I am absolutely astonished by this weekend's events. As I sit here and write this, I can feel my shoulder muscles coiling up into that tense position where it feels like they sit by my ears and I don't know whether I am numb or want to cry. I was diagnosed with ADD 11 years ago and with medication and humanistic/behavioural therapy have come to a place where I feel that I have the skills where potentially I could have things somewhat under control with minimal struggle. My husband is a different story and has driven me to a place where I am not sure how to put my feet on the floor tomorrow morning. I am absolutely shattered - I have a mountain of work staring me in the face and I am so upset I can barely move, nevertheless meet all of my deadlines and obligations.
Because I didn't always travel the path of least resistance, as I am sure many of you will relate to, I am a bit behind schedule on my life goals. In an attempt to rectify the past and progress in a positive direction, I am working full time and going to school with 3 courses this semester, as well as carry my fair share (all) of household duties, aspire to exercise a bit and perhaps have a bit of time for relaxation and hobbies. School and work things alone have me at functional workload capacity. I cannot remember the last time that I was no so pressed for time that I had to choose between shaving my legs or drying my hair. The last meal that didn't come out of tupperware eaten at a desk or in the car is a distant memory. I would expect that my husband would see that I am stretched and pick up some of the slack, but in reality that is only a dream and reality is a nightmare.
My husband was diagnosed with ADHD 15 years ago and on a drug therapy, but never supported by therapy for more than a few sessions here and there. He is a medical professional and holds the opinion that any humanistic/behavioural therapy is just a big love-in waste of time and the only way it works is if you "buy in" to it and he doesn't. However, he is more than happy to spout off advice at me "as a clinician." A large source of our conflict is I am not keen to take advice on how I should run my life from a man who in the last 6 months has nearly lost his job, gambled away money we did not have to splurge to the tune of $50,000 and has not picked up a dish, paid a bill, done a chore, etc without prompting. I have afforded him with every resource money can buy to help get him organised, the harped on him for a few months until I felt like my head would explode because he just had no interest and then gave up. His answer is always the same, "If I don't create it myself, I just don't remember." However, the suggestion of making a list is met with grumbles and mumbles and if by some miracle the list gets mad, the list gets lost - or he will do a few things on the list and get sidetracked, too tired or very often, simply chooses to do puzzle books and play video games instead.
We constantly live from crisis to crisis. He also hides things to the point that the trust in our relationship has essentially been destroyed. One of the biggest, he was having problems at work for about 8 months before I found out about it; the point at which point I found out the conversation revolved around the fact that we could not continue to live overseas in Europe past the end of this contract because his employer was not renewing his contract for the following year due to his not following his professional development plan. His answer was, "Well, I have ADD and they give me a plan and don't follow up with me, so I'm not to blame." Thank goodness through my professional connections and some begging, I was able to secure a contract for him at another location that did not involve moving over an ocean. At that point, the remorse and tears came flowing and I thought there was potential for a change. This new environment is very supportive of his needs and is really helping develop professionally, so that is good, but now it's the rest.
He teeters on the edge of what I call a gambling addiction. It was heavy steady for about a year where he lost a substantial sum we did not have to lose, which nearly resulted in our demise. Since then, there have been several incidents to the tune of a few thousand dollars, which is better, but still money we do not have to burn. He does not admit to having a problem, "It's just how he relaxes" and when he has lost the money and I have questioned it, he gets teary eyed and remorseful saying he thought he could win it back. He just doesn't see the blatantly obvious.
We are in debt up to our eyeballs mostly because of his impulse spending and inability to follow up on things which then spawns late fees and interest charges. We keep separate bank accounts, but as he is the "breadwinner" I am unable to meet all of our financial obligations with my salary. For a time, I had access to both accounts via the Internet, but he freaked out and said he felt like a child with that arrangement and he would pay certain bills out of his accounts. Things lapsed, bad credit accrued. I'd be surprised if he could get a long distance plan with his credit rating. This is all complicated by the fact that as we are expatriates, we do not have debt consolidation options, lines of credit or other financial tools to help dig us out of this hole other than to figure out which minimum payment or bill skipped will do the least damage.
To further complicate matters, he also has an obsession with an online game that has become a major problem in our lives. Recently, on his birthday, I came home after class with a cake, wine and a lovely dinner. I laid it out on the table and yelled upstairs for him to come join me; I was really excited because I had scrimped, saved and taken advantage of recession airline prices to plan a lovely island getaway weekend to celebrate his birthday. I wedged the tickets into a guide book for the area and wrapped them up - thinking it would be a lovely surprise. After two hours, I took his gifts and a piece of cake up to him because it was too engrossed in a mission with his online pals to come downstairs. I stood there thinking that anyone with a birthday gift in front of them would open it, but his hands were too busy fighting computer generated monsters. When I prompted him, he ripped through it without even looking and responded with a very fake smile about how lovely the book was. It wasn't until three days later when I told him I was uncomfortable with the e-tickets in his bag everyday that he realised what he had actually gotten for his birthday. I suppose I should be happy he was at least carrying around the book, but it was a real kick in the teeth.
It seems he has a compulsion for this game and it doesn't matter what else is going on if his group is doing something he needs to be online. He has been known to stay up for days at a time and I suspect he is using his Ritalin in an improper fashion, as he as "borrowed" from my script without permission from time to time. With only one internet connection, I have found myself sacrificing research time for my studies, so he can play the game. He tells me all the time that I don't understand how the game works and that I can't set time limits for him because he cannot predict how long a mission will take and he is working in tandem with a group of 40 other people that he cannot just walk away from. Kinda crummy that he will have that sense of commitment to people he has never met, but the person who feeds him and keeps him in clean underwear gets the shaft. We have tried numerous "methods" of cutting down the game time, but then he sneaks, or throws a fit or "5 more minutes" me to death.
We have come to blows over these situations a few times, most recently two nights ago. After a knock-down, drag-out argument where I basically expressed that I was on the verge of filing for divorce yesterday morning, he called to apologise and then came home from work to find me I at my desk working on a research paper. The first words out of his mouth were "Can I have the Wifi for a mission?" No apologises for his actions, no hellos or hugs & kisses, just a sense of urgency to meet up with a group of people online.
I didn't react well to this, I will admit. When I started to get upset, it was a floodgate being open: all of the anger and frustration about dirty tissues all over the house, squalor (which is being kind) in his office, all of the past hurts of not considering my feelings the nights he went out with friends the one night our schedules allowed us to be home together that month, the birthday incident, all of the solo dinners due to the computer game came raging out. He couldn't understand that it was a cumulative hurt and that was why I was so angry. He fixated on the fact that I was completely overreacting to him asking to have the modem. This happens quite often when we have talks about our situation; he can only see the most present events and doesn't understand that things build up and wear me down.
Today is a perfect example of a "day in the life" and why I am at the end of my rope. We woke up and he made his breakfast leaving bread crumbs and gobs of jam all over the counter top accentuated by leaving the milk and butter out. Dirty dishes left as he lies on the couch to watch TV while I go over and clean up from the breakfast preparations and begin to scrape some sort of cheesy tomato sauce goo from the bench top and ceiling (I kid you not) from some midnight snack debacule. While I am doing so, I suggest he go and get and his planner so we can go over a list of things he needed to do today. I was met with grumbles and mumbles about how he had to go to work tonight, so he should not be expected to "work" all day. I set a timer and 30 minutes later suggested that he should go shower and get going for the day. 45 minutes later, I yell into the bathroom where he got sidetracked doing a puzzle book and was screamed at for being a nag. I tried to stay calm and suggested that while he was in the bathroom it could really use a once over (despite my cleaning it well four days ago at midnight after I got home from class) as it was disgusting by any standards. An hour later, he emerges proclaiming the bathroom was clean and sauntered out onto the balcony to finish his puzzle book page. I was downstairs cleaning up the daily messes and the entire time he is yelling down from the balcony that I really should get a move on my school work and the work I brought home from the office. I tried to explain to him that I could use some help and that if I didn't do this, it would never get done. He gave some lip service about helping and flopped down on the bed and started reading a book shouting something about how I was procrastinating and he knew all about procrastination.
I poked my head into the bathroom to see what he had done - the pile of clothes that was on the bathroom floor was moved outside of the bathroom door into the hallway next to the hamper, there were old disgusting grapes next to the toilet (I have no idea), dried snot smeared on the toliet paper holder, the floor was still dirty and gunk crusted to the sink, vanity and mirrors. I brought him back in and showed him the mess and asked him to address these issues and told him I was going downstairs to start working on my paper that needed to be turned in shortly. An hour later, he comes downstairs and tells me that he is going to the library to study for an upcoming licensing exam.
He went off and I started my school work. I rang him to ask him to take a copy of a journal article for me that was not available electronically. He rang back an hour later leaving a voicemail saying he was at the library and they did not have a copy of that journal (which I knew wasn't true, as I had seen it there two days ago). I could hear from the background noise in the message that he was in the car with the windows open, which means he wasn't in the library. When he didn't turn up for another three hours, I rang his cell phone again which went straight to voicemail. I rang the library front desk and had a friend who works there look for him and she said she had not seen him all day. The funny thing was, I am sure she thinks he is having an affair, but I knew better - he was hiding out in an internet cafe playing his online game despite me telling him that I had about a week's worth of office work, two papers and an exam to prepare for in addition to the house being in a bit of a state and numerous household paperwork things that needed looking after.
Quite frankly, if I didn't live halfway around the world from any "safe haven" and know that I would have a hell of a time getting a job in this economic climate, I am almost at the point where I would pack my bags. I often wonder if that is the only reason I am still here. When he came home, I got a half hearted apology with the rationalisation that he didn't want to fight over his wanting to play the game and he didn't go to the library because he didn't want to study.
Like I said, I am just at the end of my rope and I am so upset by this it is paralyzing me. I am so busy with school and work that I have no me time; I can't remember the last time I went to the gym and I really think my stress level is beginning to effect my health. Every three weeks or so, I get so tense, I have to drag myself in for an adjustment and my massage therapist constantly comments about how I am crippling myself. Despite my best efforts, I am still struggling with my ADD and managing my work load. I just can't do it all and I don't know what to do because if I don't, it will get so out of control it will be unimaginable.
Please help. Any advice, anything is much appreciated.