Reply To: Feeling resentful about his ADHD

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Spaceboy 99

Hey again ADHDSpouse,

I’m glad I could be of some help. You’re right- it’s because behavioural changes take so long (particularly with adhd) that make the whole thing so frustrating. Same goes for yourself and the guilt thing- even though you see things getting better, because you’re so used to things being worse, it’s kind of like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, which in turn makes you feel guilty, BECAUSE you can see the improvement. Hopefully, with enough time, things will keep improving so you can let go that fear.

I’m sorry that he’s still not always seeing when you need the emotional support. On the whole, though, would you say he’s seeing when you need him more, or is it about the same? It’s good that he’s noticing his problematic behaviours, but it’s obviously not good that his med management is still bad. Is it a forgetfulness issue, or is he intentionally not taking them? Because I have an additional memory idea for you. Get a pill caddy, preferably a large one, and have him keep it in his shoes. Every time he needs to put on his shoes in the morning, he’ll see the pill caddy. It’s a trigger that he CANNOT accidentally ignore, unless he wears different pairs of shoes every day. I used to do a similar thing when I was younger- I’d keep a shoe on my radiator to remind me of anything I needed to do that was outside of my usual routine. It only works for things that you need to do before you leave the house, and as soon as you see the trigger, you need to act, but if you can do it, it helps loads.

When I stop myself doing things that annoy my SO, I guess you could kind of call it a bottling up of energy. Say, for example, I want to say a thing from a movie or TV show that I know she finds annoying, or is too loud for the time of day, or I’ve already said 20 times that day, I kind of feel… The best metaphor I have for it is that it’s like the need to vomit. Once I’ve thought of doing it, or started it, I feel a compulsive NEED to do it, and it’s hard to choke back down. Or say I’m fidgeting with something and she asks me to stop, that’s a lot more like the energy thing. The fact that I had something in my hands and I was playing with it means that I already, compulsively, needed to do something with my hands, else I’d have left whatever it was alone. I often, without meaning to, put down the thing I was fidgeting with, and fidget in some other way. The thing about it, though, is that I only feel the need to get rid of this energy until something MORE stimulating crops up, such as a video game, an interesting TV show, or even a debate about some particular social issue. The problem, though, is that while ADHD shares some similarities across sufferers, one person with ADHD is not the same as another. I don’t know if this same thing will DEFINITELY work for your husband, but it MAY.

Hobbies are an EXCELLENT way to deplete excess energy and harness focus, as long as it’s something that he can GENUINELY get interested in, and you can handle him wittering on about it for hours on end. Something he can do with his hands, or that he can do without having to focus completely on it (i.e. do while watching TV) works really well. Fidget toys that don’t make too much noise can help, too. You could look into the Fidget Cube, the Infinity Cube, some Fidget Spinners, and all manner of things, as long as this wasn’t too distracting for you. I learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube a few years ago, which was, for a few months, an excellent focus tool. Whenever I felt I couldn’t focus on what I was doing, I’d scramble and solve it a few times, then get back to it. Hobbies that he can do without the need to set things up are best. I started axe throwing recently, and I have a target in the back garden, and I keep my axe by the door. Literally all I had to do (before it started getting too dark to do it after work) was grab my axe, put on my shoes, and walk out the door. From deciding to doing, I’d only need a minute, max, to get ready. And it’s not concentration-intensive, so I could do it for hours if I wasn’t really concentrating on the passage of time. Since winter hit, and I can’t keep my target in place, and have to put it away afterwards, I’ve thrown once in a month and a half, as opposed to five times a week when it was lighter out and there was no snow. The downside for other people is that for months, axes, axe throwing technique, and which axes I want to get were the only things I talked about. That, and video games.

For single-person hobbies, your husband could look into: Circus skills (Juggling, plate spinning, Diabolo, Poi, Staff spinning, Devil/flower sticks, Unicycle, contact juggling, bar flair), Axe/knife throwing, handicrafts, knitting, Jigsaw puzzles, Rubik’s Cube, and cooking, for starters. These are all things that require relatively little dedication, set-up, initial cost (apart from Unicycle), and can be done at, near, or in the home, and offer lots of potential for progression while not being overly concentration-intensive in the initial phases.

For hobbies that are a bit more active and require more dedication (as well as clubs nearby), he could look into: Martial arts (this is an excellent one if he finds a style and school that he enjoys), Badminton, Tennis, Table Tennis, Swimming, Weight Training, Hackeysack, basically any activity or sport that doesn’t require MANY other people, if any, because this adds a layer of complexity that can suck all of the fun out of trying to do the thing. The advantages to Weights, Swimming, Hackeysack and Martial Arts are that you can train/practise alone, or as part of a group when the meetings (if any) are on. It gives a loose schedule, but doesn’t tie you in to it. The good thing about ALL of these hobbies is that you’re getting exercise and working off energy while ostensibly trying to complete an unrelated task. The one-on-one sports are good because you only need to find one other person who can/will do the thing, and you can measure your improvement against the people you play with. As a massive bonus, exercise is something found to help with management of some ADHD symptoms, due to the dopamine, unless I’m mistaken. It thus serves three purposes- gets him fit, stops him from having excess energy, and ideally helps some of his other symptoms, too. As I say, I recommend a decent martial arts school, because it combines the best elements of these. You have a teacher who can guide your training, organised classes, you can practise solo, and you can measure your progress against your classmates. Gradings (where you get your next belt) give you something specific to work towards, instead of just chasing after the ethereal ‘better’. Additionally, decent martial arts train you to have an awareness of your own body and surroundings, which, though it requires focus and concentration, is acquired almost passively. He won’t necessarily have to work for this awareness, and may not feel like he’s spending two hours focusing really hard. It bleeds into other elements of your life, too, and may help with some of his issues of concentrating on not causing difficulties.

Hope this stuff helps- Let me know if he decides to take up any of these hobbies- I may have some insights into which products are good to buy for these hobbies, or which Martial Arts are decent, though he may prefer to do that research himself 😛 Any time you need to talk, don’t hesitate to message back. I can’t promise I’ll respond immediately, and I definitely can’t promise I’ll be able to help, but I’ll always do what I can when I can 🙂

Best of luck!