My partner is 26 years old and has ADD. He was diagnosed as a child and put on Ritalin for a very short time but was taken off, as his mother wasn’t keen on him being on it. Flash forward 18 years and he is having such a hard time with the symptoms it in his personal life, work life and our relationship that he has decided to go down the path of seeking medication to improve his concentration. He denied his ADD for such a long time (years and years) so I am really proud of him for acknowledging it and seeking help.
Long story short we are book in to see a psychiatrist soon to talk about the option of mediation. I am not quite sure that he is aware that it will be a bit of a process to do this. We do not have any records of him being diagnosed as a child as we do not talk about his ADD with his parents (it is rather hidden) but he can talk about his moving to 6 schools during his school years, the numerous amounts of tests he had done for concentration and his current symptoms. I have tried to explain to him that this might take a bit longer than he thinks but that if he can stick with it that he will get a good outcome and that I will be there along the way for support.
I am wondering if anyone can shed any light on their ADD partners behaviour around frustration or what can set them off AND how they as the non ADDer reacts to this behaviour.
Example of his frustration:
My partner will come home from work and we’ll chat about our day and be having a lovely time, then when I bring up something that I had read in the ADHD Effect on Marriage (great book!) he will start to tune out. We usually talk about what I have read in the book and he is interested. He just ordered a heap of books on ADD from Amazon as he is keen to learn more (bit impulsive but a good resource). I am careful not to initiate a conversation about this when he is in a bad mood as this ends up in tears.
As we talk I see that he is starting to tune out and become fidgety so I ask him if he is bored – no, he finds it frustrating and too serious. I understand that he can feel overwhelmed with too much information but I can never find out why things get to him so badly (does he feel overloaded, guilty etc?). I would like to understand more so that I can help him or at least so that I can settle myself when this happens.
In a matter of seconds my loving partner can turn into a completely different person. I try to show him understanding but also try to explain what I need from him and how that will benefit us. He cannot function; he cannot cope with the frustration he feels. I try and tell him that there is no blame but he is already too far-gone and needs to be alone for hours on his computer to calm him down. I usually give him that time but end up crying, as I feel so hurt.
He usually comes and finds me after a few hours when he feels calm again and apologizes for his behaviour. I accept his apology and try to explain to him that by him leaving or tuning out to what I was saying, makes me feel invalidated and disregarded. Then it happens again and he acts the exact same way. Nothing gets sorted and I am left with the same issue that I felt before all this began. I would like to talk to my partner and have him be supportive, affectionate and understanding. He rarely seems to be able to do that for me even when he is in a good mood as my mood brings him down and he has to leave the room, as he doesn’t function. I have gone through medical issues, a death in the family and he wasn’t able to show any empathy. Instead he makes me out to be the person to blame for ‘making him so frustrated’. He is a loving person though when he chooses to be. I feel deeply saddened about this but also don’t have much trust in him that he will be there for me when I need him judging on past experience.
If anyone can provide some suggestions around how I should/could act when this happens as him becoming frustrated seems to be unavoidable. I have gotten a lot better in recognising his moods and am a lot more understanding too but I am also at a loss of what to do in these situations. They cause so much instability and stress.
Is this something that we can work on together as a couple or something that he needs to figure out alone? I am grateful for any stories/tips/suggestions.