(The Short Story) I've noticed there's a lot of threads in here about ADHD spouses -- diagnosed or not -- who in turn are in denial and unwilling to make changes. What if you are on the other side of the fence?
What if you just found out you are ADHD and you desperately want to make changes, but your non-ADHD spouse has already given up before you were ever diagnosed... before you ever realized what was causing the problems?
(The Long Story) We've been married nearly 14 years. In most respects, our marriage has been a textbook marriage involving undiagnosed ADHD... We met the first day of freshman year in college. We were the best of friends for 2 1/2 years, before we started dating. Everything was fun and happy and perfect, until we got married straight out of college and almost immediately had a slightly autistic son and then also a daughter a year and a half later. Things were sometimes good, sometimes bad as marriages usually go... there were plenty of stresses from life and work and what not. But we'd entered that slow downward spiral, which in hindsight had all the indicators and arguments and complaints that read almost word-for-word from the anecdotes out of all the ADD marriage self help books (if it would help you guys give advice, I can elaborate later).
About a month ago, my wife had finally decided enough was enough, that she was tired of dealing with it all, and that no matter how hard we tried nothing was ever going to get better. She was ready to get divorced. The trouble is, neither of us is separately in a financial situation to get divorced... We bought a house just two years ago, and we can't afford to sell it. Neither of us can afford to move out. And neither of us wants to leave our two young teenaged children. It will be at least a year before we can actually get divorced, if that is what happens in the end.
So she moved into the spare bedroom, and ever since we've been "roommates who happen to be married with kids".
In the meantime, we'd had a few talks about it, as I tried to deal with the shock... I hadn't realized the relationship was that far gone in her eyes. She'd explained that since I can never remember what she says, it always feels like I'm not paying attention to her. She understood that it wasn't exactly my fault -- I was "absent-minded" and couldn't change that -- but she just couldn't deal with it anymore.
That got me to thinking. I had been dealing with my "absent-mindedness" all my life... At least twice as long as she had. I was pretty tired of dealing with it, too. And I had never really considered that it could be changed. I'd always just assumed that it was something to live with. I'd always found ways to deal with it and work around it (I've already have a bucketful of reasonably successful coping mechanisms...), and so it had never caused a major problem until now. So, I went to my doctor, we talked about a lot of possible causes, she asked me a lot of questions, I filled out several questionnaires, and in the end I was diagnosed with ADHD just a week ago.
Like when my son was diagnosed with autism, it was something of a relief... All those years of knowing something wasn't quite right, and now it all makes sense... Now, plans can be made and things can change for the better.
So, I'm starting in on trying out some medication -- low dose Concerta to start -- I'm actively looking for an ADHD coach or counselor to help with some behaviors I haven't learned to deal with on my own, and I'm reading up all I can (as G.I. Joe says, "Knowing is half the battle"). I am eager to makes changes for the better, but my wife...
But I'm not sure what she thinks about it all. She's completely disconnected. I seems like she's completely given up. I finally understand what's been going on, and know what to do about it, and it's all too late. It's like finding the train schedule two minutes after it's already left the station, and standing there on the platform as it chugs off into the horizon.
I know what the books say, and I know what everyone here will suggest... I know I can't make her change. And I know I shouldn't make my own changes with the intent of changing her mind or saving the marriage. That I should change myself for the sake of making myself a better person. But it's so hard to do that if there isn't even a hope of rebuilding our relationship.
Right now, it feels as if there's no point of being a better person, if it won't make a difference.
Thanks for listening, everyone. Now, I need to go and try to get some sleep before I have to get up for work.