couple of months; I wonder about sooo many of you. I am happy to have found this recent thread with a few of you around on it fairly recently... 

I wanted to stop by, say hello, send my love. Write a little bit. See if I can spread a bit of hope...

Melissa, thank you for having the courage and the love (and the smarts!) to tackle this bear! The ADHD Effect on Marriage had a massive impact for me. You helped me save me, and I will always be thankful. NOT EASY, but WORTH IT! I do apologize for treating your book poorly during particularly rough spots, but hey, what can I say?! It is still a perfectly readable book, ink, highlites, battle scars and all! Simply put, Melissa, you helped me to clearly see the whole dynamic in the relationship, and most important, that I could only affect change within myself, and that I had best commence to doing that, regardless of what the outcome of my relationship would be! I have learned I can be happy in the midst of chaos, 'cause really, that's what life is and I can choose to be happy or miserable. Happy is much easier. Now that I'm here! Hindsight, right? Doesn't mean I LIKE some of the crap I/we deal with, but I will not let that stuff define ME.  I also acknowledge deeply, the sacrifices that you, your husband, and your relationship had to make to achieve your clarity, and that you allow the public to learn and grow through your pain. And you created this forum, with Dr. Hallowell, to continue allowing growth and healing for multitudes! Thank you. (Don't get too inflated on that, my SO glanced at your book a few times; nah, didn't help him. Not interested in yet another fix for him. Hated that I spent time on a forum that didn't appear to be helping HIM in anyway! Lol!) 

Dr. Hallowell's Distraction series were also extraordinary resources; I was able to see, again, my man behind his brain. Dr. H's suggestions reinforced and complimented Melissa's ideas and perspective. My SO DID read some excerpts from these books, when I put them under his nose. He really liked the lists. He knew I had read the lists and I still loved him. He cried. He could read his own life story here and there. (I was pretty good and finding those gems and sharing with him.) He did not pursue any resource on his own.

He began to understand himself more. Slowly, angrily. Ugh. My SO did also like the totally ADD guys, you know, The Click and Clack of the ADHD engine, instead of cars?! Unfortunately, since he thought they were funny, he must be funny, too. Ugh. Lol, again! That's ok. He used them for affirmation, and I am good with that. People get their hope and inspiration from multiple and varied sources. And when I remember how hard it was for me to find hope and inspiration ANYWHERE, and how he has struggled for soooo many years without having that opportunity to say to himself, hey, I am not alone, and maybe I'm not so bad after all, how could I not let him just enjoy the lighter side of the ADHD brain? HUGE. What works for one may not for another. That's the way it is. We all have our own journey, different roadmaps. 

This forum. Whew. Wow. People helping people in the kindest, most understanding, loving, tough-as-necessary kind of way. Usually, anyway, lol! Sharing the pain, the ideas, the truth, the encouragement. The love. ANYTHING needed to help someone else get through this crisis, this day, this minute. So many tears were shed, and fears were shared. I felt your pain; I felt your love. The magnitude of the pain at times was overwhelming to face, because it was my pain, too. So powerful was this pain, I stopped participating here, not even reading. I felt pain all the time. But in the end, facing the pain, and letting go of control, while pure torture, was way easier than I thought. In hindsight, of course! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all members of this forum who supported me, and each other, countless times. Whether correspondence was between us or not. Sharing the struggle. Walking the wire with me. I am not quite ready to dive back in here yet; my pain and fears are still fresh. I am much better at confronting the negative emotions, acknowledging and dealing with them, and letting go. I am also learning not to take on the emotions of my SO when he's having a tough time. I don't need to make it my problem. Anyway, I will pop in now and again, and try. Try to help back. No. To pay it forward. Yes.

Things are not perfect. Some days are still brutal, and I still do not know where this relationship is going. Love and EMPATHY are powerful tools, and I trust that they will continue to teach ME. That has been my key. Unlock my doors, my problems, and start dealing with them. Forget about ADHD. Trust myself to teach myself the right way to go. For today. Dream about tomorrow, but don't worry about it, because it hasn't happened yet! Lo and behold, my man is embarking on his own journey. Painful? Yup. But I, and we, are finding the gain in our pain. And we find humor to be crucial. If you can find something to laugh about, or even just smile about in the toughest of circumstances, you win! Every time! (nearly) This morning, my SO sent me a brilliant article on nerds. Describing himself perfectly! I was rolling reading this yet one more analogy of him. And he was pretty pleased to find that he could be truthful and sharing and that I could find it funny. (Admin, I will try to share this article, see if you like! I have NO connection to them.)

I once likened myself, on a post here, to a Wallenda without a tether. I have continued to watch Wallenda's (I am from SRQ), and find that I have learned much from Mr. Wallenda. Sometimes, the tether holds you back. (Sometimes, I was the tether, not ADHD.) I am finding that with courage, faith, love, I am able to put one foot in front of the other, keep my heart and eyes on my goals, stop for balance as needed aka praying and crying, and cross the canyons of the unknown. Happily. My choice. Fearless. As often as possible.