Scared and A Little Horrified

By now most of you know that my husband is reading Melissa's book and when he's done I plan to talk to him about finding a coach to help me, and possibly us as a couple.  So that I can be ready for that conversation when he finishes the book, I have been trying to find resources in the area where we live and contact some potential coaches to get some information.  

The first thing I have discovered is that we have VERY FEW resources where I live.  I live in a capital city, not some super small town!  There is not a chapter of CHADD, there is not a single support group, and I have only found ONE doctor who specializes in ADHD.  And he is really a pediatric specialist, but over the years he has had so many of the parents come to him for help that he finally relented and started training himself to treat adults as well.  Luckily for me, he has sort of specialized in treating women (60% of his patients are still kids).  I have no idea what men with ADHD in our area are doing for treatment?!  Anyway, I called his office last week and after several days of phone tag, I finally talked to his ofc assistant to get some more info.  Basically it sounds like he is very capable and knowledgeable, but naturally, he always starts with a full evaluation and testing ($600).  I have never been professionally evaluated, so it is probably a good idea for me anyway.  HOWEVER...this strikes fear in me to my core.  Because, what if he says I DON'T have ADD?  From what I have read and what I have experienced, I am 99.9% sure.  But what if I'm wrong?!  What am I going to DO?  Then what explanation will I have for my behaviors?  It will just PROVE that I really AM lazy, crazy or stupid!

Also, he does not do traditional coaching like I was looking for.  She said after they get any medication questions settled (if there are any problems with it), his appointments generally deal with lifestyle issues and coaching types of discussions.  But she made it clear that he is not a counselor or a coach and that the sessions are not an hour long like a counselor, so you have to book and pay for back-to-back appointments if you want a longer time with him.  But overall, it sounded like he knows what he is doing.  And he even has ADHD himself (diagnosed 18-20 yrs ago), so he is very familiar with it and really understands how it affects relationships and the whole family.  They do not even know of any coaches in my area to recommend.  (Grrr!)  She gave me one name of someone who was associated with their office years ago but said that most people would not go to her because coaching services are VERY expensive.  But I will at least look her up, I guess.

I had also e-mailed another doctor who listed ADD/ADHD treatment on his website and that he is a certified Life Coach, but his main emphasis from his website seems to be grief/loss.  He has a divinity degree and many Christian references on his website, which is attractive to me because I am a Christian and like to take spiritual matters into consideration.  His e-mail reply asked me to call him, so I called him today.  And somehow, this man made me feel worse about myself than I had before I talked to him OVER THE PHONE!  He basically proceeded to ask me if I "am determined" to have ADHD so that I have bought into a doctor-induced diagnosis?  He kept saying that he could help me get to the ROOT of my problems and that it usually involved issues from childhood and that I needed to heal from those.  And that ADHD was really just a "symptom" of some other root cause problem.  He went so far as to say that sometimes the way we deal with our "real" ROOT problems could result in changes in our brain chemistry...CAUSING ADHD!  Finally I asked him, "Well, what if the ROOT problem is that I HAVE ADHD?!"  He back-pedaled a little bit then, saying that he was not trying to say that I don't.  I tried to explain to him that I had spent the past 2 yrs or so adjusting my thinking so that I am no longer attributing MORAL failures to my ADHD symptoms.  He did not seem interested in treating my symptoms or in using medications at all.  I realized very quickly that this therapist would NOT work for me or be able to help me, and in fact, might send me spiraling backwards.  At least I was strong enough to recognize that.  

But this conversation was on the heels of my talking with the other doctor's office who wants to do a full evaluation and work-up.  And this had already begun to paralyze me with fear that I have been wrong all along about my diagnosis, and that maybe there is no help for me after all. And so then this crazy kook further fed into my growing doubts and fears.  

This was a BAD day for me on the ADD front!  If you read my other post from today (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), you will know that it was just a BAD DAY for me all the way around.  Now it is 1:46 AM and I should go to bed!  Goodnight.

Don't be scared...

You are so far ahead of where I was before my diagnosis in regards to knowledge of ADD. The Psychiatrist is not going to give you any feedback, before you see him, on whether you sound like you have ADD or not. I have read many of your posts and there are many things you have said that I relate to. There are quite a number of people out there who try to get prescriptions from doctors who want the Adderall for reasons other than ADD, so making it clear that there will be a full evaluation is probably his way of running off these Time Waster's. It is also "Standard Operating Procedure" that these visits with the Psychiatrist are short. My early visits were 30 minutes and the follow ups a mere 15 minutes. 

I was shocked when my doctor suggested that I had ADD. It took him all of ten minutes to tell me he thought I had ADD. He wanted me to read "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!:", then come back and tell him what I thought. I started reading, something I never did (Entire Books), and I had to grab a highlighter because so much of the contents were me. Then I was in a frantic hyper-focus mode with ADD and probably beat my wife down with all of the symptoms that match my behaviors. I feel because of this initial period of discovery my wife thought it was just another easy out for me and my behaviors. I wanted my wife to read more about ADD and even bought a book written for the NonADDer called "Is it you, me, or Adult ADD". She never read it... I had to deal with my ADD myself, so that is what I still do today. I knew it would take a long time for better behavior to become the norm and not just a short hyper-focus phase.

I think you are making great strides forward, so try not to get down... There is a bunch of support out here on this website :-)




Thanks, but what if...

Thanks for the encouragement!  But what if the reason I am "so far ahead" is because I don't really have it?!  Of course, this is very typical of me to take something that SHOULD be a positive and turn it into a negative!  I agree that he should definitely do a full work-up, and I am kind of looking forward to having a professional confirmation/affirmation of the conclusion I have come to on my own.  Once I get the official diagnosis, I can stop the doubting.  But then there's always that chance that he will NOT agree with me.  This is where my brain starts going around in circles--it is maddening!

I am currently reading "Is it Me, You or Adult ADD?" myself.  Although it is a much more difficult read than Melissa's book, so I have gotten bored/bogged down and started another book called "Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention" which is about a mother and son who both have ADD and she decides to take a year and intentionally "hyper-focus" on figuring out how to relate to and help her son (and I guess herself too).  My son also has ADD so this is very interesting to me.  And the book is written in more of a prose style than a scientific guide, so it reads more like a story and it's easier to get through it (so far!).  I have also read about half of "So I'm not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!" - I do that with the longer ADD books.  I race through the first parts and then get bored and gradually stop reading.  But I read Melissa's book cover to cover and underlined everywhere.  It was much shorter and easier to read than many of the other ADD books.  I did read all of Ned Hallowell's books at the beginning ("Driven to Distraction" and "Delivered from Distraction") and they were good, but also long and I had to really FORCE myself to finish them.  But those were the first books I read about ADD, so my appetite for information was much greater then, which helped me to stay motivated.

Of course, I am also dwelling on the comment that other guy made about whether I am "determined" to have ADHD?  And then I think about the time I spend here and reading books about it and start to doubt...maybe I AM obsessed with it and therefore I have convinced myself that I do have it?  Although I think the dose of stimulant medication I am taking would make me hyper if I didn't need it! (60mg Vyvanse) A friend of mine told me she accidentally took one of her son's pills one day (mindlessly popped it in her own mouth instead of handing it to him).  She said she was shaky and bouncing off the walls.  She is a teacher and she said her teacher friends were laughing at her all day because she was talking incessantly and all over the place.  She asked her son later if it made him feel that way too, and he said, "Mom, that's how I feel when I DON'T take my medicine!"

I always tend to hyper-focus on the one comment or statement that bothers me and ignore everything else someone says.  This drives my husband crazy.  He says that he could give me 100 compliments, but I will only hear the one single (usually accurate and needed!) criticism.  It's true.  And we wonder why we have such low self-esteem.  But how do I STOP DOING THAT?  I don't know???  

Thanks for your post and for the encouragement.

My husband is the exact same

My husband is the exact same way..he can pick just one little part out of something LONG I said and that one little part is all he can think about. Obsessively. On the other side of that coin, I can tell him (just an example used to make my point, not an actual example) "I am not happy. I want us to go to counseling. I am afraid our marriage won't last. I love you and want us to be together" and he'll simply respond with "I love you too" as if there were nothing more to my point. I understand this. I know there are times when he just needs to know that I love him...just needs to hear it. That and nothing more.

Thinking about and obsessing over a comment that was made here or there is another thing we have in common. I think it comes from a low-self-esteem more than anything, as we are constantly questioning our own minds and abilities. You think surely someone else who you have no reason to doubt their motives knows better than me...someone who can't make up her mind on anything somedays. When we don't have a strong sense of who we are and where we are going, we are easily swayed or our minds are easily invaded by the negative comments of others. I think fixing a low self esteem is probably one of the hardest things in the world...especially when you've spent your entire life living with it and having people add to it (and having yourself add to it with all of the negative audio we play in our heads).

I agree, I think your ADHD meds would definitely NOT help you if you weren't suffering from ADHD. No matter what, just figure out what you want to do differently and tackle those things one bite at a time...ADHD or not, we all have things we need to tackle. Add me to that list.

So far ahead...

I really don't think you would continue reading about ADD if it were not making complete sense of things in your life. I remember feeling the same way. Could all of these things really explain so many issues in my life? I was supposed to think about what the doctor suggested to me, having ADD, and make another appointment in a few weeks to discuss. Once I read the first book, I called the doctor immediately and scheduled the appointment. I wanted to be better. The stimulant medications concerned me, as I have always feared addiction, but other than food I have not had any chemical dependencies. The affect you described of the NonADDer taking the stimulant is exactly what my doctor said would happen to someone without ADD. For the ADDer it actually "Slows the spinning Brain" :-) I had my answer 30 minutes after the first Adderall.

Hyper-Focus on the negative comment... Of course we do... That Grabs our attention/focus the other stuff is background noise :-)

Hang in there and keep working on yourself. Things can get better.




Don't be scared

I can understand your concern - you finally have a reason why the things have been happening to you, and if someone comes back and says, well, no...that would be a big shift.  You've done some ADHD research, though, and feel as if your life fits the symptoms so you're likely to just confirm your suspicions.  Also, it's possible the doc might give you other insight - "Well, you have ADHD and processing issues" or "I think we should treat both ADHD and anxiety" etc.

If it turns out that he says you don't have ADHD, you still have done a lot of thinking about the things that have been getting in the way of your life and can still act on that information.  A coach is a great idea for doing this (as is fish oil, exercise, meditation and many other options that can improve the lives of EVERYONE.)  If you can't find a good coach in your area, I suggest you work with someone by phone.  Coaches are trained to do this well.  There are some good ones listed in my resources section (I only list folks there I've met and respect or who have been highly recommended to me by someone I trust - so the list is short but very good.)

Your experience with the divinity person makes me crazy - there are too many people out there who ignorantly want to explain ADHD away as some moral failing of either the person with the ADHD or their parents.  Good grief!  (Can't use the words I'm really thinking!)  Good for you for running as far away from that person as you can!

So maybe you could think of this as a good day on the ADHD front?  You found a doc who can help you with a diagnosis, you found a therapist you know FOR SURE you DON'T want to use, you got some advice from me about how to find an out of area coach, and support from others here on the site...not bad!

What Do You Think?

Melissa, one thing I fear now is that because of all I have learned about ADHD thus far, I might inadvertently skew the testing by answering the questionnaire with an ADD slant.  Is that possible?  I am afraid now that if he comes back with an ADD diagnosis, I might doubt that too because I will think that I somehow skewed the data!  So I may not get the confirmation from it that I am hoping for.

When I am answering the questions, am I supposed to answer them as I would have prior to learning anything about ADHD or working to address some of my symptoms, OR do I answer purely with my current set of (minimally treated) behaviors and on meds?  They said I cannot take my meds on the day that I take the attentional test in his office, but hopefully my lifestyle symptoms are better managed while on meds than off.  So I am worried about how to fill out the questionnaire?

PS--Our Son's Evaluation

I had the same problem when I was filling out the Parent Questionnaire for our son's evaluation. It would ask questions like how often did he complete homework assignments, or not have the necessary materials, etc. Well, in our house (he was in 4th grade at the time), it was not an option NOT to complete your homework. We MADE him do it every day, and we were also compensating for him in many many other ways that we did not even realize were compensations--I just thought it was responsible parenting (he is our oldest, so I had nothing to compare it to). I got confused trying to fill out the forms so I called the psychologist to ask him about this. He told me to answer the questions with whatever behavior he would exhibit WITHOUT HELP. Then it was easy; he would never have even STARTED his homework without our help! :)

This was evidenced 2 years later in 6th grade when we implemented a system with him one quarter where we told him we were completely removing his safety net and would not be helping him with schoolwork AT ALL. We did help him on the weekends to review his upcoming week and work through making a plan, but the execution of the plan was completely and totally up to him. Then we would review grades on the weekends too and implement pre-defined and progressively increasing consequences for any grade averages below a B, C or D. I had tried to gradually shift the responsibility for his schoolwork to him during 5th grade and the first semester of 6th grade, but he would not pick up ANY OF IT or take any ownership for it at all. I was the only one ever getting upset about it or worrying about it. And then I would swoop in at the last minute to remind and rescue him yet again. Well, for 2 solid weeks after we started the new system, he did not even OPEN his bookbag after school. He was in SIXTH grade; of course he had homework and lots of it! It took every ounce of strength within me not to say anything to him or ask him about it. So when the grades finally started getting posted, we started implementing the consequences for the bad grades. One day he started crying and begged me, "Mom, can you at least just remind me to START my homework?" (I was determined he would learn this lesson, so I said NO.)

It was a rough quarter for everyone, but he DID learn to be more responsible. We never intended to permanently refuse to help him, but we realized the gradual-shift-of-responsibility-approach was never going to work with him. And now our interaction and assistance is much more reasonable with a few reminders here and there, or checking in with him from time to time.  As opposed to what we were doing before: giving a separate instruction to do each assignment one at a time, and then checking behind him that it was done, and then checking behind him to make sure he had put it in his bookbag to be turned in, etc!  We probably will always need to do a little more than the "norm" to help him, but it is more manageable and balanced now. But for him to "wake up," he had to know and truly believe that we were NOT going to save him anymore.   We figured 6th grade was as good a time as any to try this when the grades don't really "count" yet.  He's still not there yet (almost the end of 7th grade), but we are a lot farther down the road.  I just hope that by the time he goes to college, he will be able to manage school by himself!? 

I'm no expert, but I'm fairly

I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain it would be next to impossible to change our brain a degree that it would cause us to 'have ADHD'. How does one go about slowing down an entire LOBE of the brain? Wow. He should write a book! Not.

The reason for the 'full eval' would be probably two to secure a diagnosis to work with so insurance will pay, meds can be prescribed, etc. Second is just to have his own baseline of what's going on and how to treat. I agree with Melissa, in the grand scheme of things, you've got to realize that it really doesn't matter. I suffer many of the same 'symptoms' as you, but I don't believe I have ADHD. Many of your posts are SOOOO much like my husband and his way of thinking that I've never doubted your diagnosis. I definitely don't doubt his. If you feel it is something you want to pursue, then go for the full eval and see how it goes.

Sorry you had a bad day...hang in is a new day. ((HUGS))

One thing I have been trying to do...and had quite a bit of success when I get up in the mornings (I don't work) after taking the kids to school I clean and get some laundry started before I even turn on my computer. I feel much better sitting down in a clean room to get on my computer and the more I force myself to do it, the better I feel, and the more I want to, and the easier it is to delay my 'gratification' of getting on the computer by an hour or so to do some stuff I know needs to be done. You're focusing on saving your marriage right now...and you're trying to do everything you feel will accomplish this. However, you've said that what is important to your husband is that he comes home and is able to 'see' that you've done something. (I could fuss for 2 hours about how you're a grown woman and should be able to do what you want, when you want..but it won't help your marriage any) the name of making him happy...consider it your 'gift' to him, to your marriage, to spend an hour a day doing something..anything..that would be noticable so that you won't feel so much like you're failing him. I promise it will get easier to walk away from the computer more once you start seeing that you CAN keep the house picked up, still have some computer time, and keep hubby happy.

I will add this, since you have expressed that you are Christian...another thing that helps me is starting my day in prayer. Asking God to help me go through the day keeping everyone's happiness in mind, and not just my own. I made bread/rolls yesterday (which I really don't like to do) because I know my husband REALLY loves them. That took well over an hour. I got up first thing and cleaned the kitchen...because I felt bad when he went to sit at the table the other night with me and our daughter that he could not hardly find a spot on the bench to sit. I'm trying hard to think about him and spend at least part of my day doing things to show I love him. He couldn't care less about the house, but he does love my rolls...and he was frustrated that he couldn't sit on the bench without a huge effort to move everyone's stuff. It helps me to think of HIM and do things for HIM, in the hopes that God will put it on his heart to repay the favor...and because that is who I want to be, regardless of who he is to me.

Good luck!


Thank you Sherri

Great ideas!  Thanks for sharing.  Seems so simple and obvious, and yet why haven't I thought of it?  Just do SOMETHING every day that will be noticeable to my dh!  I also like the idea of getting a certain amount of work done prior to even turning on the computer.  And I definitely need to start my day in prayer consistently.  There's that word again...consistently.  But for now I am just trying to be satisfied with being MORE consistent.  Also, thanks for the ((Hugs))!! Tomorrow is a new day.

How do you start? How to bring up the subject?

I just read the book.  My husband was diagnosed about 10 years ago.  I am his third wife.  We have been married for 2 and a half years. He talks of ADHD very seldom and when I ask questions or make comments he becomes very angry.  The unspoken rule is that ONLY HE can bring it up or talk about it.  He takes meds but has never had a coach or any help that way.  How do I get him to even read the book?  How do I bring it up?  In the past he has thrown his slammed his laptop down, breaking it, slammed on his breaks on  a congested Southern California Freeway during rush hour.  He frightens me.  In his mind, it is ALL ME.  He is a victim.  I can't get a word in edgewise.  So, I guess I just have to walk through that fire???????  Not really a subtle way to bring it all out in the open. 

I feel some anger towards his family.  They all tip-toe around him too and he has a sister who is a psychologist.  Seems like someone would have stepped in to help him by now. 

Fifteen years into our

Fifteen years into our marriage I had observed enough to start searching for clinical answers. I found "ADHD Rollercoaster" and after I read it, I left on my husbands tv watching chair with a note asking him to please consider reading it. Then I left for work for the day. In the evening I asked him he found it and he said he did and that he would read it. He was offended but tight lipped, so it could've been worse. He has since said he read it several times. He also said I'm the one who has it, not him. But at least he read the thing and has some information. I'm starting to be of the mindset, "Just do it" because no matter how succintly and unoffensiively I try to communicate things he manages to take it in the worst possible way anyway. I am seeing that I save myself a lot of angst and energy by adopting this attitude. Not disrespectfully, but just out with it. Good luck

Sarah, I find that sometimes

Sarah, I find that sometimes just not bringing up the actual word but addressing the obvious symptoms of it, works best. Gee, are you okay - your focus seems off today, or -hmm you seem really irritated today... to cue him that he is in the "reacting" mode that starts the rollercoaster. Then I stop to let him digest that. If he is too far into reacting mode (bad time of day, meds wearing off..) I might stop and wait for a better time if it still bothered me later (but am learning to let go if it doesnt). The problem is, it sounds like your spouse is unmedicated right now or not optimally medicated? If that is the case, you can try to discuss his anger management when he is more calm and address that symptom, again without saying the "a" word initially if possible. Sometimes bringing it up can cause such a kneejerk reaction that our DH can not bear to hear anymore- the response being shutdown or extreme anger (BACK OFF). But that doesnt mean you should join his rollercoaster, egg shell cracking ride. You must find your separate place of support and strength- be it in friends, family, doing things you enjoy...I know this is somewhat straying off your initial question but it IS related... The thing is you do need to discuss this ADHD thing when you can, especially if you want to avoid the relatonship znosediving into a downward spiral (bc its hard not to be angry, depressed and/or resentful yourself when someone treats you poorly). Mention to him, if true, that you love him, are committed to this relationship, and do not want to see the possibility of a wife #4 on the horizon...that you want this to really work out. But that communication is key. Part of the anger is the big defense system of a person who feels cornered. Do not engage him when he is in that mode. Set boundaries, too by the way, to NOT accept dangerous behavior that puts you at risk, including the angry driving. Being afraid of your DH is not an acceptable way to live- been there, sometimes revisit. But I am learning that the strength MUST lie in yourself to say: if you can not control this anger (and he may not)... Either we need to separate (and mean it) or get counseling (with proper diagnoses/treatment). And for now, go see your own individual counselor too- someone well versed in adhd. You need to speak to an objectuve yet supportive source (also have been/and still occasionally there).