View Full Version : Spouse recently diagnosed ADD


HotPocketHero
07-19-16, 06:11 PM
My wife of 8 yrs was recently diagnosed with ADD at the age of 34. This diagnosis has a profound impact on her. She cries about the lost opportunity and childhood difficulties that could have been avoided had she known. I feel for her :(

It has been difficult to have discussions with her about her symptoms, especially pre-diagnosis. She is not yet on medication, but the doctors involved will be prescribing soon. Below are a few points. I was hoping someone, anyone could shed some insight.

At dinner, she trails off and stares. It's like i'm eating alone. I'd estimate a good 50% or more of our meal time she is in this state. If I jokingly wave my hand to get her attention she snap at me :(

She spends LARGE quantities of her time in her own thoughts (as we all do), but her condition has the unfortunate outcome that she visibly talks to herself complete with facial expressions. This occurs at home, in public, at dinner parties, etc. Our close friends are used to it, but strangers in public definitely take notice. I've broached the topic once or twice in the time we've been married. She was very defensive. I know she is aware and can't help it. Is this typical of someone with ADD or is there something else?

I suspect this is very typical, but she has a very hard time with organization. We deal with this as a couple.

My goal is to help be a supportive partner to her as she starts her treatment. I hope through medication and therapy she can get to where she wants to be.

HHH

sarahsweets
07-19-16, 07:39 PM
At dinner, she trails off and stares. It's like i'm eating alone. I'd estimate a good 50% or more of our meal time she is in this state. If I jokingly wave my hand to get her attention she snap at me :(
Some symptoms of the inattentive parts of adhd involve daydreaming and distractedness but I am not sure if being that way every evening is necessarily only related to the adhd.

She spends LARGE quantities of her time in her own thoughts (as we all do), but her condition has the unfortunate outcome that she visibly talks to herself complete with facial expressions. This occurs at home, in public, at dinner parties, etc. Our close friends are used to it, but strangers in public definitely take notice.
At first i was identifying because I talk to myself and my dogs all the time, then I thought of my husband. I have seen him appear to be talking to himself in the same way. Ive talked to him about it and he says it helps him organize the mind clutter, sort of like thinking it and saying it make doing it possible.

I've broached the topic once or twice in the time we've been married. She was very defensive. I know she is aware and can't help it. Is this typical of someone with ADD or is there something else?

Of course shes sensitive about it! It probably makes her feel shamed even though you arent trying to make her feel that way.
Meds are wonderful but be careful that you dont put all of your hope and faith into them because a combination of meds and other therapies work best.

I suspect this is very typical, but she has a very hard time with organization. We deal with this as a couple.

My goal is to help be a supportive partner to her as she starts her treatment. I hope through medication and therapy she can get to where she wants to be.

HHH
yes its out achilles heel!

TheFitFatty
07-19-16, 11:39 PM
My wife of 8 yrs was recently diagnosed with ADD at the age of 34. This diagnosis has a profound impact on her. She cries about the lost opportunity and childhood difficulties that could have been avoided had she known. I feel for her :(

I was diagnosed at 35. I did think, Huh, I wonder how my life would have been different if I'd been diagnosed earlier. But, then I see how friends who have children with ASD or ADHD are struggling with diagnosis and support, and I remember that they didn't even think girls could get ADHD in the 90's, and the stigma attached to ADHD in the 90's, and I realize an earlier diagnosis may have actually made things harder.


At dinner, she trails off and stares. It's like i'm eating alone. I'd estimate a good 50% or more of our meal time she is in this state. If I jokingly wave my hand to get her attention she snap at me :(

I think you and my husband could probably have an hours long conversation about this, I am exactly the same way.

She spends LARGE quantities of her time in her own thoughts (as we all do), but her condition has the unfortunate outcome that she visibly talks to herself complete with facial expressions. This occurs at home, in public, at dinner parties, etc. Our close friends are used to it, but strangers in public definitely take notice. I've broached the topic once or twice in the time we've been married. She was very defensive. I know she is aware and can't help it. Is this typical of someone with ADD or is there something else?

Typical for me. A lot of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it.

I suspect this is very typical, but she has a very hard time with organization. We deal with this as a couple.

All I can say about me and organization is :o:o:o:o:o:o


My goal is to help be a supportive partner to her as she starts her treatment. I hope through medication and therapy she can get to where she wants to be.

HHH

Hopefully the medication will make a big difference. It has for me. Good Luck.

HotPocketHero
07-20-16, 09:53 AM
Thank you for the replies. It really helps. Before her diagnosis, we've been left wondering "what's wrong". I've been reading up of course and lot's of pieces are falling into place.

We'll see how her treatment progresses. Any improvement would be welcome for both of us!

Corina86
07-20-16, 01:50 PM
I have pretty much the same symptoms as your wife, except I manage to hide the visible parts of it by spending a lot of time alone. I prefer to walk by myself or eat by myself rather than have someone I know point out that I'm talking to myself or making weird gestures. I'm not crazy, I'm pretty realistic compared to most people around me, never suffered from hallucinations or delusions or anything similar. I realize how all of this looks from the outside and I don't want to deal with any judgemental remarks, but I don't have the mental energy to hold it off for too long. When someone interrupts my daydreaming, it's the same as someone waking me up from a nap when I'm very tired; I'm not doing it because I'm bored and I'm looking for someone to entertain me, but because I need to and the other person is forcing me to pay attention though I don't have any more strength to pay attention to anything. This is what it all comes down to: mental energy. I think ADHD-ers can totally behave like perfectly normal people, but only for very limited amounts of time. Someone asking me to be more focused and more present is the same as someone telling me to stay awake when I'm really tired- it's either not going to happen and I'll fall asleep/start daydreaming or I'll become a nervous wreck and snap at everyone. Medication does help a lot though, but it doesn't fix it entirely.

caretothepeople
07-21-16, 09:19 AM
Getting a diagnosis can set off a roller coaster of emotions, not just for the person themselves, but their family too. ADD affects the entire family in some way or another and everyone copes differently. What's your support system like? As your wife is navigating her own way through this, tending to your emotional wellbeing is important too, because it is stressful.

A therapist or counselor can help with teaching stress reduction as well as work through situations to help improve communication with your wife.

Another options may be to see if CHADD has a chapter in your area. Sometimes the local chapters have support groups for spouses. It can feel good to be around other people who "get it".

kilted_scotsman
07-22-16, 08:05 AM
A later diagnosis is often accompanied by grief for the "life that could have been".

some people subscribe to a "stages of grief" where one moves through various emotions around the object of grief....

Shock and Denial
Anger
Depression and Detachment
Dialogue and Bargaining
Acceptance

These don't happen in sequence and can be revisited at random.

TLCisaQT
07-23-16, 05:26 PM
My husband definitely went through this as well. Like Kilted said - it is a grief/loss in a sense and can be very difficult. I am not sure about the talking to herself; however, I've heard that conversations with individuals with ADHD are more like monologues instead of dialogues hehe. With my daughter who has more of the hyperactivity component, that is actually quite true and I had to laugh a little when I heard that. She is much more interested in talking than listening at times. Also, I am trying to teach her that she doesn't have to "think out loud" or pretty much give me a "play by play" of every action and she has told me that she has to say it out loud or can't focus. Maybe that is what it is? I really hope you can get the help and answers and support you need to work together and find forward movement.

Hermus
07-24-16, 04:33 AM
Like your wife I have been diagnosed with ADD later on. Actually the diagnosis itself was a huge relieve for me, since my previous diagnosis PDD-NOS didn't seem to explain my problems and I needed to finally find out why my life wasn't going according to plan. For me the grief about missed opportunities in life is one that I do share. I would have been much further in life had I been diagnosed earlier. For me the grief comes with some anger at a previous psychiatrist who treated me for PDD-NOS and immediately waved off the suggestion that I could have ADD.

For me the other symptoms also are largely recognizable. Although I don't talk in myself to the extent your wife seems to do.

HotPocketHero
07-26-16, 04:56 PM
What's your support system like? As your wife is navigating her own way through this, tending to your emotional wellbeing is important too, because it is stressful.

A therapist or counselor can help with teaching stress reduction as well as work through situations to help improve communication with your wife.

Another options may be to see if CHADD has a chapter in your area. Sometimes the local chapters have support groups for spouses. It can feel good to be around other people who "get it".

Mental illness (if we can call it that) is not discussed in her immediate family, so her support structure growing up and currently from her parents is thin. I have no problems with her diagnosis and want to be as supportive as possible.

IMO, she has done remarkably well coping with her symptoms. She describes how conversations with multiple people are VERY distracting, as though a toddler is constantly trying to get her attention as she speaks with other adults. Lots of thought tangents and such.

I feel for her. We haven't told anyone (not her parents or mine) about her diagnosis. Friends are not aware except a few. I think we want to get her ADD under control as best we can before she decides to disclose.

I'll look into CHADD - not familiar. Thanks for the suggestions.

sarahsweets
07-27-16, 10:11 AM
Mental illness (if we can call it that) is not discussed in her immediate family, so her support structure growing up and currently from her parents is thin. I have no problems with her diagnosis and want to be as supportive as possible.

IMO, she has done remarkably well coping with her symptoms. She describes how conversations with multiple people are VERY distracting, as though a toddler is constantly trying to get her attention as she speaks with other adults. Lots of thought tangents and such.

I feel for her. We haven't told anyone (not her parents or mine) about her diagnosis. Friends are not aware except a few. I think we want to get her ADD under control as best we can before she decides to disclose.

I'll look into CHADD - not familiar. Thanks for the suggestions.

I believe what Hermus was asking was whats your support system like? Not your wife's. You need your own type of support that doesnt involve leaning on her, because she isnt capable right now of offering that to you.
What help are you getting?