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Old 04-10-10, 07:56 AM
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Is there hope?

We've suspected ADD since October, he was diagnosed (with ADD + depression) in December, started anti-depressants in March and tried an ADD med for a few days this month (made things worse )... We tried marriage counseling but were told that it didn't make a lot of sense until he had worked through some of his "stuff" first. So we're each going in individually. My counselor is nice but I think she's mostly dealt with ADHD in teens so she doesn't really understand what it's like to be married to someone... Reading "Is it You, Me or Adult ADD?" is the first time I really felt like I wasn't going crazy. That's where we're at now.

My question is how do I hold onto hope that this is going to get better? It was bad enough a year ago that I started thinking about leaving (something I never thought I would consider). I feel like I've been carrying the full weight of this and I'm not sure how much longer I can do it. Anytime someone says I need to take care of myself I just wonder how. Certain things need to happen: bills need to be paid, the children need to be taken care of, etc. With 2 under the age of 2 (and my DH feeling like a 3rd) I can't just shut down and take care of myself. If they both nap at the same time I might get an hour alone a day, but that seldom happens, and if it does I'm frantically doing bookwork or something. There was a comment in the book I mentioned above where the wife said people kept on telling her to let her husband take responsibility for things and see what happened. She said it was a nice idea to "let the poop hit the fan" but the problem was that it was her and the kids that got splattered. Not my favorite phrase, but it really describes how I feel. I can't just divide responsibilities up because if he doesn't feel like doing something if affects more than just him.

My DH is working at a temp job. He's been reprimanded for coming in dressed way too casually (if I had seen him before he left I would have said something) and he's told me that he spends a lot of time surfing the web at work (supposedly while he waits for the computer to complete a task but I can't imagine his employer would approve). So I'm lacking confidence that he can hold onto this job and he can't seem to motivate himself to start looking for something else since he has something now. I've done all the work of looking through job listings and sending him things that seem like possibilities but that doesn't help. I've even made specific times where he's at home with the computer and I'm out with the kids or they're sleeping so he can work on job apps but he just wastes the time. Some of this is probably non-ADD related laziness. Some of it is depression...

I know he struggles to stay engaged when he finds things boring. We only see him a few hours a day and most of the time I have to fight for his attention. Our son will be trying to play with him and he'll be lost in a book. I'll try to talk to him and he'll act like I'm really bothering him because he had to look up from his magazine. I feel like apologizing that we don't seem to be interesting enough for him to care... He told me once (over a year ago) that he felt "trapped" by marriage and fatherhood and that just keeps on coming back to me. I wonder if leaving would make him realize that he misses us, or if it would just give him what he actually wants?

The Dr he's seeing doesn't seem to know a lot about adult ADD. He told her the med didn't work and then has called back a few times but was only able to leave a message so nothing happened. He's unwilling to see someone else. His counselor as well is great with working through stuff from his past, but doesn't seem to really be working on the ADD side of things. I often feel like a single mother of 3 and I just don't know how much longer I can do that. I wanted marriage to be a partnership but when my DH is acting like a child most of the time (in the words of lady we were trying to see for marriage counseling) it just doesn't feel that way. I'm staying for the children and because I believe strongly that marriage is forever. I just want to be able to have hope that things will change.

Sorry that this is rambling... I just needed to be heard by someone who might understand and no one in my "real" life is in that position...
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Old 04-10-10, 11:05 AM
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Re: Is there hope?

Sorry to hear this story, and believe me it is one oft repeated.

You've married a man with a brain disorder which has basically gone untreated. But you have 3 children together so this can't really come as a big surprise to you.

Yes, there IS hope, but he needs to be properly assessed and treated appropriately. You may have to threaten to leave if he doesn't go to see a psychiatrist -- but YOU will have to do the research and make the appointment, he can't.

I know a person here on the forum who has told me privately of their marriage being on the rocks before treatment and how they've been able to patch it up just in the last month, so yes there is hope -- but only with treatment.

Find a psychiatrist who knows about AD/HD -- even if it is someone who specializes in children -- and make an appointment. And then make it clear that the marriage depends on his at least making an effort to just go and be assessed.

Anti depressants take many weeks to have an effect -- taking a few pills will have virtually no effect (ie they "don't work").

If the doc prescribes a stimulant, it will have a far more immediate effect and you will both see a change right away.

That's my take, and I am not in your shoes, so hang on for a bit and see who else chimes in as the weekend progresses. There are plenty of people here from both sides who will have important things to say that go to the heart of what you are going through.

I do hope this helps, but what will also help is that you accept the fact that he will not be able to do even simple tasks until and unless he gets treatment IMO. So extreme patience is the order of the day in the meanwhile.

All the best.
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  #3  
Old 04-10-10, 01:07 PM
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Exclamation There IS hope!

Long post alert:

Boy, this sounds (horribly) familiar.

You're not alone—you sound like you're going through exactly what I did to my ex-girlfriends years back when I was untreated. From my perspective, they were critical, harsh, and never bothered to try to understand that I was different, so eventually I just stopped trying to do anything, since I was "obviously" not doing a *thing* right.

Meanwhile, in reality... From their perspective, they just didn't know what to expect from someone who was so obviously bright, but just couldn't accomplish a dang thing with his life. That's gotta be hard to deal with, right? You want the best for him, but he just seems to squander his giftedness and tends to shut down &/or withdraw when approached about the problem, right?

There IS hope, sister.

The doc &/or marriage counselor sounds like crap, frankly. Find one of each that specialize in Adult ADD—check the Wisconsin section of the Advocacy forum here.

If you're near Racine, I know a great counselor that also refers for ADD. She helped save my parents' marriage—and when I went to see her separately for pretty much the exact thing your hubby's going through (plus a suicide attempt), she really helped unscrew a whole lifetime of poor thinking.

Meds help, but your husband is going to need to understand that you're not trying to change who he really is—you're actually just trying to help him finally get to *be* who he really is. If you don't approach it that way with him, I promise you he's going to feel like you're just one more person in a long list that never bothered to really understand him & just wants him to be "somebody else." I assure you that will contribute seriously to a further breakdown of the relationship. Trust me. Been there.

Important caveat: The issue with trying to help him see your treatment/therapy request in a positive light is that he's very likely *going* to automatically hear it in a negative/critical light. He's likely been used to people telling him in many, many ways that he's just not good enough—his whole life, probably. He has likely given up on hearing what people actually say in favor of what he thinks they "really mean." It's the product of several things, but one of them is actually a defense mechanism he's erected to keep him from *consistently* being hurt by "normal" people that think he's just lazy/stupid/etc. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) really helps, especially to unwind literally an entire *lifetime* of persistent negative thinking and radically skewed self-concept. Small successes become the anchor points to pull me into real reality—I really *don't* fail at everything I do, even though I can slip into thinking that way when the stress piles on.

Marital stress is the worst—esp. with kids & repeated job loss, etc. I don't think women really understand how deeply ingrained the drive/need to provide for our families is in our nature as men. If he's having job performance issues (probably because the work is dreadfully dull, or he's not being challenged, or not being allowed to think "outside the box" to accomplish the tasks, etc.), then he's very likely experiencing SEVERE & PERSISTENT depression—because he feels like he's failing as a man.

If he's anything like I was (and I still struggle sometimes), he's having trouble showing that he loves you & the kids—because he's spending a majority of his time loathing himself for his failures, real, imagined, or both. Why do you think he spends so much time reading? He's trying to escape from reality—whether real or perceived, he's spending his free time running from his failings. (plus, he sounds like he has traditional ADHD-PI hyperfocus issues)

I swear to you: men would rather be told we suck in bed than to feel like we're failing to provide, or failing in our role as supportive, loving husband, or failing as fathers. Nothing makes me want to shut down & lose myself in a video game or a book faster than even feeling like any of these are true. Nothing!

Permit me to make some suggestions?
* Try not to even entertain the thought of divorce, unless there is unrepentant adultery, abandonment, or spousal abuse. If it's off the table a priori, there's at least a starting point for actually *having* to deal with the issues. Believe it or not, just outright forbidding the use of the word by either marriage party (during a fight or otherwise) can significantly lower the paralyzing fear of failure and actually motivate conversation. You *DID* vow "sickness & health," right? This is—in part—a sickness. (The other part I'm not allowed to discuss on here, per forum rules )

* Maybe having him read my response will be the start of the healing process? There's comfort in knowing you're not alone, and he *may* see himself to a "T" in what I've described. I know seeing a random Internet stranger describe my deepest, darkest fears, struggles, habits, and defense mechanisms—as if he was reading my heart like a book—would jar the hell out of me—and send me running for a therapist.

* Maybe we can convince him to join the forum here so he can finally know he's not alone—just slightly broken at the moment
There's comfort in numbers, and the anonymity on here makes getting to the real underlying issues a pretty quick process. We <3 to help!

Sorry the post was so long, I just want to see you & your hubby get the help you both need to help your marriage stand firm.

I've been through this, and the view from the other side is breathtakingly beautiful. Get there.

Godspeed,

~OD
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  #4  
Old 04-10-10, 03:05 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

I echo all the above posts.

You, me, and Adult ADHD seems like a good book (my copy is still somewhat new, girl leaving me regardless) - but have you gotten him any books? The Distraction series (driven to distraction, answers to distraction, married to distraction) is written for us, by us (authors have ADHD, 'married to...' written by author's non-adhd partner).

I found them enlightening to understand and accept what *I* have been doing that is not normal behavior. It's important to help your husband realize that he is not alone in this (see O'doyle's post above re internet stranger). He's not unique in his trials and tribulations with this disorder, many of us struggle with this daily... and survive.

The same goes for you, as well. You're not alone in any of this.
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Old 04-10-10, 03:11 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

Word. For me it was So You Mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?

pretty sure that was the title, anyway. I forget
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Old 04-10-10, 03:21 PM
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Re: There IS hope!

Quote:
Originally Posted by O'Doyle View Post
Meds help, but your husband is going to need to understand that you're not trying to change who he really is—you're actually just trying to help him finally get to *be* who he really is. If you don't approach it that way with him, I promise you he's going to feel like you're just one more person in a long list that never bothered to really understand him & just wants him to be "somebody else." I assure you that will contribute seriously to a further breakdown of the relationship. Trust me. Been there.

Important caveat: The issue with trying to help him see your treatment/therapy request in a positive light is that he's very likely *going* to automatically hear it in a negative/critical light. He's likely been used to people telling him in many, many ways that he's just not good enough—his whole life, probably. He has likely given up on hearing what people actually say in favor of what he thinks they "really mean." It's the product of several things, but one of them is actually a defense mechanism he's erected to keep him from *consistently* being hurt by "normal" people that think he's just lazy/stupid/etc. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

I've been through this, and the view from the other side is breathtakingly beautiful. Get there.
Beautifully put, fabulous insights.
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Old 04-10-10, 11:13 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

I don't know how to pick up a quote, but the part above about not hearing what people actually say in favor of what he thinks they say is so true of us! It's so frustrating as a non-add person, because it feels as though I cut slack all the time yet even innocent requests I may make are taken as direct attacks.

How can we communicate without becoming co-dependent?
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Old 04-10-10, 11:38 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cosinezero View Post
I echo all the above posts.

You, me, and Adult ADHD seems like a good book (my copy is still somewhat new, girl leaving me regardless) - but have you gotten him any books? The Distraction series (driven to distraction, answers to distraction, married to distraction) is written for us, by us (authors have ADHD, 'married to...' written by author's non-adhd partner).
If I may interject....actually, "You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?" was written for people with ADHD, too.

It's the only book that, for example, spells out medication protocols, details the type of therapy that's been shown effective for ADHD (and warns about the kind that's not so helpful), and touches on all kinds of other issues (sensory integration, ADHD and sex, "denial" and more).
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Old 04-11-10, 12:08 AM
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Re: Is there hope?

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Originally Posted by hopeful2 View Post
I don't know how to pick up a quote, but the part above about not hearing what people actually say in favor of what he thinks they say is so true of us! It's so frustrating as a non-add person, because it feels as though I cut slack all the time yet even innocent requests I may make are taken as direct attacks.

How can we communicate without becoming co-dependent?
This is a constant struggle for me, honestly. The best advice I can give is for the introverted partner to spend less time trying to analyze the crap out of every word the NT partner says, and more time actually listening to the person themselves. That sounds like crap, but it's the best I can come up with.

I'm slowly learning that most of the time "I'm glad you did the dishes, honey" really doesn't mean "You halfwit—why did it take you all day to get the dishes done?!" My poor wife

I'm blessed to have such a patient one. Others aren't so fortunate.

Most of us have literally decades of serious self-loathing to work through before we're going to hear what anyone else is actually saying without parasitically adding our own inner self-targeting rage to it.

We're classically projecting, if you want the Freudian term. If you prefer sociological terms, we've self-defined using Cooley's "Looking-Glass Self." If CBT is your flavor of choice, we have years of persistent negative thought processes to undo. Etc etc etc.

Call it whatever you like—we need help!

~OD
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Old 04-11-10, 08:34 AM
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Re: Is there hope?

I'm trying to keep hoping... thanks for your encouragement. He's struggling to want to try something else after the negative experience with Concerta and the Dr isn't returning his phone calls. Both are pretty frustrating for me... I keep on thinking we're almost there and then something happens (first Dr said he didn't have ADD, it took a long time for his counselor to communicate with the psychologist who did his evaluation and a long time for him to communicate withe a Dr who could prescribe meds, now it's taking a while to get through to the Dr to change the med or dosage...)


He has been seen by a psychologist - we had to pay around $1500 for the ADD diagnosis. He's also seeing a counselor on a fairly regular basis. I think the counseling's actually helping him deal with the lifetime of self-loathing etc. He would not respond well if I made appointments for him - especially with someone new. Reminding him to call is bad enough. Although if he doesn't hear from the Dr tomorrow I think I'll give up and try to find another one who will actually return phone calls. I have used all the searches for ADD specialists and there are none in our area. I think my next step is to call through the list on our HMO and ask at each if they have anyone who specializes. Then at least maybe we could find someone who takes this seriously.


I'm not expecting things to be perfect or expecting the right medication to immediately change everything - I'm just waiting for him to be at an ok place (having worked through stuff from his past in counseling and having ADD symptoms under control) so that I actually feel like I'm married again (as opposed to just having an extra child). I feel like I have been in survival mode - just holding on - for so long. It takes all of my energy (physically, mentally, spiritually...) to be a good mom and keep our household running and try to live with him while he's so difficult. I keep on telling myself that if I can just hold on for a little longer it will get better, we'll go back to being partners in marriage and parenting... I'll be able to feel like I can breathe again. With 2 very small children I can't really "take care of myself" unless he steps up and takes care of them. If we didn't have kids or if they were older it would be different I guess...


So I keep on feeling like a nag. There are just some things that have to happen and if I remind him he gets upset and if I don't remind him he gets upset so I tend to do the first. And I keep on fighting for his attention for me and for our children. He apparently doesn't find us very interesting and when he's home is usually glued to a book - escaping. I miss having silly conversations about nothing, but I also miss having a partner to discuss important things with. I feel so alone in our marriage.


Much of what you said rang true, O'Doyle... he is very gifted, feels like that part of him is buried under laziness and ADD though... He hasn't been willing to read ADD forums in the past when I've suggested it. He has read one book - one of the Distraction ones I think. We own 3 or 4 others (including the Lazy Crazy Stupid one) but they just sit on the shelf - not engaging enough I guess.

I understand that men have a drive to provide - but wouldn't that make him more diligent in searching for work and more careful to keep what he does have???

I've never mentioned divorce to him and he doesn't know I've ever thought about leaving. These are just in my head... things I forget about when the roller coaster is on the up, and things I think about a lot when it's on the down.
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Old 04-11-10, 01:30 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

Quote:
I understand that men have a drive to provide - but wouldn't that make him more diligent in searching for work and more careful to keep what he does have???
Ordinarily, yes—but remember what I said about severe & persistent depression. Fear of failure is paralyzing for a lot of us with ADHD-PI. It's almost impossible to describe how horrible this feels, frankly.

We really do *want* to succeed, but we're so scared we won't that we don't even bother anymore, basically. It sounds selfish (because in part—it is...), but this isn't a conscious decision to be lazy on his part—not by now. By now, thought patterns are so ingrained that he really does believe he's going to fail—at least to some extent—in literally everything he does. Likely he only hears your criticisms and never actually hears your praises, too. This is part of the self-destructive (and therefore destructive to others) nature of persistent negative thinking. It IS selfish—and it IS paralyzing.

Think of it this way: The failure he has some degree of control over (like being detached and/or not trying, etc.) is FAR less frightening for him than the fear of *actually* failing at something he tries. Piggybacking on that will be his tendency to ONLY see his failings at those "external" things and NEVER allow himself to see the good.

This is a classic defense mechanism. Self-induced failure is controllable. Self-induced failure is how I would keep myself from *actually* failing, and also how I would keep myself self-absorbed, self-loathing, and perpetually depressed. It really is a selfish, selfish way for me to think/live—but with my thoughts always bent inward, it was impossible for me to see how self-involved & defeating this really was...

It took something I'm not allowed to discuss on this board to set me free from this bondage to self...

It's better now, and getting better year by year—but it's still a struggle.

Hope this clarifies,

~OD
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Old 04-11-10, 03:22 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Questions1 View Post
We own 3 or 4 others (including the Lazy Crazy Stupid one) but they just sit on the shelf - not engaging enough I guess.
-->If you want him to read something, put it in the bathroom.

It's the one time we're completely captive audiences for books.
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Old 04-11-10, 03:31 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

lmao @ cosinezero
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Old 04-11-10, 04:14 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

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Originally Posted by Questions1 View Post
I feel so alone in our marriage.

Much of what you said rang true, O'Doyle... he is very gifted, feels like that part of him is buried under laziness and ADD though...
Laziness . . . oooh there's word to try to avoid -- even he needs to avoid it.

It is so frustrating to be told throughout life that you are "gifted" yet feel that you are unable to actualize your potential.

It may look like laziness from the outside, but it isn't even close; it something far more insidious, far more debilitating and far more dangerous.

Years of paralysis and distraction, of feeling "stuck" watching the days, weeks, months, years and decades slide by while your good intentions are never realized leads to a sense of defeat, of distrust of self, of hopelessness that can easily become depression and can lead to jail, homelessness, drug addiction, substance abuse even suicide . . . you get the picture.

Sorry to sound so bleak, but having been at the precipice, I can tell you that it is a terrifying place to find oneself.

Your husband is likely terrified at some level. And if he seems happy-go-lucky, puts on a happy face, doesn't let on, it doesn't mean he isn't actually in real pain.

I know I sound like a downer, I'm sorry, and I don't mean to scare you, but from what I've read this has become more serious of late, and that is what happened to me last year when I suddenly found myself broke and unable to work.
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Old 04-11-10, 04:42 PM
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Re: Is there hope?

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Originally Posted by O'Doyle View Post
I'm slowly learning that most of the time "I'm glad you did the dishes, honey" really doesn't mean "You halfwit—why did it take you all day to get the dishes done?!" My poor wife
LOL No wonder communication is difficult! This sounds familiar!

Yes, I did say "in sickness and health". I wasn't thinking of mental sickness at the time, but it does still apply. Too bad we're having the "worse" and "poorer" at the same time!

Will try the book in the bathroom trick.

Yes, has become more serious lately. Lots of changes/moves/uncertainly for us in the last year and a half. So if it's not laziness, what can I do? How do I encourage him to do things like look for work and call his Dr without making it worse?
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