Where is that contract I left on the couch 3 weeks ago?

Is this your house?


I just recently discovered this forum and like many of you I am relieved to find that there are so many people in a similar situation to mine and that we can support each other.

My wife is a physician and she has diagnosed herself as ADD. After doing some research, I went from being suspicious that ADD was a made-up condition to really believing that medication for it was my only hope for keeping my sanity. By using this forum I hope to share my struggles and coping strategies and hopefully get some feedback.

One thing I have found is that ADD can present itself in a great number of symptoms that don't all necessarily have to be present in order to fit the criteria of being diagnosed as positive.

When my daughter was born 2 years ago, my mother-in-law moved in with us to help out. I have also come to the realization that she has ADHD which shouldn't come as a surprise since it is hereditary. I was hoping that Nana would help with the share of the housework that my wife was not doing. Instead she rarely lifts a finger and actually just added to my workload while she goes out partying 7 nights a week. I feel like I live with 2 teenagers who just make a mess and don't care and 1 toddler who is pretty similar. I feel like the only adult in the house. Working 9-5 and being virtually a single dad in a household of ADD was killing me. Literally. So I recently changed my career to working from home part-time to give myself enough time to cope with my challenges.

Interestingly, although my wife recently graduated from Med school, I would rarely see her study. For the longest time I couldn't figure out how she got through school. Seven nights a week she would want to go shopping or out to a movie as a way to satisfy her need for stimulation. What I finally realized was that she was staying up until 3 or 4 a.m. (When there was no temptation of movies or shopping). Even though she has graduated she is still terminally sleep deprived but refuses to go to bed early saying she can't. We have an ADD assessment booked for October and I'm hoping the medication will help with this. Having a flexible work schedule also helps me deal with this.

The self-medicating with shopping is insane. We have a 5 bedroom house and every corner is filled with crap. If I try to clean it up, I get accused of hiding things. We have lived in our house for three years and I have never invited my parents over because our house is such a mess. The only coping strategy I have for this is to take items left on the couch or the kitchen counter and place them on the dining room table. Sure I've lost a dining room, but at least there is some semblance of order in the living room and kitchen.

Later today I will be heading off to Disney in Florida. Originally I was dead set against the idea since it is uncomfortably hot in Florida right now and to save money my wife wants to camp (which I hate). I was willing to do virtually anything else for our vacation. So we compromised and we're going camping at Disney. Her argument was it is the only affordable place we can just show up and do whatever we want each day without planning. I'm not sure if this is ADD or just plain old manipulation with tears and divorce threats to get her way.


Pbartender's picture

In our house..."The only

In our house...

"The only coping strategy I have for this is to take items left on the couch or the kitchen counter and place them on the dining room table."

...we find more imaginative places to put persistently errant possessions.  Like the chest freezer in the garage, or the bathtub in the guest bathroom.



wow!! you have your hands full.

the camping and getting up and doing whatever spontaneously is sounding ADHD,,my husband does the same.

Once he was overwhelmed with work,he came home upset yelling and shouting at me telling me that I am not an exciting person and the I don't like to do adventurous things,wow!! I told him that I can't I have to work and that we need to plan a vacation before we hit the road.well,finally we did make that plan,but after he threaten to leave me to have his way......the very same situation.

I believe it's a build up frustration he had form work and he just wanted to get out of it and as I read that ADHD people lives in the (not now) and the (now) time zone,my husband was in the (now)time zone to (go) and then at 3 in the afternoon still in work with no reservations,no bookings,and he was mad that I don't come up with the plans to go on vacations...HMMMMM!! I thought that we was to discuss that before leaving,I have two kids in school and a house hold to run plus a business,hello this is the (now) time zone he was in to LEAVE.I had to tell him to settle down we would go when we could go,but after a few tantrums and mood swings,OMG! may god help me.


I understand

My husband loves to travel. He has come to an exceptance that when we do I will do all the planning. Sometimes it results in him revealing when one option would have been preferable over another, like my choice of Vegas shows, but he knows I am not going to take the time, energy, and money just to go hmmm, what will we do today. As a result, I love traveling as it is the one time I feel I have a say. Our home is full of stuff too. He is very social and loves to be hospitable so I would love to have people over. But it embarrasses me. And that embarrassment makes him mad. But he thinks nothing of people asking me, "why do you have that in your living room?" I really don't feel this is my home and that upsets him too. I was hoping it would change one day but with diagnoses I am seeing that may not happen.

Greetings Raisinbrain, My

Greetings Raisinbrain,

My deepest sympathies go out to you:    ADHD wife, ADHD (live-in!) mother-in-law, young child, wife in the early stages of a medical career.  What an onerous task to deal with all of this.   My experience has been that additional chaos and stress exacerbates ADHD symptoms.  This does not appear to portend a whole lot of good stuff in store for you my friend.

On the plus side, your wife is aware of her symptoms, is medically trained and will comprehend what she is dealing with and ought to be in a good position to seek and find good treatment.    Perhaps her earning capacity will enable you to save (or postpone the loss of) your sanity by outsourcing the extra burdens imposed on you by your household situation.  And maybe treatment will be fabulously successful.

On the other hand, even having Mother Teresa as a live-in mother-in-law would be stressful.  Having one who both adds to the chaos AND constantly reinforces by her own behavior that the ADHD behaviors are appropriate and normal  would seem to be a real inhibitor to your wife learning through cognitive behavioral therapy how to do it differently from how she's always done it.

I've been searching for solutions for the retail therapy/hoarding/crap problem for decades.  The only thing that works for me is getting rid of stuff.

Fortunately, my wife forgets about anything out of sight so giving stuff to charity when she's not looking frequently works.  The best solution we ever had was having a storage unit at a facility, take stuff there surreptitiously and then if not missed in a couple of months, donate to charity.  Notwithstanding my efforts, we live in a huge house that is packed to the gills with clothing from dead people, textbooks from dead people's college careers, enough china for China, etc. etc.   It takes constant vigilance to keep up with it.  I am old and tired of it and it saddens me to see a young man starting off on this ill-fated path.

I wish you the best of luck.