To: Non-ADD Spouse From: ADD Spouse

Dear Non(s),

If you are on this site that is a good thing, reading about it and finding others going through the same things is very helpful.  Doing your homework to understand what your ADD partner may be going through is a good first step.  ADD is a characteristic of your partner's personality, it is not an excuse, only a potential explanation for types of behaviors the ADDer may exhibit regardless of how many attempts to "correct" the unwanted behavior they have made.  Yes, we know WHAT to do, we know how society expects things to be done, we know all of this because we have been belittled, put down, reminded and beaten over the head with these expectations our entire lives and, despite being experts in what is normal and acceptable, we. can. not. do. it.  That's the most frustrating thing about this, we know all of that junk and repeatedly, especially pre-diagnosis, "try harder" to be normal.  We do not mean to ignore you.  We don't intend to forget important things.  We sincerely DO NOT REMEMBER EVER HAVING THAT CONVERSATION and are not acting this way to piss you off.  To believe we want to be this way would be quite moronic and not at all related to ADD, that would equate to someone just being an A-Hole.  On purpose=A-Hole, Not on purpose=ADD.

Don't educate yourself about this real disease and show effort and learn things and then act surprised when we do them.  That, for a non-ADD person who can/should be able to recall information from their short term memory, is unacceptable.  At least there are genetic, chemical, neurological validation for our lack of memory, what do non-ADD folks have to explain why you can't remember that ADDers are not impulsive, forgetful, inconsistent, procrastinators on purpose?

The person who has ADD is responsible for educating themselves about their diagnosis and treatment and have an obligation to themselves and their loved ones to try what they can to alleviate any of the symptoms that are negatively effecting their lives.  If you do not pursue education and treatment as someone with ADD you have absolutely no right to ask those around you to understand, deal with or endure the results of your refusal to help yourself.  Medications are not the end-all-be-all, they can help but just like glasses won't read the book or get smarter for the far-sighted, ADD meds won't do it all either.  Coping mechanisms that worked before the diagnosis are still viable and may even work better with meds, re-evaluating your priorities to focus your attention on what is important rather than spinning your wheels on what isn't can also be helpful.

Some of us ADD people are actually the breadwinners, bill payers, tax filers, house cleaners, appointment remember-ers and have been for years and have gotten by just fine until something snaps.  One more thing happens and we decide working harder than our non-ADD counterparts to accomplish the same amount of stuff simply because our brains are wired differently is no longer do-able, has sent us over the edge and we stop caring.  It's too hard.  It got to be too much.  We just give up and get by.  It's exhausting and overwhelming to have something that will never go away, responds to certain medications only when it wants, changes as life changes and essentially have no light at the end of the tunnel.  We must go to the Doctor once a month, every month, for the rest of our natural lives if we happen to be on stimulant medications.  We get looked at like drug addicts by the pharmacist and it's so difficult to find the right dosage and timing for meds, deal with the side-effects, time our MD and Rx visits to fit the schedules of our work, family and mental lives in addition to living with a mental tornado violently ripping through our thoughts at all times, I mean it's friggin' awful to even think about a future let alone a happy one.

Ahh, mental vomit courtesy of my ADD.  I've gotten pretty good at functioning in certain areas of my life with really, really a whole lot of effort but there are other parts of my life I haven't even started on yet.  What should be considered good to most people, and at first to ADD people too, ends up sucking with such force that we end up in a black hole of responsibility and overwhelm-ed-ness.  I've experienced this many times and am beginning to wonder why I try to conform when it never ends up being that fun.

So, my non-ADD people, I do not understand where you are coming from, not from personal experience, but believe me when I say that I comprehend, I get it because it's what I haven't been able to do my entire life and it's what I've been told to do for so long it is now stored in my Long Term memory where I can get to it.  There is not a sub-category called ADD-With Malice and Forethought, Intentional-ADD is not in the diagnostic manual either.  Seriously we know not what we do - even if you've pointed it out, asked us not to do it, trained us how to avoid it and had it up to here <<flat hand at chin level>> and are sick and tired.  We're sick and tired too.  Let's maybe see if there's somewhere in the middle where we can find out what we both care about, write it down on something large and put it on the wall to see at all times to remind us that we're not enemies.  We are fighting the same fight against the bad stuff ADD may create.  Can't we all just get along?


PS - If you are being treated badly by anyone, ADD or not, verbally, physically, emotionally please tell someone, get help - that is not part of ADD, that's just plain old abuse.