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grinningsoul 10-25-16 10:27 PM

helping him stick to something
 
I'm looking for some advice on helping my boyfriend cope with ADD.
For this post I'll ask about goal setting issues.
He mainly has trouble with sticking to things. He's doing fine with general life skills and holding a job, but in terms of finding a passion he is struggling. He has cycled through tons of hobbies. Guitar, writing, photography, to name a few. He tells me that he is motivated by curiosity, but once he knows how to do something, he looses interest and gets distracted. The cycle repeats over and over. He feels like he cant get satisfaction from small success so has no positive reinforcement to keep going. Fear of failure, and low self esteem weigh him down. Time is also an issue. He's afraid of wasting time, and he doesn't have much to begin with thanks to his job. Commuting to work eats up lots of his time. Gets up around 530am gets home around 7pm. He has tried to set a "learning plan" before but he gets overwhelmed with setting time management goals. It's hard for him to relax and go slow. If he can't get it done in a year why do it at all. I'm an artist myself, and he keeps saying things like, " i wish i could be like that," when I talk about working on stuff. It's hard to tell someone "you can" without sounding like you are undermining their illness.
Lately he's been playing video games alot, and i'm wondering if taking a break from online activities would help. To much stimulation from reading stuff online. Too much easy instant gratification from games. Please direct me to any info on this idea.

I want to know if it's really possible for someone with add to find a passion, (like art or music for example) and stay with it long enough to develop a skill. I believe he can, just slower than the average person, But I want proof.

Are there any people with ADD who have had success developing a skill?
What kinds of things helped you in this situation?
What can I do to help without pushing to hard?
How long do your cycles last before you drop a project? He usually tries for a week, then stops trying for months. Is that normal?

Any advice is greatly appreciated and questions are welcome.

New to this site btw

anonymouslyadd 10-25-16 11:02 PM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Show him the information in this thread here.

dvdnvwls 10-26-16 01:15 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
If he stays just the way he is, is that OK with you?

If he told you "I love you, except you have some flaws I need you to fix", how would that affect your relationship?

stef 10-26-16 02:17 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dvdnvwls (Post 1846702)
If he stays just the way he is, is that OK with you?

If he told you "I love you, except you have some flaws I need you to fix", how would that affect your relationship?

But it also sounds like he wants to work on this, himself.

namazu 10-26-16 02:25 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Hi, and welcome!

A 5:30AM to 7:00PM work/commuting day sounds exhausting. People who have existing passions may find those passions to be a welcome outlet at the end of a long day. But a "learning plan" to develop new skills really sounds like more work unless the effort is rewarding in and of itself.

When he says "I wish I could be like that", what does he mean? Does he wish he were more artistic? More self-directed? More creative? More able to pick his own work hours? More in love with his job? It could be interpreted in a lot of ways.

The internet can be a double-edged sword for people with ADHD -- very stimulating, but also very distracting. If he's using it as a source of relaxation, and it's not interfering with his health or your relationship, then the distraction may just be a welcome way to wind down after a long day of work. If he is uncomfortable with his own internet use, there are ways to disconnect, including website blockers, days off, etc.

Quote:

Originally Posted by grinningsoul (Post 1846685)
I want to know if it's really possible for someone with add to find a passion, (like art or music for example) and stay with it long enough to develop a skill. I believe he can, just slower than the average person, But I want proof.

Yes, it is possible for people with ADHD to be passionate about their pursuits, and to develop skills or achieve great things in a field of interest. There are people with ADHD on this site who are artists, musicians, gamers, academics, parents, teachers, athletes, and others who love what they do -- whether as a primary occupation or as a hobby.

That said, it is difficult to create a passion from scratch, just for the sake of having one.

It wasn't clear to me from your first post whether this desire to find a passion was coming from him or from you.

Is he happy satisfying his curiosity and moving on to the next thing?

If he's content to dabble, there's no need to change that. (...As long as he isn't spending money he doesn't have buying equipment for a hobby he quickly abandons, leave half-finished projects strewn around the house, etc. -- both of which I have been guilty of myself...)

If he's dissatisfied with his life outside of work, and doesn't have the drive/time-management ability to take up a new hobby that requires practice or skill, then maybe there are activities that would be enjoyable but don't require hours of dedicated practice -- attending musical events, hiking, etc. -- that he could enjoy (or you could enjoy together) without the pressure of having to work at it.

And if he has decided that he really wants to learn to play guitar, dammit, then some of the strategies in threads about time management or studying may be useful.

stef 10-26-16 03:21 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Whoa i had missed the line about commuting! I am in exactly the same situation except I am up at 5:50 and home at 8:00 PM.
So, first of all it's important to keep in mind that
1) some down time, is essential and
2) there are simply not that many hours in the day. This has nothing to do with poor organisation (which I used to believe); the time, is simply not available.

It is terrible as I'm in band and I really want to practice a couple of evenings a week. If I work late (which is OFTEN recently) and/or, there is some train delay, it's just not possible.
Also my other hobby is crochet, but then there is also INTERNET, and the crochet is so relaxing it actually puts me to sleep. On a good night I do a row of this project then go back online and then do another row. While watching tv of course :)

It's not easy to choose the hobby and develop it under any conditions but with evenings like this it's really a challenge!

sarahsweets 10-26-16 03:55 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grinningsoul (Post 1846685)

Are there any people with ADD who have had success developing a skill?
What kinds of things helped you in this situation?
What can I do to help without pushing to hard?
How long do your cycles last before you drop a project? He usually tries for a week, then stops trying for months. Is that normal?

Any advice is greatly appreciated and questions are welcome.

New to this site btw

Does he want these things or you?

kilted_scotsman 10-26-16 09:29 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
The first thing I'd be doing would be reducing my working day..... up at 5:30 returning at 7 means there is no time for anything apart from basic life function, eating, washing, cleaning during the week.

Add in a chunk of time for your relationship and there's no time for anything else.

Being motivated by curiosity is great.... over time he may well find that each interest he has had begins to feed into current interests and he synthesises new stuff.

I would be interested in why he/you think he should have "a passion"??? what's that about??

I would also be wondering about his views on the meaning of his life..... someone who is working that hard without passion for the job is potentially storing up psychological trouble for the future.....unless he is personally invested in some "why" of working such long hours.

Little Missy 10-26-16 10:18 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Maybe he's happy. :)

john2100 10-26-16 10:51 AM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahsweets (Post 1846726)
Does he want these things or you?

:goodpost:

20thcenturyfox 10-26-16 07:32 PM

Call Me Gullible...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grinningsoul (Post 1846685)
I'm looking for some advice on helping my boyfriend cope with ADD....

He tells me that he is motivated by curiosity, but once he knows how to do something, he looses interest and gets distracted. The cycle repeats over and over. He feels like he cant get satisfaction from small success so has no positive reinforcement to keep going. Fear of failure, and low self esteem weigh him down. Time is also an issue. He's afraid of wasting time, and he doesn't have much to begin with thanks to his job....

It's hard for him to relax and go slow. If he can't get it done in a year why do it at all. I'm an artist myself, and he keeps saying things like, " i wish i could be like that," when I talk about working on stuff. ....

Any advice is greatly appreciated and questions are welcome.

New to this site btw

but geez, people, does it really sound like this guy would be perfectly happy going on as he is...if his gf would just cut him some slack?

I'm going to say, as near as I can tell from her post, that I have been exactly like him, with plenty of talent, education, and luck, a good performer most of the time, but also frustrated at my own lack of persistence and ability to close in on longer term goals--and all too often my own worst enemy.

We knew nothing about ADHD years ago, or that it could possibly apply to me. But my greatest good fortune in life was to marry someone who, besides being my greatest fan, was as steady and reliable in his own temperament, habits, executive functioning and sociability, as I was variable. I made our life together fun and imaginative, and certainly was a big part of making our business a success. But he made it work, day in and day out, keeping track of my keys and my schedule, making sure we got out to walk the dog every day, doing the grocery shopping, etc. I had always used a budget, but following his example I got a lot better at using a daytimer and a secretary to juggle competing time demands. So I think the support and example of an organized and non-critical partner can greatly enrich our quality of life.

So I would say to the OP that it's fine to read up on ADHD, but since she has a partner who sounds pretty high-functioning and self-aware, to ask him what kind of support he thinks would be helpful, especially as to what changes in their environment, schedules, activities together and apart, would promote the self-regulatory changes he is most interested in working on. Don't try to become a therapist, but just explore together how you might arrange things to suit your particular strengths and weaknesses. Timers, white boards, little notebooks, smart phone apps are all things people here use to cope with our predictable weaknesses.

I might also suggest reading up on Goal Management Training. Though developed for traumatic brain injury survivors, it focuses on changing the way you think and talk to yourself about what you are doing now, and what you will do next. He would have to start with one particular task or function he wants to change, write out a recipe card to follow, and just practice until it gets easier. I've started using it, and it's too early to say how much difference it will make...but it just feels right.

grinningsoul 10-26-16 09:28 PM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
First let me clarify, this is 100% what he wants. Not me. Like I said he's doing ok at his job general life stuff. He does buy supplies for things that he abandons but not bad enough to cause an issue.

Quote:

If he stays just the way he is, is that OK with you?
Yes. I don't care if he gets really good at a skill. My only concern is that he will give up on doing anything at all and get depressed and hide away in video game land forever. If he picks up things and drops them in loops forever i'm fine with that. As long as he is trying. Doesn't matter what it is or if it's always changing. As long as he can still care about something.

grinningsoul 10-26-16 10:07 PM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Quote:

When he says "I wish I could be like that", what does he mean?
He's referring to my ability to work through the frustrating bits of learning a skill.
For example: he tries to cook something new and it comes out edible, but not perfect. So he will say that he feels like he wasted the whole night. And i will try to help him reframe that thinking. I say "it's not a waste because you learned from it. It needed to happen and now you have it out of the way."

Quote:

If he is uncomfortable with his own internet use, there are ways to disconnect, including website blockers, days off, etc.
I've been slowly nudging at this. But I don't think he wants to. He would do it if I asked him to, but I want him to come to that on his own. So, we shall see. I think he may have a mild mild video game issue. And i get why.

Quote:

Is he happy satisfying his curiosity and moving on to the next thing?
No. He's not happy with it. But maybe the solution is learning to be ok with just being ok. Instead of getting really good at something.

And thank you. I'm looking into time management stuff for him.

dvdnvwls 10-26-16 10:53 PM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stef (Post 1846714)
But it also sounds like he wants to work on this, himself.

I really sincerely wanted to "work on" exactly the things my ex wanted me to "work on". Because I believed she must be right. Because I desperately wanted to please her. Because I wanted to "be a success".

The entire process was false - a great hoax that we were playing on each other. I could easily blame her for ruining my life, because she did her unwitting best to sabotage who I am and turn me into someone else. She could blame me for ruining her life too, wasting her time and energy on my empty promises and my wide-eyed adoption of plans that a little voice inside my mind told me didn't make any sense for me.



"We" need to "work on" your tree-climbing skills, said the cat to the fish.

acdc01 10-26-16 11:24 PM

Re: helping him stick to something
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by grinningsoul (Post 1846836)
No. He's not happy with it. But maybe the solution is learning to be ok with just being ok. Instead of getting really good at something.

Yeah, this is what I wonder about him based on what you've posted. That he just expects too much of himself so even if he were able to do something for longer, he'd still not be happy cause he'd still not be good enough. If that's the case, that's what needs to be worked on first.

I'm like that - lose interest in a hobby the moment I learn how to do it. I'm perfectly happy to be that way and I can't imagine me being successful at ever changing.

I guess if he really wants to try changing, I'd pick a hobby that requires little or no skill. Also, maybe a hobby that involves other people too if he's social. A hobby with variation helps too - like biking can take you to many different places. High adrenaline hobbies are easier to stick to. Like snowboarding or skiing which do take skill. A sport in general is more high adrenaline.


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