Running out of time!

It was not until my husband sought therapy for what we thought was depression, that he was officially diagnosed at 38 with ADHD.  He was unhappy in the marriage due to lack of intimacy and he filed for divorce. It has almost been a year and I have delayed the court proceedings as long as I possibly can.  But I am running out of time.  I had no idea how much the ADHD had affected our relationship. I managed the house, scheduled the bills, made sure he remembered his appointments.  Sad part is, he became my child and not my spouse.  So our chemistry and intimacy became strained.  He went of medication for both depression and the ADHD but did not like the side effects. He stopped going to counseling since he thought the therapist and I were ganging up on him. He is hanging out with younger coworkers and he is obsessed with porn on the computer.  I am so scared he is making such a life altering decision with a cloudy head. He claims to have no more love for me. I found a psychologist and made an appointment, hoping that the 2 of us can go. I am afraid to bring it up to my husband, for fear he is going to accuse me of trying to gang up. I am not expecting a miracle but I have hope that a session with a therapist who does not know us at all, may open his mind just a little.  Any advice on how to invite him to the appointment without upsetting him?

Time...

My ADD was discovered under similar circumstances, depression/anxiety, and I was shocked and in disbelief until I started reading about ADD. I read the book with a highlighter because of all the things that were seemingly written about me. I was very happy to discover that the stuff going on in my brain actually had some explanation and I responded well to the Adderall.

Your husband is the key here... If he does not want to accept the diagnosis there is not much you can do. ADD discovery is quite the emotional roller coaster too... I was elated to know it was not just me, guilty about the way I behaved, sad for the "What could have beens" if it had been discovered earlier, mad at the way I was treated in the past. After treatment begins, the work really begins. Re-training the brain to replace bad coping mechanisms and you feel different, so many things are received by the ADD brain that were not seen before. I don't know how to help your situation, but if the ADDer wants to change, they definitely can, if they don't want change you are kind of powerless.

YYZ

 

Thanks.  Yeah, it has taken

Thanks.  Yeah, it has taken me a long time to realize that he needs to do the work. I am so used to being the problem solver, that I figured I could solve this and "fix" him.  He has come a long way to even be on medication and admit to the diagnosis.  What he has not done is realized that the ADD and the marriage issues are related.  I do not blame "him" for the way things are. We are both responsible for the state of our relationship.  We just both need to agree that the strain in our marriage was a result of how we both reacted to the ADD symptoms. I became the manager of our home and his mother in a sense.  My nurturing and organized tendencies helped to keep the him in order, but the role I played destroyed the intimacy we needed.  If I tried to tell him this, he would see it as blaming him, which I do not want him to think.  He already feels insecure about his condition, and perhaps damaged.  I am trying to get him to the therapist so that I can express those thoughts in a safe place, with a neutral 3rd party who is skilled at identifying cognitive behaviors and how ADD works in a marriage.  That is my best shot at making some progress and to try to encourage him to see things in a different way.

 

Blame...

Has your husband found this website? This place has been invaluable to me in my progress with ADHD. I might suggest that he go to an ADHD knowledgeable therapist by himself, at first, I believe he will be more at ease knowing more about his version of the condition. It is hard for an ADDer to feel comfortable in a conversation where he/she feels like they are not as knowledgeable as the others. If I don't feel fully prepared for a topic, I will not add much in fear of looking stupid to the group. Severe Low Self-Esteem go hand in hand with this thing.

There are also many great books on the subject that are "Easy Reads" for ADDers. My first was "You Mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy" by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo and Edward M. M.D. Hallowell. I read it with a highlighter...

YYZ

That is the tough part.  My

That is the tough part.  My husband has not done much reading on the topic. I bought him Driven to Distraction and he started reading it but never really dug into it.  The part he has yet to realize is the role that ADHD has played in our marriage. He accepts that he has it, he takes yoga classes and medication...but my objective behind joint counseling is for him to see (even if just a little at first) how ADHD has strained our relationship.  I agree, he needs individual therapy.  I just need for him to step back a bit and see that with proper treatment, our marriage is salvageable.  So that is my reason behind wanting to start with a joint therapy session. Just to open his mind a bit.

Tough for sure...

The meds should help him feel better and make communication "Easier" but those coping mechanisms are still difficult to fight. I was bad about shutting down during any confrontation. My wife and I had a couples session near the beginning of my ADD discovery. The funny thing is she does not believe ADD had much to do with any of our problems.

YYZ

Has she read Melissa's book? 

Has she read Melissa's book?  That was an eye opener for me. I had no idea about the effects of ADHD on relationships before my husband was diagnosed.  I thought of it from the school teacher's perspective.  Hyperactivity, acting out, disorganization. It just fascinates me how it manifests itself in couples.  When you say you shut down with confrontations, do you mean you would refuse to listen to her?  It is interesting to hear about it from your perspective because you seem similar to my husband in that respect.

Has not read much...

About the ADHD. I told her stuff I read from the first book, then she seemed to really tire of hearing about it. She admits I am a little better about communication and more aware of time perception. My wife battles depression and low self esteem, especially about her weight, and this has been our major point of disagreement. We we always emotional eaters, and since my diagnosis, I have not been obsessed with food. I eat the same junk, just a lot less. There is some anger towards my "Not Admitting" the "Speed" as she refers to my Adderall as the only reason I've lost weight. She is very hard on herself and the way she looks. No matter how many times I compliment her or tell her that others say I have a beautiful wife, she simply deflects the compliment. She is certain I can't be attracted to her and that I am so different because I don't live to eat... Enough rambling :-)

Regarding my "Shut-Downs"... Having ADD is exhausting. I could wake up early, then operate really well, unless something distracts me, then around 2pm I could barely stay awake. I would be so tired driving home from work at 5 or so, that I would be fighting off sleep. Then at night after getting all the kid stuff done, I would be tired but not able To Fall Asleep... Being so tired at the end of the day, when we would have a conflict or something that needed discussion I would be struggling to stay awake talking to her. Introduce some anger and stress, then the shut down would be unstoppable. I would have a million thoughts racing through my brain, but the verbal attack would stun any response, which made things worse. She would wait if something was bothering her, hoping I would notice, until she had to blow-up to get my attention. Then I'm embarrassed, guilty, ashamed, wrong again, mad and it is the pattern of disappointments I have given people my whole life. Not listening is what is perceived by most, but really an affect of my memory going to long-term quickly and long term memory is more the "Cliffs Notes" version of a conversation. Also if it is a noisy environment ADDers get too many channels coming at us at one time and the net effect is hearing nothing. If I am on the phone and you walk up to me and say something during my call, I hear nothing from both people and know I'm fumbling to catch up on the phone call and am mad at you for expecting me to listen to two conversations at once... It is a lot better now, but still an issue I have to work on.

I was not hyperactive as a child so I was undiagnosed until age 43. I am VERY organized, as I figured out I was not a long time ago, so Electronics are my great friends :-) After waking up from my ADD fog, I am not as easy going as I used to be, but not angry by any means. My wife may be right, in that my ADD did not affect my household chores or child duties, as I do my fair share and we all know it's never 50/50 but 60/40 one week and 40/60 the next. I was and still fight impulsive spending... but only electronics and car stuff. No porn, no gambling, no cheating, I don't drink much and have never had a drug problem, only food abuse in the old days.
 

Sorry for the super ramble, but the adderall is gone by this point in the evening :-)

YYZ

 

 

 


 

Not rambling! If you were,

Not rambling! If you were, this would not be so articulate- with a clearcut beginning, a middle, an end! Thank you once again for making me understand more of what is going on during "shut down"!! I find myself thinking how the exact same thing seems to happen in my house and that you are ironically able to then write this amazing and clear explanation of the dynamics of what is going on (better than me right now, havent had coffee yet, lol)...it seems so opposite to the experience of "shutdown"... I guess my point is that timing is everything?? Problem is, even if my husband can be as coherent as you were being in your post, it is rare that the opportunity arises that he would "waste" that lucidity on me... Instead using it for work or other more "interesting" pursuits. So could you please explain to me what things your wife could say to be more open to having difficult conversations (eg about money, about feedback on how your meds appear to affect your behavior to those around you, etc) without making it seem controlling or blaming?!! Or triggering the ANGER? I am still struggling to try to find the line that lets me address some things he has done without having him feel defensive and aggressive. We both know that some of the stuff that is messed up is due to the adhd fog, but even addressing that fog is apparently either too painful or perceived by him as a "diversion" to what the real issue is, my controlling behavior (?)! Thing is, I gave up this controlling behavior a while ago and now am struggling with just keeping it all together with minimal help or feedback (and most of that feedback is guarded and mean)- I want a new, open, and more balanced interaction. He doesnt seem to believe it. **A note about your wife's low self esteem, an issue I have struggled with for the bulk of my life. It is true, that when someone compliments us that it is extremely difficult to accept the compliment. But dont stop- because it is still heard. A tactle hug on a regular basis is great too :). It is easy to hear the hurt that is going on in your marriage- perhaps because much of it sounds so similar to mine. I am glad you seem to have experienced a healthy weight loss, and if the stimulant/speed effect of Adderall helped - then thats FINE. I think your wifes comment is not a slam to you necessarily but more of one to herself- another frustration. Just like you, she has to face HER demons because it is affecting not only her but your marriage. I truly never realized until this year how mean I was being to those around me when I was feeling the great pain of being a "loser"... I just could not see past that pain and that was not fair to my family. Individual Counseling for me (when I was ready) and the realization that I did not want to spend the rest of my life in low self esteem H*LL is what motivated me to start initiating change. And it has been no less difficult as it has been for my husband to face his (adhd) demons. For what its worth- i think your efforts and striving for the balance has been great - and I'm sure your wife thinks so too, even if she cant pull past her own anxiety (and the history of issues we all have). It will get better if you keep to your path!

The Path...

Thanks for the very nice words and advice. I just made the coffee and read your post. One thing about discussions... When I started taking Adderall, one of the new things to me was seeing more facial cues from people. I believe it is like a new sense and they all seem 10X strong to me. I never saw them before, maybe if I had my wife would not have had to blow-up at me to get a discussion??? Maybe start with something you have noticed that is positive and see if he has noticed. I am really having to learn how to react in a real-time way to things that I used to not notice or choose to not engage in, because I was caught off-guard and unprepared. Maybe your husband is bothered by the "Perceptions" most people have of ADHD? These perceptions are created by people who don't know anything about it, like the way I used to perceive ADD. When I first discovered ADD I was so relieved that there was a chemical reason for my strange way of thinking, my lack of common sense, electronic, car and food addictions, Selfish, Uncaring behaviors. I WANT to do better and believe I am improving. My actions will take time to overtake the standards I have put in place and I know it will take some time. I think it may take some restraint on your part in these early, more productive discussions because he may be better able to catch and say the thoughts that used to spin through the head too fast, but this is a very new skill. In my house I believe my wife is having a harder time responding to my instantly available side to the issue. She used to have way more time, without a volley form me, to go the her next point. I also stay more calm and she gets more angry, from years of her own coping mechanism I'm sure. In our last repeat argument over my Adderall correcting brain chemistry VS Speed being a diet pill, I even told her that we would not even be having this conversation 2 years ago because I would have shut-down and she would have done all the talking. She sort of acknowledged this fact. I keep suggesting some counseling to resolve some of our issues. She has seen a therapist off and on for years, but not in the last two years when I think she could benefit the most. She knows that she has things to work through and I hope she can release some of this anger. Her worst fear is being made a "Fool" of and her defense screens go to full and attack first processes are her tools to prevent this from happening. After things cool off we can usually talk rationally about the previous issue, but that still has me trying to walk on eggshells a lot of the time. Thanks again for your post...

YYZ