To the non-ADHD spouses ... and my fellow ADHDers

I've been reading a lot of posts in all the different sections and wanted to offer to all of you some thoughts, observations, and advice I've had since being diagnosed.

You  can get a good in depth overview of where I'm at with ADHD here.  In short, I've been diagnosed, by 2 different Doctors, with ADHD about 4 months ago.  I embraced my diagnosis and have not denied it.  In fact, from the day I was diagnosed I've been relentlessly committed to doing what needs to be done to overcome the obstacle I never new I had for 40 years.

With that being said, here we go:

  • Medication - It is just one component.  It does NOT make everything that's been going on disappear magically.  Unicorns don't come out prancing around in your back yard or your mind.  What it has done for me is remove the blindfold I've had on for the past 40 years; quieted the 100,000 things going through my mind - every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every year, for 40 years; in turn it allows me to focus, understand, and deal with the other issues created by ADHD over these years.  If anyone is thinking or believing that meds are the cure they are sadly mistaken. Meds are a tool to assist you in your healing.
  • For me, I know that I need to have structure.  This does not mean supervisory structure as in "parental oversight".  It means putting in a structure of organization for myself that I manage myself.  The non-ADHD spouse is part of that structure not as a parent but as a partner.  Understanding that allows a wall to be brought down.
  • Behavioral and cognitive retraining is of paramount importance to my success and the success of our marriage.  This retraining includes both sides of the marriage -  the ADHDer and the non-adhd spouse.  If either side of the marriage refuses this then the marriage is done.
  • ADHDers - We must realize that with or without a spouse/partner the ADHD is still there.  In other words, no matter what the outcome of our relationship each one of us is responsible for not only our actions but the outcomes going forward.
  • Non-ADHD spouses - You have been hurt tremendously by the past actions of your ADHD spouse, who undiagnosed, obviously did not consciously intend to hurt you.  If you are committed to your relationship/marriage then you must realize that the only way to move forward is to forgive the past.  Notice I did not say forget.  Forgive and forget are two different things.  I as one with ADHD cannot change the memories of the past.  What I can do is create the future, right now, to replace the memories of the past with a fantastic relationship from this point on.  Trust me.  My wife and I were there in the first 2 1/2 months since being diagnosed.
  • ADHDers - The same goes for us.  If you cannot forgive then you cannot move forward.  Additionally - If, after having been actually diagnosed, you deny or reject the ADHD then there is absolutely no way for you to move forward.
  • You as a couple must over communicate with each other.  I'm not saying that each one of you tell the other what you're doing every minute of the day.  That's called reporting, not communicating.  You must over communicate with each other in terms of what your feeling, how your feeling, what you see improving, and most importantly you must continue to communicate the love that you have for each other.

I hope this helps.  Even one person.  It's my view and comes from my particular situation but I'm betting someone can see and understand what I've said.

I'll close with the follow two quotes:

"Do not think of your faults; still less of others' faults. Look for what is good and strong and try to imitate it. Your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes." ~ John Ruskin

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." ~ Thomas Edison