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  #16  
Old 04-07-17, 05:35 PM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

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Originally Posted by Tabitha123 View Post
dvdnvwls, thanks for your comments. I think the problem is twofold: 1) he enjoys organizing and re-organizing these piles (into other piles). 2) he feels overwhelmed at the thought of actually putting them away. I try to be sensitive about this. Heck, I didn't say anything about it for FOUR YEARS because I understood that...but finally I had to say: can't we just be DONE with this already?

Johnny Slick, thanks for the book idea. I'm getting ready to check the library. I've actually heard of that book before. I hope it helps! He isn't experiencing nausea or anything but hesitates to up his dosage since it's so addictive. I wouldn't say that he's grumpy with ME. He tries really hard to be 'normal.' I think that's the whole problem. He feels like he's letting his boss down, since he's suddenly not getting anything done. He feels like he's letting me down, since he's not really very 'present' right now and has to spend so much time alone. He feels like he's letting himself down, because no matter how hard he pushes/tries, he can't get any better. It's just a really sad time for both of us.
If stimulant meds like Adderall are taken as prescribed by the doctor
and monitored by the doctor at appropriate intervals (like 3 months),
the chance of addiction is very, very low.

It would be like getting addicted to insulin because your body needs it.
If the brain needs these meds and you're giving it what it needs, addiction
is just not a real concern as long as you're not chasing some euphoric feel.
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  #17  
Old 04-07-17, 05:55 PM
dvdnvwls dvdnvwls is offline
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

Maybe trying hard to be "normal" is one of the main problems.

It's very much as if you tried - all on your own, without moving and without taking any courses - to be from Iceland, so that Icelanders couldn't spot that you were a foreigner.

My ex-wife waited many more years than you have - at least triple the amount of time, perhaps more. I don't think she felt in the end that it had been worth the wait.

Instead of waiting, find out in your own mind exactly what YOUR real difficulties are with the current situation. Not ways that you think he should improve, not things that you think he needs to do - but parts of the situation that you are not going to accept any more. Keep the personalities and the names out of it.

Then: Recognize that your current methods for trying to deal with those things are all proven failures. (More than a year is already ample proof.) Get creative. Think of some possible new ways to solve your problems.

Then: Run those ideas past your husband and see what he thinks of them. Maybe he'll be happy with them. Maybe he'll be inspired to help you with the problems you have, and come up with other ideas.

But keep in mind, and keep emphasizing to yourself, that what you're out to solve are YOUR problems. As soon as you get involved with solving someone else's problems, you're out of bounds. For example, "I can't handle the basement being this cluttered" is your problem and you can try to solve it. "My husband needs to clean the basement", on the other hand, is (for this purpose) none of your business.
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Old 04-07-17, 07:46 PM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

Is your husband in therapy? Does he bring up these issues with the therapist so he can work out some ideas for how to deal with it? I agree with the other comments that he won't really get anywhere unless HE is in charge of his ADHD (meaning that he is actively trying to understand it and improve, and actively looking for new ways to work with it). It sounds kind of like he is delegating this job to you becuase he feels like he doesn't have time for it. Remind him that taking out an hour a week or so is a lot less than the hours and hours lost to being distracted and disorganized. (Beleieve me I know from experience!!!!!) It is an investment with exponential returns.

Regarding medication, what makes him say that it is so addictive? Could it be that he likes the feeling of it being effective, and that makes him think it's wrong? I am not a psychiatrist, but my feeling is that maybe he is shying away from getting the full effect out of it becuase it feels foreign to him. And with ADHD it really is fine if the medication lasts your whole life, so why would he worry about becoming "addicted"? Does he want to stop taking it after finishing the PhD? I think he should discuss this fear (and his plans for how to continue or stop in the future with the psychaiatrist and maybe they will shed some light for him.

Regarding the piles - I know the problem all too well. When I used to try to clean out my old school papers I would get bogged down in every tiny detail, either reminiscing about stuff, or being confused about how to sort them into different categories, becuase there were just so many different unique things about each item. It got to the point where I just threw almost everything away becuase I couldn't deal with it. I'm still a bit traumatized about it....

One thing I've found VERY important when trying to sort things or put things away, is to have designated places for things. I'm not sure how this would apply to his boxes (like what types of things are in there...? And where would they go if they were put away?) But basically it is nearly impossible to organize if you haven't first established a system, a place where things should go (which is actually EMPTY!!) and a set of rules for how to sort stuff. Then you can go through the whole thing working more like a robot, and you don't get bogged down in details of stuff, and it is easier to re-focus by simply reading the rules again.

You might think you have all that, but for ADHD it has to be SUPER clear - and visable. For example actually make physical boxes with colors on them and big signs saying which stuff goes in that box. Also define and print out a copy of the "rules for sorting", and tape it on the wall next to him so he can keep refering to it. It is important though, that he is on board with all this - he can define the rules or you can help him define them, but don't just do it and tell him about it. What I mean by rules is really more like an algorythm or a set of steps to do... for example: Items older than 100 years - identify the date and write it on a sticker, then put it in the red box.

Even if this may seem totally obvious to you, believe me it helps us with ADHD a TON to just sit down and make the rules, and then to have them right in front of you while working. Especially if you are facing a lot of clutter or overwhealm, it is very difficult to keep focused on what you came there to do.

Another idea of what may be causing the fuzzy brain feeling when he is working on the basement is this - are there too many inputs at the same time? ADHD causes problems with working memory, which means we often can't handle more than a few inputs at once. So for example, if all the boxes are closed, it will be a LOT easier than if all the boxes are slightly open and he can see the stuff inside them. Maybe he even has to take one box into another room to work on it so he doesn't get distracted by the other boxes. I am very curious what is his thinking behind reorganizing the piles rather than putting the stuff away? Is he trying to categorize them first? Does he maybe have the idea that it will be more efficient to put them away once they are sorted a certain way? It would help us give suggestions if you could elaborate that here.

GOod luck to both of you!
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  #19  
Old 04-07-17, 08:23 PM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

I believe having a non-ADHD spouse's strategy determine how an ADHD spouse's belongings will be sorted and put away would be a complete disaster. Sure, the things would be put away - but the ADHD spouse would be so lost, and feel so belittled and disregarded, that things might never be OK between them again.
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  #20  
Old 04-08-17, 01:27 AM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

Hate to say, but you know ... there is no such thing as "organizing a space" with finality. I've organized various living spaces and rooms hundreds of times, but as others have said, without a system, things quickly return to the previous disorganization.

This conversation has been so helpful ... in recent years, I've gotten more comfortable with throwing things out ... so many records are online now ... I don't try to keep them ... I try to purge excess clothes ... books ... I even donated underwear to a charity when I realized I had so many pair that I was delaying my wash cycle for far too long.

It's just really hard to have a romantic partner help us with organizing our stuff beyond a certain point ... Too easy for that person to start to feel more mature/more serious/more grownup ... and too easy for the other person to feel more immature and incompetent.

I have a non-romantic friend who helps me a lot with organizing my things. At this point, he understands that any organizing system for me needs to be EXTREMELY SIMPLE. Anything complicated, and I'm not following through ... I won't even remember how to follow through--let alone do the follow through. What's so helpful is that my friend has ZERO emotional investment in my organization or messiness. He is simply willing to help me ... and he knows I'd like a prettier living space.

So interesting to think this: I'm totally willing to be with a highly organized partner, but I can't go into the relationship at all apologizing about my ways with space. What a challenge, it seems, huh?!

Tone
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  #21  
Old 04-08-17, 12:47 PM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

Huh. Thanks, Tone. That's an important point for me - my helpful friend/acquaintance is extremely effective in her brusque way, but even though it's not her stuff, she does seem emotionally invested in its getting done. And that multiplies my stress... which (irritatingly for both of us) also multiplies the time till completion.


Sunflower: I wanted to say something earlier, and I couldn't figure out what it was, but now I think I know.

I think this whole conversation has to be about politics and sensitivity and successful relationships, not about organizing tips. Because IMO the point is helping the husband, not helping the wife to help the husband to clean the basement. Cleaning basements is relatively easy. Relationships are not.

Nobody hangs wallpaper anymore.
(There's an old half-true joke that putting up wallpaper together is the ultimate test of a relationship.) ...But we still have basements.
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Old 04-09-17, 10:52 AM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

He just started therapy and hasn't gotten around to "time management strategies" yet...still giving all the background information.

I mentioned the ADHD/Adderall/not addictive/chemical replacement info to him and he's going to talk to his doctor about it!

I wasn't trying to put away his stuff for him so I wouldn't have to see it, but wanted to make it into something we could do together. What we're talking about now is to have set times for him to be in the basement and other times where he leaves it alone. I hope it works.

Something really exciting that we're talking about is him leaving his professional career and building up my business to make it a full-time job for BOTH of us. He has the knowledge and the contacts and the experience. I'm positive that he would be SO much happier if he could structure his work time around his hyper-focus times. Really, everything about running the business is appealing to him. The only thing that's slowing us down is the (sigh) health insurance aspect. Scary and expensive to self-pay. Anyway, just something we're talking about.
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Old 04-20-17, 12:57 AM
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Re: How best to help my ADHD husband?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabitha123 View Post
He just started therapy and hasn't gotten around to "time management strategies" yet...still giving all the background information.

I mentioned the ADHD/Adderall/not addictive/chemical replacement info to him and he's going to talk to his doctor about it!

I wasn't trying to put away his stuff for him so I wouldn't have to see it, but wanted to make it into something we could do together. What we're talking about now is to have set times for him to be in the basement and other times where he leaves it alone. I hope it works.
Its good to do things together, my husband and I do this when something is overwhelming. We pre-set an amount of time and then take breaks. We might say "we are working on this for a half hour (or hour, or 15 min) and then we take a 15 min break. It works.


Quote:
Something really exciting that we're talking about is him leaving his professional career and building up my business to make it a full-time job for BOTH of us. He has the knowledge and the contacts and the experience. I'm positive that he would be SO much happier if he could structure his work time around his hyper-focus times. Really, everything about running the business is appealing to him. The only thing that's slowing us down is the (sigh) health insurance aspect. Scary and expensive to self-pay. Anyway, just something we're talking about.
This sounds like a good possibility but I urge you to remain realistic. You may think he would be more happier and more of a go-getter with his contacts and experience but it he fails he will be letting down the woman he loves instead of a boss at work.
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