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Old 12-28-17, 11:08 AM
OrganicDorito OrganicDorito is offline

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Re: First time poster seeking comfort/advice/whatever else you can offer

I totally understand why you would think about OCD in this situation, but I figured I'd go ahead and add some more indications that lead me to think he might have ADHD/ADD:

-Impulse control. It used to be much worse when he was younger, and, again he has developed strategies for controlling it. But it's still a struggle for him, and right now, he's dealing with the financial fallout of crushing credit card debt. This is something I am helping him with. When I suggested that we sit down and make a budget for him, he was very relieved and open to the idea. We did it, and it has helped him a lot.

-He gets very easily distracted by online gaming. He'll sit down to play for "Just five minutes" and gets sucked in for hours--ESPECIALLY if he's feeling particularly anxious or overwhelmed. I think it's a way for him to zone out while still feeling stimulated. He has gotten way better about this, again, by teaching himself coping mechanisms, but for awhile, it was a real problem.

-He did very poorly in school despite being incredibly smart. He was bored and frequently got into trouble. This was back in the 90s, so instead of trying to figure out the root of the problem, they just piled on the punishments, which only backfired.

-He jumps from one thing to another until he finds something that excites him enough to hold his attention. His dining room table is covered with half-finished projects that need to be done, but, because they aren't urgent, might never get done. The other day, I left him alone to do a woodworking project and went into the next room. When I wandered back in an hour or so later, he was working on something completely different that, yes, needed to be done, but wasn't as urgent as the wood project.

-This jumping from one thing to another also applies to jobs. He has been employed in many different fields (an astonishing number!) by many different people, and has excelled at all of the work, but has NOT excelled or done well working for other people. Self employment suits him in that regard, but is also difficult for him, because he DOES need someone around to nudge him into action if he gets distracted. If he has someone working quietly next to him, he excels and can remain focused on his task for hours.

-If he has someone around him to be a "helper," he functions much better. Yes, we are planning on living together, and things are so much easier when we are in the same place. Like I said, the things he is less capable of doing are things I'm very good at, and vice versa. For instance--he is horrible at remembering to eat/drink water/move laundry to the dryer/pay bills on time/etc. But I love cooking--especially for him--and can get a meal on the table for him without it feeling like a burden. It's even better when he asks if I can show him what I'm doing and teach him some of the techniques. The same applies to getting laundry done and helping him remember to pay things or go to appointments. And if something breaks or needs maintenance like a car, electronic device, etc, he leaps into action to fix it. He loves doing things for me that he knows I can't or won't do for myself. I don't think we would have problems with him carrying his own weight when we live together.

-If he wants to learn how to do something, he can teach himself to do it and do it better than 99% of everyone else doing that thing. He is meticulous and a perfectionist when it comes to fixing a car or wiring a house or packing for a trip, but a complete trainwreck when it comes to mundane, day-to-day responsibilities like keeping gas in the car, mowing the lawn, or remembering his keys.

-This may or may not be directly related to whatever he could be diagnosed with, but he comes from a family that believes showing emotion and vulnerability is a sign of weakness. It's hard getting him to talk about feelings on the best of days. When he's really struggling (like right now), it's completely impossible. I used to think he simply didn't want to talk about his feelings, but I realize now that he CAN'T. It makes him extremely agitated. The only time we've really been able to get somewhere in terms of him being able to sort through some of his emotions is when we're working on a project and he starts talking. I think having his hands and logical brain engaged with something helps him to tap into his emotional brain with more ease.

I think all his focus on having and keeping his routine is more of a coping mechanism than it is a symptom of whatever is wrong. I think he is so fiercely protective of his routine because he knows what happens without it. The wheels fall off and it can take months for him to put everything back together. He uses the phrase "Well oiled machine" a lot to describe how he wishes his life and work could function. I'm sure right now he feels he has lost all control of his situation. He told me once, "I never want you to have to see me when I'm really, really having a tough time. I don't want you to know what that looks like for me."

But I want to know what it looks like so I can be there for him. If I weren't on a trip with my parents right now, I would go to him and be there for him to help him wade through this mire. But I can't, and communication sucks right now, and I just feel helpless.
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