I just found this resource though Dr Hallowell's books are the backbone of our ADD library. Some of the feelings I'm reading sound SOO familiar, though I have to appreciate that my situation is not nearly so extreme as what many of you are facing. My heart sincerely goes out to everyone in the ADD predicament.
8 years ago I married THE ONE for me. Awesome guy in every respect and focused on our relationship (even when it was only a friendship) to a very flattering degree. As many of you have experienced, this focus changed a couple years into our marriage hurt my feelings quite a bit. Other than that, which we dealt with through both healthy communication and some angry fights (which sometimes seem the only way to make him genuinely aware of a situation), things went pretty smoothly until about 3 years ago. My husband describes the phases of our marriage as "Man this is a blast" to "A few things we could work on to be a more successful couple" to "things that NEED to be worked on now" to finally hitting "WHY AREN"T THESE THINGS WE'VE DISCUSSED OVER AND OVER EVER GETTING DONE?!!??!?"
His reason was always "I don't know" when I asked him why he wasn't following through with a plan we made together. Man he was relieved to read that Dr Hallowell feels "I don't know" is a valid answer for an ADD person--he'd probably feel more relieved if I agreed with Dr Hallowell better :) My anger & disappointment built steadily, and it vented at him loudly when he failed ONCE AGAIN to do what he had agreed to (possibly because he cheerfully agrees to everything asked by anyone). No human could follow through on it all, but the idea of saying NO and disappointing someone seemed insurmountable to him. To this day he can't explain why saying YES and disappointing ppl by not following through feels more acceptable to him....
His only answer after the same discussions and arguments over and over was perhaps something was wrong with him. Now I am married to a HIGHLY functioning ADD person, he has no hyperactivity so many ppl still don't believe him when he says he even has ADD, he is extremely intelligent, and I had taken mental health classes and he didn't fit the symptoms of anything I had read about; so I didn't put much stock in maybe he had "something wrong". He just seemed to be a person who enjoyed fun things more than unfun things. Welcome to the human race--suck it up. I finally told him that I was sick of hearing the same old "maybe" thing and if he really thought something could be wrong, go to the doctor, figure it out, but for heaven's sake DO SOMETHING about it. It seemed like he didn't understand the toll that his unreliability was taking on our marriage and my ability to count on him. We took stock at the end of a difficult year of arguing, and he finally was motivated to try to figure out why he felt so stuck. He did the research and suggested ADD. I was shocked as he didn't fit my mental image of ADD at all, but boy howdy once you do the research he is sooo ADD.
Long story not too much longer (LOL) he was diagnosed with ADD 2 years ago. He was relieved to find out there was a reason for so many things that seemed inexplicable--he is practically a genius yet flunked out of college because he couldn't/wouldn't bother going to class. No ability or desire to organize himself at all. Naturally he married a woman who LOVES organization. I devoured information on ADD and shared it with him as he didn't seem to want to read the books. We both met with his doctor for the first visit, but afterwards the doctor has only wanted to see him. He recommended a coach (we need a referral for insurance to pay) and he LOVES talking to his coach, but his stinking "coach" is JUST LIKE HIM!! It sounds like an "Oh i do that too" fest every time he talks to him. And though he really enjoys his coach and the validation he feels from meeting with him he actually went 8 months without meeting with him because he kept forgetting the appts and then once you are out of the rotation it's very difficult getting back in. I'm irritated because I thought a coach was supposed to be helping him develop tricks and routines to cope with his ADD, but it sounds like he just sympathizes and maybe then tells him one thing to work on. Which frequently he DOESN"T work on and when he sheepishly confesses this to the doctor, he tells him "yeah I'm not surprised. Especially once you missed a couple appts I knew it wasn't going to happen" Please tell me coaching is supposed to be more productive than this!!!
I swear in the beginning no non-ADD spouse could have been more supportive than I was, but we are 2 year into this process and I feel like almost no change has taken place. I think he wanted the pills to be majic bullet and that he wasn't going to have to put any work into it himself. My patience is fast fading. I do not expect this to ever not be part of our lives, and we honestly have ourselves some great laughs about it at times, but so often it feels like he isn't trying at all. He genuinely thinks that THINKING about making a change counts as trying. Ok fine in the beginning count thinking and organizing yourself as trying, but 2 years later is he still THINKING about it??? I mean I bring perfectionism to the table which I know is no picnic for him, and he seldom complains; but I feel the difference is that I am actively working on it.
His doctor isn't the greatest of communicators, but he makes suggestions that my husband agrees are good ideas but they are not implemented. His "coach" has made some suggestions. They are mostly not followed. 2 years later and we're still working on "write down your committments as you agree to them" and I bet a full 30-40% are not being written down. Fortunately I have a great memory, and our schedules are not extremely different, so I'm mostly able to keep up with both our schedules, but IRL I am a secretary for an ADHD woman so I don't want to come home and continue the frustration. He doesn't have to follow along behind me making sure my part gets done (and my part as all you nonADD family members know is FAR MORE than my fair share).
I didn't mind it so much when it felt like this was part of what I was doing to help our family function as a team, but at one point I was in full on Mommy mode which was affecting our intimacy. I've let that attitude go for the most part, but the things I don't follow up on often fall by the wayside. Yes I am a nag at times and yes I hate it. But I feel forced into this position. I feel like I have tried SOO many things. When a project comes up, I let him set the due date and promise not to bring it up until that date has passed with the project still undone--just allows more projects to accumulate undone as far as I can see. And I am that much angrier it is still undone.
He had gotten to where he was hardly helping with housework at all, which was NOT AT ALL the deal he agreed to when we got married because we;re both gone a minimum of full time, but at least for a few months at a time I appeal to his competitve nature by assigning points to the FLY LADY missions and competing with my mother to see who can get more done at home. He loves helping rack up the points, so it keeps our house in decent shape.
He hates that i get so mad about these things, but i read in a book somewhere about how the ADD person at times will button-push his mate to cause the angry reaction which then provides him with the adrenaline rush to get things done. Like he just can't get started on his own. I believe 100% he does this to me, (once i start yelling he starts scurrying around doing all his unfinished projects but then he is resentful that I am harsh with him and i am exhausted). It just flat out offends me. We've discussed it and he can see that he likely does it, but since it's unconscious he doesn't seem to feel there is much he can do but say he is sorry when it happens. And "try to remember" not to allow his subconscious to do it. I can see how that feels overwhelming when you can't get past "write down your committments", but I can't tell you how tired I am of "I'm sorry". What the heck good does that do without action to keep it from happening again?
This thing has so many darned tentacles, where do you grab it to work the steps to a "good enough" routine. He'll admit that he isn't there yet, but meanwhile he'll forget his doctor appts, double book our weekend evenings, and act paralyzed to get past square 1. How how how do we move this forward???