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Old 12-28-17, 01:40 AM
OrganicDorito OrganicDorito is offline
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First time poster seeking comfort/advice/whatever else you can offer

I have been lurking here awhile, and am finally coming out of the shadows.

I am going to try to be as succinct as possible, so if there are any blanks I need to fill in, let me know.

To make a very long, very involved "how we met" story very short, I am a 30 something gal dating a 30 something guy. He lived in my hometown working on a project for about nine months, during which time we grew very close and admitted our intense attraction to one another, but due to my own circumstances, we couldn't be together. He eventually moved back to where he had come from (800 miles away), which ended up breaking my heart, but also gave me the kick in the *** I needed to leave the screwed up relationship I was in, because at that point, I realized how much in love with this person I was.

Fast forward 1.5 years, and we are together at last. He is still 800 miles away, but thanks to the fact that we are both self-employed, we see each other as often as possible--usually about one week out of every month.

Now, when I was first getting to know him, I realized he was...quirky. He's incredibly intelligent, kind, marvelous at all the things I'm bad at (math, mechanical stuff, figuring out why something is broken and fixing it), and very passionate about very specific topics. He also would just leave social situations suddenly and without saying goodbye, not answer texts or calls for several days and have no good reason why, and had an awful lot of anxiety surrounding people's perceptions of him, to the point that I often found myself sort of his "port in the storm" at parties and other gatherings. And, he is a perfectionist to a fault when it comes to his own work. Nothing is ever as good as he wants it to be, even if everyone around him thinks it's absolutely magnificent.

Despite--or perhaps in part because of--these quirks, I loved him. I still love him. It's practically a miracle that we ended up together, and it's something I'm thankful for every single day.

BUT

I am 99.9999% certain he has ADD/ADHD combined with a heavy helping of anxiety disorder. Reading through these forums is like reading his autobiography. He has tried--with great frustration--to describe to me what it's like inside his head. He tells me sometimes he feels his brain is so full of noise, that he can't even figure out how to get up and put clothes in the dryer, much less get out the door and get to work on projects that are waiting for him. He gets so overwhelmed when presented with multiple options that he becomes visibly distraught. He fidgets when we watch movies or shows--his hands always have to be doing something. He must always have some form of auditory stimulation going if he is going to accomplish a task--even if he's just doing dishes or sweeping the floor.

The only time he ever gets annoyed or defensive with me is when I ask him what's wrong. He sputters and splutters and gets this wild look in his eye and can't tell me what's wrong. "If I knew what was wrong, I would tell you," he says.

He has definitely developed some coping skills that are beneficial to him. He makes lots of lists. He has notebooks everywhere, and he uses them to keep track of what he's doing, what he needs to do, etc. He has learned the benefit of having a strict routine--and when he sticks to that routine, he is able to get up, tidy the house, get showered and dressed, and get out the door to work. But it really has hit home to me how absolutely spent he is by the end of what would be, to me, a normal work day. As soon as he gets in the door, he has to go lie on the couch for half an hour or so to decompress. When he tries to explain how completely mentally drained he feels at the end of a day, he berates himself and calls himself lazy.

But I know he's not lazy. He is one of the least lazy people I know.

But here's why I'm posting:

The more I read about add/adhd (and it's association with anxiety), the more I want to approach him about this topic. He has lived much of his life trying to hide his struggles from his family and the rest of the world. His parents are very driven, "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of people, and I really think they don't understand that their son can't just "get over" his struggles. He feels an awful lot of shame around his symptoms and even around the way he has to get through each day. And there are days he simply can't leave the house. He's overwhelmed, anxious, and paralyzed. Those days are rare, fortunately, but they happen. And when they do, he beats himself up.

All of this has kind of come to a head in the past week or so. Ever since before we were even a couple, he has struggled with communication--as in phone calls/texts. I have learned by this point that occasionally, he will just drop off the face of the earth for a day or two. He won't return calls. He won't answer texts. He pops up a couple days later, ashamed that he had no good reason for why he couldn't just pick up the phone and call.

When he has his routine, things are fine. He calls every day, right around the same time, and we chat for half an hour or so. It's something we both look forward to. But as soon as his routine is disrupted, I am one of the first things to go out the window, so to speak.

That brings us to Christmas. Christmas is already a hard time for him, due to family dynamics and obligatory functions and events he'd really rather not go to, but it's particularly awful this year because of a death in the family (which means a funeral, visitation with even more family, and time away from work), financial strain, and a huge project that HAS to be finished by the end of the month.

So, basically, he and I haven't talked in five days. He sent me a text on Christmas wishing me a merry Christmas and he sent a text today telling me he was sorry he hadn't returned any of my calls, but that he's dealing with a lot right now.

I am pretty sure he's just completely overwhelmed and in survival mode right now. His routine has been obliterated, he's being forced to see people he doesn't want to see, he needs to get back to work, he can't have his alone time that he so desperately needs, etc. I guess here's what I'm asking:

People keep saying crap to me like, "If he really loved you, he would make time to call you, no matter what." And I suppose that if he were a neurotypical person who was able to conform to normal societal convention, that would be true. I WANT to believe that he isn't just ignoring me because he decided I'm not worth the trouble anymore, but in a world that dictates, "Real men do _____" and "If a man loves you, he always ______," I get really confused sometimes as to how I'm supposed to feel or what I'm supposed to expect.

What it boils down to is that I love him dearly and I want this to work. I am trying to be as understanding as I possibly can. I haven't gotten mad at him or told him how depressed I was on Christmas when he didn't answer/return my phone calls. The fact of the matter though is that I WAS depressed. And anxious. And really worried that he might come out the other end of this and feel like his life is better without me in it.

I realize I have my own insecurities to work on, here, but this is uncharted territory for me. I know that if I were THERE or if he were HERE, things would be different. I could see his face and see his struggle and do what I always do when he's having a difficult time--make him a meal, let him veg out, give him a back rub or just sit quietly and read a book in the same room with him. But I'm not there. And we haven't talked. And I feel helpless.

It's really hard to be in an LDR anyway. It's, I think, 487x harder to be in an LDR with someone like him. I don't say this because I want to throw in the towel. Far from it. I guess I just want to know if what I'm going through right now is "normal" and if what he's doing is "normal" and how I should broach this topic of communication when the time comes to talk about it (which clearly can't happen until he gets through this crisis). Is there anything I can say to him that would be helpful, or should I just leave him be? I feel like I shouldn't ignore him completely. I certainly don't want to. But I also don't want to smother him and make him even more overwhelmed.

I am trying my hardest to remain calm and peaceful and not let all my insecurities and anxieties hang out right now. I am trying my hardest not to take his silence personally. I am trying my hardest to believe that at the end of this tunnel, we will pick up where we left off. But...it's hard. And that's why I'm here. Because I want to understand, but I also want to feel better.

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The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to OrganicDorito For This Useful Post:
Fuzzy12 (12-28-17), Lunacie (12-28-17), namazu (12-28-17), Padawan (01-04-18), sarahsweets (12-28-17), stef (12-28-17)
 

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