View Full Version : First appointment nerves

03-08-14, 11:45 PM
We've been waiting ages for an appointment to get my partner assessed and it's finally happening next week. He is seeing a junior psychologist who apparently specialises in depression. She has asked me to write something for him to take to the appointment about his symptoms but she only gave me a few days notice to do this and I'm feeling anxious about what to write.

We've seen one doctor and one psychologist already and the experience was kind of off-putting. The general doctor just asked us to describe the problem without asking any specific questions so we both stammered away incoherently and he just looked at us without saying anything and in the end, said, 'well, tbh I don't know anything about this. I'll refer you.'

Then my partner's work referred him to a psychologist who specialised in relationships and her book shelves were full of 'how to get the sex you want' kind of books and she obviously didn't have a clue about it. I was describing his hyperfocus and she said, 'well, if he can concentrate that well on the internet, he probably doesn't have adhd because that's about not being able to focus and it's about being hyperactive, which he doesn't seem to be.' And then tried to make out like he'd learned to be disorganised in childhood.

So now we're seeing this junior person who doesn't specialise in ADHD. I feel nervous about the prospect of telling the whole story to yet another person who doesn't understand, especially since this stuff is so intensely personal.

I've written a big 6 page long spiel, listing examples of each of his symptoms but I feel sick about the thought of my partner reading it because it's like the unabridged history of all the daft and crazy things he's ever done. He forgets about the things he does so quickly and happily that I imagine reading it is going to hurt, or he's going to be mad. I can imagine how I would feel if he wrote a long in-depth essay about all my weaknesses. I feel so mean! But it's only fair that he should read it, so he can give another side to the story of my subjective opinions.

My partner really wants to do this for himself, because he hopes to find a way to be less stressed and to achieve his goals. But i'm just worried this diagnosis process is going to hurt him. He doesn't see himself as 'disabled' or 'disordered' and he seems to have pretty good self-esteem overall... I guess I'm worried how that will change if he gets an official label of a disorder.

Any advice from those who have been through it? I would especially like to hear from those who have the disorder... is it awful having your partner telling some stranger all about the worst parts of your relationship? Or was it actually enlightening?

Thank you :) All the help I have received from this forum has been very much appreciated.

03-09-14, 12:56 AM
About hearing one's partner tell a stranger about the worst parts of the relationship: I suspect he's heard it all before anyway. I would find it neither enlightening nor awful, just routine.

If he doesn't see himself as disordered, why is he going to a doctor about this? Just to please you? Unfortunately, I'd consider that a recipe for disaster.

03-09-14, 05:21 AM
No, not at all. He's the one who wants to go.

03-09-14, 08:01 AM
Of course you dont want to hurt him but you also dont want to have his issues trivialized you have to be honest and if what you wrote is honest and the desired outcome is treatment than you have to share what you wrote.

03-09-14, 11:20 AM
Initially it will be hard for him to take. I think hearing those things again might get through to him how bad the situation is and in that letter you can probably put a lot of things you have been holding back and were afraid to say for fear of retribution.

Think of it as a guide map for things to work on.

Also I would encourage you to go to therapy as well on your own. It is highly beneficial for ADHD spouses.

Remember these aren't all "his" problems but they are also yours as well. Look inside yourself.

03-09-14, 03:13 PM

Good luck to you both for the big day. I hope the psychologist you're seeing is helpful. It can so devastating to ask of help and not find it--and a doctor who doesn't understand ADHD can do a lot of damage. It's good that you've been asked to write up your thoughts and experiences, and good that you've done it. I see the partner's role as providing perspective on what the person with ADHD reports. This is very important for many people in your partner's situation.

I understand your concern that your list feels like a litany of criticisms of your partner. But what's the alternative? This stuff really happened, it really was a problem, and you're not able to shrug it off and forget it. So it falls to you to bring it up at the appropriate time--which is now. Just try to report as neutrally as you can what the actions and behaviors were, and minimize your response to them, since this isn't couples counseling about you both, this is a diagnosis meeting for your partner.

I think it's OK to tell the psychologist, briefly about your anxiety about revealing all this personal stuff, and about your concern that what you need is an ADHD specialist. Don't be angry, obstructive or overly emotional, but do mention what's on your mind. And sure, say that it's your goal to support your partner, not criticize him.

I don't think it's your job to worry about your partner's self esteem. Having low self esteem when you have great strengths is a problem, but so is having high self esteem when you have great deficits. The goal is to match the perception to the reality fairly accurately. If your partner isn't functioning effectively in ways that matter to him, if he is bringing you grief in ways you can't sustain, then it's important that he understand this. Putting a happy spin on it if it's not so happy is counter-productive.

My partner's first wife told him, as part of their divorce, that he over-estimates his own likability. That was decades before he got his ADHD diagnosis. Now, whenever he mentions that, I think that she was responding to his disconnect between the reality of his ADHD and his imperfect knowledge of it at that time.

Anyway, someone with ADHD has a lot of adjustment to the expectations and viewpoints of the world to do. It isn't always easy or comfortable. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it isn't the diagnosis process so much as having ADHD that's what's painful. My partner went through explosive anxiety and emotion before going for his diagnosis, but after he did, he felt enormous relief and encouragement. If something's been wrong forever, finding out what it is can be a big improvement.

Good luck to you both--let us know how it goes--

03-10-14, 12:49 AM
Was there a reason you wouldn't have been able to go with him?
If not, then no matter how hard it will be for him to hear, it is crucial in them getting the complete information in making an accurate diagnosis.
My concern is that you are dealing with people who aren't trained? in ADHD or just adult adhd? hopefully they will have done some research or will do, before they start making decisions about people's lives.

It may help for you to go online and maybe print off some documentation on adult adhd, or have him take some of those online tests about adult adhd, etc, so you have some info to back up why you think or have come to this possible conclusion that it may be what you are dealing with.

I tried to find an original pamphlet I got when my oldest when on vyvanse 5 years ago. I'm annoyed I can't find it, because it was the lightbulb factor is realizing my husband had ADHD, especially after she was diagnosed. See, as a professional, I knew how to recognize it in children, but with adults, some of the symptoms can manifest differently when they grow older, and he had never been diagnosed as a child. however, I knew heredity played a HUGE roll.

It was this mail pamphlet that had childhood symptoms on one side, and then how it may now look in an adult. well as I read them, I was like WOAH...that's him... one I remember was IRRITABILITY!!! :)

Good luck. Even after my husband was diagnosed, and went on meds...remember it can be a rollercoaster of emotions and it could take time to find the right meds/treatment. My husband also went through the grief/loss of having not being diagnosed earlier in his life and feelings of missing out on things in his life, or embarrassment of things he now understood, etc. It's a hard road, and continues to be in its own way today, as it never goes away.

03-11-14, 04:35 AM
I think you're lucky that your spouse is open with you about his feelings of stress and not being able to achieve his goals. I think my husband has a lot of terrible feelings but he is too ashamed to share them.

What I've tried (and I'm not doing so well with husbands or psychiatrists right now so take it for what it is) is to say, I'm not looking to find problems for you, I'm hoping to find a solution. You won't make the ADHD be there but if you support your husband getting help you could help lower his risks from accidents, chances of depression and other associated disorders, and from what many people say here, really help his life improve.

This is not really the same but I was diagnosed with celiac disease a couple years ago and people always say how bad they feel for me because I can never eat gluten but for me it made me so happy because I learned something that made my life safer and better. Modern science can be a good thing =).