View Full Version : Wife to an ADD/ADHD Husband


missmindeeb
01-25-17, 06:45 PM
Hi everyone! I am brand new to these forums and so far have learned a lot reading through many posts.

I have been married to by husband for about 2 1/2 years, and we've been together a total of 5. I guess when we first started dating I did not realize any signs of ADD, but slowly but surely I did. This did not deter me from marrying my husband. He is a fun, smart, loving man and I would take a bullet for him.

Since we got married things have seemed to get harder and harder.

He was diagnosed early on as a child, and medicated up until he was 18 years old and told his mom he did not want to be on medication anymore. She allowed him to get off, and he was able to finish high school and even tech school without meds (I have been told it was quite a miserable experience for those around him, and required a super-human effort on his part). Fast forward this story - he then took his first big-job where he met me. He was still off medication until about 6 months into our marriage when things started getting difficult.

He is very irritable and angry. Zero tolerance for anything that is difficult or inconvenient. Has a extremely hard time focusing, and signs of depression as well. I've been told by his mother that past doctors believed that all of this rooted from his ADD. ADD leads to inability to focus or complete tasks which cause anger, which leads to lashing out, which leads to being depressed about it. And man - I was/am really walking on eggshells and not enjoying my life or marriage.

He was put on 100MG of Strattera back in November 2013. We did not ever really notice a significant difference, and he had a doctor at the time that really did not do a good job with their appointments. He would have my husband in and out within fifteen minutes, I hardly feel that is enough time to properly discuss how the use of a medication is going.

He recently saw a new doctor and was re-evaluated. This doctor seems to be better, but why can't we just find someone that really cares and wants to see a change? They put him on 36MG of Concerta. He took it one day, it made him feel dopey, he got angry about the way it made him feel and he said screw it.

Now, a few weeks later he has decided to give it another go. Has taken it everyday this week - no negative side effects, said it might be increasing his focus but he is not 100% sure. Still monitoring how it is going. He just started a new job a few weeks ago too so I am thinking he is working through some anxieties of that.

I really just mostly wanted to tell my story. I love him and want to see him be successful in his work and in our marriage. I feel like before we were married I was a highly organized, and running a tight-ship. Now I am disorganized, constantly anxious, walking on eggshells about his next lash-out episode. And just trying to constantly keep up with things to make sure he doesn't blow up. I sometimes get worried he will not perform well at his job because of this ADD.

Hopefully we can continue working with doctors to get this under control and start living better lives.

Lunacie
01-25-17, 07:19 PM
Hello and welcome. Concerta was the first med my granddaughter took and it
really helped with the anger and blowups and beating herself up. Worked great
for a couple of years although it didn't really last long enough and her doctor
decided to switch her to something else instead of adding a small booster of
instant release meds. Second med was a nightmare. She stopped taking meds.

I hope you can find a doctor, preferrably a psychiatrist, who will spend enough
time with him and really listen to him, so he can get this all sorted out and find
a treatment that works for him. Best wishes.

Johnny Slick
01-25-17, 07:25 PM
Yeah... so the thing about ADHD is that it *does* cause that big chain of events you're talking about (the underachieving due to lack of focus, followed by getting mad at yourself and everyone around you, followed by the lashing out and the depression) but it doesn't really do so *directly*. That is to say, the lack of focus? Definitely an ADHD thing. And the getting mad easily (and, I should add, displaying a lack of empathy when you do get mad)? Absolutely "normal" behavior for a person who suffers from ADHD (I don't like "normal" because I don't think we should ever normalize bad behavior, but it's... common, at least, with the additional caveat that it's common for ADHDers to lose jobs, lose relationships, and even spend time in jail because of this).

The rest of that, particularly the thought processes that get him from "angry" to "depressed" and that try to justify all the links in between, though, aren't *exactly* ADHD itself but how our minds deal with ADHD. In fact, this isn't all that far off from what some doctors have called RSD (for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria), explained here:

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/12114.html

The thing is, since this isn't directly caused by ADHD it's not going to go away once you take drugs that make the ADHD itself go away or get more manageable. I would really recommend that your husband sees a therapist in addition to his GP (or instead, if he's going to see a licensed psychiatrist - the added bonus there being that the psychiatrist can immediately recommend and prescribe new drugs if he feels the old ones aren't working). A disinterested third party needs to talk with him and help him to discover which behaviors are okay and which ones are not, to get to the root of why he lashes out the way he does, and to help him to feel better about himself enough to stop them (because I am pretty damn convinced that low self-esteem is almost as big a secondary effect of ADHD as that cycle of anger and depression you mention).

In the meantime, perhaps *you* might want to start seeing a therapist. This issue your husband has, it's bigger than him. You are not going to be able to solve this for him and he sure as hell can't solve it himself. If he won't get treatment beyond medication, however, *you* really need to figure out whether or not this is something that *you* can withstand, and if so, how.

sarahsweets
01-26-17, 05:16 AM
He is very irritable and angry. Zero tolerance for anything that is difficult or inconvenient. Has a extremely hard time focusing, and signs of depression as well. I've been told by his mother that past doctors believed that all of this rooted from his ADD. ADD leads to inability to focus or complete tasks which cause anger, which leads to lashing out, which leads to being depressed about it. And man - I was/am really walking on eggshells and not enjoying my life or marriage.
It makes sense that alot of this has to do with adhd but has he ever been evaluated for anything else? Depression and other disorders are often comorbid with adhd.
Its hard to feel like you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Have their been moments when you are able to talk to him about it without setting him off?


He was put on 100MG of Strattera back in November 2013. We did not ever really notice a significant difference, and he had a doctor at the time that really did not do a good job with their appointments. He would have my husband in and out within fifteen minutes, I hardly feel that is enough time to properly discuss how the use of a medication is going.

Doctors usually allow for about 15 minutes for medication management. Beyond the initial evaluation, a psychiatrist doesnt do much in the way of talk therapy. This is why a therapist can be helpful. Has he ever seen a therapist? Have you?

He recently saw a new doctor and was re-evaluated. This doctor seems to be better, but why can't we just find someone that really cares and wants to see a change? They put him on 36MG of Concerta. He took it one day, it made him feel dopey, he got angry about the way it made him feel and he said screw it.

Now, a few weeks later he has decided to give it another go. Has taken it everyday this week - no negative side effects, said it might be increasing his focus but he is not 100% sure. Still monitoring how it is going. He just started a new job a few weeks ago too so I am thinking he is working through some anxieties of that.

Has he ever considered an amphetamine? Alot of times people who have a bad reaction or little to no reaction from the methylphenidate class of drugs do better with amphetamines.

I really just mostly wanted to tell my story. I love him and want to see him be successful in his work and in our marriage. I feel like before we were married I was a highly organized, and running a tight-ship. Now I am disorganized, constantly anxious, walking on eggshells about his next lash-out episode. And just trying to constantly keep up with things to make sure he doesn't blow up. I sometimes get worried he will not perform well at his job because of this ADD.

What about therapy for you? Many times the non-adhd partner spends so much time picking up the pieces of their loved ones, or worrying about how their partners are feeling or doing that their own needs go unmet. Just because your husband has a disorder doesnt mean you need to be on high alert all the time.

You need to take care of you in order to have the patience to help him. Very often the non-adhd partners sort of almost lose themselves in their partner's disorders-it makes sense especially when the non-adhd partner feels like they are the only ones who have a handle on the lives of the couple.

missmindeeb
01-26-17, 01:28 PM
Thanks, Lunacie!

He is on day 4 of taking the Concerta and it seems to be going okay so far, I hope my expectations aren't unrealistic that once he finds the right medications that we will see a drastic improvement in his life.

missmindeeb
01-26-17, 01:34 PM
Wow, thank you so much Johnny for posting that link. I read through that article and that was very informative. I definitely see signs of this in him when he has a frustration episode.

He is also scheduled to start seeing a therapist here soon. I am really hoping that will help along with medication. It is his fourth day on Concerta and it seems to be improving his focus at work. I am thankful for any improvements. I do feel like this is something I can live with as long as we continue making progress.

As far as me seeing a therapist goes - I think I require it and am working towards finding one in my area. I've personally always dealt with pretty severe anxiety and it has only been heightened since having to deal with these issues with my husband.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post :)

missmindeeb
01-26-17, 01:38 PM
Sarah, when he was last evaluated by the new doctor of his, we talked about the signs he has of anxiety and depression. But his doctor believed that us getting control of the ADD would help alleviate those issues. Time will tell as he continues this Concerta. We do sometimes have calm conversations about his ADD, medication, doctor appointments. I think he feels so defeated in life that he has to deal with this when "other people are normal", he often says, "Why can't I be normal?". He has tried many medications when he was younger, and is just getting back into finding what works best now.

When he was a young teen he had a doctor that did medication management and counseling. I don't know why we can't find someone like that now - what is that type of doctor even called?

And yes - therapy for me is for sure going to be happening soon. I need it.

dvdnvwls
01-27-17, 03:43 AM
Progress... You know what they say about two steps forward and one step back...

With ADHD it can be that. Or it can be one step forward and ten steps back. Or sometimes no steps at all for what seems like eternity. The major classic almost-universal thing with ADHD is we know exactly what we have to do and can't do it. Often, people checking up on us have a fit when they find out we have known all along what to do and haven't been doing it - it gets hard for them to believe that ADHD really is a disorder and not a character flaw.

In large part, staying out of that trap is the key for you in this situation. When one partner loses respect for the other, there's not much that can be done to save the relationship after that. When trust and respect are intact, and not ruined by (in this case) falsely judging the character of the partner with ADHD based on his inability to consistently do what he knows, there's good reason for overall optimism.

ToneTone
01-27-17, 01:30 PM
The rushed 15-minute (even 10-minute) appointment is standard with psychiatrists who take insurance. There is not a lot of time to talk.

So I echo Sarah here in saying you might consider a therapist for longer visits and talks.

The psychiatrists who give more time are those that do not take insurance and they are more expensive than the ones who take insurance. And yes, they can be worth the extra expense, especially in the beginning when you're trying to get the right med and right dosage of the med.

I found a psychiatric nurse practitioner who gives me as much time as I got when I went to a psychiatrist outside of insurance. (I guess nurse practitioners don't have the same salary expectations and pressures as psychiatrists do. I am really happy with my practitioner.)

BTW: It's a mistake to think that treating the ADHD will automatically treat the depression.

See if you can get him to bring up depression with the doctor.

He likely needs to get treatment for depression even if the depression is rooted in ADHD. I say this because depression burns circuits in the brain, familiar ways of thinking and feeling and even though depression might originate from Cause X, the longer it goes untreated, the less it needs a cause. Over time, the cause of the depression (sort of like addiction) can be simply ongoing depression. There are a lot of people who like ... I get treated for depression and treated for ADHD. And I need them both.

Tone

Johnny Slick
01-27-17, 02:20 PM
Yeah, what ToneTone said, 100% exactly. Even if your husband doesn't get medicated for the depression per se, it's of vital importance to him if not to everyone around him that he gets help for that (and for the angry outbursts too - which again, is part of ADHD in a way but different people manage it differently). When you've learned to cope with obstacles in a certain way and you learn new information that makes that coping mechanism not make as much sense, you're not just going to automatically tear down the coping mechanism and build newer, better ones. That's just not how our brains work. Your husband needs to figure this stuff out.

ADDwifeinneed
02-10-17, 06:49 PM
I can relate! My husband has been on Strattera and it helps a little. He still has frequent emotional blow ups, but I feel like it lessens the severity. What I like about this drug is he doesn't lose his personality with it and he doesn't feel dopey. Honestly, until he was put on Zoloft as well, I feel like the outbursts were still frequent. He currently is on Strattera, Zoloft and Ritalin, and so far that has been a good combination. He said that for the first time ever, he feels like he is on the right medications... but only time will tell I guess.

When you disagree, are they about a specific topic or is it just random? I have found that any time I remind him to do something or talk about his ADD, it turns into a fight about how he isn't good enough. It makes the eggshells really difficult.

Something that helps me out is putting situations into categories: is this something I can control or something I can't? When it comes to his emotions, I know there is not much I can do to help that, but maybe I can avoid that situation in the future? If you are more organized, you might be able to feel better about your situation and the things you can control (that is my current coping mechanism). I currently use a bullet journal to feel more on top of my game and emotions and I have found that to be a tremendous stress relief as well.

Best of luck to you both :)

Postulate
02-25-17, 12:34 AM
Do you have any children?