Physical ramifications of living with ADHD spouse

I have been married for 28 years and only after seeing the Today Show piece on having a spouse with ADHD did it click with what was going on in my marriage. My husband is kind and well-loved by everyone but me. Living with him and managing him, his mouth, his inability to be on time, manage our finances, have anything but a parallel conversation, and generally fulfill his role as a partner has, in my opinion, ruined my health. The stress level of not being able to count on him, run interference for him and clean up his messes in his personal life and in his business have caused me to crash and burn. I had a dvt 6 years ago and just recently had 2 herniated discs replaced in my neck. I'm exhausted and discouraged and falling apart emotionally and physically (I was an SEC athlete in the late 1970s)- all while trying to launch my own business. After a bad blowup yesterday (he misplaced his camera, accused our 25-year-old son for stealing and hocking it, had everyone literally tear up the house for 2 hours - then he found it on the OTHER closet shelf on which he swears he didn't put it) I retreated and am finally considering divorce.

A tiny part of me is telling me to try again (we've seen a marriage counselor and he is unmonitored on vyvance) but the other part of me is very fearful that staying to work this out could possibly cost me my life. There is a very high correlation between stress and health problems, and it is a fact that living with a spouse with ADHD is indeed very very stressful.


Speaking for myself: Insomnia

Speaking for myself:

Insomnia (the waking up early kind):  I'll fall asleep at 11 or so, wake up at around 1 AM and be completely unable to go back to sleep. (or, more irritatingly, my ADD spouse will wake me up inadvertently after I have fallen asleep with her excited SKYPING or coming into the living room where I sleep to look for something which usually isn't there, leaving me awake for the rest of the night.  GRRRRR....)

Weight loss:  Well, I had a couple pounds to lose anyway.

Gastrointestinal issues: Nausea and stomach aches, lack of appetite, regularly irregular patterns of going to the bathroom.

Low-level depression:  I'm just generally unhappy.  I can "function" and meet my responsibilities and perform at work and get done what I need to for my kid's activities but don't have much left over after that.

Loss of friends / social supports / hobbies and interests:  See above.  I've just withdrawn due to lack of energy and interest combined with the tiredness from the chronic insomnia.

I believe ALL of these are related to the exhausting roller-coaster ride of being married to my ADHD spouse.


You have just described my life with add husband! People think I'm crazy when I get excited about hi. deploying, but it's just because I get to sleep for nine whole months!

High Blood Pressure and Depression

I've been married for 31 years now. Doctors have often told me "hmm, your blood pressure is a bit high." I'd just say "white coat syndrome" but, now I'm sure it was the stress of dealing with my ADD spouse. The chronic angry outbursts and accusations are just too much! If I stand up for myself, I'm too sensitive or causing trouble again. All the while he's spent every cent available and maxed out all the credit cards. Who needs to keep a budget or save money when he says "I gotta job ya' know! You're so ungrateful!" What? My concerns are dismissed. He reminds me "You're just an unhappy person and you'll never be happy". While over the years I watch others around us get ahead I am treading water and gasping and he is unaware. It is more than frustrating to try to get through to this man. He won't see, hear or understand what is happening and I struggle with depression I believe due to the verbal abuse and his misuse of our finances. My sex drive is gone.

My blood pressure took off in my early forties. This happened to others in my family in their sixties. To make things worse, I experienced bad side effects from the prescriptions I was given. It forced me to get healthy. I changed my eating habits, started going to the gym, lost 30 lbs. and managed to get off the medication. I moved upstairs and changed my schedule to avoid him as much as possible. So, no, there is no sex. I also no longer enabled his spending habits by opening my own account, I won't contribute to our joint account and I am not paying off his debts for a third time. All the while I have worked and gone to school in the hopes that I can eventually support myself and get away from this situation. 

It's crazy to think that I do have hope that he'll come to his senses one day but, I've decided he can do that without me. He has been diagnosed with ADD and been taking Concerta along with an anti depressant but did not counsel since it's "just talk". He recently told me he doesn't need his medication any more as he can use "self will". yeah. I can not let ADD run or ruin my life anymore.

I know this is four years

I know this is four years later, but maybe it will help someone. I have failing health as well with my add husband from the stress of it all. Our two older children do not have add, but our two youngest do (6,8). We are a military family and move often. My husband is really, really good at his job and is respected and we'll liked. I like him too, in fact I'm crazy about him, but his ADD gets in the way of a normal life and I'm also dealing with two young children that have adhd. It's very frustrating all around. My husband does not understand the depth of his ADD and what it is like to live with him. He tells me all the time that I need to just "stop" doing a negative behavior, like yelling g at the kids, but when I flip the argument and tell him to stop having add he says it's unfair. I tell at the kids because I'm frustrated with trying to do everything my husband puts on my plate. I'm expected to do so much, but I'm not allowed to expect things from him because he has add and works all day so when he gets home he should be allowed to relax and do pretty much nothing although this isn't always true. I'm an effort I've been praying for an answer to our situation and the prompting is to simplify. Completely simplify. So, I feel that selling everything and moving off of our 1/2 acre will help (I manage the lawn work, garage, repairs, etc. because my husband cannot). I have always wanted to live in an RV and travel around. I homeschool our children anyway and so this will not affect them. I live the idea, but my husband does not. It feels to me though that since I have to manage everything though that it should be my decision, although that is patently unfair for obvious reasons. Then the other part of me says, well, if he was helping more I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed and frustrated. It's not a good situation. To add to it my hubby thinks that people that live in RV's are like trailer trash. My sister in law explained that they grew up being told by their mom that people in any kind of "trailer" are trash. Hmmm.....I think that his mom had a hang up. I gre up in Phoenix, Az. and the parks there were pretty cool. We are posted at Ft. Hood now and the parks here are pretty bad. However, I would love to only have 400 st to manage! So, here's my situation: my husband is deployed and has left me in charge with power of attorney for everything, but he's not 100% supportive. Do I do it anyway? To be fair to myself though, often my husband does not know what is best for himself (add people) and after I have insisted on a course of action he has seen the wisdom in it and tells me he's really grateful. I feel in my bones this is one of those situations again. If there are typos I apologize I'm on my phone.



When I was in the first stages of the unexpected quantity of work that came with  living with someone with ADHD, I spent about a year on a discussion board run by people with ADD/ADHD, reading and sometimes asking questions in conversations among people with ADHD talking about handling their life. I still check in there.  A man with ADHD posted that his solution to physical chaos, and losing track of all kinds of remembering to pay bills,  was to simplify, pare his possessions and living tasks to the bone.  Later I read the idea as a suggestion by professionals, whether the person with ADHD was living alone or not.

  I dont think it's what everyone wants, but my ADHD husband and I are heavily into simplifying.. That cant happen with something like finances, beyond a certain point, and not for a lot of child care, but it can for us about some of the physical things that you said are weighing on you. Yes it takes work and worry off me, without a doubt I need simplification; because living with someone with ADHD has made my life so insanely more complicated.  Nothing stays in place.  Things need to done multiple times.  Et cetera. Simplifying my own heavier workload has been necessary to me avoiding being at the point of physical collapse. I HAVE to figure out different ways to handle myself and my load, if I'm going to make it, in this relation.  So I really think what you're talking about is a serious ongoing matter for me.  I wont list all the physical signs I started having in my body over the workload, but they were serious, and I had never had some of the most serious ones before in my life.  I'm older than you.  My body was screeching at me that I had to change how I handled the extra work and stress, to find ways to get some of the load off.  I needed the simplification.

And you know, my ADHD husband is into simplifying,  too.  He's not nearly so ragged out by losing things.  He knows where more things are.  Routines, which he needs more than I do, are easier to do.  I'm less stressed out, so he's less stressed out.   His stress is less over moving things around, losing and finding them, the sheer number of pieces of information he needs to keep in his head about non special focus stuff, and so my stress is less.  

So I'm a big fan of simplifying ordinary weekly life.  It works for us.  I got the idea from someone with ADHD and my husband is into it,  

BUT  it's not for everyone.   How much would what ypu consider doing mess up your husbands possessions and preferred ways?  I'd never get into simplifying my husband's things, whatever they are, ever.   He can cull them.  That is his decision.  When he wants to cull I help him do it.  

 There are some who write on the site who are dealing with hoarders. What is your own inclination, and the inclination of your family to collect stuff?  The answer to that might affect your decision to move to a smaller square footage place, if you're considering that.  People's habits and preferences about accumulation are usually going to continue.  My husband chose paring down the number of things that we live with, I didnt make him join me in it.  Plus everybody's got their dont have in mind throwing away stuff that your husband identifies as his own, are you?

  MY husband, once it is not his work or his special interests, uses the benefits of the rest of our physical life, but wouldnt be put in too much of a crimp if some things changed in what he doesnt take care of...If it didnt obstruct his work or interests....he's as ready as I am to simplify in things that arent his special interests.   

Like the yard you mentioned that you're dealing with.    He enjoys that its there, but doesnt do the work of it, so wouldnt mind at all if we moved somewhere that didnt have much of one...and he would like me not to have to work so hard.   

My husband and I have talked a lot a out our space needs.  If I were contemplating moving to a smaller square footage place with my husband, for us, I'd be checking out how the space is distributed, inside.  That for us, and we're just two people, not you and your husband, turns out to be as important as simplifying possessions and processes.  We want and use common space, but we'd both be unhappy and make each other unhappy if we each didnt have space that each of us handles the way we want  this is important to use because we both work out of the home  we need doors to choose to shut.   Does that place you're considering moving to allow for family members to have their own spot?  People are different on this one.  

I have a great deal of sympathy for what you said you're carrying, to keep it all going, caring for kinds and the rest of all that you do.

Thank you NoworNever. When my

Thank you NoworNever. When my husband and I were first married he drug so much stuff into my very organized and lovely 3 bedroom home. He had over 50 t-shirts alone! And those were the ones he could lay his hands on. I soon learned that his mother was/is a boarder and my husband had been taught to NEVER throw anything away! After a couple of years my lovely home was full and disorganized (full by my standard). I also learned that my husband has an unusual emotional attachment to ordinary things. This was a problem and so I learned to begin getting rid of things secretly whenever our duty station changed. There were a couple of times in all if our moves that he did notice a particular item was missing, but other than that he's never brought them up. I no longer do this because apparently living with me in an organized and clean home has rubbed off on him and now he goes through his things himself whenever we move and discards (or maybe he knows I'm getting rid of his stuff and feels he should at least get rid of it first!). So, I longer have to do this, thankfully. He has told me he didn't realize how much his anxiety has been reduced living in a clean home (his mom has severe add). We are at a point now that my husband has realized all of his "stuff" has to be managed and takes away his spiritual and emotional health. He's been willing to change in this aspect. In this instance of getting an RV I would not get rid of his things I would box them and store them. We have very beautiful antiques from Europe I will never depart with and they will go in storage as well. The main point of simplifying is to help myself, my husband(with the very things you already mentioned) and our two younger children. We have a large home and I cannot be everywhere Mali g sure that they follow through on tasks. So, I feel that if my space was smaller it would be so much easier to follow through in helping them manage their own adhd. Meaning, help them form habits now that will hopefully stay with them for life and will not cause such chaos in their own adult lives and their future spouses, employers and families. That is the main reason I'm doing this. I did get up the courage to ask my husband and he actually agreed to it! Wow! He said after he prayed about it that it felt right, but to wait until after he returns from deployment. That part is hard because it means I have 7-9 more months of continuing to manage more than I can. But, at least he said yes right?

That is good news

I do hear you about the extra labor in keeping a large home.   I think it's great that he sees the good of the downsizing you know you need.   Yes, to what you said, that my main issue is that I had to figure out how to simplify work and care that was over on my plate, not on his.  

Well, the upside of the 7-9 more months is that you can if you want get some things in storage, before he returns, to get that off your back before tackling the move.  I'm so glad you're on the same page on it.

Yes...Down Sizing and Simplifying !!

Hi Pepper,

As I read what you were saying about your H...his mother and her "hang ups" and the things that Now was saying to sounded so familiar to me that I wanted to comment.  I'm the man with ADHD here so I can apply what you were saying to this and agree whole heartedly with what Now was saying as well?  I do agree with one thing to start with though and you are wise to consider this as you did?  Making decisions without conferring first can be a crap shoot and you might just shoot yourself in the foot and not even know it?  Better to ask and make sure but this thing you mentioned about his mom being a hoarder and him having these "ideas" who lives in a Trailer is "Trailer Trash" is also.;...oh so familiar as well?

This is where I'm not really sure if these "hang ups" that get passed along aren't in part....just the person with ADHD not reconsidering these things as much or more....than the fault of the person who initially "put those ideas in there?".  I really don't know myself but I do know this about myself long before I ever knew I had ADHD?  In many ways....I successfully managed or learned how to work around a lot of symptoms to the point that they were no longer a problem for me so I never gave them a second thought again?  But now....when I found myself in a new place under a different circumstances.....suddenly, now there a problem and mostly what became a problem...was having to deal with too MUCH stuff...all at once?  There seemed to be this invisible magic line that if I stayed just this side of....then everything is completely fine.  Too much STUFF.....whether it be emotional, physical or just going over this line and then having a problem after that?  And once I cut back and simplify back to below that line...then every things fine again?  There is no exact science of way to find this out except by just doing it and seeing where that line is?  It's as invisible to me sometimes...and it would be for anyone else to try and figure that out for me...but I always appreciate it...if someone can do this....but if they do it wrong or try and do this for me a way where I don't have any input into it....they'll likely do what they think I need....and do just the opposite since I'm the one who knows when I get to the line..and they have no idea...just how far, how much, and what they need to do to get me there?

The easy way would be just to start from scratch from the beginning and rebuild up to the line...and then not go over it again which is exactly what I've found that works sometimes when things get to balled up and too much stuff happening all at once?  Sometimes it is easier....not to try and fix what's broken...and just start fresh with a blank sheet of paper....instead of erasing all the scribbles that are on a piece of paper that is all filled up! lol

I just wanted to say....that I have dreamed of doing exactly what you're doing with RV in wife and I have already put this into a long term goal and I am so on board with you on that one.  But this made me think of a couple of things in reference you H being in the Military?  The Military is very structured and they don't allow a lot of tow?  If you know what I mean?  At least while you're working or living on base?  They've got some definite "hard lines" that you need to follow in respect to this and so in my thinking.....this in itself is not a problem ( or shouldn't be for your H ? ) since that concept and way of thinking should be very established in his thinking and way of life already?

How I am applying this too myself is similar in that I use to be a BIG back packer and have hiked and camped all over the Western US for many years ie: Mt Climbing, Motorcycle Touring, Wilderness exploring....etc.  This lifestyle while your doing "minimalist" at best?  You've only got what you carry with you and that's simplified down to the "bare minimum" to conserve on weight and space?  And you know....I have no problems what so ever...when that's all I've got to deal with?  It's so easy...and so simple and so much less to think about..;that I know the attraction or the lure back to this as a "vacation" from normal life...was why I Loved doing it so much?  I'm WAY below that magic line when I'm doing it...and the stress and the amount of things I have to worry about or keep track of are just no problem what so ever?  It's why getting an RV and....camping on the road in "luxury" only a step up from doing that and I don't even have to think about whether I would like that or not? 

But this thing about "trailer trash" I had to laugh at.  My mom had some of those "funny ideas" that she use to preach to me...and this I found was more to do with the way she saw things and had little to do with reality?  And her Mom (my Grandmother ) was a major league hoarder in one respect...but not in others and this is what is so interesting?  My Mom had "attachments" to things like you say with your H at times...but she never could let anything go?  In Grandmother ( when she passed away ) we went down to clean out her house and that was pretty funny  to do?  We kept finding shoe boxes full of used rubber bands, pieces of string, twist ties, the point of being ridiculous it was that bad?  Literally....entire shoe boxes full...of pieces ( 3" or 4" ) of used string? LOL  Or rubber bands?  It appears...what she was most fixated on as far as living out in a rural area with no stores near by....became what she hoarded and what she was attached to in this extreme way? In a practical made sense but just much!!! LOL

And my mom....didn't hoard or wasn't NOT able to throw away string or rubber bands...but had her own weird quirky things that she couldn't let go off and that was just a different version of the same thing?  To the point....this became a problem for me every time I went to visit my mom after my father died...because now....all this stuff she had saved ( for herself ) she wanted to give to me!!! LOL   I finally told her she needed to STOP....doing this, every time I came over....because I didn't want any of it or have any need for it but felt obligated to take it and even felt bad for throwing it away once I got home?  Like it was some gift she was giving me and I was disrespecting her gift by throwing in the garbage as soon as I came home? LOL

The funny moment for me.....(the moment of truth).  When I went into my pantry to put my groceries away...and I ran out of room on the shelves because there were 9 or 10 big 32oz cans of Bing Peaches in the way!! LOL  I have nothing against canned Peaches.;...but every time I went to my Moms house to visit...she would send me another can to go with the other ones I wasn't eating? LOL  I have no idea what her thing with Peaches was?  I never remembered Peaches being a "thing" before growing up?  But now of all things when I live in a different house.....Peaches is the "thing" that she always sent home with me every single time? LOL  I don't ever recall even asking or telling her I had any particular preference or attachment to Peachs (which I don't? )...but Mom did and this is how I found that out...the hard way!! LOL

But in respect to this Peach's delemna....I finally told my Mom not to send any more and told if she didn't stop doing that...I wouldn't 't come over any more and this both....upset her greatly and mad her mad?  I finally caved in and just kept visiting her anyway since that didn't work...but everytime I did..and every time I was leaving...she was trying to hand me a sack with Peaches in it again and I would say NO!!! LOL  She would piss and moan and try and guilt me into taking them....and I just refused and said  "Bye Mom....leaving now"...and she would just have to concede anyway but seemed to get over it.;.....that is, until the next time when those same Peaches in the same sack were there waiting for me right where they were the last time and we had to go through that...all over again! LOL

I ended up....collecting all those cans of Peaches ( keeping maybe one ) and donating them all to a food drive which was what I ended up doing after that instead of fighting with her about taking canned Peaches  home every time I visited her and not just throwing them all away. lol

Rubber bands, pieces of string, and Peaches....what can I say?  LOL



I think you've got to start

I think you've got to start taking care of yourself (this is probably true for all of us non-ADHD spouses) and by that, I don't mean doctors, medication, etc.  Figure out what works for you--maybe yoga or massage or meditation and then let that take priority over all these other things--all the fires that we are constantly putting out.  I'm not suggesting this is a solution, but you need to get your stress level down in order to evaluate what will be best for your life, long term.  If your kid(s) are grown it might be best for you to get out of the marriage and try to make a new, better life for yourself.  I think we always want it to work out, but if he isn't willing to work with you, then the reality is that you are probably never going to be happy in the relationship.  In any case, you really have to very consciously put yourself first--at least for a little while--so you can get a healthy perspective on things.  I really know how you feel--everyone thinks my husband is a great guy too, but just try living with him!  We have been married for 28 years and I realize it is affecting my health too, so I am going to try to take my own advice.  Let's be concerned about ourselves for a change!