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|Thread : Help with Wife's ADD|
|30 Dec 2004 @ 8:50 AM|
|Cool Hand Husband||
Help with Wife's ADD
Looking for some advise. My wife has ADD and OCD, for which she takes medication. I do not have ADD. We have been married 5 years and from the time we first met to now I have noticed the symptoms getting worse. She sees a Psychiatrist that she really likes, however I am not sure she tells him truthfully what needs to be said. My wife has a business as do I, yet I am always the one who does anything and everything with and for the kids. She feels as if I don't do enough to understand ADD to help her. Yet, I am the one who gives her her medication every morning. I am the one that brings her a hot cup of coffee every morning to help her wake. I am the one that gets the kids taken care of in the morning and night. I am the one that got her a special light box to help her wake in the morning and with depression, etc...
So, I ask you. When does it become time for the person (my wife) with ADD become accountable for their actions or inactions. When does the person with ADD start acting like a responsible adult - and more importantly, like a responsible parent?
As you can see, I am completely frustrated.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
|2 Jan 2005 @ 3:40 PM Reply # 1|
Dealing with your wife's ADD
I applaud you for your efforts but at the same time.... it is hard to do things on your own when someone else has always been there to help you through it. I'd ask for couples counselling, to help her get on her own two feet and for you to feel more as a team rather than you carrying the majority of the weight. It may be she has deeper issues she needs to work out and needs your support or on the other hand, she may be so used to your helping she has come dependant... good luck
|3 Jan 2005 @ 7:01 AM Reply # 2|
|Cool Hand Husband||
Thanks for getting back to me. The problem is that when things are going great they are absolutely wonderful. I noticed that when they are not going so great, a deep feeling of frustration comes over me and everything comes out.
I also believe that counseling is in order and have obtained a name of someone who could help.
I do know that my wife tries, though a lot of times it seems like she does not. I find it funny that I, the husband, seem to have a more maternal instinct than she does, but I think that has to do with how we were raised. I am very close to my mother and sister and she has a somewhat strained relationship with her mom when she was growing up.
I do absolutely agree with you that there are other underlying problems - issues with her mom who passed away, more stress than she is used to, etc... However, I have stress also.
I think that the big issue or question I have is, when does the person with ADD start holding themselves repsonsible and accountable?!? I'm tired (perhaps "tired" is not the proper word) of hearing her use ADD as an "excuse" to not be able to do things or to not try.
|5 Jan 2005 @ 7:33 AM Reply # 3|
Help with Wife's ADD
Wow, you sound a lot like my husband and I....you might be right about your wife using the add as an excuse. I find myself doing that too sometimes. My husband gets mad because I'm 24 and just can't seem to get my act together. It really is hard sometimes. Couples counseling sounds like a good idea. You sound very supportive, which is great, but don't be a crutch. Your wife needs to learn how to function better. Is she currently on any meds? This might sound like an attack to her, but it helped my hubby...start keeping a journal of all those things that bother you. Sit down with her and talk about them. Until you nail down those problems....even the little ones, you won't have a solution. Work together to make life more managable.
Oh god, I'm starting to sound like Dr. Phil......
|9 Aug 2007 @ 3:31 PM Reply # 4|
Tue 13th Nov 2007
Threads: 0 Posts: 2
Help with Wife's ADD
It sounds like you really love your wife. I know you are doing a lot. My husband does the same for me. I mean he doesn't bring me coffee, but he helps out soooo much with our 5 year old daughter. I have not been "formally" diagnosed, but have been told by a psychologist that she believes I am ADD. My biggest problem is that when my ADD gets really bad, My brain gets overwhelmed and I freeze up. I think about all of the things I need to do. I tend to "hyperfocus" when I get into cleaning and so forth. Sometimes I will spend an entire day in one room! Every so often, my husband will chime in and say something like "let's go through the toys today". We go into my daughter's room and knock it out together. He keeps me from getting too involved so we can get it done quickly. Then, a task that I had been dreading for months is now done! It only took us less than an hour. He doesn't do this all the time, but when he does...Wow what a relief. Have you tried this? Try getting her motivated to do something small and when she has an ADD moment (or hour), make a little joke about it. This ADD is really freakin frustrating and I know that when I keep telling myself I am gonna do something and don't get it done, I look at it as failure which leads to depression....viscious cycle!!
|12 Aug 2007 @ 5:44 PM Reply # 5|
Wed 21st Nov 2007
Threads: 11 Posts: 358
First let me applaud you for really trying. Your wife ADD is not an exuse and may be one of those who checks out when her anxiety or uninterest takes over. Many of us ADDers need to have our minds really engaged before we can respond or do things. If we are not engaged we will glaze over, it not an exuse because we tend to beat ourselves up for doing this. We tend to be very stimulate oriented people, and depending on what else is going on we can be very creative or lost into our own worlds. I personally am very ADD ; and have an extremely high IQ which you would think would be a blesssing. At time it it curse because routine thing such as cleaning the house or doing the laundry is so unstimulating. I think the counselor you see will need to be one a person who believes in ADD and has worked with ADD couples where there is one who is ADD.Otherwise you will find yourself blaming your wife for things and she will feel ganged up on. Unfortunately learning to let things go is your biggest challenge; if you can't then eventually the strain will begin to show. I know I live with ADD; and everyday it is difficult to feel "normal" There is may good sites about ADD check them out. Make sure she is sleeping well, allergies are taken care of because these things will make her ADD out of control.
|3 Sep 2007 @ 10:53 AM Reply # 6|
Tue 11th Dec 2007
Threads: 0 Posts: 3
Help with Wife's ADD
Like others have said, I applaud your support and understanding. I meet many adults with partners much less helpful.
There's some very good suggestions in the earlier replies - couples therapy, etc. but I would like to add a thought.
It seems to me that you are already doing all you can - and maybe more. At this point, I would invite you to encourage your wife to reach out and get support. There are CHADD groups and other support groups - in person and on-line that might be helpful to her. Also, she might benefit from a coach. Coaching is about learning skills, getting support, developing structure. Coaching is saying 'yes, I want more'.
More and more professional psychologist/therapists/neurologists, etc. are referring patients to coaches.
My best to you and your family.
|5 Jan 2008 @ 6:43 PM Reply # 7|
Sat 5th Jan 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 1
Help With Wife's ADD
This looked like it was an old post so I don't know if you're still looking for advice on your wife's ADD. I'll reply anyhow because sometimes other people with the same questions may also find this thread.
In the first post, you never mentioned how old you and your wife are. Age might be one reason it seems that her symptoms are getting worse. As women approach menopause, their ADD symptoms tend to get worse. I know they have for me. Women approaching menopause tend to be more forgetful and have more definite mood swings. As ADD types, we tend to have problems with these as well, so it only seems to get worse as we approach menopause. Medication helps, but sometimes it seems like I'm the way I was before I started on medication because the hormonal changes I'm experiencing seem like they make the medication less effective. It's not so much the medication is less effective but more that if I weren't on medication, I'd be twice as forgetful and twice as moody. I've heard that taking hormone replacement therapy will help, but I have mixed feelings on trying that.
You also asked when will it be that your wife finally 'grows up' and starts taking on more responsibility for her share of tasks. What you have to understand is that ADD isn't something that can be cured (at least not right now) and it isn't something that just goes away, either. Your wife feels overwhelmed by things that would most likely not overwhelm you. The more overwhelmed she feels, the more frozen to action she probably feels. In her mind there is just so much to do that she can't figure out where to begin. You end up picking up her slack so it probably looks like she is using ADD as an excuse so she doesn't have to do as much. If she is using ADD as an excuse, I doubt she is consciously doing it. She might be acting like the ostrich, and just hoping the problem will go away or fix itself. Of course, if you are taking care of everything, then the problem does end up going away or fixing itself in her mind. But I doubt she is purposely doing that so you will take care of everything and she won't have to do anything. Most women with ADD want to be useful and needed, to contribute, and not to be causing problems. We tend to have very low self esteem, especially if we were diagnosed later in life.
I know I tend to be instantly defensive when someone around me comments that something wasn't done right, put back in the right place, or forgotten. Many times I'll even blurt something out just to get the blame off of me when it isn't anything anyone is blaming on me in the first place. That comes from years of having people look in your direction when something went wrong or was forgotten. I thrive on hearing praise from others so I always want to do things right and to be exceptional enough to be noticed. Sometimes in my striving for that, I will inadvertently miss some details that I didn't catch or didn't seem important, and instead of praise, I get to hear about how I don't pay attention enough to details. I just lose sight sometime because I will hyperfocus on one aspect and evidently not focus enough on the aspects that seem mundane, boring or routine. Yet many times those things are very important. I hate being bored and I think that's a common theme among people with ADD.
It also gets very frustrating for us because there is no way for us to show someone who doesn't have ADD what it's like to live in our bodies. My husband got a taste of it one day. He couldn't find his wallet. He spent half an hour looking for his wallet, trying to remember where he had it, etc. He was getting very upset, frustrated and stressed. He even put himself down because he felt stupid not knowing where he had put his wallet. Meanwhile, I was blocking out some of his loud complaining and thinking through what he had done and what parts of the house he'd been in. I often have to do this when I misplace something. I realized he had changed clothes twice, only wearing one pair of shorts for about an hour and then changing to jeans. I went to his closet where he had put the shorts back up on the shelf and found his wallet. He was so thankful. By that time he had wasted almost an hour looking for it.
Thankfully, this sort of thing doesn't happen very often to him. It happens every once in a while to everybody. Just think if you had to deal with this type of frustration on a daily basis and often at least 2 or 3 times a day? You'd start second guessing yourself and feeling like there was something majorly wrong with your brain that you're forgetting stuff that much. Not to mention all the time that is wasted looking for things. As I approach menopause, I have many days that I get far less done than most people would because of misplacing something and looking for it. And it's not always because of clutter. Sometimes it is as simple as taking an object from the place where it lives with the intention of using it and then getting distracted by something else, like maybe the phone ringing, and then being unable to find where you placed the object while you had to answer the phone. Many times if I get distracted from something, it's very difficult to get back on track where you left off. A lot of times I will totally space and forget to finish those things I was doing before I got distracted.
Another problem that I think happens is that whatever work there is or however many chores there are, it will always fill up the time alloted to do them, even if it should take much less time. My husband complains a lot about this one. If one day I have two things that must get done that day, chances are those two things will get done, but not much of anything else. If there are five things that must get done that day, then those 5 things will get done. What he complains about is that if I could do 5 things in 5 hours, then even though I got the 2 things done that needed to be done on the other day, then why wasn't more stuff done on the day I only did 2 things? I think it's because of the sense of urgency and has to do with why we tend to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do anything. That's when it is most urgent. If only 2 things were urgent, then those things got done, but other things that were not urgent didn't get done, even though I could have fit in 3 more things but they just weren't urgent. Yet when I had 5 urgent things to get done, all 5 got done.
I don't know exactly why people with ADD seem to wait until the last minute to do anything, but it is a very common problem. It's very often why we are late to everything. We tend to work better under pressure because it creates that sense of urgency for us. Unfortunately it often bites us in the rear end, too. It really tends to cause problems in the area of time management. Under a sense of urgency, we feel that we can complete a task in less time than it normally takes.
I think also what people who do not have ADD don't understand is that many times we are working as hard as we can, as quickly as we can, and overall trying as hard as we can try, yet because of the difficulties we have, we still fall far short of what is expected. When we begin to feel that we are doing the best we can and it's just not enough, that's when we may throw up our hands and just give up totally. I'm sure most everyone has felt the frustration of trying to do something and giving it everything you have, and it not being enough. Unfortunately we feel that way more often than people who don't have ADD.
I think if you want to help your wife, you should try to put yourself in her shoes and think about how you would feel if you were trying to go through your day like you'd only had four hours of sleep the previous two nights. Think about a time when you felt like you were in a fog or haze and just trying to survive on autopilot. Think about trying as hard as you can and always falling short. Think about those times when you've misplaced things and how frustrated you felt trying to find what you misplaced. Then think about going through most of your days like that, but with having a few days here and there where everything worked perfectly, you didn't misplace anything, you had tons of energy, were extremely productive, and were able to surpass expectations of others blindfolded with your arms tied behind your back. Now think about how someone else would perceive you if one day you were able to do everything right and the next day you couldn't do anything right at all, were forgetful, tired, and frustrated. You see, it's the inconsistency that I think people who don't have ADD don't understand. If we're able to be super productive one day, then why is it we have several unproductive days afterwards? People think we don't care, or that we're lazy. It's as frustrating as having a car that runs perfect, but yet has several days a week that you can't get it started, it won't stay running, or leaves you stranded somewhere and you can't figure out or fix the problem so that the car runs perfect all the time. After a while, you'll just want to junk the car if you can't diagnose the problem or fix it.
The thing is that your wife is frustrated because she also doesn't know why sometimes her 'motor' runs perfect and other times leaves people stranded. And she doesn't know how to fix it. What may work one time may not work the next time.
You also may have to not always rush to her rescue and let her feel some of the consequences of her actions. That would help if she is acting like the ostrich and avoiding things in hopes they will go away or be fixed. You might need to relax your expectations or standards some. Figure out what you can get by with or what will be 'good enough'. It may not be exactly the way you'd like it, but if it's liveable, then it may lessen your stress considerably when she is unable to meet your ideal expectations.
And like the others said, counseling couldn't hurt. She probably could use some counseling or maybe even working with a coach to help her with her ADD and help her learn ways to cope. If she is getting near menopause, then you might suggest having her look into hormone replacement therapy or suggesting she talk to her doctor about her symptoms. If she is on medication, it may need to be adjusted or changed. My doctor put me on Prozac in addition to Adderall because of the mood swings I was having with menopause. It helps. I still have a lot of forgetfulness, but I'm already on a fairly high dose of Adderall. I just try to write things down as much as possible and I have tons of reminders on my PDA. My husband says it goes off constantly. Some days I need more reminders than other days and I have 2-3 alarms that go off in the morning to get me going. I'm learning what I need to do to cope with my symptoms, but it's a trial and error process.
Sorry for such a long winded reply, by the way. I tend to be long winded at times. I guess that's part of the ADD, as well. Good luck and I hope things work out for both of you.
|17 Jan 2008 @ 9:16 AM Reply # 8|
Thu 17th Jan 2008
Just wanted to give kudos to Catgirl's post--I am a former psych nurse with a husband and a stepson who both have ADD. Sometimes when you are in the middle of a situation, it's hard to step back and look at things objectively. Catgirl thank you for some wonderful insight!
|28 Jan 2008 @ 11:36 AM Reply # 9|
Mon 28th Jan 2008
Suggestion for worn out husband
As someone who also struggles with ADD and who seems to behave like your wife, I have to offer this to the husband who is frustrated. What I want to hear from my husband is continual 'active listening' and genuine care in his voice. I beat myself up for everything that I don't do right and I don't think I blame ADD at all. But many, many of my struggles I could improve myself if I had the support. I need to hear a LOT of positive reinforcement for all the things I do right and how unique I am. I want to feel heard and understood first. Only when I feel loved or understood do I listen to any advice.
Active listening is very hard to do when you have young children and have busy lives. I think it's also hard to not give advice but focus on saying things like, "sounds like you are really frustrated honey" or "wow, you do so much and what's important is that you are trying." An occasional 'I love you' and "how can I help' would be nice also.
As much as possible, hire help like housekeepers or even babysitters to reduce the burden. My husband does all those things without too much anguish but the hardest thing of all for him is to restrain me from starting new projects. That's my biggest problem but I feel so good when I am starting a new project. New projects are a problem because I hyperfocus and neglect everything else and also because once I lose interest it takes up space and if it is house related it stays undone until somebody else finishes. My answer to that is to pay somebody to finish it but sadly, that's rarely an option.
I have great compassion for my husband and for all spouses who are non-ADD who are trying to make a relationship work. It's a hard road to follow.
|30 Jan 2008 @ 2:03 PM Reply # 10|
Tue 22nd Jan 2008
Threads: 1 Posts: 1
I feel your pain and anguish. I am going through the same thing with my significant other (SO). He is driving me crazy...to the point of having anxiety attacks myself. He never holds himself accountable for anything. Everything negative that happens is my fault or someone else. The glass is never half full it's half empty. He always thinks everything and everyone is "out to get him". It's a struggle every day to meet this man's ADHD. I just feel I can't take it. He came to me owing over $30,000.00 in child support, unwilling or uninterested in finding a job other than the one he quit as SOON as he met me. He stayed off of work for 8 months that first year and I was left to do all the bread winning. I am just at the end of the line. He offers me no help in any way, shape or form. He has nowhere else to go. I just don't know what to tell you because I am in the same situation. Sorry I don't have any answers for you. Maybe just knowing someone else is out there going through what you're going through helps. The saddest part of all of this is that we still have love for the individual and I really and truly don't think my SO would be able to survive in the world by himself and he can't get anyone to stay in a relationship long enough to benefit being helpful to him. I'm the longest in YEARS! ARGH! I want to scream.
|30 Jan 2008 @ 9:53 PM Reply # 11|
Wed 30th Jan 2008
To Keyslammer with the bummy SO
My sister was engaged to and living with a somewhat similar guy who had mental health issues-borderline personality disorder. They met online and got very involved before she really knew him or had met any of his family (he was more or less estranged from all of them) or friends (he basically had none). She had enough and she owned the home but she couldn't see a way to get him out. In our state, a shack up honey has the same rights as a regular tenant who has quit paying rent, you have to go thru a legal process to evict them.
She came to my house for a couple of weeks and then only communicated with this guy thru an attorney friend of hers. She eventually offered him a couple of thousand dollars if he would get out in a week. After he was packed up, he went to her atty friends office and the guy handed him the check. Even if you have to get a cash advance on a credit card to do this, it will be the best $$ you ever spent.
Next time, look before you leap. A guy who would fall $30K behind in his obligations to his own flesh and blood is not going to take care of a girlfriend. A grown adult who has hopped from job to job every few months will keep doing it unless he somehow becomes self motivated to do better - you can't motivate another adult. Also, if you meet a guy that "everybody" is against, "all" his former bosses were jerks, "all" his ex-wives and girlfriends were horrible etc. - run quickly in away from that guy!
|8 Mar 2008 @ 7:31 AM Reply # 12|
Sat 8th Mar 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 0
Dear Mr Mom
Are your expectactions reasonable? ADD doesn't go away. It might be easier to conceptualise it as a disability like blindness or some other difference in ability that's not so hard to explain. There are certain limits and we manage those limits or create alternatives. Or accept a different sort of existence.
Building a marriage, raising children and operating a businesses is hard work. Hard without ADD in the mix. Do you think you could ease the load on yourself and compensate for your wife's shortcomings by getting some home help? Or getting some support from the grandparents?
My best advice would be to go to the next psychiatrist appointment together and blurt it all out. Use the expertise and find a way forward together so you don't collapse under the weight of feeling like a single parent and a full-time cheerleader for a losing team.
Is your wife going to wake up one day and 'take responsibility'? You're asking the wrong question.
I don't doubt for a moment ADD is difficult for the non ADD to live with. Get her to do more of what she's good at, give up on the mornings improving and give her the afternoon/ evening shift to balance the workload. Stick a list on the fridge or the back of the toilet door or in her diary or Blackberry.
Keep being a hero to your children, that's a great investment.
Look after yourself, keep moving.
|13 Mar 2008 @ 3:55 PM Reply # 13|
Thu 13th Mar 2008
Great advise everyone
Looks like everyone has already given great responses. I'm a stay at home mom and businessowner with ADD. I can relate to your wife's situation. There is so much stress and responsibility and maybe she is just cracking under the increasing pressures of life. Sounds like you both could use some help around the house and maybe some counseling. Also, be careful that your wife doesn't become co-dependent. This would be unhealthy for both of you. She needs to learn to manage her own ADD, but ,of course, with your help and support. Be careful not to become a person who enables her to not be responsible.
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