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Hi there. This is my first post and I too strongly suspect that I have ADHD, but as of yet, I am yet undiagnosed. This particular thread caught my attention as I am currently in the middle of a divorce and I believe my inattentive type ADHD and my partner’s clinical depression were major factors leading up to the breakup.
I’m not going to tell you that it can’t work out; I believe that it can, but it’s not going to be easy. Both partners need to understand each others strengths and weaknesses and show a great deal of patience and compassion toward the other’s conditions.
I wish I would have been made aware of the likelihood that I had ADHD sooner. At least half of our relationship issues were classic ADHD relationship issues.The constantly late bill payments, forgetting things I had promised to do on the way home, drifting off while he was speaking to me, forgetting things I had agreed to do altogether, chronically arriving home late (the result of my inability to gauge time), constantly misplacing things. All of these factors resulted in a sense of distrust. He believed that I was doing these things intentionally because I did not care about him.
On the other side of the coin, it felt like that no amount of effort to please him was ever enough. There was never gratitude shown for the things that I did do; only criticism, nagging, lectures, and demands to try harder.
This is where my story diverges from the typical ADHD relationship patter. Typically, the other person picks up the slack and burns out from taking on all of the responsibilities. My partner was depressed all of the time time. I’ll get to that more in a moment, but the net result was that he stayed home all day and did not take on any of the domestic responsibilities himself. I was the one who had to bring in the income, pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, and maintain the household. I was the one who felt burned out from having to deal with everything, while he just sat around the house and criticized my failures. I was constantly asking myself, “How have I become the responsible one?”
Over the past eight years or so my partner has been sinking further and further into depression. More or less constant dysthymia, ever more frequent bouts of major depression, and a sprinkling of anxiety symptoms thrown in for good measure. I’m personally very familiar with both dysthemia and GAD, as I have had issues with both myself in the past, but not nearly as severe as the issues he has.
The largest obstacle to his recovery is himself. He refuses to acknowledge that there is anything wrong or that anything had changed about him over the years. He was to the point of almost never leaving the house, he was in dreadful and nasty mood all of the time, he was alienating more and more of his social connections (he barely had any friends left and he did not want to try and make any new ones), his sleep schedule was all over the place, and the worst part is that he refused to seek treatment.
I finally had enough about a year ago and threatened to leave him if he did not seek help. We both attended weekly couples counseling for the next nine months and he started taking antidepressants. I think the antidepressants helped a little bit, but not much; he was unwilling to try changing his medication and he was not taking the therapy sessions seriously. He liked the way we was and did not want to change anything about it.
In the end, I just could not take it anymore and we separated. I still love him dearly and am doing my best to provide support. I’m encouraging a return to therapy, but I don’t think he’s going to get any better until he wants to do it for himself. At this point, things are pretty rocky. He says that he can’t trust me anymore, citing the ADHD like symptoms above, so I have very little influence on where he goes from here.
It think it may have helped if I had been aware of ADHD as a likely source of my symptoms. I think having an explanation like that would have gone a long way towards him understanding that I was not doing these things intentionally. It’s hard to say how much of a difference it would have made to the ultimate outcome.
I’m planning on seeking out someone specializing in adult ADHD for myself — but there’s that whole procrastination thing. 😛
I don’t know talking about my experience helps, but I’m hoping it’s useful to someone out there.