A view into the mind of an ADD Husband

Let me first open with what most of you already expect from someone with ADD :).  I will do my best but make no promises to make updates to this on a weekly basis.

Purpose: my goal is to try and articulate on a weekly basis what goes through the mind of someone with ADD.  I hope over time this information will catalogue the struggles, successes, failures and experiences associated with treating and changing ADD behaviors.

Style: journal style with limited structure no committed topic on a weekly basis.

Feedback: I welcome any feedback and will do my best to respond to questions posted.  I only ask that we try to stay true to the purpose of the thread and any detailed discussion can be taken to new post "if needed".


  • Name: ADD Husband
  • Age: Early 30's
  • Location: US
  • Married: Yes 4 years
  • Kids: Yes 3
  • ADD: Yes diagnosed at 16 (prior to 2010 I had treated only through natural supplements)
  • Treatment: Dexedrine ER, Monthly Therapy Visits, Required Reading By Therapist (all 3 have been going for 2 years)
  • Work: Yes (never had problems at work have always held jobs consistently and get promoted every few years)
  • Education: Yes (got a masters/bachelors while single early 20's in 4 years only treating with natural methods)
  • Other relevant treatments: Low-T currently treated via weekly test. administration (self)

All future post will be content as described above.  Thanks for the read and I hope it helps.

Journal 1: Even with treatment its sometimes cloudy

It's hump day on the last week of October 2011.  I am finding myself struggling to think clearly, prioritize effectively and make committed decisions this week.  I spent some time today thinking through what is possibily different about this week than others.  The list is pretty short given I am thinking everything through;

  • I did have one crown and coke and one shot of tequila on Saturday the 22nd.  I've definitely found that any amount of alcohol consumption reduces the effectiveness of my ADD medication.  Just surprised that 4 days later the effects haven't worn off.  Have made a note in my tracking system (iPhone) regarding the effects of alcohol and possible duration of those effects.
  • Exercise / Diet: I will admit I have not exercised or eaten as well as I do normally.  I find that when I eat clean foods, cut back soft drinks to 1/2 a day and exercise at least once a day my mind is a bit more clear.  I'd like to say my diet is off this week because of elements out of my control but unfortunately that just isn't the case.  I have to stay consistent in this area.  Also need to increase water consumption.
  • Felt a bit sick this week just general achy feeling mostly related to allergy drainage and sore throat.
  • Missed a testosterone dose last week (Sunday's) which also caught up with me.  Missed the dose due to running out of syringes which I have now added a reminder in my tracking system as to not miss it in the future.

Well that would explain it in combination those things would cause additional struggles with mental clarity and enhanced effects of ADD symptoms.  I don't know why but I find myself amazed that such small individual items when compared to the whole have a large impact.

The effects have been:

  • Taking longer to do normal task at work and home
  • Taking longer to get going in the morning because I struggle with priorizing my day
  • Taking longer to shift from one task/topic to another
  • Ability to focus on conversation and come up with relevant information is much more difficult
  • Anti-social in general because I know I am not thinking well enough to contribute any quality input
  • I am not missing the normal routine items at work or around the house that I do everyday but I can tell because of the amount of energy it is taking to do those things I am missing the "non-routine".  Additional effort spent trying to maintain status quo has made it very difficult for me to try and notice things not routine.  I am sure I have seemed distant and in another world this week and right now was the first time I realized that.
  • Communication at work and home has been very rough.  Slower to formulate thoughts and the words to say to convey complex ideas making my approach, tone and content poor.
  • Emotional up/down: mostly because I know sub-consciously as well as in some cases consciously I am not on point.  I hate to fail my family, myself and others.
  • Sex drive is low with no real substantial interest in the last week.

How does this compare to my norm (last 2 years):

  • I am much quicker at absorbing, processing, prioritizing and deciding on a week to week basis
  • I am more consistent in executing my system that keeps me on point day to day
  • I always struggle with social conversation as it takes me what seems to be longer to relate to the topic, find a relevant contribution and then speak it.  By the time I get there the conversation has moved on to something else.  Not so much of a struggle when topics are relevant to my experience, expertise and current activities.
  • Has been a big hit on household productivity this week.  I had gotten very good at maintaining a routine of items and it taking very little effort mentally to remember them and execute.  It allows me more time to just observe my surrounding and find things that could be helpful to do.  Given I am having a hard time just remembering the daily routine I haven't done anything above them this week.  Interesting question - why has the biggest hit been to household?  I'll have to analyze that a bit in order to respond accurately.
  • Communication is always a struggle area for me.  In the norm I am pretty effective at formulating thoughts and putting them to words.  I always struggle with social topics unless it is something I have recently read, discussed or learned.  My main struggle is not "communicating" its how I communicate.  Even when clear I communicate how I structure my thoughts which are well "bullet point" and detailed.  This isn't the best way to communicate but for me its hard to adapt to a norm in a time frame suitable for conversation.  This week I struggle to even make my thoughts clear and state them.
  • Emotional: usually I can regulate and think through my emotional disposition.  This week being unclear makes it hard to think them through, understand them and thus make the best choice in keeping them to myself or exhibiting them appropriately.  Thus it appears as an up/down cycle.
  • Sex drive is usually higher which given my relationship state results in self pleasure alone before bed nightly.  Essentially take that out of the equation for this week given the low drive.

I love light bulbs and I didn't plan on having one just now but by going through this exercise I can see how I got from point A to B this week.  I have already started taking steps (Sunday - Today) to remediate the cause but unfortunately they are not immediate fixes.  Testosterone takes days to distribute through the system and regulate itself back to normal.  Eating well / drinking water though is helping isn't the majority cause thus only marginal in the overall solution.  I need to start working out again but in the interim of a larger solution I will try jogging, situps and pushups tomorrow morning.  Not a big drinker already but don't have any plans to drink again until eh maybe new years so should cut out that problem as well.

Now how do a minimize and/or remediate the impact its had on Sun, Mon, Tue and the rest of the week.  I think to start I will at least communicate this evening to my wife that I realize the problem and cause.  Have already started remediating the problem but will just take time for the system to regulate itself.  In the interim I'll have to just spend more effort trying to be more on point though I feel like I am doing that already.

Note to self: consistency is important, key and critical to my goal of being an effective person, father and partner.


What a fantastic idea!  I totally embrace whatever is available to learn and grow in my understanding of adhd...you've just opened another class room.  I look forward to reading your "journal" posts.

Thank you!


Appreciate the kind comments!

Journal 2: ADD vs. Bad Behavior

Where is the FAQ guide for me?  I want a one page How To Guide explaining all of the complex concepts that make up who I am.  Is it possible to create a document, email or flyer that can be handed out to those interested giving them all the insight they need into "what makes you tick?".

These are the questions I am pondering as of late.  Oddly from an efficiency perspective I think this is a waste of mental cycles and time.

I have several questions for Non-ADD folks on the board:

1) What is the #1 compliant you have about your ADD partner?

2) What do you think is the main driver or reason for that issue?

3) If that issue could be resolved what would the desired result look like?

My marriage has gone through a cycle of openness - rejection - anger - reconciliation - openness... so on and so forth.  What I am finding is that we are not in the same phase of the cycle at the same time.  When I am open and trying to show love, concern and support she is angry or vice versa.  When her/I get tired of being rejected by the other person or appear to be ignoring the other's needs/desires we move to anger and resentment.  We aren't open to apology or reconciliation we know we both love each other but can't help but feel we aren't the right person.  

I try to think identify what drives us through this cycle, why can't we break the chain and maintain an even keel of understanding.  I can come up with several contributing factors:

1) Past relationship history and it's impact to our current disposition on trust, love, intimacy, boundaries, etc.

2) Environmental changes that affect our mood, mentality and the way we perceive inputs.

3) Failed expectations

4) No or ineffective communication

I can see the circumstances and how they impacted and pushed us in one direction or another but not how to change them in the future.  I can't do it alone and I don't think my wife has the desire or energy to adopt change.  Her opinion is ADD is my condition and it affects her and the house.  Until the ADD is gone the issues won't change thus there is no reason to work on anything.

What I can't figure out how to communicate is that ADD isn't ever going to go away completely.  I have spent two years working on becoming more responsible, treating ADD consistently, learning about how it works and trying to balance responsibilities.  I have worked very hard to create a balanced approach to my attention across the day to day activities and interactions.  I feel like I am doing everything I can and will continue to do those things.  I am doing them first for me so that I can be the best husband, father and peer to those I interact.  I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing I am more effective in as many areas as I can each day.

I've tried several techniques:

  • Lead by example: consistently just doing what it takes to do what I can each day.  Taking meds, reading material, seeing psychatrist, going to marriage therapy, making list and reminders, so on and so forth.
  • Leave hints: ie leave a book out that I just finished about ADD or about marriage improvement, forward an email to a broad audience that is generally helpful but addresses issues we have, etc.
  • Direct Address: directly ask, try to discuss or suggest ideas.  Try to explain how ADD works and how it manifest itself in our issues, etc.
  • Therapy: marriage counseling was helpful but life got busy for a short while and now she doesn't make time for it
  • Letting go: simply disconnecting emotionally while still trying to be the best partner and parent I could be around the house.

None of these have been fully successful in influencing change for the long term.  When I fully let go and stopped trying to connnect emotionally and actually went the other direction things got worse.  She was more insecure, more volatile emotionally and was very distrought.  At that point she was wanted marriage counseling which was very helpful and we did start reconnecting.  I went through the process of becoming more open, less negative, pushing and trying to see her in a positive light.  We talked more, were open emotionally and the intimacy was rebuilding then things just stopped.

My thoughts are that she truly doesn't understand me and how I function (even with treatment) thus she judges my actions in the wrong way.  Why should she have to adopt to a system that works for me when I don't adopt to her system.  I've tried to adopt her system and things get worse because I forget more and can't keep up with everything.  I am not asking for her to adopt my system but rather just realize that even at my best I won't always meet all expectations.  I can only do so many things in a day and their driven by my interpretation of the priorities that are best for the family.  We both agree that our kids, our house, our marriage, our finances are at the top of those list.  When I am focusing on "job" it is impossible for me to focus on "house" or any other high priority.  My system helps me alot time across the day to each of those main priorities but even then I am not as fast or thorough as she would be.  If we have a huge project at work that drives up stress levels and extra hours it takes away from my attention and memory of other important items.  Just because I might miss a house item that evening doesn't mean I don't care or that I even wanted to not do it.  The hardest part to explain is that the only thing I can guarentee is that I am going to put 110% into doing my best to address our priorities every day, that even my 110% will be less than what she is expecting.  If only she could accept ADD and me together we would be an incredibly effective unit.

My wife is hands down one of the best multi-tasking individuals I have ever met.  She can think, talk and do several things at the same time.  She doesn't have to write down much of anything and can stay on top of a very high level of task each day, week that passes.  I am amazed by her ability to recognize needs above and beyond just the norm and add those to an already busy task list.  Her organization skills are vast and a huge attribute to her persona.  Where she is not as strong is being great and any one thing and knowthing it inside and out.  She get's bored with one thing very quick and loses interest in it.  I am great at learning, understanding and knowing something inside and out. I can focus on one thing for hours and learn it to the point of becoming an expert on it.  If she would understand that I am a tool and an asset in this area and can assist this way we would be a huge success in many areas.  Her organizing and me expertising on key priorities. 

My hope is that some how some way she will take the time to learn ADD, accept me for who I am and want to be and become open to me.  I know she loves me but at this point is completely locked down.  We are pleasant to each other but it feels like only to avoid arguments and fights.  We maintain our priorities of kids, house, finances but not marriage.  It makes me sad, resentful and angry in moments and I am finding it harder to not let it affect my interactions.  I am going back to a place where I have to decide to "let go again" so that I can stay peaceful and live as a room mate.

I read many of the post on this forum from the Non-ADD spouse perspective and how they wish their ADD half would just meet them in the middle.  Willing to get treated and put in some effort and that would help.  I am sure we all know the grass is greener on the other side (not really) but we imagine it.  What I wonder is does my wife think those same things.  Does she think I wish he would just meet me half way or just not forget this or that or why doesn't he notice me?  I cringe at the thought because all of her body language, words, tone and availability speaks so differently.  I have tried to approach her in emotional conversation and it just ends up being an argument.  It turns from here is how I feel or how do you feel to "failed expectations" and so on.  One great thing about ADD is I don't care how we got here if it only could change tomorrow and the next day.

It's like being 1 strike away from winning the world series and giving up a homerun and losing the game.  We are so close if we could put aside our anger and expectations; realize we both are here because we care.  We don't have some of the heavy issues (cheating, pornography, disloyality and lies) we haven't forsaken each other and the marriage.  We just have failed expectations, control issues, past trust issues and communication problems.  Can't we all just get along?  Isn't it worth it to just put aside the pride to be and feel loved, respected and supported?

cycles are rough

I, too, have noticed that my husband and I cycle through a series of routine moves, none of which are enjoyable, and always end up back at the same place.  I feel ignored, I withdraw or get busy to protect my heart, he notices and approaches me all cheerful as though he hasn't  been ignoring me for days or weeks, I have trouble responding with warmth, he seems to think oh, well, at least I tried, he goes back to ignoring me.  I only have two choices:  not to withdraw (which I've tried and it seems to extend the period of time which he is able to ignore me) or to respond with warmth when he "wises up", which I've tried and he doesn't seem to mind totally fake warmth, but it sure feels icky to me.  I agree.  I haven't found a way to break the cycle.  I once read a marriage therapist talk about the something she called "the more, the more" problem.  The more he does X, the more I do Y.  The trick is to find an alternate way of responding that doesn't "up the ante" and cause "more and more" as each partner tries to get their needs met, and stop the other partner from doing X or Y.  I think this might be more useful for couples without ADHD in the mix.  I tried to explain it to my guy once, and his oppositionality just got in the way, and we lapsed into the "more he said he didn't think it was a problem", the "more I tried to explain that it was".  Sigh.

You asked: 1) What is the #1 compliant you have about your ADD partner?   His behavior seems to indicate that he has no interest in me, my life, what I think about or dream about.

2) What do you think is the main driver or reason for that issue?  I am not, at least on a regular basis, "stimulating" enough to his ADHD brain.  Intellectually, he says and I think believes that he is very interested in me and my life, and doesn't really believe me when I explain how he does not come across that way. 

3) If that issue could be resolved what would the desired result look like?  We would have conversations that last longer than 2 minutes on topics of mutual interest, not just his; we would engage in activities that aren't just me watching him do something he enjoys, and I would feel like I have a partner and lover, not a roommate. 

To Gardener447

Thanks for the comments!

I can't admit that every day I make an attempt to engage my wife in good conversation or intimacy.  I use to every day make an attempt to hug, kiss, compliment, do something nice or just find something I know she wants done.  The "last two" took some hyperfocused levels of attention admittedly to accomplish.  Yet, when I would do those things I could just tell she was cold, distant or it wasn't important to her that I did anything.  It came across as a rejection and after months I got tired of the pain of rejection.  Now in hindsight I can see what was happening; at the time we had 1 year old twins, new house, teenage daughter in high school and we were getting use to the new arrangement.  I wasn't treating at that time and wasn't doing a good job of management my responsibilities.  I was a new parent (teenage daughter though I consider her mine is from a previous marriage) and looked to her for direction on how to take care of the kids.  I was willing to do whatever it took to help but admittedly I needed help knowing what to do and when to do it.  I was the only one working at the time and thus didn't have a ton of time to read or learn this stuff on my own.  Had I been a single parent I would have done it regardless but given I wasn't I didn't think it was wrong to lean on my wife for help.  I can see now from her perspective she was overwhelmed with the twins, teenage daughter, new house and recovering from a rough pregnancy.  Her plate was full and her capacity to "help" me learn was non-existent; thus failed expectations.  My questions were answered with annoyance and my attempts to figure it out on my own were always wrong.  I didn't quit since they are my kids I just did what I could to help how I thought was best.  I took the verbal feedback of continued failure, tried to adjust but usually made the wrong decisions regardless.  I couldn't just stop and focus on something else though I knew I needed to help even if it was the wrong help.

Our intimacy and relationship paid the price of not understanding how we were different, being patient with each other and communicating.  What kills me is that I would and will go to the end of the earth to give her what she wants.  What I have had to accept is that though I would get rid of ADD in a heartbeat it's one thing I cannot give back I cannot rid of.

Today I admittedly struggle to open myself to rejection.  I try to evaluate her body language, her tone and her mental disposition before talking or discussing anything.  I know that many times I intepret her wrong but I have a very difficult time making an attempt and it being dismissed or rejected.

I wish my wife would answer the way you did to those 3 questions.  If she did I would do my best to listen, acknowledge her pain and position and show her how I feel.  I wish he knew what I know now about ADD and treatment.  I am 2 years into consistent treatment and though not perfect at least an more open to "how" ADD can affect every circumstance.  If he only realized that he has what many of us "ADD'ers" don't have; a wife willing to learn, accept and build a strong system that works for the relationship.  I hope he does it.  If not I hope you find peace and happiness.

How Long will this last's picture

Answers to questions from a NON ADD spouse

ADD Husband

Question 1 What is the #1 complaint I have about my ADHD spouse?  Answer: Inability to communicate.  The simplest subject will turn into a fight.  He totally reads me wrong accuses me of using a tone. (He does not see this as an affect of his ADHD, though he will admit he has it)

Question 2 What do you think is the main driver or reason for that issue? Answer:  If I knew the answer maybe I could find a way to communicate with him and he would not misunderstand me all the time. Or think I am picking a fight. I mean really, you should hear the stupid things that he turns into a fight.

Question 3 If the issue could be resolved what would the desired result look like? Answer: A real conversation for more than 5 minutes that did not end up in a fight.  There would be peace in the house and I would actually enjoy coming home from work and spending real time with him.  We spend a lot of time on the weekends together but I am always watching my p's and q's and hoping to get through the weekend without a fallout (which rarely happens).  I would love to just relax! (Mentally and emotionally)



My wife say's the same things

I've heard my wife say the same things to me even with treatment for 2 years.  I've heard her say she thinks I am overally emotional and thus hyper-sensitive and thus mis-read her.  I can't argue with that logic and have stopped trying but I still maintain that many times she does have a tone it just wasn't regarding me.  I am hyper-sensitive and I am trying to read her every move but not to annoy her but to try to and be more intuitive to her needs and what she wants.  I am also walking on egg shells because I know she is angry at me for failed expectations.

In my mind it makes complete sense and though I always start with an apology I still want to try and explain why it happened.  Not as an excuse but to help her understand me and what I was trying to accomplish.  All she wants is an apology with out having to deal with any other details or understand.  So she tip toes around me I am trying to do the same with her and thus it doesn't work.

I appreciate your post and have another question.  What would "real" time be?  In what environment would you feel comfortable enough to relax "with him" in that equation?

So ironic that this comes up

So ironic that this comes up today because what should have been a 5 minute conversation took about 30 yesterday because I insisted that my husband stay on track with the topic we were discussing and listen to me when I was explaining why he was wrong to say I thought I am "better than everyone else". I have to admit, it really hurt my feelings for him to say that...and the thought that immediately crossed my mind was "he doesn't know me at all". He almost immediately apologized and I tried to explain that that might be his perception of me, and how I feel about HIM (that I am better) but that I assured him it was not true and that I realized that 14 years of being together and the crap we have done to each other and said to each other probably explains why he is so defensive of everything I say...but, again, just because he THINKS I feel that way about him (untrue) does not give him the right to accuse me of being that way in general. I accept my part in the breakdown of the communication. I think things get to the point where basically the only thing open for discussion is who has the worst tone, attitude, or whose hurtful comments were worst...and the only chance to change things is either when one partner has a complete change of heart and just QUITS engaging in arguments completely (such as I have done) or with professional mediation and learning a whole new way of communicating. I can honestly say that in response to me stepping outside of the vicious cycle (I feel it is in response anyway) he has started being less defensive or at least recognizing and acknowledging when he is a lot quicker. Communication is improving, but it takes a lot of patience on both our parts. I wasn't "mad" or wanting to fight over his comments...nor was I going to mention it again...it was what it was, he was wrong, not reflective of who I am, and if he truly felt that way then I know well enough to know that there is no convincing him any different.

Another key topic of our conversation was how I want to "lump" everyone with ADHD together...and his refusing to even admit the common threads that are (to me) undeniable. This conversation is a perfect example. If we are all being accused of having a "tone" then there is a very good likelihood that this is a part of ADHD. I admit though I think it is more about the history together, the fact that we have done so much damage to each other, and the simple fact that neither of us has done anything that shows that we have the other person's best interest at heart...for many years. I'm trying to change that. I would like to say it has all been him, but it hasn't. I have talked down to him and tried to fix him and done all of the things he accuses me of...but now, even when I have a completely different attitude and am not doing any of that anymore, he still sees me through that lens...for now. I have finally started seeing a little bit of change...2 months later.

In response to your main complaint question...it would be, for me, his lack of coping skills. Life is hard and unfair and cruel sometimes. Life deals most people a hard blow, they grieve and mourn and pick up and go on. He 'copes' in ways that are destructive and painful...like withdrawing and cheating. To further add insult to injury, he feels he can control his own ADHD and thinks promising never to cheat again is enough. He thinks that just because he felt SO bad about it two years ago, that will stop him from doing it 5 years from now. I'm not convinced. I've seen ADHD kick his butt so hard that HE doesn't even recognize the person he becomes...I don't believe for one second he can control it without coaching or counseling...or something. I think the key issue at hand is that he is unable to process emotions that overwhelm him...in an emotionally mature and non-destructive way...and when life isn't calm and peaceful and stress free (HA HA HA!) he copes by not coping.


summerwine's picture

I say stuff like that

I say stuff like that sometimes You think you are better than me. I guess what I really mean is that's how I feel right now. But my feelings aren't important or right or valid anyway because he is always right. It doesn't matter if that is how I feel because I'm wrong. Which makes me feel like he thinks he is better than me. A circle.

Great feedback

I'll do my best to respond in an organized fashion :)

1) I can relate to your 5 turns to 30 or more type conversations.  I know deep down that 99% of the time it's because it is taking me longer to "get it" and see the whole picture.  I really hate that attribute but the only way to ensure I am 100% ready for the conversation it would have to be scheduled and a every 5 minute discussion can't be scheduled.  I tell my wife this - I will do my best to respond appropriately to any interaction we have and if I feel I can't do that I will do my best to not say anything until I can."  Some times it's because I am having to switch focus completely and that takes me longer than most (somewhere between 15-60 seconds usually), others I am distracted and need time to refocus and others I'll admit I am angry or frustrated or some other emotional variant that skews my perspective and what I perceive.  In order to ensure I don't "lash out" or respond in some other inappropriate manner I only ask give me some time (usually a few seconds) to get on board with the topic and eliminate the noise in my head.  During this time you usually get the "blank stare" that I am sure everyone is familiar with.  It is response neutral and then I when I can think it through I respond.  She agreed that this would be much better than the "lash out" or jumping to conclusions, etc.  Fast forward a few days one of those moments pops up and I execute the "blank stare" for a few seconds and I immediately see the facial expression of disappointment and sigh of frustration.  So I look down so that it doesn't screw up what I am trying to properly execute and focus on the topic and remember the details.  At that point she goes outside (she is a smoker) which is cool gives me 5 minutes or so to remember.  She comes back in my first comment, "I apologize for the blank stare I didn't forget was just switching gears.  If it came across as rude I apologize.  Then I proceed to confirm yes I remember and I wish there was something more we could do to help (on that topic).  Ok so things move forward and though in the back of my mind I know she was frustrated and I am now frustrated because she agreed that this was "at least" better than the alternative.  Yet one of the great things about ADHD is I can easily move on and forget it.  My mood is unaffected and I focus on getting the kids feed and bathed while she ran the erran.  I think in my mind everything is fine was rough but maybe it will get better the next time (just needs some transitional acceptance).  Fast forward a week and in an argument unrelated to that specific topic she bring's up as a "historical" example to prove a point that specific incident.  Ok in my mind I thought "though rough" because she didn't make a deal of it then and it was for all intensive purposes effective (5 minutes stayed 5 minutes and we all got the jobs done and her mood and mine at the end was pretty good).  EEEEEEEHHH wrong now a week later I am scrambling to try and piece all of it back together in seconds because she is bring it up to prove how my response come across as "uncaring or detached".  Yes now I am frustrated and angry because at that moment I did everything we committed to do and I did the best I could at that moment.  I put 100% effort into switching gears, ignoring the emotional response (facial/verbal sigh) and then even apologizing for something that is a part of who I am.  I felt like I was meeting her half way when we agreed that a "blank" stare for a few seconds to allow time to switch gears was better than the alternatives.  No it isn't ideal, yes it is my issue, yes it is something that doesn't always happen but some times it does and I cannot predict when it will happen.  I can't forecast it and I can't make my mind switch gears faster than it does.  I can only "effectively treat" which I do and then adjust behaviors which I committed to doing. 

I do absolutely agree with you though and just wanted to go through one example I felt illustrated your point from the ADHD perspective.  It's funny because in that moment I knew this was an ADHD issue, I knew I was processing slow, I knew I was disappointment her and myself and I pushed all of the shame and historical feelings down because it wasn't productive to that moment.  It had nothing to do with it at all and I just wanted to meet my end of the bargain and help make things better.  I will admit it is very demoralizing to go through that do 100% effort know that you did everything you could right then and it still fail to be good enough.  I'll be clear I am ok with "rough transition period" I was ok with her facial/sigh because I know her mind is fast and her memory is strong.  In her mind she was already on to 5 other things and she is having to wait for me to catch up.  On top of that she is probably fearful that "great the blank stare" is this going to be a positive or negative experience.  So yes historically speaking I think it's fair that there is some "rough edges" while we transition to better patterns.  I think it's absolutely wrong to use it in the future as an example of me being "uncaring and detached".  I know very well how disappointing it can be and how it comes across but when you truly understand how someone else functions and they understand you.  You either get to finding out what works and how to make that happen or you stand your ground and battle.  I am ready and I hope your husband is as well.  I wish I could say these things to my wife (I do try) and they be heard from a position of understanding and empathy because I do the same for her.  I don't want to change her short comings I embrace them or at least try to understand them better.

2) I can understand your position on coping skills.  My rule of thumb on coping skills come down to a few things.  1) Be honest with yourself 2) Realize through pain comes growth 3) Avoiding pain only extends the duration of your issue 4) Get use to failing and try to control my emotional response 5) Learn, Learn, Learn something anything before you forget and move on. 6) Finally, do something other than doing nothing you cannot ignore a problem.  I've been "ok" at dealing with issues with that system but even still I find myself avoiding pain and not moving past issues.  I try to keep my "moral compass" in the fore front of my mind so that I use it to gauge any decision and that helps me avoid (mostly) decisions that compromise character, morals and other people I care about.

3) I also can see how frustrating it would be for the non-ADHD working through change with an ADHD individual.  We are quick to forget but long to adapt and make change.  If you don't have ADHD it could seem like well great he/she picks and chooses what he wants to change and how fast.  I will say this; I absolutely could hyperfocus that one change element and make change faster but in doing so I would drop the ball in many other areas.  I have to keep a balanced system to maintain all my responsibilities while adding something to that plate.  I think where my spouse and others get frustrated is when we don't compromise what is considered our "mental spacey time" or "mental zone out time" to do those task then.  I can understand that and many times I will give that up rather than drop the ball on something else.  What I also realize is that I can't do that forever or I reach a "shutdown" point.  I do not have a single shred of physiological evidence of this (maybe its out there I haven't found it, nor the expertise to quantify it); but I believe that all minds require some time to level of low utilization time.  I believe sleep facilitates this for the most part and why it is so important that ADHD minds get the full rest cycle every night.  I also believe that in the interest of our mental health we have to do something we consider fulfilling.  When I ignore this area of my psychology for weeks and weeks my emotional variability is much more instable and I have a hard time feeling like I am "effectively treating".  I am more "cloudy" or "noisy" minded and can't organize as well.  I liken it to a power nap some times a quick 30 minute nap will give someone enough "fill in the blank" to get through it.  Same thing in this area of fulfillment and mental stimulation when I spend 15 minutes (yes I have to use a timer) focusing on something fulfilling (ie this forum, reading material on ADHD, playing a game, physical intimacy, so on and so forth) I can come back and it is a bit easier to focus or start/complete a task.  Hell I could be way off and be mixing elements but it just feels true to me.

Appreciate your candor and great response!

How Long will this last's picture

Real Time

I guess my use of real time means this...when we are together it would be nice to be able to voice an opinion even if it differs from his.  It would be nice to be able to just speak my thoughts without wondering how he is going to hear it and react to it.  It would be nice to enjoy each other's company.  That's the jest of it.  To actually enjoy each other instead of wondering if he is going to get ticked about something.  When we go out on the weekends we always do what he wants, it is usually motorcycle related or car show related.  You know that phrase if momma ain't happy then no one is. Well in my house it's if pappa ain't happy.....  Here's a good example of something that happened several years ago. There is an annual car show in Florida that is over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Every year for many years we spent our Thanksgiving (4 full days) at this car show.  Well it finally came a time when I was over it (why must I do this EVERY Thanksgiving). I told him that I didn't really want to go that year, he could still go but I wanted to stay home and relax.  Long story short, he basically threatened divorce over it. We finally came to an agreement that we would do the car show every OTHER year for him, and stay home and find other ways to have fun on the every other year.  Well, the first year came to stay home and he denied ever making that agreement and the fight was on again.  Why should a car show bring so much grief into my life?  He expects me to do everything he enjoys with him, but he will do nothing I enjoy with me.  I love the beach, I love to play tennis.... but these things I must do with girlfriends because he will not.  In fact When I started playing tennis on a regular basis with some girlfriends it too was a fight because he would accuse me of being somewhere else on the night I played. I finally convinced him to come watch me play, and he did.  But just once, and I believe that was just to assure himself that I really was at the tennis court with a girlfriend.  Everything is a battle.  It truly is exhausting.

I think most of those are reasonable expectations

In order to do your response justice I need to break it down into parts:

1) Voice an opinion even one that differs with his - yes absolutely I think that is absolutely reasonable and healthy in any relationship.  It is an element that makes us stronger couples is the culmination of different opinions, perspectives and/or skillsets.  It is hard to be as open to opposing perspectives when there is a history of anger due to verbal joust, feeling ignored or the various otherways we slight our spouses.  I try to (in the seconds I am trying to switch gears or switch focus) visualize the same opinion, statement or question as if it was coming from anyone else.  It has really helped me alot (when I can do it my problem is with consistently doing it) better respond or at least remain neutral until I have all of the details understood.

2) Speak thoughts without wondering how it will be heard and reacted to - I think what your saying here is "i'd like to not have to be on guard all the time when together".  I can't think of a time with anyone I didn't wonder how I will be heard or reacted to for me it's just part communication.  The main difference is the "history" I have with my spouse and the anger/resentment stage we are in at this time.  I would much rather have predictable responses that are primarily positive than unpredictable that are negative or heck even unpredictable that are positive.  Walking on eggshells is emotionally taxing and exhaustive.  Trust I think is the main component do you trust your spouse to respond to you in a way that is acceptable.  I think this can only be resolved when both parties are empathetic to each others differences and start developing a communication structure that works for them.  Trust will build over time as consistency is displayed.

3) Enjoy each other without wondering if he is going to be ticked about something - For me (I don't know this is the same for others) I am more unpredictable and explosive in these key environments (not comprehensive an abbv. list.): a) forced environmental changes that impact my systems used to stay on top of things b) when I realize I have failed expectations of those I care about or myself c) when I have what I consider "more ADHD" symptoms than usual for that day or duration of time not sure why but some days I am just not as effective as I am learning to be through treatment. d) I am caught off guard or unprepared to respond, etc.  I am sure there are plenty of others but those are what came top of mind.  I can say when I know my wife is angry and frustrated with me and I am walking on eggshells and trying to do things the way she wants I am definitely more "emotionally unpredictable".  Thus I am sure she feels "unsafe" to say things to me or feel relaxed.  One way I can avoid an "explosive" or "unpredictable" response is to commit to not responding at all until I understand, have shifted focus and can respond appropriately.  Another would be to emotionally detach from her communication and respond as I would in a business conversation or neutral position.  I prefer the first option because it allows me to stay emotionally involved but buffers my response to her while I work through an "ADHD problematic reaction" vs. a solid response with understanding.  Unfortunately, the "deer in the headlights" or "blank stare" look she gets while I am working through it is also frustrating and in the long term irritating to her.

4) Regarding your various examples of what I would consider his "self-centered" approach to "couples" time I don't have much insight.  I can't fathom pushing something like a motorcycle show on a "family" holiday but I grew up in a very traditional household.  If had threatened divorce if I didn't get "my" way I'd be alone.  My wife and I both come from a "low tolerance" for threats position though.  Probably due to our past history we just don't take threats from anyone on any topic.  If one of us is stating action it isn't a bluff we are really at that point and are not using it as a method of "control".  I love to try and learn new things and the best way I've found to do that is try something someone else is interested in.  I'll try anything at least once (with in moral reason).  I also come from a "fix it family" and thus I love learning, helping and yes fixing things for other people.  I love to spend time learning and getting to know someone.  I love giving pleasure through quality conversation, emotional or physical intimacy and various other ways of making someone feel special.  So it is easier for me to do what my wife or someone else wants to do because I get to a) learn something new b) do something they enjoy and see them enjoy it c) learn how it works and then figure out if I like it d) speak educatedly about it so that even if I don't like it I can at least share my wife's joy of it from a logical perspective.

But even still we share a common problem "most things are still a battle" and most things are "exhausting".

Thank you for this

I get so frustrated when my husband and I fight that I label almost everything he says after an apology as an excuse. He says that he's only trying to explain but many times I disregard it completely before I even give him a chance. Thanks for a look at the other side, it helps give me renewed patience hearing it from another source. =)


This was the Big Issue when my DW and I decided to get married. During a heated discussion she would beg for an answer from me, the problem for me was that most of the time I had no idea there was an issue until it finally hacked her off and came at me about it. Shock and Awe. Even though she did not mean to "Attack", that's what it felt like. Now I'm completely unprepared for the conversation and both of her barrel's are loaded. I know... That sounds dramatic, but I was so laid back and non aggressive, qualities she liked in me, but the bad part was I was also oblivious to Normal ques that let you know something is wrong. After Adderall and my diagnosis I am better about seeing the signs of a problem and can communicate better than ever. I'm still guaging my reactions sometimes too much, sometimes not enough, but this is all new to me. A lifetime of caught of guard, to aware and prepared to give my opinion and focus. The  be careful what you wish for comes into play now. My DW does not always get the last word in these days. And may find herself not ready for my responses. You and I are opposite in the ADD/NonADD roles, but like you, I have always had to walk on eggshells hoping for no conflict at home. Please pardon my messy posts from the iphone. It's hard to see what you have typed :)


summerwine's picture

Yes I keep saying to my

Yes I keep saying to my boyfriend Please come back later for your answer. I process stuff really slowly and get like a deer in the head lights when he wants an answer for something right now. Then I have nothing. Like my brain just freezes and then I panic and then I get angry and defensive. So I keep asking him to wait and let me think and he is sort of trying to but he doesn't have a lot of patience.

If there were only an argument "Pause" button

In the old days I would appear like I did not care at all, expressionless and no comment, but on the inside I had hundreds of things flying through my head and just could not express or even know my real thought on the issue. During this rush processing there is no time to think about what expression should be on my face, so my face just loses expression.

Pause, Process and Play buttons, please?


arwen's picture

non-ADHD top 3, then and now

Let me first say that my spouse was diagnosed with ADHD over 15 years ago -- over time, we have successfully addressed many of our ADHD-related issues -- so I want to answer your three questions with both "then" and "now" answers.  But I *will try* to be as brief as I can.

(1) My most frequent complaint was about poor communication, but my most worrisome complaint was that his inattention caused him to do some very unsafe things which put not only himself, but also others, in danger.
(2) The main driver for the communication issue was that my husband  had trouble realizing that he hadn't necessarily told others what he had told himself.  The main driver for the safety issues was being distracted away from safe practices by something else happening.
(3) Both these issues are largely resolved, with minor, infrequent lapses.  The communication issue was resolved through the practice of regular formal meetings three times a week at home.  My husband thinks a lot more now before he speaks, takes and consults notes, uses various memory aids to stay focused. For my part, I make far fewer assumptions or judgments, and ask more questions if I'm not real clear on his meaning.  The safety issues were resolved through working with a counselor (I don't know the specifics), basically raised his consciousness about being distracted in situations where safety is more essential.

(1) Not thinking before he acts/decides.  Whatever he learned to do about thinking before he speaks hasn't translated over to thinking before acting.
(2) The main driver for this behavior is that he has a very hard time managing uncertainty, so he wants to get things out of the way, so he is willing to accept any action/answer as OK just to have a set determination, instead of taking the time to consider whether his decision is any good.
(3) The resolution of this issue would look something like the resolution of the communication issue.  I'm already doing my share of not making assumptions/judgments and asking more questions, but he is not as invested in addressing this problem.  We have worked on a sort of compromise, where he tries to think of just one additional answer beyond the first one that comes to mind, and he has been able to do that sometimes but not with any consistency.  I would happily settle for that if he could achieve it, even though it falls far short of what I think his true ability is, and what would work better for us.

Regarding other things in your post:
(A) I used to be exactly like your spouse, and share many of her characteristics (as you have described them), so I think I probably have a good idea of the kinds of thoughts and feelings she probably has.  Your wife's excellent memory and organizational skills probably make it nearly impossible for her to understand how differently your mind works and what your limitations are, because she very naturally thinks that your mind works in some very basic way like hers, so it's likely she has erroneously concluded that something else (practice, motivation, caring, etc) is what's missing from the equation.  This is something that a counselor who really understands ADHD might be able to get across to her better than anyone else.  You, on the other hand, need to understand that she *cannot* forget the failed expectations, worries, etc and therefore she *cannot* just ignore "how you got here" and think only of tomorrow and the next day -- any more than *you* can *remember* it all.  If you realize that her inability to forget is as much of a curse to her as it is a blessing (as is *your* ability to forget, to you!!!), you will be able to better relate to your wife's feelings.
(B) It sounds like you have tackled many of the external manifestations of ADHD, but it also sounds like there is a lot of work yet to be done in terms of understanding how ADHD shapes different attitudes, reactions, feelings about thing compared to those of someone without ADHD.  Technique alone can't do the whole job.  Your ADHD-brain has molded your methods and thinking, just as your spouse's non-ADHD-brain has molded hers -- and they are very very probably different.  Just because you agree that the kids come first doesn't necessarily mean you *approach* the issue from the same perspective, or with the same methods, or even agree on the specifics of what that means in terms of daily life or future plans.  I agree with you that you and your wife talking about your respective feelings may not be useful at this point.  Instead, it might be worthwhile for the two of you to explore the differences in the way you each think (note: not *what* you think, but *how* you go about thinking).  Although you may each initially feel that the other's way of thinking is stupid, if you can try to put aside judgments and focus on simply learning what the different ways are, in my experience it can be a huge eye-opener.
(C) It may *feel* to you like you are one strike away from winning the world series, but I can't help thinking that if you believe that you "just" have failed expectations, control issues, past trust issues and communications problems, you still have many more innings to go.  These are very big deals to most non-ADHD folks like me (and therefore is probably a big deal to your partner) -- trust issues particularly live at the heart of *any* longterm meaningful relationship.

It sounds like you are doing a lot of good things and really committed -- you and your spouse seem a lot like my DH and me -- what helped us most was realizing and understanding how our brain differences affect our abilities and our perspectives -- so maybe that's where you also need to focus?  You may feel discouraged, but it sounds to me like you have a lot going for you and a real chance to make your relationship work.  Good luck!

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore


Re: Arwen

Yeah you hit a lot of nails on the head in your response!  I can relate to many of your concern items and have heard my wife say the same.  I am ready to do many of the things you describe and that Melissa describe in her book in organizing our communication and responsibilities.  I am ready to focus on her needs as well.  I just need her to be open to trying it and learning about how we are different so that we can learn how to work together!

Very good feedback and greatly appreciated!


I just got in from a 2 week vacation......FABULOUS btw for our 10 year anniversary.......so I am WAY out of the loop around here and I am so busy trying to get everything sorted out and laundry done that I can't do justice to your post.  In our situation I am the non and my husband has inattentive ADD diagnosed about 4 years ago.  I am eager to answer your 3 questions below and participate in this awesome project you have going here.  So I will be back!!  Just wanted to encourage you to keep it up!!!!


Thank You

Thanks Aspen!  Looking forward to your response when you get some time :)!  Glad you guys had a great vacation.

OK took longer than expected but I am here replying!

It isn't only folks with ADD who have trouble getting caught up and returning to routines after being off track......for us it has been a nice long vacation.   And it is good to realize that some challenges are just common to us all.  My ADD hubby is really surprising me because he's listened to my concerns about how he tends to go into vacation mode a week or so before we leave and doesn't get out of vacation mode until we argue about it about a week or so later.  With a big trip like this one, I had semi-legitimate concerns he'd be all over the place for a month!  You know what....that is a post for another place, so as requested above I will post that elsewhere and stick here to your questions for the nonADD mate.  

Suffice it to say that my husband has been a complete Rockstar! about keeping all the balls in the air throughout vacation and beyond...which is a new thrill for me in a situation that has been going well fairly steadily since 2008 [we had a year of grief around here that I unfortunately didn't understand or fully support at the time:(  ]   He's been pretty 'sky's the limit' attitude about being less defensive and working in particular directions instead of all the over the place (which way too much ADD coping without professional help turns into in my opinion) since the virtual ADHD conference in 2009.  Since that point, I haven't had a lot of frustration and complaints (though obviously I have some), so we are at a different place than a lot of other couples here.  

I feel guilty posting sometimes cause things are going so WELL, but hopefully something I have to say might help someone else.  I also think sometimes we should be upfront about whether we are basking in the glow of happiness with our mate or are in the middle of fury over a mistake repeated one to many times when we are posting because I know it affects the tone of my posts tremendously.  I've had pretty much a perfect month with my husband, and I am unable to remember the last bad month we have, but I wouldn't be going out a limb to say it's been well over a year or two, and in addition I just had a practically perfect 2 weeks away with an extremely attentive and engaged husband to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, so my happiness it pretty much through the roof at the moment.


But as for the areas still needing the most attention, you asked:


1) What is the #1 compliant you have about your ADD partner?

His communication skills.   Really so so many issues could be resolved by developing strong communications skills (and not only for those with ADD).  My husband has poor hearing (or as we are learning now likely poor audio processing due to his ADD) so between that and attention issues, he simply doesn't catch all of what I am saying at times.  Now this happens regularly, but he seems more quick to be sure he is on the right page at work, or in casual interactions.  

Perhaps due to the anger and frustration I had with dealing his distraction b4 we were diagnosed, (it took him several years to come out of the honeymoon stage and then he just seemed all at once to not find me so awesome anymore--was very baffling for us both b4 diagnosis.)  somewhere in our relationship we developed a dynamic that involved him 'filling in the blanks' with what he thought I meant, thought he heard, and the biggie- assuming he knew what I was really asking for.  He seems to think it reveals weakness to me by questions or clarifying what I was asking for.  If he's doing something I asked (and this happens to this day) he is frequently doing his best assumption.  I keep asking him, why assume when you have me right here to confirm with and you have not proven to be the greatest assumer in the past???, but it is probably our most deeply entrenched problem.    I asked him just now about this as he came into the room, and he says he assumes that he knows so he doesn't realize he needs to ask questions.


2) What do you think is the main driver or reason for that issue?

I asked him just now about this as he came into the room, and he says he assumes that he knows so he doesn't realize he needs to ask questions.  I honestly think it's at least partly a pride thing because asking questions makes him feel stupid or something rather than just confirming we're on the same page--as all humans need to do at times.  But I also have to admit that for me hurt tends to come out as anger, so he as a very non angry person really struggled to deal with my anger pre-diagnosis & esp post when he didn't look to be doing anything to develop coping skills.   I am likely at least partially sleeping in the bed that I made there. 

He must have felt unsafe in communicating with me at some point because my attitude toward him was filled with anger and frustration at the same thing happening over and over and he appeared to be doing nothing about it.  And I was probably more angry in the year post diagnosis than at any other point in my marriage, and it was during that year that I found this site.  This is why I think it is sooooo important for the nonSpouse to be informed of the grieving period.  I knew it could happen but no one told me it went on so long.   And while I get it now, honestly it didn't seem to be that big of a thing to be grieving about--in my mind, we have a problem, now we have a diagnosis, we have a plan, LETS GET TO IT!  He was stuck in processing mode and really wanted the pill to be a magic bullet & even though we talked about how it could never be, when it wasn't he really struggled.  I hate the ADD quality of deciding what is going to happen, and sticking to that belief contrary to all evidence.


3) If that issue could be resolved what would the desired result look like?

​He would ask a lot more questions!!!  Questions about what I am asking, the result we are going for with a project, WHY I feel a particular way (he is always willing to accept that I feel the way I feel but he isn't a big one to dig into whys), and I would say more than anything else he would regular ask probing questions into my feelings & personality.  Questions that reveal that he realizes that he doesn't already know everything there is to know, and that he would be fascinated to dig deeper.  We were doing an exercise with his coaching where he had to ask one probing question a day.  I LOVED IT.  But like many things with an ADDer, he got out of the habit and it fell off the radar as far as regularity, but I can say that he does it some on his own which feels better than it being part of a project......I'd just always like more.  I've mentioned I am a tweaker and perfectionist right?  


AHHH the ring :)

We decided that if he was able to save enough money, he'd buy it and if he didn't we'd do it another time.  His taking the reins on it actually was sufficient for me.  He didn't have the money, so anniversary morning I ended up receiving a beautiful gold and diamond Bulova watch--which was also a bit practical as I really needed a watch.  There is something about me that tends to kill watch batteries & sometimes even the whole watch itself (always said I was magnetic lol) , so this has a coating which is supposed to prevent that.  He paid attention!!

And he accidentally let slip that he has a decent little stash of money that he is building up for my ring next year.  We shall see if he can actually focus on that for a year!!   

St Maarten apparantly also has fabulous jewelry deals.  Which not really being jewelry ppl we didn't pay attn to ahead of time, but one day as we were walking through Phillipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, he got a bee in his bonnet about checking out the rings there as he'd seen in a magazine that some of the jewelry stores there carry the brand of ring that he decided on.  There were some truly gorgeous ones for reasonable prices, but very little platnium which if you remember the story part of my issue with my ring is that he bougtht a platnium engagement ring and a white gold wedding ring and I can see that the metals don't match...though he claims that he can't see it--eyeroll :) 

I guess if we'd thought ahead we could have gotten a ring there, but we did make contact with a really nice jeweler who didh't have what we need but can make it.  Again I guess we'll just see what Eric ends up doing as far as following through....I am ok either way.  But on the plus side we only went slightly over budget on our trip (and that only because we ended up buying presents for family after we'd decided not to and thus didn't budget for it) which was a real win for us as we tend to go away and overspend.

Re: Aspen

I am running out of "creative" subjects so going to keep it simple going forward I think mmm.  Sorry distracted there.

Great awesome post and very helpful information.  I'll look for your other post regarding the "vacation" and appreciate you staying on topic :).

In my usual style I am going to break down my response into pieces:

1) What I love most about your post is how you state it and then validated it with data.  It isn't attacking his character or his ADHD it is not attacking at all.  It is stating a "weakness" in a way that leaves room for hope and improvement.  I can appreciate your perspective and I imagined my wife saying these same things in the same way and I get cold chills.  In a good way it would come across as a concern that though is a difficult area for any ADHD individual are definitely things we can improve on.  I can already see myself "hyperfocusing" it and coming up with options and ideas to try and would hope she would have some as well.  I'd sit down and "brainstorm" her ideas and see if they are achievable either through "effective treatment changes" or with small minor adjustments to accommodate our differences or maybe don't need any change and should be tested out and tried.  It is a positive message one that is in my opinion achievable if designed and worked on together.  Awesome stuff!

2) I can absolutely relate to the "The assumption on my part means I don't have questions I already know" and it does affect all my communications not just with my spouse.  As a career choice I got an education in technology and then a masters in Project Management.  Imagine that an ADHD Project Manager lol I am sure there is a joke in that some where.  I think sub-consciously I picked a career that would help me address what I am weak in; organizing details, planning out schedules, managing financials and dealing with interpersonel conflicts and politics.  I conciously picked it because no project last for ever and it means I learn something "new" every few months and in some cases every few years.  Regardless the "way" I get work done stays consistent but what I am working on doesn't; thus I love my job and I love struggling through the ADHD elements of it.  I've gotten what I consider pretty good in handling this in business and social environments but poor at it in friendships, family and intimate relationships.  I spend so much time learning and reading people so that I know how to interact with them that at some point I make "assumptions" as to what they are "really saying" or "really feeling" or "really wanting".  BIG MISTAKE and I can also relate to the "not wanting to ask questions".  It isn't about pride for me I love to ask questions but not when I feel like I should know the answer.  It is about shame and disappointment in myself and not wanting to advertise what I feel like is a "bad job" on my part in grasping the communication.  That said I have no problem putting my "shame" aside and asking a question because I hate "rework" and I hate "disappointment" those I love and myself.  Rather get it right the first time than have to do it again knowing my "assumption" was wrong and I could have asked.  ALL of that said I struggle with my spouse on this because I am on such a fine line right now with "disappointments" and "anger" that I feel that revealing a listening issue or focusing issue through the "asking" of a simple question just adds to the ammo.  Given where you two are at in your relationship I think it would be difficult but pretty reasonable change he could make knowing you "want" questions.

3) Love this one as well nothing is easier for someone with ADHD that can "control" their focus with "effective treatment" than locking out everything else and focusing on one element. It would be very easy for me to accommodate this request for my wife is she wanted it.  My only "what I think is a negative" is I would need to schedule time to do it as often as she wanted and when she wanted.  If she was open to that I would easy have 20-30 questions ready to go a week I love to probe into people I loves minds and experiences.  I can think of one reason I would be guarded against it and that is because I know I don't retain information and details very well.  I usually take the "feeling" of a conversation with me not the "details" and I would be afraid of offending my spouse or whom ever I was doing this with.  That said if both parties agreed the information could easily be written down or put on cards in a box that can be read down the road.  I've done this in the past where I'll do a poem, short story or other variant that helps me remember that piece of time.  I know I can't remember it all so why not capture it.  All of this said that might seem like to much work to non-ADHD individual and I wouldn't ask them to do the writing just allow me the time to do it after the fact.  

Again great post and feedback!

Journal 3: Holy _ _ _ _ It's Been One Of Those Weeks

I didn't get any updates in last week so have a ton of things floating in my head to post but only time for a few.  I'll start with something simple:

1) I have to admit until 3 days ago I had not read Melissa's book and I regret in hindsight not doing it when I discovered this site a year ago.  I can't say that it was "new" information to me but it is none the less one of the best sources in explaining two perspectives and how they relate to each other (or impact).  Let me rephrase (I could just delete but I think this phrasing is important); a view into the "non-ADHD" perspective while not "new" it was explained in a way that made "light bulbs" go off in my mind.  She put into words things I've struggled to explain for decades to many people I have relationships with (not just marital connections).  She did a beautiful job of balancing two different positions; with no slights towards one or the other, allowing me to connect to the experiences and relate them to my marriage and life.  I believe this box will change my life for the better in the long run of years I hope are ahead of me.  If you have ADHD I can't say enough about reading this book, hyperfocusing it and making it real to you.  Even if you aren't married read this book it can explain common dynamic's in many types of relationships.

2) Rough week I feel out of sorts, unclear and untreated though I am doing all the things I normally do when I am feeling clear and effective.  I feel lethargic, lonely, "shame" (I put in quotes because before reading Melissa's book for it I didn't know how to describe this feeling, frustration, loss of hope and exhaustion.  I feel like the only way to resolve the issues in my marriage is to not have ADHD.  I think reading her book has had a profound impact on my perspective of my wife and her position.  My emotions vary from empathetic, endearment to frustration and anger.  I feel overwhelmed (nothing new) but a rise in the level of self confidence I gained (when I started treating 2 years ago) is dwendling and I don't know what to do. I have the fear she describes of approaching my wife because of the anger and resentment.  I have the fear of divorce being my future and my kids not being here with me every day.

3) I realized something new about myself and my coping mechanisms in dealing with ADD.  I really think I need to find another psychatrist given they "deal with ADHD" cases they don't focus on it specifically as a business.  I think I could have other issues that are impacting my effectiveness in treatment.  I also think that I shouldn't just start trying to change things I felt were working based on what could be an "impulse response".  Mmm will think more on this one.

4) I read a great thread between DF / YYZ today that really helped me feel less "not alone" in the world.  I can relate to them so much in how they are pursuing treatment, recovery and changes that help their lives and marriages.  I can also really relate to how they feel in having a spouse that isn't ready to reciprocate the effort and changes.  My wife to is in the cycle of anger, resent and unwilling to look past it.  The positive changes are overlooked and what use to be daily issues that are now weekly or monthly "mistakes" on my part are still consider the norm.  I to am a "physical touch" type person when it comes to the 5 love languages.  Anytime I bring up the desire for physical touch it is intepreted as sex which is unfair and rude.  Sex though is on my mind some times is not something I would choose to engage in right now.  It would only cloud the progress that needs to be made to repair the overall intimacy of the relationship.  I just want a huge, to "cuddle", to sit next to each other, to hold hands or to be wanted.  I to am terrible at expressing feelings verbally my brain goes into overload and just locks down.  On the other hand I am very good at showing how much I care for some one physically, through acts of kindness and words of appreciation.  She has put roadblocks up that directly keep me from acting these out towards her.  If I was to push these different areas I would be violating her desires and thus uncaring; with the caveat she will be more open when my issues go away.  What incentive is there for her to open up?  All she can see is through negative filters and then my "mistakes" from time to time that become "the norm".  I don't think anyone ADHD or not would be able to thrive or succeed in this environment.  I feel like she is "sabatoging" any progress unintentionally by harboring anger as a self defense mechanism.  I think she is walking us towards divorce not because she wants it but because she is afraid to give it a shot.  I don't feel like I can even ask her to open up and give it a shot because I know there will be disappointment in the future.  Unless she "wants" to learn and accept our differences and issues for the truth of them I will fail expectations.  I will hurt her and I do not want to do that anymore.  I never desire to hurt anyone and definitely not my wife and kids.  I will disappoint (and its not an excuse) it's just a realistic perspective on life, it will hurt and if that is all she knows; why open up.

I've tried killing anger with kindness, turning the other cheek, asking for more, responding in anger, drawing lines, strategic guiding and none of it works.  It doesn't work because she isn't ready to take responsibility for her role in the marriage.  I realize and know that the source of her disappointment and my failures are "ADHD Symptoms" in the majority of our issues.  I know that I have to accept those issues as my own and work every day to do that and do better.  I know her "anger" is justified but I don't believe it will be forever.  In Melissa's book a statistic was quoted regarding the "duration" of time to divorce when the the husband is the ADHD spouse vs. the wife.  It states that when the husband is the "non-ADHD" the result to divorce is much quicker because he doesn't take on "her" responsibilities as readily as the inverse.  I think that is a very interesting and accurate "generality" and I think it also applies in this circumstance as well.  When the "ADHD Husband" is the one working towards a resolve the duration of time we stay focused on working it is usually shorter. I don't think it's for the same reasons but the concept is similiar.  I know that my concept of time even with treatment is skewed and what is day's feels like weeks or months or vice versa.

I can plan out an absolute perfect conversation that illustrates how bad I feel about what impact I've had on the marriage, how far I am willing to go to prove it and even provide solid examples of those changes but come execution time I just lock up.  I am emotionally invested and at some point the emotional response (positive high dopamine or negative low dopamine) locks me down and I can't execute the conversation.  When I can managed to keep the emotion at bay and get what I need to say out it comes across as cold, uncaring and calculated.  I've tried suggesting "scheduled" time for what would be considered "in the box" topics that we can prepare to be more "open" and less emotionally reactive.  All of it comes back to "why do I have to always do it your way".  I want to say, "My way? Really you think I this is how I want it to be.  You think I want to cause people pain and require additional efforts on their part to understand me?"  I am not using ADHD as an excuse to continue bad behavior and I am SO TIRED of hearing that thrown at me.  I only want to do what will work and I have tried and tried and tried to do things the way she wants them done.  I've tried to do it "non-ADHD", be something I am not and it doesn't work long term.  What I can't get her to understand is that it is going to take concessions on both our parts to build a system that will work for us.  I am forgetful, I can only focus on one thing at a time, I do have to schedule things that might seem "common sense" to make sure they get done, I do struggle with focus when it is less stimulating and I can work past those issues and am implementing change.  I can't do it without her meeting me halfway and unfortunately it requires the steps described in Melissa's book.

I have decided I am goign to move forward and try to implement some of the things I can in Melissa's book.  I will figure out why my ADHD symptoms are worse now than they have been and fix what I can about me.  I will keep trying in all my relationships to resolve pain and conflict as I can.  I will be better regardless of how my marriage ends up but I love my wife.  I love who she is and who we could be together again.

Thanks DF / YYZ your post have helped me today and I appreciate it greatly.

Very interesting journal.

Very interesting journal. Thank you for sharing. I am the non and dh is adhd. We have been married almost 15 years, 2 kids, and i have to say, this past summer was the closest to divorce that we have ever been. I started posting this past July. I was really, really in a bad place. We have known about his adhd for over 10 years. He has been on meds for over ten years. I finally said treat it, do the work on yourself, or I can not go on. I was thinking today while reading Yyz, Df, and your postings, how I have more compassion for you guys and not my dh when he is working just as hard and is trying to make everything better. I can't even begin to say the one thing that has upset me the most. Or, what I would want the most. I read that your dw is extremely organized and on top of everything and is amazing. I feel, because of all of the frustrations, arguments and fights, i have given up on me and on him and on just everything that ever mattered to me because no matter how hard I begged, pleaded, shouted, tip toed, or asked, nothing mattered..." I " didnt matter to him - although he focused on my every step and every move, and every word... He was suffocating and controlling at the same time. I am not much of a pushover, but i ended up allowing him to take over because it was easier than fighting every second of every day over the little things. However, things that meant something to me - he did not win! I fought and fought and fought for what i thought was worth the battle and did not back down - no matter what. I wanted to look up to him, so I allowed myself to take a somewhat submissive approach to see if he would handle whatever it was in a leader type of way and if it didnt happen, then I did whatever it was and tried to find a way to tell myself it didnt matter. I did counseling, we did couples counseling, i did more counseling to work on me because I thought it was me and my past holding me back. But, with all the counseling, i still faced the same problems with my dh... Our conversations are now short bursts of words. The least amount needed to avoid any mis cue... I dont engage in any conversations because i cant follow the "circles" and the "wait, that wasn't clear, let me back up" answers. As much as I want to get "there", i seem to go cold the second I see him or he walks into the room. It doesn't help that he works from home and I am a stay at home mom. I find I lose that chill if he asks or says something about replacing something that is broken that I use or if he wants to somehow make my future easier (replacing old computer-512 pentium). Dont know why it matters but I appreciated it. If he took interest in things that I am intersted in, that would endear me to him, but that is not realistic. I'm not about chores or perfection, I am about truth and accountability and decency. If I could believe and respect his words, then that would be a starting point for me... He just makes stuff up. Some of it makes no sense, it could be about neighbors, family, traveling, whatever, it's always a guess, but not spoken that way. It's not accurate, it's whatever falls out of his mouth. He argues about everything... Right or wrong - with me and the kids. (he has lost the house and a million dollars quite a few times by betting my son on things he thinks he is right about - yay 10 year old son! Lol) For once, I would love to hear, "So, what are your thoughts about "insert topic?" I would love for him to say, "You know, I really don't know the answer to that." If he would invest time in getting to know what makes me "tick" that would also be a good first step. Or, second step. A genuine, "How are you feeling today?" or, " Can I help you with anything today?" or, "Let's take the kids to the park, a movie, or out for a treat", or "Do you want some time to yourself today?" Anything that would be investing in the family and I. I dont need physical touch, I dont need acts of service, I dont need gifts, i dont need to be courted, I need to be VALUED, I need to feel that he knows I am intelligent, I need to know that I am worth something. That I matter... I am writing because I feel bad for all the hard work your doing and not getting anything back. I'm not saying that she is anything like me, but my dh is working really hard and I am struggling to get past it all too. I am stuck in, "I want to move forward, but I still react in a hositle manner". I really think time will help me/us. I have come a long way since July... In July, I couldn't be in the same room with him and I couldn't stand to look him in the eye, let alone look in his direction... Your dw doesn't sound as mad as I was this past summer, I have a feeling she'll get there... Your doing a great job. Thank you for your posts... (please excuse typos - using ipad and two finger typing!) much better on computer that doesnt freeze up every 10 seconds! Lol.

RE: Pjloops

Apologize for delayed response!

"He makes stuff up", "believe and respect", "doesn't make sense" - when I've heard my wife say these things to me in the past usually for me it's a sign of a few things.  Most commonly it's a flag that my ADHD is a bigger problem than I was aware (keep in mind I've been treating for 2 years consistently) and I am finding that it does fluctuate even with treatment.  Finding the sweet spot in treatment is a constant balancing act (friggin ironic lol).  When I hear these words (mind you it probably isn't as quick as my wife expects) but when I realize it I will start trying to look for signs of symptoms.  When I am coming across as "confusing" or "not making sense" or even worse "invalid" it means I am trying to hide the shame I am feeling.  Internally I expect a very high level of myself and what I know so that I can even compete in the "nons" arena.  I value knowledge and so anytime I don't know something I feel like I am slacking, "lazy", forgetful and so on.  Truth is know one knows everything and I might have never been exposed to it or not enough to know it.  What should be an easy admission of no knowledge and the conversation moves on and I learn something new.

I really appreciate your response and no worries about typos I am a walking typo!  I hope you and yours can continue to make progress!

Flux in the Meds (Not a Flux Capacitor for sure)

I've been treating my ADD for about 2.5 years and I've not gone a single day without my generic Adderall in that time frame. There is definitely flux in how controlled my ADD is too. I know it never goes away, which sucks... It is really hard to function as a NonADDer and try to be aware of when the ADD starts peeking through and stopping it in it's tracks. I know my wife sees these moments as validation that things other than my weight are not That Much better. In the area of knowledge, it has always been my worst fear to have it discovered that I'm not really that smart. (Low self-esteem, maybe?) I don't like unexpected topics because I don't want to get caught unprepared like so many other times in my life. Lazy, slacking, faking it good enough to get by, forgetful... I don't feel that way too much anymore, but I can still react like I do.

"Typo's"... I get really embarrassed by entries from my iPhone. This website is not really optimized for the device and I've seen some pretty ugly posts that I am responsible for ;) Oh CRAP ADD trait Alert! I'm Blaming the website for my typo's! :D


Thanks ADD Dad.  I have been

Thanks ADD Dad.  I have been watching Lifeclass and learning so much.  This past episode said to me in regards to struggles in life... "a real evolved soul invites "it" in because there is more to learn.  Invite in whatever you need to grow and have the purest intention to be the greatest force for good you can be.  Trust that I can handle it and learn and grow from it. "Everything" is an opportunity to grow..."  So, what I got out of that is,  this huge protective wall I have up to protect my heart and soul needs to come down.  I have been frozen solid for quite some time.  In order for me to move ahead and solve this "thing" and get through it, I need to fully embrace it, figure it out, go and work it all out, find a solution, and by doing this it will help me to grow as a person and I will be better for it.  So.... Imagine me thinking these thoughts for the last 24 hours.  Now.... here is where I failed............  Big time.........DH just got home from out of town and Boom! instantaneously, I reacted.  So much for the show and all the insights the ideas I was working on.... I know I have a lot of work to do, but omg! When he says something that I know is ridiculous or completely way off, or something we have spoken about 1000 times, I reacted the exact same way I always did.   Unfortunately, I had no patience, I lose all tolerance and understanding and I just get irritated.  It is just plain mean.  I know it when it happens, I feel it rise and I can't stop it.  The response i am feeling is complete and total frustration because it is like someone is constantly poking me in the eye...  I wish I could get a hold of it and stop it... But it seems I went straight to- "I must, must, must, prove I know something".  Not a proud moment. I feel like I have been talked down to and belittled and run over, that now I can't seem to get a grip.  The sad part is, he is trying so flipping hard to listen and not argue with me.  He really see's and accepts that I have been treated poorly.  I feel like I am now "trained" to be just like he used to treat me... Well,  I'll try better next time.   i miss my old tolerance level. If your dh is into the lifeclass shows, i feel like they are transforming me! I am getting to take a step towards the old me. Hey, YYZ - this goes for your D H too. Some amazing stuff... If it can help me, then we all have a chance : )

Have you ever tried

Have you ever tried communicating through e-mails or journals? At one point we had a journal that we 'shared' and wrote out things we felt were important to share, but not necessarily something we needed to 'discuss'. My husband (ADHD) hates for me to e-mail or text him over anything significant, but if you are able to plan out conversations, maybe putting them on paper/writing them in an e-mail and then just sending them would help? There are no rules on how communication has to happen...but it does need to happen one way or the other. If you think it would help you articulate what you want to say better, then ask your wife if she would mind...and let her know why you think it would help you. (you did a great job here of explaining it)

Great information...thanks for sharing!

Text and Email, YES!

Listen to Sherri :)

Both of these formats allowed me to communicate what I could never do before my diagnosis and treatment. I was able to sort through things and compose what I really thought about whatever the issue was that got us de-railed.



Re: Sherri / YYZ

Absolutely I realized in my early 20's that if I could have the time to sit down and write down my thoughts and feelings it went a long way in calming the noise.  About that time I started writing for theraputic reasons as well as a method of communication.  I've shared a lot of my writings with my wife when we first got together.

My wife isn't good at discussing feelings in general, she grew up in a household that wasn't open in that arena.  Even her mother was more reserved with expressing how she felt and what she desires and wants out of life.  The result is a pretty strong individualistic personality that has a hard time asking for things, stating her feelings and allowing herself to fulfill her "wants" from time to time.  What I've seen as a result is she denies herself breaks and small "desires" and stays head down with the kids, house, her job, couponing and other focus areas.  She only does "fun" stuff if she can some how tie it back to productivity and it can be sold as "best" for the family not her.  I think my older daughter and I see through that for what it really is but we don't pressure her or try to change that.  I try to make her feel free to do "fun" things with friends or adopt hobbies or be interested in things outside of things that benefit the house.  With my love of learning and ADHD Stimulation symptom I love trying new things and have a core set of hobbies I've done for a long time and then an attitude of wanting to try anything once.  Even when things were good we didn't talk about our feelings we showed how we felt through physical touch and acts of kindness primarily.

I've definitely tried writing, printing it off or emailing topics that would benefit from that approach.  The majority of the time I never get a response or even an acknowledgement of receipt.  I have rarely seen a change in behavior to indicate she read it and is willing to address anything.  I've tried asking, "hey did you get that email" and usually it's a short "yeah" and that's it.  I've tried asking her how she wants to discuss these things and she just isn't comfortable discussing feelings.  At the same time she has drawn hardlines on several types of communication: 1) I use to detail my work schedule, travel schedule and doctor's appointments on Monday of every week and email it to her and that just made her angry.  She sayed she felt these are things we should discuss and she doesn't want emails from her spouse.  She is very intelligent and can learn new things but likes paper calendars and I even offered to write my schedule down on the paper calendar each week.  Rejected that idea as well stating what she wants is someone that will discuss things with her.  It is very difficult to do this on my part it is the hardest path for me because everything about my schedule is either outlook (work) or toodledo/calendar (iPhone).  I don't "remember" after a 10 hour day everything I need to discuss so I've had to try and write things down as I remember them or become aware and just use it as a talking guide.  Even that annoys her (at least that is what it appears like when I read off a piece of paper) but its the best I've been able to do and make sure I don't forget something.  That said she did concede that she realizes my systems are electronic and she does "text/email" me important appointment dates so I can load them into my system.

If I try today to email or write down and print a long text description of how I feel or a compilation what I've learned it will frustrated her and I'll never know if she read it or not.  My immediate feelings are irritation that she isn't willing to at least recognize differences between us and compromise some how.  I'd do something else if she would agree to just do it.  At least open the dialogue but the concept of scheduling time to talk or scheduling anything that has to do with our "relationship" just comes across to her as detached and lacking feeling (ala more ADHDish).  Thus its seen as her having to give up her and do it my way.

Doesn't mean I won't try as I write this stuff down I compile it and will refine it into an organized "mini" book of how I feel and I will give it to her.  I am at the point now that I love her and I want her to know how I feel about her and our circumstance.  I lock down in the moment and never get it across so the worst that can happen is she divorces me because I gave her a book.  Yet if I don't give it to her probably will get to that point anyways. 

Writer for sure...

ADD Husband... You are obviously a skilled written communicator, so maybe it is your wife who has more of an issue with communication in general. From the very beginning of the relationship with my DW communication (Verbal because it was 1992) was a real issue because of the infamous "Shut-Down Mode". So, the electronic written communications enabled me to put my thoughts together and greatly improve the situation and the whole communication front in general.  

I found what you said here VERY Interesting. "What I've seen as a result is she denies herself breaks and small "desires" and stays head down with the kids, house, her job, couponing and other focus areas.  She only does "fun" stuff if she can some how tie it back to productivity and it can be sold as "best" for the family not her." THIS describes my wife to a "T". My DW NEVER gives herself a break and there is nothing I can say that keeps her from being self-critical. The Problem that is created is that My Interests are "TOTALLY" selfish. And this includes money/gift cards received for birthdays or Christmas. I spend these items on stuff that I won't buy during normal times, because THAT would be selfish. I know I high-jacked the "Communication" topic, but this was very relevant to many miscommunications.

My DW did not want to hear Anything more about ADD after the first month, so I stopped and continued learning to improve my actions in hope of them eventually making communication better. Actions may be your answer too.



Exactly, I only buy the "toys" with money I get from birthday's, christmas or the sale of something else that was considered a "hobby".  I specifically buy items that will hold resale for this purpose.  I know I like to switch things up on the hobby front and it can be expensive so I will only buy it if its not going to impact our family finances, vacation money and free spending money.  Plus I buy something that if I decide I don't want to do it I can sell it and get 60-90% back on the items involved.  I can relate absolutely.

In her mind staying heads down is only a good thing and you know I don't disagree that it is a very admirable thing to strive for but it is unrealistic.  Everyone needs breaks and because she won't take them and doesn't realize not taking breaks is causing mood shifts and information filtering problems everything is somebody elses fault or at least everyone else is "slacking" off while she does all the hardwork.  I wish she could do more for herself and I have absolutely tried to do it for her.  Gifts, spas, suggesting trips with friends or just get away for an afternoon and anytime I offer I end up the bad guy.  I am pushing what I "need" not what she "needs".  She doesn't like gifts or surprises and so its impossible to justify spending the money.  Even if she loves the gift you can tell she feels guilty about the money lost.

We aren't massive spenders we do a decent job of staying in budget and are doing a damn good job in the last two quarters of this year.  I think for her she believes if you always save you'll have the money for something down the road.  Yet I observe her mom and she has hundreds of thousands in the bank and will never spend it.  It will be passed down to my wife and the kids which is awesome but there is so much life that could have been lived and still saved.  

I don't want to try and change her I can accept this part of her I just wish she could see that again everyone is different and needs different things.  I am not irresponsible with money (I was in my early 20's) but not anymore and not since she has ever known me.

And yes same thing with my DW knows ADHD is real but refuses to let it come up in any conversation or use it as an analytic tool to interpret circumstances.

"The Pleaser"

Is what I refer to about my DW. She feels like She has to make Everybody happy and until Everyone is happy, she cannot do anything for herself. She tries SO Hard and it is a Very admirable quality, but is is "Un-Winnable" and it Holds the Bar so high she can never meet her own goals. These goals end up being expected of me too. If you ask me, "If you cannot make yourself happy, how can you help anyone else?"

I was terrible with money in my 20's too... I am a lot better about impulse spending, and it is still a struggle, but as long as I can get a little toy on my birthday and Christmas I can control the impulse. Adderall has helped so much in this regard.

I don't think my DW has ever been to this site, even though I've told her how much help was here. I can only improve my own behaviors...


The Martyr Syndrome

I can tell you from my own experience that when you are really mad at your ADHD spouse and feel as if he isn't holding up his end of the marital bargain it's all too easy to fall into feeling as if you MUST accomplish stuff all the time.  Part of the unspoken motivation to do this, at least on my part, was to demonstrate in no uncertain terms how important all the chores and other things you are "accomplishing" are.  I used to justify it by saying "this stuff has to get done and HE isn't doing any of it" but the reality is that not ALL of that stuff really does NOT have to get done and, by taking it on myself, I didn't leave room for my husband to take any of it on.

Now, I will admit that there was a time earlier in our marriage when even if I had left it he wouldn't have taken it on, but the point I want to make is that controlling it myself didn't leave much room for him to feel motivated to change things.  Why would he?

So, if you are an ADHD person out there reading this, consider asking your spouse what you can take on that would be meaningful for your partner (and then put the system in place to "own" it and really do it).  Trust me when I say this will make an impression (but be careful to set the reminders and system in place to succeed, else you just reinforce the martyr syndrome by demonstrating inconsistency.)

If you are a non-ADHD spouse, take a look at your own actions.  If you are choosing (for it is a choice - even if it doesn't feel like one right now) to control everything, then you might consider not complaining about that choice.  If you don't want to be in control of everything then you have to give some of that control up so there is room for your partner to step in.  Be smart about what you hand over and how you do it.  Don't give the finances over to a spouse who isn't good at deadlines or with money.  And in ANY thing that you hand over, TRANSITION, don't abdicate.  Agree with your partner what his/her responsibilities will be, wait for a good system to be put in place, and help your partner succeed.  (Hint:  this does not mean being responsible for the item, but rather helping him/her identify the best system for them - if they ask for that help - and continuing to insist that they take on some of the load.)


I just finished reading the great book and did gain some understanding about ADHD. Actually, I thought the book was written about us. BUT... I'm still confused. I am to the hopeless, desperate phase. I don't know how not to try to control or nag when it relates to finances, etc. I have begged, explained, shown.. you name it and I have done it. I have been lied to. He has been deceitful and had a temper plus jealous and accusing. I have had a separate checking account but he will overdraw his and then I transfer money to cover. So, it really doesn't help. What do I do? Also, a suggestion was to hire a housekeeper. How do I do that when I am the only one working and he is spending money we don't have on unnecessary things he doesn't have time to do? Projects everywhere....  I believe he wants to do better but I am about to break. I want to scream and cry. I dread coming home. I work all day and come home to a messy house and no dinner plus bills and little help. What does he do? Who knows.... If I ask, he gets mad. It doesn't matter what tone I use. I am trying not to nag or control but don't know how to effectively voice my frustration without him feeling bad. I feel stuck. I just want to run away. I feel controlled and used. I cry nearly daily. Work is my escape. If it wasn't for my daughter still living at home, I would leave and sell nearly everything. I thought the book was basically suggesting to leave him alone to do whatever and take care of myself, but that isn't taking care of myself. When he does "whatever" we are in trouble. He has been on medication. Open for feedback....

YYZ, it really is your I-phone

I get I-phone stuff from my boss all the time and there are always typos. So that's not the ADDer blaming someone else for his problems. I've never even had a cell phone, let alone one of those.

Ha Ha!

I just blamed the website instead of the device itself :) As long as it is Not My Fault :D

YyZ... (Dang itT, stupid compUter!)

Journal 4: ADHD, Alcohol and Sex

Yeah I'll admit I went with a sensational headline not sure the content will measure up lol!  It's been a solid several days since my last post.  Work is busy, personal life is busy and holiday weeks is upon us.  Happy Thanksgiving!

A few key things I have been mulling over lately:

1) The affect alcohol has on my ADHD brain.  It is very rare I feel like I get a "high" from drinking alcohol.  Even if I do feel like cutting lose I am usually not in the mood after a few drinks.  I usually feel sleepy and lethargic as well.  I am sure all of this has to do with the depressant affects alcohol has on the CNS and specifically has to do on impacted areas associated with ADHD.  Alcohol does quite the noise and does help me feel less socially akward.  I usually can connect thoughts a bit easier or maybe not easier with less reserve.  Other than that I just don't find Alcohol all that appealing on a normal basis.  In small doses in certain circumstances it can be fun but the impact is not worth the gain.  Another observation is how long it takes me to get passed the "clouded mind" feeling after drinking.  Even with effective treating of ADHD my mind struggles for days if I drink even one or two.  I have a much harder time staying motivated, on top of my organization and thinking clearily.  I can't prioritize as well and find my general state of being more poor than I was before.  I find this to be a very dangerous risk to take at this point in my "treatment" process and my maritial state.  I need to be 100% as often as possible for a consistent amount of time (years).  I think if my wife and I were on the same page and could discuss the impacts it would have on the next day or so it would be reasonable to "cut" loose if you will every once in a while.  Given it's not I think it is better to just avoid alcohol for the time being.  If Dexedrine is my strength then Alcohol is my kryptonite lol!

2) Sex and ADHD: I need to do more research in this area on the chemical changes that happen in the CNS as a part of sexual activity.  I feel like there is more to sexual stimulation/release and it's impact on ADHD symptoms.  None specific to sex I have so many questions that I don't have the expertise to quantify or answer I wish I had more time to learn.  Back to the topic at hand. 

Great research words: Testosterone, Adrenaline, Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Prolactin, Phenethylamine, Endorphin

Interesting aside on Wiki: Cognition and frontal cortex - In the frontal lobes, dopamine controls the flow of information from other areas of the brain. Dopamine disorders in this region of the brain can cause a decline in neurocognitive functions, especially memory, attention, and problem-solving. Reduced dopamine concentrations in the prefrontal cortex are thought to contribute to attention deficit disorder. It has been found that D1 receptors[18] as well as D4 receptors[19] are responsible for the cognitive-enhancing effects of dopamine, whereas D2 receptors are more specific for motor actions.

What a complex system of chemical reactions driving all of our systems.  I was especially interested in Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin and Vasopressin as I had not read much on those horomones.  It makes sense that in ADHD individuals that (are dopamine "deficient"; probably misuse of the word) would crave sexual arousal that "increases the levels" of dopamine in the body.  ADHD individuals attracted more to "high stimuli" that increase dopamine levels makes sense when their is a void of it or a below the needed level.  I haven't made sense of all of it yet but will spend more time thinking about it.  Hell in the absence of sexual activity in marriage I might as well educate myself on a "stimulating" subject, right? mmmm

My husband is not only not

My husband is not only not medicated, he has gradually built up to drinking about 4-6 beers every day. To be honest, the affect you describe pretty much could perfectly explain so many of his other current behaviors (lack of motivation and organization). He stays in the den, to himself, most of the time. He misses ("works from home") about 2 days a week...but when you're not even coming to bed until 6 a.m. it is sort of hard to be at work by 8 a.m. I believe as long as he drinks, his ADHD will continue to increase in intensity. He was taking medication, but stopped and has never told me the truth about why.

Yes, low dopamine levels are believed to be a key part of the 'problem' with the ADHD brain. Yes, sex raises these levels. However, oddly, many ADHDers do not necessarily crave sexual arousal. To the best of my knowledge, believe me I would probably know after 14 years of marriage, he doesn't seek arousal through porn...and for the better part of our marriage, my drive has been FAR higher than his. The only way I can seem to get him to be interested in sex often enough that I feel happy with the frequency is to just stop acting like I care...or better yet, act like I don't WANT to have sex. Before the diagnosis, I honestly just thought it was that he was either flat out too lazy to put forth the effort OR he had some kind of issues of inadequacy that kept him from being sexual. Sex was very robotic and infrequent for the first 5+ years of our marriage. If I mentioned it, brought attention to it, it was even less frequent. I have never, and probably never will, understand him when it comes to sex. I gave up a long time ago and decided I wasn't going to subject myself to the rejection anymore...so it is basically on his terms...and maybe twice a month, if that. He is all over the board...sometimes wanting sex 2-3 times a week...but most of the time it is infrequent and ONLY when he wants it.

Re: SherriW13

Hey Sheri, I think there could be multiple things involved in your specific circumstances but I can provide insight to my experiences.  Specifically (you mention your DH drinks every day) when I drink consistently over time (or have in the past) my interest in sex doesn't go away but my libido does reduce.  My ability to "perform" is less consistent and with ADHD in play my ability to focus and execute is shaky at best.  Knowing these things I am less inclined to "initiate" physical intimacy because of the fear tied to performance, focus and failed expectations.  When I can focus and rid of the ADHD symptoms I consider myself a very strong physical partner because of how involved I get in the experience.  I know my partner down to the most minute expression, movements or needs and over time can anticipate needs several steps ahead.  Of course this takes almost "hyperfocused" levels of attention that I can't maintain if I am drinking, drunk or not effectively treating.  Confidence dwendles and the "lack of "initiation" portion of ADHD comes into play.

Additionally, note I mention "sexual arousal" not sexual completion (or orgasm).  Based on what I've read the "arousal" state is when dopamine levels are highest; after orgasm other horomones (see previous post) are released that are designed to return dopamine levels to normal.  If ADHD individuals naturally "low" in dopamine thus why I state I believe we seek dopamine raising types of stimulation like "sexual arousal".  I think this could be one of the factors in why so many ADHD men (maybe women to don't know the statistics) look at porn; it isn't a means to an end but rather a never ending (based on choice) source of simulation.  Of course like any "addiction" over time through desensatation more "intense" measures are required to fill the same basic "desires/needs".

Taking those elements into account and it could be (maybe) explain why there is a lack of initiative or interest in "actual" sex vs. "imaginary or fantasy or porn" sex.


Now all of that said when I am treating effectively and not consuming alcohol consistently (every day, week or heck month) I am in a much different place.  My sexual interest, libido, abilities and desires peak on the side of annoyance if I was to allow them to be verbalized.  My desire isn't for "fake/imaginary" sex but rather real physical intimacy with my wife.  Don't get me wrong over time yes I can still get bored with what ever is "repetitively" occuring or if there is a "going through the motions" approach to it.  I realize this about myself and consider it my responsibility to communicate and facilitate "keeping" it interesting.  I have no limit when it comes to the ideas that could be acted upon and at the same time have the social ability to recognize "good taste" in what should be brought up or not with my wife.  All I need is her desire of me and I of her in order for things to work very well in this area.

I can't commit to any level of consistency in this area or any other if I am not effectively treating, eating right, exercising and staying away from things that affect my ability to effectively treat.

I hope this helps.

Sherri, in a weird way it is

Sherri, in a weird way it is good that he stopped the meds because the combination of alcohol and these drugs are NOT GOOD. He sounds like he is delving into the land of denial and depression (aka akin to the "three stooges" mentioned elsewhere). Sometimes as the nonadd partner, we have to just draw it back because though we may be the "world experts" on what its like to be partners to our husbands w add... Ultimately we have to say does it really matter whats causing the pain if the pain just keeps recurring? To stay and be okay, we have to have our own inner strength and support system. The almost esoteric points of what the dopamine neurotransmitter levels are at any given time ultimately seem less important when your DH is ignoring you AGAIN, yelling abusively at you, or has just disappeared again to parts unknown. When and if our respective spouses finally "get it", we will still have to maintain that separate support system. And btw, @ DF and YYz, I know you gentlemen have probably not been angels at some point but you both give me hope and evidence that EVOLUTION and acceptance IS possible. You guys have my respect. :)

Angels and Not so Much

Lulu you are absolutely right. Alcohol, for me, is fine for a beer or two and that's enough. I don't like how alcohol makes me begin to feel like un-medicated me. Honestly is really does not sound that good to me anymore. The drink is okay in a social situation, but I may keep a one beer per hour pace.

I'm sure all of us can be Angels and Not-Angels in our own individual ways. My DW has always had anxiety and anger issues and I've had/have my ADD related anxiety / inattentive / oblivious to the obvious issues. The recurring pain cycle stinks, but I can only hope that patience, understanding and knowledge will ultimately prevail over the Groundhog Day Cycle.

I have never thought people can really "Change", but I Know we can all evolve, learn and "Upgrade" ourselves into something a bit better :) 

Journal 5: A questions for you ADHD'ers

I have a flawed system when it comes to my organization of daily task.  I am actually very good at creating complex processes and tools but that's just it when it comes to personal organization they are to complex.  It becomes more maintenance than what is realistic and then I get inconsistent with it and it fails.  I try to keep it simple but my brain struggles with that I just don't do well with keeping it simple. 

All that said it got me thinking why keep trying to recreate the wheel why not find out what actually does work for ADHD people out there.  Now I know not all systems work universally but maybe I can take the best of everyone's and find a balance for me.  Either way maybe we learn something new; so why not?

Here is what I want to do:

1) If you have ADHD or know someone with ADHD that has a solid daily task management system post how it works.

2) State what you like and dislike about it.

3) How would you like to improve upon it?

4) Any other feedback or inputs?

Ideally should come up with several different techniques, tools and processes we use.


Here is mine:

  • Inputs: previous day task not complete, notes taken from previous day, task added but not already started, my brain dump of what I can remember that day, task added through convo, emails or phone calls with other people
  • Tools: email, phone, orchestra app, countdown app, toodledo app and outlook
  • Outputs: task list, reminders, reports, trackers
  • Process: the plan is to get up, pop meds, exercise, review/update/prioritize task list, start day, update task list as required, review task list around noon, more iterations, review task list around 4, more iterations, review task list around 8, more iterations, review task list before bed.
  • Positives: the routine works, it isn't difficult to understand or follow
  • Negatives: too many different apps, can't sync all reminders, can't share with other people (isn't visible easily), requires to long to update, all electronic susceptable to failure in hardware or software, no entry portal for other people and isn't "non-electronic" people friendly
  • Summary: I think my routine would work better if I can get better tools or easier tools.

Personal Preferences:

  • Have terrible handwriting that is hard to read and struggle with organizing paper thus I usually go electronic.
  • Need simple input interfaces
  • Need a one stop shop that can sync to MS Exchange/Outlook but is primarily mobile device driven
  • Can be synced to a web interface and shared with anyone interested
  • Can produce reports or export data to produce reports
  • Has redundant backup and can be printed out for hard copies

check out this

I'm not an ADHDer, but I recommend you look into "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.

Re: gardener447

Muchas Gracias :)

Have it but no reason not to read it again the timing make sense :)

Journal 6: We Are

We are the minority
Your mothers and fathers
We are leaders and lovers
Your sisters and brothers
We are innovators and dreamers
Your distracters and delayers
We are quick to forgive, quick to forget
Your choice drug... expiration date marriage
We are consistently labeled and feared
Your consistently inconsistent
We are passion and drive
Your impulsive, twitching unloyals
We are there entirely and gone
Your perception is wrong
We are willing to go
Your impatiently waiting
We are watching through blind stares
Your oblivious uncaring distracted
We are shame incarnate and defined
Your thorn, bleeding, remaining yet lacking loyal
We are loving you regardless
We are beyond your labels
We are something new a minority destination slavery
We are different, unique? A Jewish genocide?
We are beyond control! An evolutionary scare?
We are advancing... no advanced... no attention disordered
We are multiplying... exponentially profiled
We are studied and observed, still not understood
We are loving you regardless

We share a common humanity different and the same.  We are learning and growing, realizing our strengths and abilities.  We come in peace in search of companionship.  We won't be caged, snuffed or changed.  We are improving becoming more efficient and you feel the slow rise, oblivious to the heat of slow boiling purpose driven appetites.  We will embrace our youth, we realize you have the years; you have the majority driving definition of societal norms.  We want to share our love and qualities on common ground.  We want your collaboration not your judgments.  We are here for you.

We are... we will be... forever... intertwined

Journal 7: Anger Management

What a month it's been!  Can't believe another year has passed it feels like it just started :).  I have spent some time trying to reflect on the realities of this year and it has been a very very hard year in many different ways.  I've had another catalytic realization that is driving more treatment and progress.  My wife and I had a big blow up and this was my fault.  I didn't realize how angry I have been even with treatment.  It is very easy to fall into thinking things are going well because of consistent meds, diet, exercise and psychiatry over the last 2 years.  What I didn't realize is that with treatment comes the ability to process information better and I was becoming more and more angry.  It was driving my short impulsive responses, adding to my temper issues and general mental well being.

Long story short I am not seeing a therapist for anger management issues and it is helping.  It is very hard to go back and try to re-live my past and identify areas of pain that I might of not dealt with properly.  It has been a huge relief being able to just talk through things I didn't even realize I was angry about from when I was a kid, teenager, young adult and now.  It has helped me be more cognizant of when I am situationally irritated or angry and in some cases change my response.  I realize that I am angry about how things are going because of many different reasons.  I will continue this line of treatment as I find great value in talking through my emotions and learning better ways to deal with them.

New Treatment Profile:



-Diet / Exercise


-Natural Supplements (Fish Oil, Multi Vitamin)

-Life Coach (I haven't started this yet but strongly interested in starting this in 2012.  I need someone that can help me learn better organizational skills and really keep things simple and effective)

I am not sure how any of this is being preceived by my wife and kids.  I hope good but honestly am afraid to ask.  I realize that I am afraid of being rejected and so I am afraid to ask anything and thus I am stuck in this emotional box.  I have to find confidence in myself again and much of this will come through anger relief.  Not realizing how angry I was and then now dealing with that anger has really shaken my confidence because I honestly did not realize it until this month; it scares me.

I also found some very motivational quotes I will share with you:

-Powerful Beyond Measure - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSYtQy9EqTA (Love this watch it at least once a day usually before I workout)

-Theodore Roosevelt "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt "I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well."

-Theodore Roosevelt "The worst of all fears is the fear of living."

Thank you

ADD Husband

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and being so open.  As I read through your entries here, I find so much I can identify with.  I am newly diagnosed ADD(less than a year ago) at 31 years old.  I consider myself very new to this journey.  I'm still working through different emotions of just trying to reidentify myself, morn a loss of what reality I thought I knew, and except the reality that beats me over the head every morning when I wake up.  These days, the feeling that I am "broken" or  "faulty" overwhelm me when I'm not overcome with the thoughts that "maybe I am just stupid".

reading your self reflections gets me thinking myself of things I haven't considered before, or haven't taken a good focused look at.

your posts, and the comments left on them have let me start to see some new perspectives, and have left me feeling less alone.


Thank you,