Once they're diagnosed, how often do ADDers "figure it out" or "man up" ("woman up"?) and take responsibility for themselves and the damage their condition has done? How often are they really aware of what they've done, apologize, and make amends? Or is it usually hopeless--do you really just have to give up and walk away?
So much damage has been done to my life by my husband's condition, that I don't know where to begin, and even now that he's gone I'm still dealing with major repercussions. I don't think he *meant* for any of this to happen, but it happened (or is happening) all the same.
Same as the average ...
Submitted by Jude on
I doubt anyone is tracking (on a large basis) the percentage of diagnosed ADDers who "man" or "woman" up. And if there was a percentage, I don't think that would help you anyway. What matters is the particular ADDer/s in your life (our lives).
For what it's worth, I think the percentage would be fairly low (but still a high number of individuals). I don't think the capacity to face your deepest issues and deal with them appropriately is affected by ADD. What percentage of people bite the bullet to manage their diabetes appropriately with a revised diet and exercise? How many people study, maximise their job career potential? How many people actively develop themselves into being the best person they can be (however they define it?). Usually, people are content with "good enough" and rationalise their position. ADD or not.
So - I don't think ADD by itself affects someone's ability to commit to a full understanding of their situation and desire to heal/change it. Their resultant low self esteem (common enough to ADDers) might impact their ability to do so however.
I hadn't thought of it that way
Submitted by BreadBaker on
Thanks for giving me a fresh viewpoint on this. That hadn't even occurred to me.
RE: Same as average
Submitted by Lost_in_translation (not verified) on
I can relate
Submitted by BreadBaker on
I was very co-dependent with my ADD husband, and it felt as though he used that (knowingly? unknowingly?) against me.
He has that classic ADD brand of "selfishness" or "tunnel vision." He hyperfocused on some things for me and the marriage--and that could be wonderful--but he wasn't dependable for day-to-day issues, and everything fell to me in some way. He largely did whatever he wanted whether it hurt me (or us as a couple), and made all of our big life decisions in isolation via either forcing the issue or passive-aggression. I wasn't allowed a say in much of anything, and I felt very trapped in my own marriage. I was absolutely miserable. Sometimes, he would throw me a bone and ask what would make me happy. I'd tell him, and he'd either ignore me outright, agree to do something and then not do it, or "veto" it (whatever THAT was supposed to mean! how ridiculous!). And then I'd be blamed for being miserable by being told that there was no pleasing me and that I'd never be happy with anything! Geez. There's a definition of insanity that involves doing the same thing over and over again. I was supposed to go from being miserable to being happy if nothing changed, and just because he thought I should?
It was a real reality warp living with him, and it's taken several months of separation, a number of sessions with a brilliant therapist, and being brought back to reality by a number of wonderful, loving friends for me to realize that this was actual abuse (and how very glad and blessed I am to have that therapist and those friends!). It upsets me to think of how many years I spent putting up with it, and what I could have been doing instead.
I feel as though I'm just getting my head screwed on straight now. My pre-husband boundaries are back up and I'm defending them like a lioness.
Now, I don't blame him for what his ADD did, but he is responsible for himself and accountable for his words and actions. I don't know if our marriage is going to survive. I rather doubt it, as it would involve much work on his end (not to mention work on my end, but I'm willing to do it if he is). I don't think he loves me enough or is committed enough to the marriage to take responsibility for himself and make amends for the damage. His loss, really. I was devoted to him, and we were very simpatico until his ADD took over and swamped his good qualities. He seems to be making little efforts these days, and for all I know they'll turn into big efforts, but I don't know. We'll see what happens, but I'm not optimistic. It's a shame, really. If it weren't for the ADD, we would have had a fantastic life together. I don't think he fully understands what he walked away from, and how difficult it is to find someone who loves you and is truly devoted to you out there.
This sounds so much like my
Submitted by Jeannie on
This sounds so much like my life and now ex-husband. It is truly sad when good people are so consumed and overtaken by their ADHD to the point that they seem to completely loose their way and don't understand what is important in life. I am still saddened by the loss of my 27 year marriage, but I am sure my ex-husband is just angry for whatever it is that he thinks I've done. I know the person I knew many years ago is still there. He is just buried under all of the hate and anger and distorted reality of his world.
I wish you the best.
ADDer may not see problems
Submitted by arwen on
I feel I have to take a little bit of issue with this perspective. I agree completely that ADD doesn't directly affect a person's ability to commit, or to a willingness to heal/change their situation. But in my experience, it's difficult for a person with ADD to even *see* how their behaviors are problems *unless* they have somehow been trained to engage in a certain amount of self-examination.
All the men in my husband's extended family have ADD, so they have given me a pretty good-sized group to study! Some are taking medications for it, some are not -- some don't even acknowledge the problem, although it's screamingly obvious to anybody who has studied ADD to more than just a superficial degree. The ones who have been diagnosed *and* were trained to examine their consciences and actions have been the ones who have either recognized the harm they have caused or who have worked to prevent this kind of harm in the first place. The ones who have been diagnosed and who did not have that training have not owned up. (Unsurprisingly, the ones who are undiagnosed don't recognize they've caused any harm.)
I think the reason that the ones who have been diagnosed and weren't trained to self-examine haven't owned up is because when you don't question your behaviors or examine your conscience, you go around thinking that your point of view is correct, and if you don't experience serious setbacks with that point of view, that conclusion is reinforced. If you have ADD, you do not always notice things that other people would recognize as setbacks or failures! Even if you do, you don't necessarily notice how much of a setback or failure a particular situation is. So, that in turn makes it hard for you to see that you might be in the wrong and that somebody with a differing point of view might actually be in the right. Just getting a diagnosis of ADD and getting on meds doesn't automatically change that. Sometimes somebody has to *show* you that your view is wrong, and why. That can be a very difficult thing to see if you've spent your whole life looking at things from some one other particular perspective. And if you can't see what's wrong in your perspective, you're not going to feel any need to commit to change or be willing to heal.
What I guess I'm trying to say is that my experience suggests to me that without the benefit of training in self-examination, ADD can readily contribute to the formation of an entrenched unrealistic point of view that could make it difficult for an ADDer to be able to appreciate a differing point of view that their behaviors were harmful. I think someone who did not have ADD (or some other disorder) would develop a less unrealistic point of view and would be more able to see their contributions to the problems.
ADDer may not see problems == different realities
Submitted by Lost1972 on
arwen, thank you very much for this insight. I feel that this explains very well the reality issue stated above, i.e. when the non ADD/ADHD feels that his reality is different from the one the ADD / ADHD spouse lives in.
This issue of "different realities" has often resulted in me questioning myself (my belief, understanding and interpretation of a situation), due to co-dependence I believe. If the non ADD/ADHD person is being "kept in line" by threats or due to being exposed to angry - dramatic outburts of the ADD/ADHD person in the relationship (the threats/outbursts resulting in the ADD/ADHD person to "get his way" and therefore control the situation and his spouse), then I wonder if that has "abuse" written all over the relationship. When does a relationship become abusive. If the behaviour of an ADD / ADHD spouse is not in line with what would be commonly regarded as the "right" behaviour, but has his way because the non ADD / ADHD spouse simply gives in, would that be regarded as an abusive situation. And if that is the general patteren in the relationship, i.e. the ADD / ADHD partner generally gets his way with his his spouse by using threats or angry outbursts, do we have an abusive relationship. I'm going in circles here, I know.
What I'm basically trying to understand is, when does a relationship become abusive and also, do abuse and co-dependence, generally go hand in hand i.e. does co-dependence have to be in place for abuse to occur?
I also wonder when two totally different perspectives on the reality can start to raise questions about sanity? Where is the border line between "different realities = not questioning ones behaviour and beliefing you are right" and "sanity"?
I would be grateful hear peoples comments on this issue.
just exactly what I needed to hear
Submitted by brendab on
What I guess I'm trying to say is that my experience suggests to me that without the benefit of training in self-examination, ADD can readily contribute to the formation of an entrenched unrealistic point of view that could make it difficult for an ADDer to be able to appreciate a differing point of view that their behaviors were harmful
You have just verified what another person told me that I didn't quite understand. This author is ADD and works with ADDers with addictions like alcohol. After reading his book called ADD and the Church, I emailed him. he wrote back and said that the main problem with ADDers is that they have not self-examined!! Until they do this, there is no real hope for recovery. I didn't quite understand the application until I read your post and the one you replied to. This is exactly what I was noticing with my ex-boyfriend. He can't see how his behavior affects other people and he believes that he has the right to do whatever is right in his own eyes.
This has given me more empathy for him but gratitude that we didn't marry. I have often thought that it must have been very difficult to be married to him. He even says that he's difficult to live with. now I understand the basic reason why. Thank you for sharing your insight. So my question to you is, where can an ADDer get training in self-examination?
Submitted by arwen on
I don't know of any special resource. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic as a child, and my religious education emphasized self-examination. We were given a sort of catechism for self-examination before going to confession, based on the ten commandments but more detailed and updated for modern times. When I was trying to address this with my husband (he was not brought up to self-examine), I tried to find something on the web to point him to, but didn't come up with much. I ended up coming up with something for him myself. Unfortunately this was many years and several computers ago, so I don't have it anymore, and of course he has lost it, too -- but it did help some at the time. My husband is never going to be as proficient at it as I was taught to be, but he is now capable of doing some self-examination.
There is a self-examination catechism similar to what I got as a child at http://www.penitents.org/examconscience.htm , and supposedly also a better one (more modern) in Scott Hahn's book "Lord, Have Mercy" (in the appendix) -- I cannot vouch for the latter, I have not looked at it myself but have been told it's very good. There's a fairly detailed one based on the ten commandments (that I think goes a little overboard in spots) at http://www.beginningcatholic.com/catholic-examination-of-conscience.html. There's a set of questions with a different angle at http://www.penitents.org/examconscience.htm. These might at least form a starting place for self-examination. Even though some of the questions relate specifically to the christian faith, many of them are appropriate for good behavior in our society in general. Please note, this is not an endorsement of these websites or their opinions -- I just feel that there are some useful questions at these sites.
When I put the questions together for my husband, I left out the ones that related directly to a supreme being, since I'm not really sure that my spouse believes in one, and added some questions about treatment of family and about fair behavior and double-standards. I suggested to him that he put aside a half hour at the end of each day, at least at the outset, to go through the questions and really reflect (and to not always start with the first question, since a half hour might not be enough time to get through the whole list!). I also suggested that he periodically do "reality checks" with other family members to see whether they would agree with his answers.
If anybody else knows of a ready-made such resource, please chime in! Melissa, or Ned???
Submitted by BreadBaker on
Oh, it would be wonderful to see a self-examination checklist for ADDers. Perhaps one for non-ADDers living with ADDers would be a good idea as well. What a wonderful way to see if you're making any progress, and have a true understanding of how you're affecting the lives of those around you.
Submitted by newfdogswife on
I'll second that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
a theory on how men see their ADHD
Submitted by Dan on
Hi, I'm a male with ADHD, here is my discussion thread: http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/find-volunteer-slapper-your-husband-and-reason
My theory of men understanding their ADHD is "birds of a feather, flock together". Men have common and like minded friends and peers around them. I have an college education, own a business, a good worker, and think I'm relatively smart. So are all my friends. For years, I just couldn't figure out, why are my friends doing better than I am, either in career, finances or in marriage/love or just plain happiness? With a guys common competitiveness among other men, it kind of bothered me... I knew something wasn't right. Therefore, when I finally discovered at age 42 I have ADHD, it was like a lightning bolt. Hey, I figured it out! So I willfully accepted ADHD and confronting it head-on. I'm going to tackle my ADHD, so I can he happy again, satisfied and proud of my future accomplishments that my college buddies have enjoyed the last 20 years. I have some catching up to do, so I don't have time to waste... Hey, I have ADHD... build a bridge and get over it!
Therefore, if the ADHD man in your life doesn't have drive or doesn't have good and successful friends and peers to start getting his competitive juices going to fix his problem, he won't fix them, he won't even admit his problem. Are his friends good husbands or good peers? Are their wives happy? Men are competative, so he's going to compare himself to his peers with equal beginnings. He needs to get aggressive with his ADHD and fight it head-on. He needs something to get him "fighting HIS OWN problem". It is NOT a true man to fight a women, it is a true man to fight and change himself. That's how I look at my ADHD and I'm feel great knowing that my inner enemy won't hold me back anymore and I'll plan to beat it every time it pops it's ugly head. ADHD has bad traits but has good traits too. I control the bad and shine with the good... men just need to accept their ADHD and learn how to use it for their family's benefit. It's not easy, but with therapy and time... a smart man can do anything he puts his sound mind to. If he then still chooses not to... well... then he's truly lost.
reply to Dan's theory on how men see their ADHD
Submitted by newfdogswife on
All of your comments are great and I just want to let you know that my prayers are with you, too, in your situation. Unfortunately, I can never remember my ADHD husband ever having an honest to goodness real close friend. Any peers that crossed his path, I believe just intimidated him after awhile..... He would befriend someone for a small amount of time, get bored or maybe too comfortable and then go on to someone else. It seems like it has been that way ever since I've known him. Most of those people would be more successful than us and when we would talk about their successes and how we wished we had successes, also, that is all it ever amounted to, talk. Here we are today still more or less struggling to make ends meet, even after his diagnosis almost three years ago. In therapy and on medication but still no real progress. He is a smart man without a sound mind and I do think he is truly lost. I hate it for him but he just can't seem to dig himself out of a deep, deep hole.
maybe he is not ADD, or has another disorder
Submitted by Dan on
Then maybe he's not truly ADD or may have it, but something else too. From https://www.additudemag.com/index.html/ We all know the BAD traits, but below are the GOOD traits of ADD... does he have at least a greater than 50% majority of these? I have 22 of the 24, many are things my wife admits she first fell in love with... we never lose these traits but the BAD traits eventually override the GOOD in a ADD/ADHD marriage.
1. Insomnia makes for more time to stay up and surf the net!
2. The drive of HYPERFOCUS.
4. A sparkling PERSONALITY.
5. Generosity with money, time, and resources.
7. A strong sense of what is FAIR.
8. Willingness to take a RISK.
9. Making far-reaching analogies that no one else understands.
11. Possessing the mind of a Pentium—with only 2 MBs of RAM.
12. Pleasant and constant surprises due to finding clothing (or money or spouses) you had forgotten about.
13. Being FUNNY.
14. Being the last of the ROMANTICS.
15. Being a good conversationalist.
16. An innately better understanding of intuitive technologies, such as computers or PDAs.
17. Honestly believing that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
18. Rarely being satisfied with the status quo.
21. Joining the ranks of artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and other creative types.
22. Always being there to provide a different PERSPECTIVE.
23. Willingness to fight for what you believe in.
24. Excellence in MOTIVATING OTHERS.
reply to Dan
Submitted by newfdogswife on
He is classic ADHD. He used to be full of these GOOD traits, still does maintain a few but as he has gotten older, the BAD traits are, by far, outweighing the GOOD. Thanks for the list. For a moment, it brought back a few GOOD memories........
Submitted by BreadBaker on
My husband used to have a number of these qualities, but they've been absent for years. I really miss him, and what he was like, once upon a time. I wish he hadn't let the monster called ADD strangle the life out of our marriage, and hypnotize him into thinking that it's all everyone else's fault.
Sad for the truly lost, but . . .
Submitted by BreadBaker on
This prompts for me a big question: Once the ADD has been diagnosed, and the ADD spouse is seeking the proper treatment, how long do you wait to see what's going to happen? Six months? Six years? There's not a universally applicable answer, I know, but it's so very frustrating for the non-ADD spouse. You don't want to throw in the towel on what could be a good marriage, but you don't want to throw years of your life into a hopeless cause either. If the ADDer isn't going to take responsibility for himself, the non-ADDer is going to spend her life making 90% of the effort. Now, even in a good situation, the non-ADD spouse may be doing that for a while anyway until the therapy begins to "stick" and the realizations set in. But where do you draw the line and just get out?
This is where I am now. We're separated, and I feel as though the threads are breaking, due to lack of communication as much as anything else. I don't know whether I should hang in there, or just cut those that remain and move on. It doesn't help that I don't believe he's with a proper ADD specialist--just a garden-variety psych. I should note that it didn't even occur to this psych, over several years of treatment, that ADD was even an option (it had to be pointed out to her by others), and she actually made things worse. But he likes going to her, so what can you do. I can't *make* him see a proper doctor, and I can't *make* him see the problems in our marriage for what they were: a natural outgrowth of his ADD, which isn't his fault, but it's his responsibility to be the one who primarily deals with it. I'm there for him if he sees a proper doctor and works towards wanting to fix the marriage . . . but I can't make him do this, and I'm having a tough time deciding when to give up that this will ever happen, and just move on.
call or write his doctor
Submitted by Dan on
Perhaps write a letter, email his doctor this Web site forum, or call and leave a voicemail or something with his therapist doctor. Tell the doctor your feelings, your concerns, what to look for, what to get thru to him about, etc. The doctor cannot share with you his answers, but the doctor could at least dig into areas to help save his marriage, IF he wants it saved. I agree that these therapist doctors, while meaning well, can only do little in their 1 hour a week, and they only get 1/2 the story. A doctor should have the full story or both sides of what's going on, so isn't it best for you to help the doctor's client? Men don't tell their general physician everything during an annual checkup, so do you think he tells his psych everything? I wish I could get my wife to open her thoughts up with my psychologist, she's refuses at this point. Call his doctor, see what she's willing to hear from you in confidence.
Hi everybody. I just wanna
Submitted by Lost1972 on
Hi everybody. I just wanna thank everybody that have been taking part in the discussions in the forum the last few days, sharing their thoughts and experiences. It has been a real eye opener for me and explained so many things that have puzzled me in regard to my ADD spouse. The totally different realities, way of thinking and behaviour. I've been reading all your comments under the threads that have been recently updated, again and again and again...Because it has been a revelation for me.
Upto this week I had mainly been reading the posts from Melissa. I entered the forum in the beginning of the week and wow...
I have to say that you Arwen are just amazing, truely. And I really take my hat off for you Dan for sharing your life experience with us and giving me, as an none ADD/ADHD spouse the the insight of an ADHD spouse. Thank you for that.
I've been trying to talk to my ADD spouse about his responsibility to deal with it. Frankly, I have had very little results. My spouse has though made a positive step and will start seeing a doctor next week. I'm the type of person that doesn't nag. I try to encourage, I try to make gentle comments until I just get fed up and I just TOTALLY EXPLODE (a couple of times a year, maybe). And let me tell you, it is not good! Until about 3 years ago, when I exploded, I used to say really nasty things in the sense I told my spouse exactly how incompetent and utterly useless he was. The last 3 years, I still get totally fed up a couple of times a year and I EXPLODE, but I don't say nasty things like that. I've rather tried to tell him (while exploding) how his behaviour is effecting me, that I feel that he is being unreasonable. There and then we have the clash of realities that we talked about earlier. My spouse just usually says that he is waiting to get treatment and that he can't do anything else in the meantime. He was diagnosed not long ago and I know that this will take time and effort. But it seems that I'm the one doing the researching, trying to get to know more about ADD, what are other peoples experiencing etc. My spouse seems to put all his trust in the doctor, that he is going to see. Somehow, after doing alot of reading on this website the past week, I'm just not sure that is enough - for me. I feel that he is very so much far from realizing or trying to realize what ADD is, how it is effecting him and us. It kind of feels like it is forbidden to talk about it.
I read a really good input from Melissa in the forum in the thread "Demoralized -- Too Little, Too Late? (My 1st Post)" (see here http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/demoralized-too-little-too-late-my-1st-post#comment-4809), were she adresses the responsibility of the ADD / ADHD spouse. My ADD spouse is very clever and good at talking, can twist things around endlessly. That has not helped me in trying to adress the ADD issue and his reponsibility. Here are a few quots to Melissas comment, about the ADD / ADHD spouses responsibilty:
- Without work on symptoms, nothing changes
- He needs to get those symptoms (distraction, lack of motivation, perhaps low self-esteem) under control. That's his responsibility as a partner in the marriage.
- "Your ADD symptoms of distraction and seeming lack of motivation are ruining our marriage. I understand you have ADHD, but unless you show measurable improvement in changing these symptoms I can't stay with you."
- Even with treatment, people with ADD don't turn into people without ADD. Treating ADD is all about learning how to minimize and/or get around symptoms.
This just really sums up for me the responsibility of ADD / ADHD spouse.
We live in a small community in which there isn't much experience in dealing with ADD. My spouse is also diagnosed with other disorders often accompanying ADD / ADHD .
My spouse regards getting medication as "the last straw" and says that years of failure in almost everything that my spouse has tried to do, resulting in a low selfesteem that he regards (almost) beyond repair, makes him think in this way (I've pointed out to him many times, that there is alot of info on the internet about positive things that can be done, other than medication, e.g. putting up schedules / plans to divide the responsibility of running a household; exercise; diet etc. without ANY luck). Having this in mind I simply do not see the possiblity of him taking active part in our household or attending shcool (is enrolled in university and hasn't attended it this semester). The simplests of tasks (and I really mean that) do not get done. I've even wondered, if there is the possiblity that he may be "playing" with my co-dependence (I'm a very co-dependent person), i.e. using the crying, the feeling bad, talk of low self esteem etc. in order to not having to (avoiding) make any committment or an effort to change things. Or maybe that is because he is affraid of failing once again. I simply do not know what to do or what to think. I don't know if I believe that there will be any significant change in the future for the better. After reading articles and posts in the forums, which I feel describe my relationship and which I can relate to, I'm just scared of the possibility that years will pass without any significant change and that I will end up as a bitter, angry, recentful person. I probably am that already (we've been together for about 4 years), because at times I really don't even like him. At times (before I started reading this website) I really questioned if "me feeling bad" could be blaimed on his behaviour which didn't make any sense (his ADD, which was diagnosed later), i.e. not being able to do almost anything! Today, I know that I'm entitled to my feelings - these feelings, and that the ADD is the contributing factor. My spouse, upto recently only felt that I was belitteling him - undermining his self esteem etc. when adressing the ADD issues. Said that people had been telling / asking him to change, all his life and that he didn't want to change. Now he tends to cry if we have a talk about his ADD, feels worthless, incompetent, questions my love and wonders how on earth I can or want to be with him. He says that he is at the point of giving up. Due to this, as I described, I really don't know if there is even a possiblity that things will change. I don't know what I can expect as a result from him seeing a doctor, but I believe if anything positive comes out of it (assuming that he will go and see the doctor on a regular basis to get some treatment) that it will take a long time. I don't really know how much more of this I can or want to endure anymore. I would really like to ask your advice on what to do, as a course of action. I feel that I need a plan that I can work with, something that gives me direction and hope. I wonder whether it could be an option to e.g. decide on giving it 2-3 months and then to re-evaluate. I.e. to see if he will see the doctor and whether there will be any positive change. If he stops going to the doctor or seeking other treatment the doctor advices, to then propose to move out, get my own place to stay, while he makes up his mind if he is ready and willing to adress the ADD issues and witness him taking some steps in that direction. Also, I would like to ask for your advice on what I myself could / should do, for myself, e.g. "setting personal boundaries", or..... I feel the advice given in the link above really is a great advice on how to ask for commitment for adressing the ADD issues. But I really wonder if my spouse, could handle such an approach, whether simply he is balanced enough to take it as a plea for commitment and work on his behalf to save our relationship. I fear that it will just be interpretated as a threat for leaving.
I feel that I'm running out time and patience and that I need a plan to work with, before I/everything just simply falls apart.
ADD can be depressing, meds can help
Submitted by arwen on
Lost, there's so much in your post, I can't respond to all of it. But I think the real core of your situation is that your husband is so very reluctant to go on medication for his ADD, it sounds like he thinks that if he takes meds, it's a sign of another failure. I think there's a good chance he might feel differently about a lot of things if he could get on the meds. My husband was also reluctant to take medication when he was diagnosed. I don't know if my experience can help you, but maybe it's worth a try.
I told him that his having ADD was not very different from my having asthma. I have lungs that don't work normally, and he has a brain that doesn't work normally. If I don't take my allergy and asthma medications, I will have problems breathing, which will affect my stamina and my brain to a degree, and I wouldn't be able to do some things. If he didn't take meds for his ADD, he would continue to have problems thinking and noticing and remembering, which could have a variety of very undesirable effects, like the traffic accidents he'd been having. I didn't consider myself a failure because I couldn't make my lungs work normally without my meds, and he shouldn't see himself as a failure because he couldn't make his brain work normally without meds. It wasn't my fault that I had asthma, and it wasn't his fault that he had ADD. Neither of us had asked for it, we were just stuck with it, and had to deal with it the best way we could.
My husband agreed to try medication and went on Ritalin, which helped many aspects of his ADD, but as it helped him see his situation more clearly, he began to get very depressed about it. So the doctor also added Prozac, which helps with depression and apparently often also can help boost or complement the Ritalin in some kind of synergistic way I'm afraid I don't really understand as well as I'd like. This combination proved very effective. At first, I still heard a lot of "I can't" from my husband when I knew he could (because I'd actually seen him do whatever he was saying he couldn't!), but I just kept trying to find tools or methods that would help him turn "I can't" into "I can". But there is no way any of it would have worked without both meds.
My husband still gets depressed at times when he is grappling with some of his ADD issues, but at this stage we've both learned how to deal with it better and it usually doesn't last very long. His counseling is also very helpful in this regard, and I would also strongly recommend that.
As far as how much time and effort it may take goes, that's a very individual thing. My husband also suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which we didn't realize for a long time, which caused a lot of setbacks in his progress. Since he's been on treatments for his SAD, the progress has been better. But as a result, it's taken us 15 years to get where we are now. And generally speaking, the less a counselor knows about ADD, the longer the progress may take. Although the medications often help certain kinds of problems fairly quickly (e.g. memory), they can't normalize the brain physiology completely, and they can't change whatever inappropriate behaviors your spouse has developed over the years. I would be surprised if your spouse were able to make significant behavioral changes in only 2-3 months -- these are habits acquired over a lifetime. A normal person needs three or four weeks to establish a new habit -- a person with ADD, even on meds, is probably going to need more time.
Regarding your present feelings towards your spouse, I understand all too well, and sympathize. There was a l-o-n-g period of time when I did not like my spouse, either. There was even a short period of time when I very actively hated him. But that was before I understood how his mind actually worked -- I was still expecting him to be normal and rational and I was furious with him that he was not. I stayed in my marriage because of my children. It forced me learn to understand him, for their sake. It's definitely not something I would have chosen to do. The stress of those years was hideous. (Which is why I hope so very much that my experiences and what I learned can help others avoid all that!)
As far as the advice in Melissa's blog about an ADD-spouse's responsibilities is concerned, I agree with it completely, but if I had felt the need to say those things to my spouse, I would have accompanied them with the preface, "I love you and I really would rather stay married to you than break up, but ...". Frankly, as long as you make it clear that you really don't *want* to leave, but you feel you *have* to if he doesn't accept his responsibilities, I really don't see what's wrong with him perceiving it as a threat. Several years ago, my husband and I separated for almost a year, and while it was not directly about him failing to take responsibility, I still said pretty much the same thing as what I've suggested to you.
You're at a difficult, important time in your life and in your relationship -- I urge you to be patient and take the time you need to make a decision that will be right for you. Good luck, my prayers are with you!
wish I could, but . . .
Submitted by BreadBaker on
It's more complicated than that, unfortunately. My husband's therapist has, as far as I know, no experience in treating ADD. In fact, she did quite a bit to make things worse. She *severely* misjudged the situation--both as regards him and me--supplied some rather bad advice on the basis of that misjudgment, and put him on medication that is counter-indicated for ADD (which made him MUCH worse).
My husband has what has been described by my therapist (who *does* have experience treating ADD) as a "textbook" case. She could see this in my descriptions of his behavior, before she even met him. When she finally did meet him, there was no doubt at all in her mind that he had ADD.
So, the problem isn't in contacting his therapist . . . it's that his therapist isn't able to help him, or us, even so. He's just with the wrong person. He really needs to get a proper ADD specialist, whether we're going to salvage this marriage or not.
That said, he's so convinced of what a complaining, verbally abusive person I am that he has *no* wish to save the marriage. Being accused of all sorts of horrible things that I was pretty sure I didn't say and do sent me into a psychological tailspin. It took *weeks* of therapy and many heart-to-heart discussions with close friends and family members for me to finally understand internalize that I wasn't what he said I was.
I'm pretty close to giving up on him and the marriage and just filing for divorce. This is a lost cause until he hits his "ah-ha!" moment, and I don't think that's ever going to happen.
All of my friends and therapist are after me to cut all ties, get the divorce, and move on. Every day, I'm closer to that, but sadder about the life that my husband and I lost.
Meds can help...
Submitted by Lost1972 on
Arwen, sorry for the confusing input from me. I had been writing one reply to a comment on the site and then a post to put on the website, but ended up combining them :)
The problem isn‘t that my spouse won‘t try medication. He believes that seeing a doctor and getting medication is his last hope. Remember, he was only diagnosed a few months ago. He says that years of failure in almost everything that he has tried to do makes him think that medication is the ONLY way to help him. That he can‘t do anything to „improve“ himself before he gets medication. As with others in this forum I do everything, i.e. work, shopping, cleaning, cooking, pick up our kids from school. He doesn‘t do anything. We‘ve been together around 4 years, and in that time he has not been able to hold down a regular job (probably worked 4 – 5 jobs for a total of 8 – 12 months in that period).
After reading articles and posts in the forums, which I feel describe my relationship and which I can relate to, I'm just scared of the possibility that years will pass without any significant change. I‘m seeing people write in here which seem to have been dealing with this upto 40 years! I‘m just so fed up with all of this after 4 years. I don‘t like my life. I don‘t even like myself anymore. I have no idea who I am, other than the person that tries to hold everything together by working, cooking, cleaning, thinking about our kids.
The core of what I was trying to say was that eventhough he will start to see a doctor this week and hopefully gets meds that will help, I somehow after doing alot of reading on this website the past week, am just not sure that is enough for me. Why? Because I feel that he is so very far from realizing or trying to realize what ADD is and how it is effecting him, us, me (the reality thing again). I don't really know how much more of this I can or want to endure anymore. It‘s like you said, you stayed in your marriage because of your children and the stress of those years was hideous.
I therefore feel that I need a simple plan to work with, something that gives me hope and direction. E.g. seeing if he goes to the doctor to start with. If he stops seeing the doctor in the next 3 – 4 months, which I fear (I actually fear that he won‘t go), to then use the arguments that Melissa wrote about, i.e. the ADD-spouse's responsibilities. Further, to then propose to move out (using the wording you & Melissa proposed), get my own place to stay, while he makes up his mind if he is ready and willing to adress the ADD issues and witness him taking some steps in that direction (e.g. seeking treatment). I feel that moving out would be a better option than threatning to leave, since that would require him to do something more drastic if he wants us to have the possibility to stay together. I simply can‘t and don‘t want to spent months and years waiting for him to start working on his ADD issues. The simple fact of the matter is that it would be much easier for me to be alone with our kids, if he doesn‘t drastically improve, and most definitely I would be happier.