Struggling, and Have Been For Years - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Struggling, and Have Been For Years

Its18
Its18

Hi, I am 43. I have never posted before,I have always hid personal issues and tried to just go with the flow. I’m married (19 years)and have 3 teenage children. Too say my relationship has been a roller coaster is an understatement. I was “officially” diagnosed about 3 years ago, which has been challenging with self doubt, denial and a non-adhd spouse who hates “excuses”. So, you can only imagine the amount of broken promises, mistrust, hurt and blame that has happened. Our issues started early in our marriage, for me it always seemed to be about money and trying to provide for my growing and not ever having enough which in turn let to stress, being overwhelmed, emotionally shutting down, frustration and anger. As you could probably guess these are still all happening. So the years have had ups and downs. My spouse has always been able to express herself, where I have always been afraid, so the amount of miss communication or no communication, being talked at, talked down to and told “it’s your fault...” is a lot which has lead to frustration and anger. Long story, my spouse is hurt, angry and bitter, rightfully so. A few years of bouncing around Therapys, TMS, different medications and not researching adhd with no success, I am told that all I need is to get to the root of my issues which is causing my “anger” and threats of “divorce”(which infuriates me) and if you really loved me you would let me go be happy. All I ever wanted to do/be is happy and provide for my family which isn’t really the case I guess. I want to try to keep my family together and when I mention maybe my adhd has been big part of the issue. It get blown off as an excuse.

Not really sure what my point was just need to ramble and let some of these feelings out. Thank you.

13 Replies
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Better out than in.its so difficult when you're living with someone who just never can fathom ADHD as a problem,I think lots of people in this world would think that anyone mentioning ADHD as being a problem,would think that you're making excuses for your "errors",it's a childhood thing and a very miniscule problem.If you can give your missus some comprehensive literature on how it's real and how it can take over and destroy your life.If she doesn't understand the inns and outs of this "disease",then she's always going to look down on you.Then that'll cause you more mental turmoil.If you can convince your wife that you really need your wifes' help with this,it's going to help lessen the stress you're feeling and hopefully she'll also understand why the things that are irritating her are happening.Best of luck,I wish you both an amicable solution.

Thank you for the reply, it is going to be challenging since she feels she had worked so hard to get me help and “fix” me and that I’m “selfish” and continue to make those “choices”.

I have a husband in your position you have a reason to rant. He is your age and after more than a dozen years of being in a relationship I realize how wrong I was about my expectations. I expected he would to others as he would have done to himself. He is not making excuses, he has offered ADHD as the reason:

He struggles to be accountable for feeding the children on any routine, being available to help them prepare for school, do daily homework, or get ready for bed at the same time because the pressure to be consistent is too overwhelming for him and he shuts down. He has left the children unattended and in unsafe situations where people got hurt more than a handful of times when he was the "adult supervising" because he distracted by something and they way it felt in his hands. His compulsive behavior has led to him using pornography on home devices where our kids might see it.

He would not turn in insurance paperwork for his employer-provided insurance for 5 years or pay the unpaid portions, so our kids did not get the medical care they needed in timely manners. He will not manage his time with a watch or timer because it interrupts his creativity flow. He has unintentionally invited rodent invasions by leaving dishes with food in our RV, our storage unit, and in his lunch bags for months at a time because he was getting back to it. He feels that consistently being asked to use a checklist is insulting his intelligence.

He prefers to do work around the house on demand; he has explained to me that routine is boring, and preventative is not relevant. I used to be a seasonal tax professional, but because he cannot help file taxes that part of my career is regularly delayed or interrupted.

He reminds me that his ADHD keeps him from opening any mail for 6 months at time or putting anything in a filing cabinet or a file folder or on a table in the office. We have received default judgments for bills he hid from himself or just forgot to mention. He parks vehicles registered to me in illegal places and loses track of the parking tickets, when I find out about them, I owe $300-500 apiece and a couple dozen of those tickets in just a couple years really does add up considering he works part-time and one ticket can be more than his weekly paycheck. Naturally, ADHD is a barrier to him stating he was the driver of the vehicle at the time because of the anxiety of being in trouble he experiences so he allows the fines to stack up in my name, not his.

When it comes to coordinating his mental health care, he does not see why should get the Release of Information between his providers every time he changes providers. He has yet drafted his own treatment plan. He is unable to tell me the severity of his disorder despite having worked with handfuls of providers and does not invite me to be involved in his treatment. We live together but he lists old childhood friends thousands of miles away on his crisis treatment plan with his medication provider yet does not remember to let those old buddies know he put their names on his safety plan.

Mostly a silent brooding type, he does not usually say unkind words, but he when he explodes, he forgets his surroundings and perceives me as a threat and it does not take much for him to knock me down. He reminds me not to speak to him harshly for he is not a child, and he can remember things that are important that we have talked about.

When asked why he makes choices, he does not know; he only knows that it felt right at the time. He is just as frustrated as you and has been saying to me that he is ready to give up because nothing he ever does is good enough for me. I can see why he is discouraged; he does not have the understanding wife he deserves while he suffers silently with ADHD.

I am a woman veteran who has been through some mud and on the other side of that service, I have migraines and a degenerative tissue disease, so picking up after him daily can cause mild paralysis and severe pain. I have asked my spouse to hire a little extra help around the home, but he considers that an insult to his potential to make progress.

Much like the wife of the original poster, I want to experience more freedom from the impact of disease and have something to look forward to; doesn’t everyone?

I was involved with mental health consumer advocacy as a teacher and a parenting coach before I met my husband, but that did not lend me any credibility. Even my project management expertise was no match for the influence of crisis in the life of my spouse. I learned the hard way that ADHD can remain unseen until you get intimately involved; if you choose to be married to someone with ADHD, you are accepting to be held liable for their choices and will experience their legal consequences. Try telling a person suing you that it was your spouse's chronic ADHD that led to an asset in your name being mishandled.

The worst part is between his mental illness and my physical sickness, our kids have to come up with their own routines and coping strategies in isolation all too often when neither parent is really available.

What advice is there for the children who are living in the shadows of their parents' issues while trying to develop healthy choices and strong habits for themselves?

Its18
Its18 in reply to 2020survivor

2020survivor, I want to thank you for service and your perspective, I appreciate it. I am sorry for struggles and you are able to get through it. I have been a first responder since 16y/o and fortunately that it is my career for the last 19. I absolutely love my job, which you can imagine has brought its own issues like stress and stuffing feelings. I am lucky that I have had some success at work which has lead to some resentment from my spouse like you can keep your shit together at work or you would do that at work, which has lead to self doubt, denial and a depression of not being able to “get my shit together at home” to some extent. I was lucky, yet not that I have been able to do things as my spouse would say housekeeper stuff. Just emotionally distant or absent. I really appreciate you words. Good luck.

Deetermined
Deetermined in reply to Its18

It's wonderful that you found a profession which matches your skills and in which you thrive. I fully get it that it can be difficult for neurotypical people to understand that the ADHD brain is interest-based and that it might be easy for us to focus on one task for hours while not being able to remember or start or finish another task which in their eyes might be much easier. Until I finally got diagnosed in my 30s I thought of myself as being lazy and not having any discipline. I had to educate myself about ADHD to transform this picture and to understand myself. There are books and certainly also support groups out there for partners of people with ADHD. Maybe your spouse would be interested in that? It also might help to have a specialist explaining her the condition so she knows that things like bad work memory or difficulties with time management are really a thing for people like us. And maybe you can think about quick fixes together for things which often lead to arguments. For example, if you tend to forget your keys at home you could stick a note "Do you have your keys?" somewhere you see it on your way out etc. All the best for the two of you!

I am sorry to hear what you are going through. While I know first hand how debilitating ADHD symptoms can be, I do think that it is important to take responsibility for my own actions and to not use the condition as an excuse for hurting people around me, be it physically, emotionally or financially. Obviously I don't know you and your husband and don't know how strong the bond is between you but if both of you are committed to stay together maybe it would be good to visit an ADHD coach or marriage counsellor together who could support you with finding solutions and could also advise how each of you can support your children to the best of your abilities or might be able to signpost you to other services.

Sending you a side hug and a fist bump 👊. I’m 42 and understand every word. I’ve only been diagnosed for 1/2 year but my family situation is similar.

After reading a marriage post here, I’m listening to the audio book “The ADHD effect on marriage “ (because I never actually finish reading a book) and encouraging my wife to as well. It seems very helpful so I recommend it if you haven’t already read books on this topic.

I don’t have any other advice to give but hear you and wish you a truck load of strength to keep on pushing to make things better.

It's brave to write these posts and share your thoughts and situations. I was diagnosed when I was 35 (it was the best day of my life)...I never married nor had children and I never really understood why..I just felt 'it wasn't for me' at a VERY organic level. I dated a lot but never really to this day have had a 'long-healthy' relationship - only one for about 5 years and it was troublesome because I did not understand what was going on and did not have the maturity I have now. (I'm 58)...I don't have any regrets and accept my decision to not get married /have kids because I knew at some deep level it would not be a good situation for anyone involved and these posts from 2020Survivor and the original gentleman who posted only validate my 'gut' ...as a women it may manifest differently than a man in terms of being responsible for domestic chores, child care but I knew (and still do) that if I had children even though I'm super responsible with what was going on inside me it was too risky and I did not trust myself enough and really don't doubt this mistrust today. I am best 'alone'. I do best as a 'transient- transnational ' individual - I am great for a short period of time then it all falls apart. I am too true and authentic to fool myself so getting married and having children just seem so uncomfortable to me at a very deep level in my 20's/30's so I simply did not pursue these BIG life milestones. I continue to feel 'sad' about this as so many traditional experiences are missed - engagement parties, weddings, showers, travelling with a consistent partner, buying a house together, watching children grow up, graduation, their weddings...NONE OF THIS...it's been a rather quiet life but I made it up in other ways that felt right and did not impact others to any big degree like the posts above...it just did not seem fair or right to get married and drive someone crazy and not be a good/responsible parent and have life a CONSTANT struggle...day after day - every hour of the day because ADHD follows you everywhere - it does NOT go away ever...you just have to learn how to manoeuver through life with it as best you can. CBT is the best but it's hard and expensive. I finally just this past year go into an ADULT ADHD program (government funded) that is unbelievable and they REALLY REALLY understand this diagnosis (on top of having a lot of anxiety as most ADHD diagnosis come with a 2nd diagnosis - mine is general anxiety disorder)...I am NOT making any of this up nor are the 2 gentleman (husbands) in the posts above...it is REAL but there is some level of accountability to yourself, your loved ones, your community to get along with the world and be part of it - participate like a 'normal' person even though it's hard...you cannot ask someone with ADHD to do anything they really do not like to do --yes, it's true - it is almost 'painful'...it's real and please please understand this is a disease and it's a tough one...if you can get it under control in your 20's because today they /the medical /mental health world finally 'get it' and get the proper intervention EARLY on you should and I say should be able to have a healthy and happy life (married/kids) if this is what you want. Your partner HAS TO UNDERSTAND and be patient with you and talk to you in a very very specific way to get you to pivot and do what the society deems as 'normal' behaviour to get along with others day to day...every day is a battle but ADHD adults are often so authentic, true to life, creative, fun and engaging --but it has to be balanced with being able to manage through the mundane - routine --- I could go on and on and on --I have never posted either but I have a lot of experience and knowledge in this area as a female, professional who missed the boat to some degree because no one really understood what was going on and I did not have the tools by my side to get what everyone around me seemed to get -- a real life - a full life - real responsibilities that can lead to beautiful experiences. I do my best now and have found new happiness in a variety of activities that I've figured out make me happy inside and content and a reason to believe (as bruce springsteen would say) Have a great day.

Hopeful888
Hopeful888 in reply to Timster

You've really hit the nail on the head. I'm 42 and finally getting help I desperately needed. Now trying to pick up the pieces of the mass destruction it's caused and move forward. Yes, I knew I had ADHD, didn't see it as a huge issue until life was unbearable at 28. Still took 14 more yrs to find a physician to listen. Never thought there was any other way other than medication. The things I didn't see. Thank you for sharing the thoughts I've experienced.

Hi I have had similar issues being married to someone with severe ADHD amd having inattentive type adhd my self. I work hard and earn a decent living as a nurse so I do a lot of things to lighten my load at home which helps my marriage. I use a laundry service and have a cleaning crew come to my house. Once a week imagin how great your wife would feel if you just took one area of responsibility from her. Like laundry. I 've learned you cant change other people you can only change yourself. So work on improving your own life perhaps see an ADHD coach they may be able to help you find ways to improve your organization skills Also I listen to podcasts by adhd specialists. There is one called distraction by a psychiatrist who has ADHD himself. My advice is work on your self. Do one thing to lighten your wifes load maybe drop laundry of at the laundromat and bring it back all folded. My husband would try to help me with laundry and it would be a mess he wouldnt fold the cloths properly and I woild find clothes all over the house. Now we drop off it takes alot of pressure off. Good luck

I can be downright difficult with people, because for years I was socially shamed. Often, it is people who cleverly try to show they have been there, done that, have had worse, and then give some insulting pep talk. So, I am rather paranoid and quick to go on the defensive when I think people are trying to push me down and show me that I am just some societal misfit with a bad attitude. No. I have awakened, and I am not going to take putdowns, bullying, and blame.

When I fell in love with my wife and asked her to marry me I remember I set aside a time when I had a serious confession to her of my ADHD. And after twenty years of marriage I would say this— there is no preparing someone for what they are going to deal with, with ADHD. Especially because when I met my wife my career was on an upswing— but I also knew that my ADHD would catch up to me before long.One of the questions I always think about is this; is there really a difference between ADHD and laziness? Or are both of those things essentially a deficiency in Executive function?

And it is a salient point because as a society we are conditioned to condemn laziness, but we are supposed to be understanding of “neurodiversity”. Which ultimately makes ADHD a no win situation...our inability to make a To do list, or even to want to make a list of tasks and feel rewarded by following through is never going to look much different from everything society condemns.

And I think it ultimately gets even harder for AdHD folks because as they age they naturally lose the neuroelasticity that makes them valuable creatively, but retain the lack of executive function.

So yeah, I hear you. I think what I try to do in my relationship is remind myself there was a lot I brought to the table when I was married, and there will one day be upswings again. But it is very hard and I often feel awful for my wife. I mean, I tried to tell her, but some things you just can’t prepare people for.

How about an update! Did your wife go in with you to receive your diagnosis? Is the new understanding helping any. Etc.?

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