View Full Version : ADD vs me: I feel like I am losing this battle.


ADDwifeinneed
02-10-17, 06:37 PM
Hello,

I am new to this forum, but I have been reading it for quite some time now. My husband has adult ADD, depression, and anxiety. We have been together for over a decade and everyday we battle one of them. He is on every medication available: Stratera, Zoloft and Ritalin. Although these medications are essential to helping him manage and cope, they do not solve our problems. I have found that they are only tools to combating ADD, depression and anxiety.

My husband has lost more jobs than he has kept. I think we are at 4 jobs losses and 2 jobs that he has left on his own terms. He has gotten great job after job and interviews well. Unfortunately, he has never been at a job for more than a year. He has put us into severe financial debt because of this. He has gone through labor jobs, administrative jobs, desk jobs, security jobs... nothing seems to ever interest him (even in his own field of journalism). He says he feels terrible for not contributing and that he feels like a failure that he can't hold down a job.

He has also gotten into this horrible habit of hiding important problems from me as well. He will spend our money on silly cell phone games or go to gas stations and buy a bunch of soda and candy instead of going across the street to the grocery store where it is cheaper. He will tell me his job is going absolutely perfect and there is nothing wrong and all of a sudden he will- out of the blue- tell me he is on a work improvement plan or was fired. I will ask him everyday how things were going to try to stay on top of things and he always tells me "great! wonderful", but then out of left field- it happens again. He gets in trouble for not working or being distracted.

I have tried everything I can think of to help him. I have been supportive, positive, mean, threatening, panicked, pleading, bargaining, rewarding, withholding, neutral, removed, over involved.... nothing works. All he really wants to do is chase his next thrill or dopamine rush. He finds pleasure in playing video games, playing magic the gathering, reading video game or card game articles, and hanging out with his friends online. I have begged him to get a job in this field, but he just wont try. I have applied to job after job for him, and I recently got him a job at my own place of employment in a different area. I am absolutely terrified that he is going to lose this job too and then my outstanding reputation that I have built for 3 years will go with it. I have recently introduced him to the bullet journal (created by an ADD person) method to help him stay organized and he says he likes it. Unfortunately, he just doesn't do what is on his lists to do! He will make excuse after excuse up as to why he didn't do something important that day. Common things are, "oh I just forgot", "I didn't get around to it", "I can do that later", "I just didn't have time" (when he had an 8 hour day all to himself) among other more specific excuses.

I don't know what to do anymore. I have tried therapy, medication, new methods to help him stay organized, but at the end of the day, he just won't do the work. This last job he got fired for, he fully admitted that he just didn't do the work and his boss told him politely what he needed to do to fix things but by the time he started trying, it was too late and they had already made up their minds. I feel like I am losing this battle with ADD and I don't know how to support him anymore.

A few questions:

1. Is anyone else in this same boat??

2. If something has worked for you and your partner, what was it?

3. Is this a work disability? Does he have to let employers know about this when hiring? Won't that hinder him from getting jobs?

4. Should I just get a second job or a better paying job and let him stay at home and not do anything but play games and have fun? I feel like at this point this is my only solution to our money problems.

Thanks for any advice you have on this. Just hoping to find some inspiration!

kilted_scotsman
02-11-17, 07:33 AM
This is not something that can be sorted with a pill or two.... it takes graft and the willingness to step into uncomfortable territory.

What I did was start to learn about myself..... become self aware and self-reflective. Becoming interested in the question "What is happening now?" from a place of "not knowing".

When I was diagnosed I realised I didn't know the answer to the question..... either for me, or for others so I began to learn about human behaviour. I also put myself in new situations.... places that were going to be relationally challenging, but still "safe enough".

Much later I realised I was following a guy called Cozolino's theory of how to maximise the growth of neurons in the brain..... I was rewiring myself.

Cozolino has 4 parts to the enriched environment that stimulates brain change (neuroplasticity);

1) the development of a safe and trusting relationship
2) mild to moderate stress (what constitutes mild/moderate stress is unique to the individual)
3) both emotion and cognition
4) the co-construction of a new narrative.

This is not easy to do..... it's almost as if my job is not to get a job but to to sort myself out..... which is where a supportive partner really helps.

A supportive partner also helps in (1) the safe and trusting relationship..... however it is important to realise that this is difficult for most partners.... they have their own baggage so finding a good therapist/mentor/confidante who gets the brainchanging thing is important.

The mild to moderate stress thing is also important..... neural change is caused by specific hormones released by mild/moderately stressful demands on the individual. No stress... no hormones, to much stress -> different hormones that harm the neural networks.

Finding activities with the right amount of RELATIONAL demand is difficult.... note the use of relational here..... this means getting out there and interacting with people. This part is vital........ what he needs to do is build the part of his brain that handles inter-personal interactions..... so without that the neurogenesis (neuron growth) isn't going to happen in the right places. Though work is relationally demanding it's probably too relationally demanding right now....unless there's a employer/social enterprise/charity that understands the issues he has. What I did was go out to groups.... eventually settling on dance.. initially Tango, then adding 5 rhythms and biodanza.

Emotion and cognition..... this requires a language to bring into awareness..... so learning something about how people tick is important... This is the basis of being able to answer the question "What is happening?". Going to personal growth workshops, courses and events is useful, however one has to be a little wary because there are often others who are relationally challenged there.... and it's easy to fall into an relationship elephant trap.

Co-construction of a new narrative... is when it all comes together.... the question "What is happening?" is answered in a new way using new interpersonal language and validated by others in the safe trusting environment.

I found a therapist useful.... though I had to try a few to find the one that worked for me. My therapy involves looking at situations (eg from my dance) and then chewing over ""What was happening?" this process links emotion (what I was feeling) with cognition(describing what was happening). A therapist also helps avoid the elephant traps mentioned above..... it's easier to tell a therapist you fell for for a fellow workshop participant and work it through constructively than tell one's partner and risk one's relationship!

This has been helpful for me......I'm still not fully employable, but I am much happier about it.... and can tell when jobs are not suited to me.

Hope this helps.

sarahsweets
02-14-17, 02:29 PM
I am very direct and sometimes blunt so please dont think I am being harsh.
Hello,

I am new to this forum, but I have been reading it for quite some time now. My husband has adult ADD, depression, and anxiety. We have been together for over a decade and everyday we battle one of them. He is on every medication available: Stratera, Zoloft and Ritalin. Although these medications are essential to helping him manage and cope, they do not solve our problems. I have found that they are only tools to combating ADD, depression and anxiety.
Kudos for recognizing this. Alot of partners think there are magic pills for adhd.


My husband has lost more jobs than he has kept. I think we are at 4 jobs losses and 2 jobs that he has left on his own terms. He has gotten great job after job and interviews well. Unfortunately, he has never been at a job for more than a year. He has put us into severe financial debt because of this. He has gone through labor jobs, administrative jobs, desk jobs, security jobs... nothing seems to ever interest him (even in his own field of journalism). He says he feels terrible for not contributing and that he feels like a failure that he can't hold down a job.

Job loss and sticking with a job is common with severe adhd, but that doesnt mean you do not have a right to be exasperated with the ups and downs of employment.

He has also gotten into this horrible habit of hiding important problems from me as well. He will spend our money on silly cell phone games or go to gas stations and buy a bunch of soda and candy instead of going across the street to the grocery store where it is cheaper. He will tell me his job is going absolutely perfect and there is nothing wrong and all of a sudden he will- out of the blue- tell me he is on a work improvement plan or was fired. I will ask him everyday how things were going to try to stay on top of things and he always tells me "great! wonderful", but then out of left field- it happens again. He gets in trouble for not working or being distracted.

Oftentimes when there is shame and guilt involved, a person will distract themselves as a way to escape the realities of admitting that something didnt go right, and fear is a great big issue with performance. He probably knows he is letting you down and fears your reaction-so he may think hiding things works- and it does kinda for him. He gets to put off the uncomfortable conversation about how he lost or is losing a job by saying things are fine until he is forced to own up.

I have tried everything I can think of to help him. I have been supportive, positive, mean, threatening, panicked, pleading, bargaining, rewarding, withholding, neutral, removed, over involved.... nothing works. All he really wants to do is chase his next thrill or dopamine rush. He finds pleasure in playing video games, playing magic the gathering, reading video game or card game articles, and hanging out with his friends online. I have begged him to get a job in this field, but he just wont try. I have applied to job after job for him, and I recently got him a job at my own place of employment in a different area. I am absolutely terrified that he is going to lose this job too and then my outstanding reputation that I have built for 3 years will go with it.
So you have tried these things and they dont work right? My gut reaction is you should never have brought him into your workplace. It he fails and his track record makes that a possibility, it could influence what people think of you. Its tempting to want to have him within eye sight so to speak, but no amount of monitoring will make him perform the way you want him to.

I have recently introduced him to the bullet journal (created by an ADD person) method to help him stay organized and he says he likes it. Unfortunately, he just doesn't do what is on his lists to do! He will make excuse after excuse up as to why he didn't do something important that day. Common things are, "oh I just forgot", "I didn't get around to it", "I can do that later", "I just didn't have time" (when he had an 8 hour day all to himself) among other more specific excuses.

I just heard about the bullet journal like 2 weeks ago. I watched the you tube and I am so confused. I would love someone to help me make it work. In general, do lists help him? Has he successfully made lists work for him in the past? People are either list makers and keepers, or not, and trying to make someone use the system is useless if they havent had some kind of success with it before.

I don't know what to do anymore. I have tried therapy, medication, new methods to help him stay organized, but at the end of the day, he just won't do the work. This last job he got fired for, he fully admitted that he just didn't do the work and his boss told him politely what he needed to do to fix things but by the time he started trying, it was too late and they had already made up their minds. I feel like I am losing this battle with ADD and I don't know how to support him anymore.

What are you doing for you? It sounds like you are working overtime trying to help him but are not taking the time for your own self care.
Sometimes the best way to help someone like this is to let them flounder a little bit. He has shown issues with money so take his ability to manage money out of the equation. Have him figure out what kind of pocket money he will need and give it to him each week. Do not let him have access to the bank cards or accounts or credit cards. If he blows all his money on video crap and candy, he will have to wait until next week. You can keep gas in the car and he can bring his meals to work.
I only suggest that so he doesnt cause financial ruin, not because I think you need to be his warden. With communal finances the musts' and have to's must be managed at all costs.
Other than that allow for some natural consequences.I wont junk up the thread with a list but maybe ill jump back on later.


3. Is this a work disability? Does he have to let employers know about this when hiring? Won't that hinder him from getting jobs?

NEVER let your employer know. Even though its supposed to be protected most employers will find another reason not to hire or fire you and say its was for something else.

4. Should I just get a second job or a better paying job and let him stay at home and not do anything but play games and have fun? I feel like at this point this is my only solution to our money problems.

I dont have the right answer for this one other than to encourage you to get some therapy ON YOUR own. You need perspective and your own space.

I am so torn when these threads come up. I am a spouse with adhd and married to a spouse with adhd so I see both sides of the coin. There are plenty of things that dont seem fair, and alot of times I get resentful over sharing the household burden. What works for these toxic feelings is a pros and cons list of the things he does do and doesnt do and compare them. This covers everything from fixing the car to kissing my cheek. I can tell you that the pros are always more then the cons.
You have a right to your feelings- and your husband probably doesnt mean to cause you pain and stress. Im stuck on how to tell you what comes next.

Postulate
02-24-17, 08:17 PM
Ok, I'm a huge gamer myself, I have ADHD...this is very complicated to explain. You know in math when you need to introduce a new variable in order to get past a difficult point in your resolution of an equation, then you just discard the variable and find a solution? It's what I'll be doing here:

Imagine there's an abstract thing called the vital vector, a form of energy present inside the body which can either be converted into useful work output or pleasure. Let's say it exists for the sake of the argument. So you start your day in the morning, you have a vector of 100. When you get back home, there's only 30 points left and when you're down to 0 you need to sleep.

Your husband only starts his day with 50 points. So the problem is not him playing video-games, let him play his games...please. The problem is that, even if he converted all his points into useful work, it still wouldn't be enough, so he would still be fired. Not to mention that converting all your energy into blunt work would lead to unsustainable levels of stress and wouldn't be viable. I know people, they have as much as 150 points! They deliver 100 points at work, doing twice more than everybody else, then after 5pm they go out and have fun all night. It exists. Not the case of your husband.

Converting negative emotions into useful action is one way to increase the vital vector, for us, less gifted by nature, and deliver more output during the day, in either work or fun. So it's time to get him to his doctor and complain about how poorly he has handled his ADHD and find better treatment for him, or, if the doctor says so, bigger doses. Of course.

dvdnvwls
02-24-17, 11:58 PM
With ADHD and its complications, there are very few absolute rules. But I believe there is at least this one:

If you are fighting a long battle with an ADHD problem and you're losing the battle, it's ALWAYS the wrong battle. You need to stop battling and do something completely different to get around the problem.