View Full Version : Can My ADHD/OCD Hubby Ever Work Again?

10-24-13, 05:42 AM
It feels like forever since my last thread & so much has changed.

My husband, diagnosed with ADHD & OCD, as well as a mood disorder in January this year, is now relatively stable due to the combination of meds he is on.
He no longer experiences episodes of rage, mainly due to his dose of Ritalin being tweeked. I no longer hold my breath waiting for his next rage, which has been the most amazing & wonderful change in our lives.

On the flip side, he's driving me crazy being at home all the time. He quit his job about 3 years ago now & is not looking at returning to work anytime soon. He is 44 & we have 4 year old twins. He will not volunteer or even consider doing casual work. His social anxiety is debilitating.

I, myself have just started seeing a psychologist to gain some tools in how better to communicate & understand him. Previously I have been resentful & seeing him as a bit lazy or scared of going back to walk. My last visit to the psych suggested I just sit down with him & be honest about my concerns, which were:
I want our twins to have certain things, such as swimming lessons, new clothes instead of second hand.
I want our children to see mum or dad going to work, that is life, not to rely on generous government payments as a means to live.

He wants these things too but tells me he's not ready to go back to work.

So I had this conversation with him & it went terrible. It ended in him going to bed by himself. He just didn't want to talk about it & no matter how I tried to put it he just took it personally as he always does. I was extremely careful not to intentionally make him feel this way.

My next visit with my psych today was a light bulb coming on moment.
She explained to me that living with a person with these conditions is extremely difficult, even with the right meds.
She asked was he sensitive, impulsive, had to be in control, low self esteem, forgetful & self absorbed? Yes, Yes, Yes. I wish I'd written down more of what she said because it was as if she'd spent months with him & understood him completely.
I told her I wanted the man back I met, the one who worked, had friends, went fishing. His ADHD seemed to come to a head when our twins were born which was an extremely stressful time. She said he may never work again, that people with the combination of conditions he has, find it almost impossible to hold down a job & often bounce from one job to another.
I'm not ready or able to go back to work yet until the twins start school at least.

As she's explained to me I need to accept the way our life is & will be indefinitely, or move on without him. I think if the expectation of him having to get a job is removed, our relationship should improve. I'm worried I may resent him some day.
I've done so much research into this so that I can support & understand him & I thought I had a firm grasp on his quirks. But the psych made me understand it even more from an ADHDers point of view as she has counselled many patients with this condition.

So, if you're still reading this, I'd appreciate your opinions please. Do some people with this simply be unable to hold down a secure job? How do I except this is who he is now?

10-24-13, 06:08 AM
So, if you're still reading this, I'd appreciate your opinions please. Do some people with this simply be unable to hold down a secure job? Yes, it's true. It's not universal, but it's one of the possibilities. How do I except this is who he is now?
There's no guarantee that you accept it at all. It's your right to not accept things. What you can't do, in my opinion, would be to say that you accept your husband but you don't accept some of his parts.

Every person has things they are reasonably able to change, and other things that they are not reasonably able to change. Working out between the two of you, what you can and can't change about yourself, and what he can and can't change about himself, might help. (It can be a problem too, though, because he is likely to be over-optimistic and claim to be able to change things that he really can't.)

But the underlying question that your psych already posed to you, which I'll re-phrase in stronger language - "Will you be happy and content to live with him forever the way he is today?" - is a safe place for you to start.

10-24-13, 03:27 PM
The key is you saying things went south when the twins were born....

I can completely relate to that. I was an undiagnosed ADDer until I became a dad. I was moderately successful, and had lots of things going on in my life and plenty of acquaintances.

Having kids completely destroyed my coping strategies. It became wery obvious there was something up with me.

What I found most stressful was the continual low level stress that comes with having kids around.... one was sort of OK... but two... I found that really tough. It was like living with two small unexploded bombs... I never knew when the next shriek would come... and for someone with as sensitive a startle reflex it was hell...

As far as the work goes.... work was OK until kids.... then it was a combination of pressure to keep going... plus zero can be EXTREMELY stressful for an ADDer and all our energy gets put into surviving in the madhouse called work.... after work and coming back to kids and frazzled wife who wanted to hand them over....

Plus I just couldn't think with kids around.... so planning, talking, or trying to hold basic routines together just went out the window.... survival was tough enough.

This destroys self esteem..... I really wanted to be a good dad.... and could kinda manage it for short periods with one kid at a time.... and my kids are exceptionally easy kids compared to others.

Even now... when they are much older I have to have a lie down in the late afternoon/evening if I've had them over for a while.

Basically....for me becomeing a dad shredded my brain and it became impossible to function coherently.

The way round this.... accept you're sort of a single parent, and if you want your spouse to go back to work it'll be a long road of therapy and support.... I'd suggest CBT as a starting point.

My heart goes out to you and your spouse..... it's a ghastly place to be for both of you.


10-25-13, 12:49 PM
Hi, JosieLee,

Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear that the scary rage isn't governing your lives these days. That's great news.

I am sending you big sympathy for your tough situation. My partner is in a somewhat similar situation to yours, though not as severe, And we don't have kids, which certainly very much simplifies our lives compared to yours. Twins are surely a handful no matter what else is going on!

I think you are staring right at one of the scariest possible issues. My partner has been unemployed for years. He went back to school to try a career change but he's in his mid-50s and I have no idea if he'll ever work again. My salary isn't enough to support two of us and my savings are pretty much gone now. I will never be able to retire and I am terrified about having to support someone who isn't working forever. Before he went back to school, he couldn't/wouldn't do a job search and was prone to rage if I tried to discuss the situation.

I feel completely without freedom of choice. If my partner had a means of supporting himself, we would have broken up long ago. Our relationship isn't anything like what I wanted and was promised and at first thought I had. And I've realized that the man I once knew isn't ever coming back. I love him, and I know he loves me, but our life isn't good for me and I don't want to spend the rest of it only being a resource for him.

Like you, we are better off now than we used to be. Diagnosis and medication have helped a great deal. I am proud that my partner is doing well in school, but he had to borrow money to do this degree so if he doesn't find work, things will be very bad. And in the US, relying on "generous government payments" isn't an option! I guess I'd say that not having that option is one worse than having and relying on it.

I don't really have suggestions for you. I just wanted to reach out and wish you well and tell you that I think it was an extremely good idea for you to go to the therapist yourself. You need to be clear in your understanding of your situation, and of your options. Your therapist seems to be doing an excellent job of helping you with this. I think it probably is true that some people with ADHD find themselves unable to work again under the circumstances you've described. Let's hope that your husband and my partner are not among that group.

I hope things get better in all ways, and that whatever happens, you find good answers for all in your family.

11-04-13, 02:31 AM
It feels like forever since my last thread & so much has changed.

My husband, diagnosed with ADHD & OCD, as well as a mood disorder in January this year, is now relatively stable due to the combination of meds he is on.
He no longer experiences episodes of rage, mainly due to his dose of Ritalin being tweeked. I no longer hold my breath waiting for his next rage, which has been the most amazing & wonderful change in our lives.

So, if you're still reading this, I'd appreciate your opinions please. Do some people with this simply be unable to hold down a secure job? How do I except this is who he is now?

Hi Josie, I am glad that you took the time to write an update and I am glad that things are so much better than last time. Even with medication, living with someone with ADHD is still going to have it's moments of frustration. Medication does not solve EVERYTHING, it just provides almost like an even playing field for things to have a chance to be worked on in a sense.

Yes, there is a good chance he may not work again. With ADHD I find it a neverending question game of WILL or ABILITY as I struggle to understand things with my husband and daughter. Unfortunately, it leaves you feeling helpless because besides sharing your feelings and fears about it, there is absolutely nothing else you can do about it :( If anxiety/fears are behind it, then maybe there is something that can be added to the medicine cocktail to help? maybe he can discuss this with his psych.

If it's years of being unsuccessful in a lot of things, then maybe he may need to consider some coaching or therapy to help build his self esteem and skills to give him some confidence in going out into the job market, or some schooling if he feels he has no interest in anything to work in?

In the end, the choice you do have, is to continue going to therapy, continue working on yourself, and then to see how it plays out and then know you can only make decisions for yourself. Yes, you may end up resenting him, or through time and therapy, you may develop more understanding and patience. One never knows.

I wish you clarity and patience and understanding on your journey.

12-06-13, 02:11 PM
Thank you so much for the replies. I've had wrist surgery so it's taken too long for me to send my thanks.
I've really missed you all & the clarity I get from you.

12-06-13, 04:20 PM

It's good to hear from you! Too bad about your wrist--I hope it's getting better now. When you get a chance, and when your wrist allows, send us an update on how things are going in your world.

12-10-13, 04:26 PM

Thanks for sharing your situation, and I want to echo an earlier responder and say I am so happy to hear that you are going to therapy for yourself. Very good! Beyond good. Totally excellent! You need all the support and insight you can get right now, because you are in one of those impossible life situations where it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and to shut down and NOT decide anything--which is a way of deciding.

My only point would be this: keep going to therapy and understand that you don't have to decide this issue (whether or not you will stay with him and whether or not he can improve) right this moment. Why not take a year and give yourself permission to quietly and honestly look at your thoughts and feelings and to try to communicate with him again. Things may not get better, but your insight should be clearer over time.

In other words, if you feel like you need to leave him, you can contemplate that for a while--you don't have to act on that feeling right this minute. And if you decide to stay, you should know that you will most likely have to revisit that decision again and again over time.

I salute you for being willing to look at the worst possibility and face the fact that this reality could be true: the the might not ever work again and that you may not be able to be happy or emotionally safe with him.

Whatever you do, I say resist the impulse to hide resist the impulse to shut down your feelings and not let yourself feel and ask the tough questions you are asking.

I'm not sure what I would do if I were in your situation. I believe, though, that my feelings would hinge heavily on whether or not I thought my partner was doing what they can--or doing SOMETHING!-- to improve their lives. I think my feelings would also depend on whether or not I thought my partner at least took some steps to minimize the impact of their condition on me. I would want my partner to at least acknowledge the impact of their condition on me.

One point I will make is that I think it is not good for you to spend your life not only dealing with his condition but also pretending like you're not having to struggle with his condition. That's asking too much, I think.

Anyway, keep going to therapy. Good decision!


12-13-13, 04:22 PM
To say I love you all is an understatement!

From the bottom of my heart I thank each & every one of you. Without your words, I would be completely lost, alone & afraid.

My mother disagrees & believes forums are a place for me to hear what I want to hear. Again it shows how narrow minded she is. Not all comments on my threads are happy & touchy freely because that is the reality of my situation & the truth. My mind is completely open to every opinion & suggestion & that's what life is about. I have learnt so much from here & looked at my situation from so many different points of view.

So basically, she can have her opinion but I chose to be open & continue to do what's best for my family xxx

12-13-13, 04:36 PM
Josie - it's quite likely that your mother is just being reasonable - IF we cut ADHD out of the picture. That is, if your husband was non-ADHD (and non-anything-else) then she'd be right. But because there's an identified problem with identified strategies for getting around it, and she isn't aware of any of that, she's off base.

As far as just hearing what you want to hear - well, it's tricky, because if you allow ADHD to move from "definable set of problems that can be worked around" into "his excuse for everything and your chance to be a martyr", then things are not working.

01-01-14, 07:33 PM
I am so happy to see you posting and happy to see that things are ALOT more calm at your home. I often wondered how things were going.
Sorry to hear about the surgery but hope things are healing for you.

It is a tough situation you are in, and yes, I suppose the future could hold that your husband may never work again. It's hard to know, and I wish any of us had that crystal ball.

I am glad you are going to see your own psychologist. Sounds like they are wise and are helping you. When so many things are out of your control, it's good to see how you can become stronger and make the best choices even when you may feel you have none.

I would feel lost if I felt my husband would never work again. I'm stressing out just having mine unemployed again for the first time after 11 months, and what that could bring and he WANTS to work because he likes money. I couldn't even imagine if he never was going to work again and it was all up to me, I'm not sure how I would or could emotionally handle that!!!
I wish I had more to say, except,keep on posting for support, that I can give :)