View Full Version : Non-ADHD spouse exhausted and in need of advice

04-02-14, 05:01 PM
Hi Folks,

I am very glad to have found this support forum. I've been married to an absolutely wonderful man for 3.5 years now, but I have not adjusted well to the effects of his ADHD-related behaviors on our marriage. In fact, I feel like an absolute mess: completely withdrawn, afraid of people, unable to take pride in my technical (professional) or artistic (hobby) work, uninterested in going out on beautiful days, and basically numb about everything. I'm taking both anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications which nominally work, but the last 3+ years have been so exhausting and frustrating that I'm afraid I've got some awful form of learned helplessness.

I've made my own mistakes in reacting to my husband's ADHD-related issues. For example, our house is so messy that it is a major source of depression, and so I told him that I wasn't going to go out on the weekends until I cleaned up the house. (We both work full time, normal business hours). Well, that resulted in us NEVER going out on weekends... even on the rare occasion when the house was clean on the weekend, I had lost interest by then.

And this is where I come to the crux of the problem: even after things get (mostly) "fixed", by then I am so burnt out that I can't bring myself to care anymore. I just don't care about anything really. Nothing. I mean, we hear so much about an over-populated planet that really I am just a terrestrial parasite. My husband loves me very much, and I know he would be sad if I were to go away (theoretically -- no need to call 911 folks :-P). It's just that... I have no idea where I fit into his life. At all. Seems like he just wants me .... there. Like a mantle piece. So, what's the point?

Sorry to be such a downer, but I am truly at my wit's end. Is there any hope for any meaning in a marriage with an ADHD spouse? Or is it nothing but a full-time caretaker position?

04-03-14, 06:25 AM
The first thing is to read everything you can about adhd. The second thing is to consider therapy. Its hard to be the one picking up the slack in an adhd marriage. The third is to get yourself evaluated for depression. It might not be a permanent thing, it could be situational but its worth a shot.

04-04-14, 10:38 AM
I'd second sarahsweets on going for therapy.... it's one of those things that may take a while to have an effect.... but in the short term it'll be a place for you to bring into the open and explore privately things you may have nowhere else to say them.

It sounds like you may have depression, which is involving something called anhedonia.... lack of pleasure in things one formerly found pleasureable.... this is something that therapy of whatever sort is good for..... far better than pills.

It's also worth remembering that you can ask for help.... even if you have to pay for it.... it's still help.... decluttering/cleaning etc.

Plus I'd recommend going out on your own to one thing a week. for me it is my weekly dance class.... it's not just the release of the dance it's also the gentle social interaction... being in the company of others who are not work or family or "friends" for a few hours a week. Once again it takes time for this to work through ... plus you need to find the right thing to do... and the right bunch of people who do it..... this may well mean something outside your current comfort zone..... I'd try yoga or something meditative for a starter.... then you can choose the level of interaction you want to have with other people....!


04-04-14, 03:48 PM
I agree as well. Right now, the urgent issue is how you feel, and some relaxation just for you, and some therapy will help get you back to feeling like yourself. If you don't take care of you, you can't hope to cope with anything else! The way you feel isn't right--you need to get some help so you can feel better.

Once that's somewhat better, you might want to do some reading (here, and in books and articles--I recommend Gina Pera's "Is It You, Me, Or Adult ADD" to learn more about ADHD. It's important see where you depression relates to your husband's ADHD and how it does not--these things often have more than one cause. And learning more about ADHD may help you so that you feel less overwhelmed by it.

You told us about the medications you are taking, but is your husband being treated for ADHD? If not, perhaps once you are feeling more together, you and he can discuss this as a possibility. Everyone is different, but I can tell you that I would not have considered continuing to live with my partner if he hadn't gotten a diagnosis and started treatment (with medication and therapy) for his ADHD.

I hope you'll keep in touch and let us know how things are going with you.

04-13-14, 10:40 PM
Meds and therapy can work well together.....for depression/anxiety AND ADHD. Have you re-evaluated your meds and dosages? You may need to consider upping your med dosages, so worth having a discussion of this with your doctor.

I'm sure you can find that meaning you are looking for, you just may need to look at what your definition of "meaning" is and if your expectation is appropriate. Is your relationship over the past 3.5 years completely different than when you dated? Did you know your spouse was ADHD before you got married? Good luck.