What I have been through as a result of the stress is unimaginable as I suffered in silence and at times loudly too.
When my wife received her diagnosis I became euphoric inside. Finally, a name to this condition. Wow, made me happy as there is hope with proper treatment. I wasn't going crazy after all. I was like the many other men and women affected by the ADD relationship.
I was euphoric, happy, and really felt understood.
Then I crashed! I crashed when my wife wanted to talk about the diagnosis, her condition, next step. I did not even listen to her and I even said that to her "I am no longer listening to you or your negativity. She said something else and left me a note and instead of feeling good, I crashed. I said awefull things that I could not even remember and my wife was amazed at that "look, you can't even remember what you said, let me tell you..." And she did and I couldn't remember. But I accepted it and told her that if she said I said these things, then I will own them and take action. I am now in counselling for that.
I crashed! Instead of staying in that euphoric state, I crashed. I read somewhere since that it is not uncommon, in fact it is EXPECTED for non ADD souses to crash big right after or soon after their ADD spouse receive their diagnosis. That was me I was reading about. I crashed big time and all this time I did not know why.
I crashed and I read why I crashed. Let me put it into words here. It felt so good to put a name on the condition and it felt so good to now be able to work on it as a couple should that I could not think anymore. Instead the worst flooded my mind like a tidal wave. When my wife began talking to discuss this new "thing" in our life, I became flooded with everything that went wrong since day one. It was like it all happened again but this time it flashed through me so fast I crashed emotionally and verbally. I told my wife aweful things. I wish she would have slapped me hard then, I needed it. She can still do it.
Why did that happen ? Why did this have to occur when all I wanted was to work with her on "us". We went to the Imago workshop because I wanted to. We both learned much there. I'm not used to "mirror conversations" and I made errors. I had difficulties too. But we went there together as a couple who wanted help. I was looking for real help because I was tired of hearing others tell me I should get out of this relationship while I still have it together. When they said that, I pictured my wife's beautiful smile and tender touch, kind words. I wanted to be there for her all the way to the grave. We both shared wonderful times and it is these times I miss. The ADD causes my wife to only see the bad times now. I truly believe she is in the denial stage. Not denial of the condition. Denial that this condition could have caused so much pain to have brought us to where we are today. Denial perhaps that she was wrong about her depression all along as I had been trying to tell her for the duration. That's the denial I fear she is going through. She also going through severe, extreme anger at me. I have caused it all to come down around us. I am responsible for everything that destroyed our marriage. That's why she is angry. Perhaps also angry at a system that failed her all the way since childhood. I would be angry at the Psychologists, Pshychiatrists and everyone who misdiagnosed her long ago. Did they care to see to it she received a proper exam so she could enjoy life ? Nope. I come along her life and find a beautiful woman who did not really show she had these problems. She was happy to have met me and so was I. But when she told me about her depression since childhood, it made me think. That's a long time to be depressed. Are the meds working ? I doubted it and often questioned it. I even asked to see her Psychiatrist but he would not respond to my phone call, to my faxes or see me when I dropped by his office. I started describing all the signs and symptoms that afflict my wife and caused me hardships and I was told by the medical community that those were not all symptoms of depression. There had to be more! Over the years I tried to get my wife to just open he eyes to what was going on. Big mistake as I did not realize ADD was present and that it would come out fighting back at me in all sorts of ways. I became resentful at my wife for not trying hard enough. Little did I realize or understand how ADD worked. I had seen it in a student I once had and he flunked badly and we could not allow him to practice in the EMS field. He had hidden it from the college and from us. It showed itself loud and clear in the field early on. In my wife's case, it was different as I had to live with her and her ADD. Only a non ADD spouse can truly know what I am trying to say here. Are you already in tears ? I am. I became frustrated at her and made things worse and it escalated like a roller coaster. I did not want to nag, to drag a child around, to do things she should be doing for herself, to see the many messes she got into. Only when I started learning about it as she had asked me to learn about depression soI could better understand it and her, did I realize thee was more. Is there more ? Yes there is. I learned that she had another condition affecting her and me and everyone in her life. ADD is toxic and cancerous and doesn't care who it hurts. When I realized it I asked her to get the real help she needed. I asked her to get tested again. Of course, you do not tell that to the ADD. It will come back at you in ways you never expected no matter how strong you are emotionally. But I kept at it because I kept seeing missed opportunities, wasted life, unfulfilled expectations. I knew my wife would enjoy life so much more and as a couple we would stop this bickering, anger, "he said this, she did that", STOP! REGROUP! So counsellor after counsellor dropped us as we would just talk about us and how to handle the depression. But that bugged me enough that I told counsellors how futile it was to keep hammering away at the same stuff when I felt there was something else going on much more intense! So one by one they dropped us. No one would listen to what I had to say and who best to describe the toxic environment ADD brings to a relationship then the other non ADD spouse. Your spouse only has your best interest in mind, stop talking, listen! I booked us into the three day Imago workshop at $700.00 per couple. I did not know what to expect. It was an experience I found difficult to go through at times. Gets really personnal but I'm strong...so I thought! I broke down twice and the ADD blamed me for slowing us down in my short absences. Instead of compassion as my eyes were terribly tear filled, I got told that it wasn't nice to put others on hold while I pulled myself together. This is the ADD I feared most, the cold blooded responses and total lack of compassion. After a while that destroys even your own personality and you become someone you began to hate yourself. You see your life now as a life without goals, one filled with endless struggles no other couples seemed to have. I went through all of that during the workshop. The next weekend was diagnostic day. I had agreed to get tested as well as my wife whose yet undiagnosed ADD had showed it's ugly self. Our Psychologist is an expert and she knew how to dig down deep in each of us. We were lucky as the other couples did not even show up so we had her all to ourselves. Diagnositc day! Both of us had no idea what that meant, what would happen yet we went together not worrying but without expectations I think. Our Psychologist put us through several tests individually. Writen questions quiz and also up to date scientific computer enerated tests. We were apart so did not know how each other did and I prefered that. I went through the first computor test with ease. It borred me actually and I became distracted and I gazed at the books on a bookshelf as I was clicking the mouse when required. The Psychologist was sitting behind me marking everything I said, did, looking for anything, even if I lifted the mouse, clicked twice instead of once, everything was tested. She told me the test was too easy but she had to start with a baseline. So she put me through another test, this oe much more intense. I would not have wanted to do that one twice. But I passed it successfully. When she went through the graphs and test results afterwards we discovered that near the end of the test I became tired. Ok, it's true, it tired me. I had even lost my concentration once pulled away and quickly regrouped and kept going. My wife on the other end had real difficulties with the second test. She blew by the first one too. The second one was more then a challenge. It was decisive and was stopped short I think. I saw the both of them coming out of the room with our psychologist exclaiming that there was a real problem. She sat us down and made us look at the results. My wife had ADD! How did she feel hearing that ? Was she scared ? What next ? What actually is ADD ? She probably became flooded with questions, worries and maybe even denial. I don't know. I do know I was euphoric and took it all in. I wasn't crazy after all and I had actually been through all the things I had complained about before. It was a huge learning experience for both of us. No one trained us on how to respond to that. She had questions and wanted to talk and all I heard was DENIAL! Had been through so much of it that I closed my ears and eyes and only saw the dark side. As incredible as it was, I was now acting AGAINST my wife and no in control of my emotions. I was the one who became angry right there and then and stopped listening. I was the one who stopped short of even wanting to go the next step. I knew it but I could not stop myself. All the many individual, small and big problems ADD brought to us flooded my head and I reacted poorly. I cannot even began to explain what happened to me. Maybe the experts of this website can explain this for me. No one trained me how to take all this over several years and one weekend it gets a name and becomes the reason both of us hurt each other emotionally so often. I crashed repeatedly over the next two weeks and that when I needed space to think, to get it right in my head. My wife just wanted to get my attention and I stopped her. I did not even think of how she was feeling about all this, it was like I did not care. I will put it bluntly here! IT WAS LIKE ALL OF A SUDDEN IT WAS ME WHO HAD THE ADD PLUS ANGER. I put her at a LOOSE LOOSE place and she reacted angrily and concluded that I was not worth staying with. Much to my chagrin, this is how I felt about her often prior to the diagnosis. Now the shoe was on the opposite foot. When we were so close, SO CLOSE to get it together and start living, I crashed and let her down. Somewhere I read on some website recently that this is almost expected from non ADD spouse after the diagnosis is made. Months, years of pain flood your whole being as if an alien had taken over. No wonder I could not even remember telling my wife some aweful words, really aweful words. I crushed her without knowing it and with no self control on my part. I gave to her back in one five minute session what the ADD gave to me in four years together with her. Will she understand this ? I can't! Can someone explain this ? Now she has decided to seek help and without me. This is crushing me as I wanted to do this with her. So close and the I the non ADD person became toxic to her. The last thing I ever wanted had happened, I crushed my wife's emotional state once again and at a time when she needed me most, after her diagnosis. I am now all the things I have said to her. She has made it clear to me where she now stands with me. She wants a separation from me. I understand her reason. I just wish there was just a little opening somewhere so the light of understanding would be allowed in and flood her with the knowledge that all I always, ALWAYS really wanted was to help her get the help she needed and me mine so we could see eash other as we truly are, as we were at the beginning when the ADD hid itself. Love conquers everything. What I read about all this makes sense now but the loss of having my best friend, my soul mate, my wife at my side is more then I can handle. I too am broken, really broken now. Broken because to my wife, that was the last insult. If I could I would go back in time three weeks and brake a leg or something to give me physical pain. It would have spared my wife this delayed reaction from me. Are there books out there that describe me, the NON ADDer who fell prey to an onslaught of painful experiences my wife never saw nor accepted ? Right when we needed ME the most ? My hope, my wish, my desire to have her back remains intact and strong. I came here and posted to vent to strangers who understood me and I found these strangers understood me but why couldn't my wife ? I wanted her to know how I felt in writing because she can't listen to me now. Are we all strangers ? If we sat together around a big roundtable, would we be strangers long ? People who have been there, right at the edge of the abyss with one leg already over the edge, they know what happened and why. They are not strangers to me, they are my brothers and sisters. They get it, they understand, they feel the pain, the remorse, the anguish so deep I really do not desire to live anymore.