Financial mess and shame

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    • #51268

      I’m a 50 year old male that discovered I had ADD at 46 when my son was diagnosed. I was in shock and then deep remorse. Its taken 4 years for me to get a good understanding of my issues, but it seems far too late. I was already in financial difficulties when I found out, having run up my credit cards after just getting back on track! Arrggh!
      Worse still, I lost my Job and just freaked out and stuck my head in the sand. I couldn’t face going to interviews and entering another environment that I couldn’t cope with, I just cant do it any more. I have completely unraveled. My ADD feels chronic.
      I panicked and started drawing down on my mortgage without telling my wife, I was ashamed and wanted it all to go away. I continued drawing down, telling myself something would come along. But every time I looked at recruitment I just froze in terror.
      I then realized that the money I drew down was in fact the money my wife had put into the mortgage, oh my god, so stupid, I was and am so utterly ashamed and horrified. I wanted to kill myself and still do keep having those thoughts.
      My wife’s biggest issue is money and this is a major screw up, her father ad the same issues and made them bankrupt. I cant believe that I have done this to her, as I love her deeply with all my heart, why couldn’t I get help? I just couldn’t face it.
      I am in utter despair, we have a young son and I love them both but have made such a mess of things. I’ve blown all our money, I am in debt and have no job and I just cant face telling her. Its going to kill her, she has already been having a tough time and I cant bear to hurt her. What have I done? What do I do? How do I go about fixing this and tell her? I am going to lose everything, I love my wife and son deeply and Im going to lose them. I dont think I have the strength left, after years of nightmares I am utterly exhausted. Please HELP me…

    • #51286
      Penny Williams

      First, please seek help for depression and suicidal thoughts. There’s always a way out, but sometimes we can’t see it ourselves.
      Link to Suicide Prevention Hotline:

      I think it’s important at this point to let your wife know what is going on, and to make a plan together to work out of the situation. The longer you keep the secret, the more damage it will do to both of you.

      Try starting your job search at a career services center that can help you determine your career aptitude. Finding the right type of job for your individual set of strengths and weaknesses can help you over the hurdle of wanting to avoid the “wrong job” pain of your past.

      Here’s more on finding the right work when you have ADHD:

      How to Align Your Career with Your Passions

      Is Your Job Right for You?

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #51305

      JuUne 13, 2017
      Dear Sir,
      1. Please immediately speak to the doctor who diagnosed you and if he/she recommends some form of medication, please buy it and take it as prescribed even if you do not have the money, because for some the medication will help you to think better. If you live in a community with free counseling please immediately speak to that counselor if
      he/she has experience dealing with adults with ADHD if for nothing else to vent about the lost years, job loss, money problems today. Please note if medication is recommended be “ready” for a major change in the way you think, much like the movie “Limitless” . For me I had no warning like I have just given to you and because of that I made a big mistake by pointing out to my now former wife things that she wasn’t doing right. As you can guess, she didn’t like that one bit. Personally, I think she took advantage of my ADHD to be cruel to me and years later I am much happier since we divorced.

      2. Perhaps this one “free” easy to read and very interesting book will help you? Richest Man in Babylon,
      My prayers are with you and your family. If your wife has decided to stay with you “even after” your thinking has improved then work with the counselor and her to get a new job and arrange your financial affairs. Quoting D. Michael Abrashoff, former commander, USS Benfold, “problems” do not get better with time! Work hand in hand with your family doctor, psychiatrist, counselor, and your wife as fast as you can and you may still save everything.

      3. Please show this email to your wife so that she will know that other ADHD husbands are rooting for you, your wife, and your family.

      4. NB: my username is what my classmates used to call me in elementary/middle school. I wish I knew then what I know now.

      5. I pray you still have time to save your family which you must dearly love to have had the courage to ask for help in a public forum.

      6. One final thought, you may meet family members and friends who will “deny that you suffer from ADHD” likely out of fear or “guilt”. Forget wasting even a second on trying to change their thinking. I know this from the reaction of my parents and siblings to my wasted hours trying to do this to no avail. Put all of your energy into finding your new job and by your success, your wife and you will become a model for your son of what can happen when two people who love each other work together to solve a life problem that every couple experiences.

      7. God bless you and your family.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by stunned.
    • #51331

      It doesn’t matter what happened in the pass. The most important is what will you do about it in the future.
      I know it is very difficult and sometimes it looks like there is no solution. But never forget, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
      Never forget what an amazing person you are, you made a family, created life. The most beautiful thing in the world.
      You build a house to protect your family from the cold and rain outside. You got a job. You got,… .
      What you created before, it is painful when it is taken away. very very painful and it creates sad and depressing feelings.
      But what you created in the pass, you can create again! Your an amazing person with an amazing potential, but it can be hard.
      Reduce all the expenses you can like stop buying snacks for yourself, just drink tap water and stop eating out.

      Get your AD/HD treated so it will stop limiting you.
      Go outside for walks/runs and think about your new potential what you have with your ADHD treated. Walking is a good exercise that isn’t too intense.
      Read books about anything that interests you. At the library it is for free so it doesn’t trouble your expenses.
      Take a small piece of paper and write the things you done well in life. The moments people praised your work and help, the things you done well for your family, … .
      If your religious pray, I am not religious so I prefer to watch nature. Plant a seed in the soil and see how this small little seed becomes a big plant or tree.
      Did you know, most seeds stay 30-40-50+ years in the soil before it finds the best moment to grow?
      You are like these seeds. We waited long before the moment of our diagnosis and treatment. But now its time to slowly grow out of your seed and grow to your potential.
      There are many different jobs out there that can help you. If you failed one interview, sad but there are many others.

      I can not wish you luck or prays but I think YOU make your own wishes and luck.
      Do your best, your an amazing person, never forget that!

      Greetings from somebody who also troubles his own family a lot.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Shirokuma.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #51339

      Thank you for all your words of support, you are very kind. I’m really struggling with the fact I am in this situation again in life, waiting for impending doom. When it gets to this point its like all the scenarios now enter my field of focus and I think “oh my god, what have I done?”, it feels like their is someone else that takes over and screws my life. Im not avoiding responsibility, Im just saying its not me. The real me is horrified and cant bear it. I don’t know what takes over me and then I have to lie and avoid and deny to survive what I have done. How do I phrase this to my wife? How do I actually tell her, Im freaking out and my mind just locks up when I think about it and I just want to run away.

      I will try and sit with your advise and take it in. But Im hurting and I truly cannot bear to hurt my wife again, she deserves better. I know its going to bad and Im scared that I will lose everything and end up on the street and never see my wife an son again. Life is too hard for me, I struggle so much and Im so tired.
      I feel such a fraud, so dishonest and at the same time Im so loving and caring, how does that work. I truly love my wife with all my heart – why have I done this, fear, shame, madness, I honestly don’t get it? And I don’t know how to tell her, cant do anymore broken hearts.

      Thank you all, Im really grateful for your support.

    • #51342

      June 14, 2017

      Dear Sir,

      1. Q. “why have I done this, fear, shame, madness, I honestly don’t get it? And I don’t know how to tell her, cant do anymore broken hearts.”
      A. “I’m a 50 year old male that discovered I had ADD at 46 when my son was diagnosed.”

      In sum, you were just diagnosed 4 years ago. This diagnosis is a very tough pill to swallow! You did not choose to have ADHD. You did not choose to lose your job. You did your very best under extreme conditions, but you still have time if you act today! If medication is recommended the sooner you start your drug trial the better because in my case it took me 3 years to find the correct dosage level while going through a very trying divorce. Because you are still married you will likely learn what works ten times as fast!

      2. Q. “I will try and sit with your advise and take it in.”
      A. Actually, I strongly recommend that you immediately react to my advice to save what you have. So if your family doctor recommends medication then ask him/her for an “immediate” referral to a psychiatrist who specializes in adult ADHD and get into his/her office by the end of this week on an “emergency” basis. Bring a printout of your article and the comment section with you, plus the financial documents, and ask the psychiatrist to start with the best version of the medication” you will need. Take only the “name brand” because the way the pill is glued together will disperse better than the cheaper generic version. (Source was a psychologist with an expert knowledge in kids with ADHD and she herself had ADHD as well.) Your goal right now is to be able to fight a forest fire with the absolute best equipment until the forest fire is out.

      3. Q. “I’m really struggling with the fact I am in this situation again in life, waiting for impending doom.”
      A. “I’m a 50 year old male that discovered I had ADD at 46 when my son was diagnosed.”

      – Please do not wait, but react and immediately see the recommended professionals.
      – What I am trying to tell you is simply this:
      – Before you were diagnosed at age 46 you adapted as best you could.
      – Today your doctor has just given you a “second chance” at a better life.
      – But, unless you do something “today” you will not have the opportunity to find out:
      (a) that your wife really loves you;
      (b) that your wife will honor her marriage vows, in “sickness” and in “health”;
      (c) that every caring ADHD adult wants both of you to succeed in your hour of need to create a much better future for yourselves and your son;
      (d) this is most important that “you were not to blame” for the financial mess you are in at this moment,
      but if you “stall” on this especially after I have shared significant life experience with you I will have failed to save a caring husband and father!
      – Acting on my recommendations will take a ton of courage under very trying circumstances.
      – I am going to make an assumption here and give you an idea of where you can get a job today. I am going to assume that your health is still good. So find out immediately what you need to do from your doctor or psychiatrist, then take the minimum courses to become an entry level laborer job and get even a day laborer job to get cash coming into your bank account. Second, immediately speak to a counselor about your financial situation and get an immediate referral from him/her to the appropriate professional to deal with your credit card debt and mortgage debt.
      – Your ADHD combined with the immediate treatment will give you the absolute best tools to deal with this crisis, but if you stall you will prevent your wife from helping
      the man she loves in “your” hour of need.

      4. Q.”And I don’t know how to tell her, can’t do anymore broken hearts. … it feels like their is someone else that takes over and screws my life. Im not avoiding responsibility, Im just saying its not me. The real me is horrified and cant bear it. I don’t know what takes over me and then I have to lie and avoid and deny to survive what I have done. How do I phrase this to my wife?”

      A. No problem, just bring her with you to the family doctor and other professionals and “they” will explain to her that you are not faking your difficulties, that she needs to immediately understand your situation and provide the maximum support to you in “your hour of need”, that if she chooses to act that the whole family wins. She can also ask me questions through this forum or off-forum by asking the moderator to send your email address to me which I give consent to do by this post.

      Example: If your wife was just diagnosed with diabetes would you tell her to eat all the desserts she wants or would you work with her doctor to “immediately” modify her diet, get the insulin she needs, and provide moral support until her blood sugar level is stabilized. If she does not get the appropriate medical care she will become blind and ….

      Your situation is no different! You need to immediately find the appropriate treatment and she needs to provide as much support as possible. The reason I recommended a labor job is because many people don’t like to be outside in tough weather situations, but if you do not have the education to get a professional job then it is the easiest way to get back to work. If you tell me what city you live in and the education you have I can probably recommend jobs you could look at. If you have any friends now is the time to call on every favor to get immediately back to work. Call in every favor you can from your immediate family, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, even the mailman. When the crisis is over take them out for an amazing meal. Tomorrow they could need your help and they will know that they can count on you because they were there to help in your hour of need.

      NB: In my hour of need my immediate family and parents “refused” to accept the diagnosis and because of that in my hour of need they abandoned me. Perhaps you are part of a loving family and will not have to suffer on your own. Despite the hell I went through on my own the medication I was given “saved” me and today I am remarried in my own home, my kids have their own families, own homes, good careers, because I got the “help I needed”. To clarify this matter even more, my former wife learned the hard way that the ADHD I suffer from “combined” with the medication resulted in me obtaining sole custody of my kids! It was the same ADHD that she refused to accept that gave me the ability to keep at it under very trying circumstances that those who do not suffer from ADHD would have given up years before. Had she loved me the same ADHD combined with the medication would have allowed her to not need to be in the major financial mess she is in today! My only debt today is my mortgage. In her case today a large mortgage, a vehicle lease, massive house rent, two young high needs children from a failed second relationship, failing health, a job she “must work at” that she hates, a weight gain in excess of 80 lbs, and a “stress level” ten times worse than before my diagnosis!

      5. Please act and get the medical care you need by the end of this week. In my case, the effect of the medication I was given was so dramatic that it was as if I had been blind my entire life and then I could see for the first time. The treatment you will receive will help you get a job, will help you deal with your credit card debts and mortgage debt, and will help you with your social skills. This last part is really important because my former associates took advantage of my situation and I had no clue at all that they were doing that. Today the medication protects me and does not allow others who wish to be mean to me in a subtle way to get away with it!

      6. Please take the next step even thou you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. You will need an element of faith to do this. You have more going for you than you realize and I pray that this post gives you the hope you need to take the next step with your wife at your side.

      7. What you do today will not only help you, but it will also give major relief for your wife, because remember your son was “also” diagnosed with ADHD. A lot of her energy will be focused on helping him succeed. Now is your opportunity to teach your son what he needs to do to never be in the situation you are today. You have just saved him probably 30 years of suffering and your efforts today will ensure that he can follow all his dreams because he was given the “medical” help he was needed.

      8. I hope you take that medical help today and by the end of this year have got a good handle on all of your financial problems! Remember you still have 15 years of work available to you today!

    • #52080

      I’m 38 and was diagnosed when I was in elementary school with ADD. I want to say I know you are financially in debt, but if you kill yourself what does that do to your wife and kids? Emotionally and financially? I believe that is the cheating way out. I’m not a strong person by any means, I’ve that about it but it is not easier for those you left behind. You are a Man, just like I am we need to be there for our families. You said your son was diagnosed the same time you were? Let say you did kill yourself what message are you sending to him? Its ok to do that when life gets hard? Or go the the other road as tough as it may be and overcome the odds.

    • #52098

      I understand that your financial situation is serious, but I think in order to address that (in addition to any medication treatment), it will be important for you to work through the emotional despair and spiritual exhaustion you describe. (I understand, because I’m going through a set of setbacks/disappointments that have been similarly overwhelming and paralyzing.) I’m currently reading the book “Focused Forward: Navigating the Storms of Adult ADHD,” by James Ochoa, and I find that he describes the emotional distress of being an adult with ADHD more completely than I’ve seen in other work by ADHD specialists, and he suggests ways to address that despair, shame, and pain. Many of the suggested techniques are cost-free. I have no connection to the author or anything–I’m just finding this particular book helpful–or, at least, I’m hoping it will help me develop the courage I need to stop avoiding the big scary mess I’ve made and to assess and try to begin to repair the situation. I’m not there yet, but I’m more optimistic that it’s possible than I was before I read his book.

      Most important, I think, is to accept that ADHD is real, and the ways it has led you off track are not evidence of your being a bad husband or a failure, etc. It’s just a set of circumstances (that result from a brain that works in atypical ways) that you’ll be able to confront and address once you can ease the overwhelming sense of shame and fear.

      I can assure you that you’re not alone. I wish you lots of luck through this difficult time.

    • #52104

      I was diagnosed in 2010 at age 36 (I turn 43 in a few weeks), and was over $60,000 in debt at that time. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD five years prior to that after serving in Iraq, and the spending was my therapy. While I wasn’t abusing drugs or alcohol, the effects were still pretty bad since I wasn’t fully engaging with my therapist and didn’t have an accurate view of how I was really doing day to day so the effects were similar to self-medicating. It was so bad that I would use a convenience check from one credit card account to pay for another. I was still making payments on time, so I would transfer the balance from one card to a new card to lower my interest rate for 12 months, only to have 12 months come and go with no change in my situation. I felt good when I bought something new, and for a short while afterwards, but none of my issues were really being addressed. My despair and shame were so great that I was afraid to answer the telephone because of debt collectors and I only shared my situation with my then-girlfriend (now wife), thinking she would dump me in a heartbeat. The opposite happened, and she stuck by me and even married me. My depression and PTSD symptoms completely sapped my motivation to find better employment, and when I finally did, I was crushed when a good salary only stopped the bleeding and I wasn’t really able to start making progress on my debt until I got married and started sharing all living expenses with my wife. We tackled the debt slowly and deliberately using Dave Ramsey’s book and system, and it took us four years to pay off the debt.

      I had a lot of people advise me to just declare bankruptcy, and I briefly explored getting a debt consolidation loan. That would have been much easier, but I wasn’t raised to take the easy way out and I didn’t want to have to someday explain to my kids that I passed on my burden to others. I felt like paying off my debt was something that I had to do if I was ever going to move forward. I also realized that ADHD was one of many contributing factors to my poor decisions that led to my mountain of debt, which helped me realize that I wasn’t just some lazy guy who couldn’t get his sh!! together. I won’t re-hash other people’s good advise on seeking treatment for your ADHD, but I will reiterate that you need the help and support of your family, particularly your wife. It took me a few years to finally accept that I had ADHD, and I won’t say that I don’t still feel shame and embarrassment from it, but those emotions are not nearly as intense as they once were and I know that ADHD is something I have, not who I am. I’ve experienced great success in my life prior to KNOWING I had ADHD, but I still succeeded and I am doing so again, albeit with more difficulty than earlier in life.

      Remember, your wife is your best partner and will probably be a much bigger advocate for you than you might think right now. Stay strong, and my family will have your family in our prayers.

    • #52110

      Here’s my advice (a bit different from the other’s, but facts)

      – Stop feeling like a loser and get over your fears. Stop blaming others for your failures (even in your mind), be a man and tell your wife everything and promise her you will fight to get her out of this until you die. Tell her you love her and you will put your heart and soul into getting out of this. When she sees courage in your eyes, she will get some strength too.
      – Leave your house everyday. Do not sit in your space and look for jobs on your laptop. Go out, meet people, do some work (even if its in a restaurant). Get some ‘action’ going. Get into a co-working space, go to a coffee shop and sit on your laptop look for jobs THERE, not in your house.
      – Start a business of your own. It could be an online business, a web store or better yet, join a start-up business and tell them you’re a multi-tasker and you will do everything for them – from being the manager to sales to office work to hiring staff and accounts. Focus on your strengths and not weaknesses (like being easily distracted etc). Get a partner to start a business, many people with jobs might want to do a side-business and you can be the working partner and they can invest the capital. You just need to prove that you’re a winner and your product/service will sell..
      – Even if you go for job interviews, you can always say you took a break because you wanted to start your own thing and you have an entrepreneurial spirit (which you actually do since you have ADHD!). Have some proof of your business, keep it going even after you find a job because you might lose the job again but your business will stay forever.
      – Detach yourself from money and pursue your higher objectives in life. Think about what matters to you the most and try to pursue a career in that field. Money is always a bi-product and result of your actions, not an act in itself.

      • #52125

        Vineetmodi – I find your comments here both disrespectful, and gravely irresponsible.

        You said:

        If it were that easy, wouldn’t he, and a million others do just that.. “get over their fears”???

        Who is he blaming for his failures? This is not in any way an appropriate response.

        3) BE A MAN.
        Ah yes, the ultimate asshole answer. Do tell, what does it mean to “Be a man”?

        Oh, ok.. Maybe he never thought of that? I bet he does it asap, now that you suggested it.

        Ha ha ha!! This one is my favorite.. As a married man with a child, what were you thinking attaching yourself to something as stupid as money to begin with??? I know the next time I find myself in financial distress that is affecting the well being of my family, I am going to first, “Be a man”, and second, “Detach myself from money and pursue those higher objectives” you suggested. Awesome.

        What a joke.

    • #52128

      I am in a similar situation and often thought I may be Adult ADHD but when approached my doctor told that I couldn’t have managed my university studies if had this. I have done the self assessments and my score is approx. 90%. I sincerely empathise with your situation. I hope the loving words here offer hope and practical steps and support from those who have similar experiences. You are not alone. Awareness enables us to find solutions. Be kind and loving to yourself and look for work where you will initially pay the bills while you find your way. Which you will. The best mentors and coaches are those who have gone through these painful experiences and come out the other side. My prayers are with you and your wife. Totally agree with the reply re comparing with a medical diagnosis – you are not to blame and no less a valuable, worthwhile person. Blessings.

    • #52129

      I am 36 and diagnosed later in life. Two things have really helped me. First, from my experience, people with ADD tend to have the tendency to hoard. They live in clutter and are a bit messy. Read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

      It helps you to get control of your house and the things you own as well as teaches you to buy things that only bring you joy as opposed to a “high” or compulsively buying stuff you don’t need. It’s seriously really helpful.
      Secondly, read or listen to (I listened to the CD because it’s easier to fit in)
      The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

      This really helps you understand how to get on track with your finances in a very straight forward way. It’s hard work, but extremely effective. There is a “Christian” spin to it, but if you don’t share those beliefs it has nothing to do with the actual financial planning so just ignore it.

      When my house is in order and my money is in order I am so much more at peace with the gongshow that my life is most of the time! I can then concentrate on the little things that are equally important but get pushed aside.

      Chaos follows us around. Better to face it head on and deal with it then live a lie and pretend it doesn’t exist while blaming others and/or circumstances for the problems we create. We just need a system! It takes hard work and a lot of failure, but I can say that two steps forward and one step back means you are still moving forward- just slower than most people. But we are used to that, or should be by now. Cut yourself some slack and move forward. The worst thing you can do is whine about your problems and not do anything about them, only looking for people to wallow in your pitty. Read these books! They changed my life. I hope others try them out as well.

    • #52150

      Hi, I completely understand where you’re coming from. As men, I believe one of the most damaging things we are taught is that in order to be a proper man, we have to deal with all of our problems on our own, and protect those that we love from fear. This can be a noble attitude in small doses, but when you apply it as the only way to face life, it creates more problems. I think it is one of the reasons why men have such a high suicide rate compared to women. Because of our sense of pride and duty we refuse to seek outside help. Then we when have nothing let, we end it. If you’re thinking of taking that path, I urge to tell a trusted friend. Suicide will take all your problems away from you, but will transfer them to those that you love, who will now have all your problems, plus the added burden of your death to deal with, and fewer resources to handle it than you had. No matter how bad you’ve made things for your loved ones, suicide will make it worse.

      So the first thing you need to do is to deal with your fear and aversion to getting help. The longer you let these things control you, the worse it’s going to get. There’s really only one way you can deal with this situation, and that is to deal with your fear. Give yourself a short deadline (like 24 hours) to prepare yourself, and then talk to your wife and tell her everything. She’s going to find out eventually, and it’s better if she hears it from you. You need to lay ALL the cards out on the table, and then you need to change your whole approach to life. You need to start looking at life as a partnership with your wife, instead of you leading with everything on your shoulders. It won’t be easy to do this, but you are out of any other options. Getting help is not unmanly – it is responsible and wise, which is very manly. If you must, think of it this way – you need to (figuratively) kill the man you were, so that you can become the man you need to be. Instead of dumping ALL your problems on your loved ones, you will only be asking them to share the burden. And if the worst happens, and she decides to leave you, at least you gave her that option, instead of forcing it upon her.

      Once you make your wife your equal partner in handling this, you’re going to find a lot more options open to you. She may have ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of, she will be able to hold you accountable for actions, and she will be able to understand any sacrifices you are both going to have to make. You may find yourself with renewed energy, determination, and hope for the future, which is what you need. I wish you the best of luck.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Walter.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Walter.
    • #52156


      I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 47, and it destroyed my marriage (I pray that doesn’t happen to you), and almost cost me my job. I too have trouble with finances. Your county health department should have psychiatrists (and/or therapists) who could prescribe the medication you may need, if you can’t afford to see a private physician. Know that you are not alone in this battle; there are many of us who have been where you are, and we understand where you’re coming from. It’s sort of hard to “man up” (or “woman up,” if you’re female) when your brain is racing 24/7, and it’s hard as heck to keep up with anything. You have nothing to be ashamed of; this is a condition that is not your fault (I say this to myself all the time). The advice that ADHDmomma gave you is golden; it may be hard to do (I can attest to that), but it will be worth it. Wishing you all the best.


      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by iplayfhorn.
    • #52163

      How about this.

      Maybe the brain is wired so that it cannot handle a lot of stimulation, which can be anything, a pen on a table, someone’s look, lack of a job, no need to judge
      the stimulation. This creates angst, anxiety, anger, frustration. Things are overwhelming. So you maybe go into shut-down, and freeze.
      But the feelings pop up again anyway and the cycle continues. You go back into shut-down.

      The question is how to get out of the cycle. Going into shut-down is called defense mode and we cannot learn things or do things in that mode. So how to get out of defense mode?

      You probably don’t have asperger’s but the techniques on resolving defense mode from this website make sense. You may want to take a look at

      It will be easier to talk with your wife once you understand yourself more, how you are wired and what defense mode means to you. You will hopefully have something to say to her that comes from a place of compassion and care for yourself, rather than shame and angst.

    • #52164

      AddExhausted: It has been 2 weeks.
      Are you still with us?
      Did you get mental help from a doctor, psychiatrist, or social worker?
      Did you discuss the situation with your spouse?

      That situation happens to many people and getting professional help is appropriate for anyone in that fix.

    • #52171

      Hi. I just wanted to add that I felt a giant wave of empathy when I read this: “I’m really struggling with the fact I am in this situation again in life, waiting for impending doom.” I carried that through much of my adult life as I’m sure many people here have. I know how utterly exhausting and frustrating it is. I know what it’s like to not enjoy anything good that happens because that doom waits around every corner. And I know how much shame we can pile up on top of that.

      It sounds like you have some immediate fires to put out and I hope you’ve started on that. You may not be ready to be thinking in the bigger picture but I will say that learning how to not start new fires will make it so you’re in that ‘waiting for impending doom’ situation way less often. And that makes a really big difference. Even before I figured out my diagnosis I took a long hard surgical inventory of what I had done that had started similar cycles and just started saying no to them up front. It got really awkward. I used to say yes to things I “thought I should be able to do” and as soon as that yes came out of my mouth, my stomach would start to hurt. So I started listening to my stomach, and saying no, and just letting other people wonder why I wouldn’t, oh, “take advantage of a great opportunity” or help them with something that it seemed like a normal generous person could do, or something I was “smart enough to do” – as if being smart had anything to do with it!

      Please know that during that time I STILL FELT SHAME. I still felt like I was not enough, like I was damaged, like if I could do amazingly complicated things I “should” be able to oh, say, send out holiday cards, or stay at a job for more than a year. Cleaning up that emotional mess came later. But the minute I started saying no to things I knew would trigger that cycle, it deflated it. And that gave me time and energy to regroup, and laid the groundwork for all the waves that have come after: remorse, relief, grieving, rebuilding, retraining myself, learning to be gentle with myself – learning what that even means – lol- getting a diagnosis, getting meds, and in a way starting over with every way I think of myself with a new level of compassion I didn’t know was possible.

    • #52325

      There are a lot of people in your same situation, me included. Its common for those of us with ADHD. Don’t let shame rule your emotions. Your credit score does not represent who you are as a person and debt doesn’t reflect on your character. Lots of people care about you and they don’t care about your finances. I can share what I’ve done to help with my finances. I don’t hide from creditors. I call them and agree to pay a small amount each month. Know your rights! If you offer to be on a payment plan, eleven a small amount, they have to work with you. Then I pick one at a time to make bigger payments and work through them one at a time. You are ok and you can work through it as long as you don’t allow shame to be your guide. Remember, there is no such thing as debtors prison any more and literally millions of other people have been or are in the same type of situation. In many ways, the cards are stacked against the average person financially and untreated ADHD makes it nearly impossible. There is help and support out there! I believe in you!

    • #52548

      I’m really confused how you say: “I couldn’t face going to interviews and entering another environment that I couldn’t cope with, I just cant do it any more. I have completely unraveled.”… I love new work environments, and most ADHD people feel the same. You also say you fear your wife’s response when she finds everything out. I can’t keep a secret from anyone, I’m just so enticed to deliver such news as someone’s mother had died. When it comes to conflict, I don’t fear it; because quite honestly I don’t think at all before I say anything.

      I see time and time again how even the best of doctors keep confusing ADHD with Aspergers Disorder. I want to confess to you that all your symptoms are at the very least MORE related to Aspergers than they are to ADHD. You are getting very apprehensive over matters that most ADHD people would forget about. Reading your writing style, its very organized and follows a straight line of thought, common to Aspergers and not ADHD (just take a look at other rants on this site and see how they’re so all over the place that you just get lost in words: that’s how an ADHD rants!).

      My best advice: get reevaluated by another psych that specializes in Autism to verify what you have is ADHD or Aspergers.

      Hope this helps!

    • #52550

      Addexhausted, Been there done that.
      Called a debt management company. It’s surprisingly worse for your credit than a bankruptcy BUT you make a phone call and talk to a person and they help you set up a plan and a one payment strategy right away. It’s free and the companies have relationships with many financial organizations that are very interested in getting paid. The debt management company will negotiate manageable interest rates and payment schedule. They take a set amount from your banking account once a month and send payments to your creditors. You can get that digging started – it feels better right away.

      Please stick with it – find a way to make it a game and then find a way to win it.

    • #52558

      Dear Addexhausted,
      I am so sorry to hear this. Of course your wife will be devastated and angry. Let her work through her feelings without getting defensive. I would recommend that you give her total control of the finances if she will stay with you. She may love you dearly but has a right to fear about her future as well as your sons. You two are not kids anymore and don’t have lots of time to earn it all back. Therefore, be an open book and hand all the financial responsibility over to here and support her in every way you can. I went thru something similar with my spouse and this is how we solved it. Best of luck to you both!

    • #54054

      Dear ADDexhausted

      There is a way out of this but you will just need to find some courage to make the first step. I was diagnosed at age 53 a couple of years ago, and it explained a lot. First of all, stop beating yourself up and put the past behind you. You have a condition which got you in to this and that can change. Today is the first day of a new start and you can go forward from here.

      1. Find a calm, quiet space and write down how you feel and what you want to happen. It’s good to get things clear in your own head.

      2. Speak to your wife if you haven’t already – show her the email.

      3. Don’t focus on guilt and shame – learn from it and move on. Acknowledge the reality of the situation, your part in it and your desire to put things right, but refuse to be the bad guy or the victim. You’re not a flaky, irresponsible person – you have a condition that causes you to act this way sometimes.

      4. Give control of the finances to your wife and ask her for an allowance. Give her your bank cards. This is necessary for you to set new spending limits. Being a man isn’t about controlling the money – it’s about controlling yourself.

      5. Pray for a job that you can do – I’m serious. I did this, started with 1 day a week basic and am now working 25 hours a day doing something I love and am good at, for the same small organisation.

      6. Take your medication – methylphenidate (40mg per day) has made all the difference to my life. It makes impossibly stressful tasks (opening mail, dealing with finances, tidying the house) seem normal and do-able, and I do them, without feeling stressed or overwhelmed. It removes my anxiety and helps me see the wood from the trees.

      7. Start to develop a very basic routine / check list – ask your wife to prompt you with this, and stick to it. Once you’ve started, it’s so much easier to continue.

      I don’t know if you’re a person of faith, but if so (or even if not) there is always forgiveness and a new beginning on offer, whatever happens now. Life is for living and using your talents – not living in regret and fear of the future.

      All the best.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by kams22.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by kams22.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by kams22.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #54672

      I am still here, everyone, sorry its taken so long to reply, I’ve been struggling. Thank you so much everyone for your support and encouragement, I am so grateful.

      I am trying to summon the courage to tell my wife today. I’m terrified! I am so scared. Its going to hurt her so much and shes such a good person. It feels utterly unbearable. I know she is going to be damaged by what I have done.

      I know its all too late and I now have to do this. But I really do not feel very well at all mentally. I feel that this mainly all comes down to shame, years of shame and not knowing I had ADD. I had a tough childhood and it continued through my adult life. Seems all my life Ive been running away, trying to escape. I find life so difficult.
      I don’t want to feel this shame again, I don’t want anymore shame, it feels unbearable for my soul. The pain is so great my heart is just broken in pieces, and the thought of breaking my wife’s heart is far too much to bear. I really don’t think I can take it. I feel emotions intensely and Ive always just wanted to be a good person and want everyone to be ok. Then I do stuff like this. Its like I have two separate entities, my good loving soul and this other thing that overrides everything and does dumb things and lies and is awful. I’m not avoiding responsibility for this, just saying how it feels, it really hurts. Hurts everyone, I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore.

      I know I should be able to find the courage, but after all these years I am exhausted and utterly ashamed at all the deception. I’m not sure I have anything left. My wife has had a difficult life too and has had much trauma, I cant believe that I have done this to her.

      I’m a 50 yr old man and I’m sitting here crying buckets. I don’t want to hurt my beautiful wife, her poor soul. I love my wife so very, very much. Dear God help me. I don’t have any close friends, I need help.

    • #54691

      I hope you have had the conversation with your wife and was able to be completely honest with her. As a wife who left a 10 year marriage based on lies, I beg you, be honest with her and as emotionally raw as you have ever been. Do not worry about her seeing you as weak or dishonest. I assure you, all she will see is that you genuinely want to make this situation right and that you love her totally and completely. I know you are scared of the decision she will make once she knows the full extent of the financial mess and the information you have hid from her, but it is a decision she will have to make and saving your marriage is only possible if she has all the information when she makes her decision. I trust all you have said about her being a good woman who deserves better than the pain you are bringing to her in this marriage where you have created a mess of your life. IF you truly believe she deserves better, be better and be the man she deserves by talking openly with her and start by telling her how much she means to you and that, while this conversation is going to be hard for both of you, you want it to be a starting point of a better, stronger marriage and want to only be honest with her moving forward.
      I pray you have been able to talk with her and pray that through the pain, disappointment, and anger that she will remember how much she loves you and will begin moving forward with you into a stronger marriage.

    • #54794

      I told her. It was and is very traumatic. My wife is devastated, we are in scrambling mode right now and Im really not coping well at all. My wife isn’t coping well either, I cant bear seeing what this is doing to her. What I have done to my family. Its awful beyond words. I hope that we can get help, I hope there is a God, we are in dire need for some compassion. I fear I have lost everything that I held dear, my wife thinks Im insane and I think its all over. I hope this thread will help others with Adult ADD so that they don’t have to live through what we are living through now. I hope that something positive can come of this. If you have money trouble and are not coping please get help early.

      Things are really bad here and I’m honestly struggling, really struggling. Thank you all for your support and kind words and guidance. Life is so hard. Please pray for my wife and son.

    • #54907

      Hi ADDExhausted,

      I can relate, and I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this.
      Last year, I took on a new business endeavor that ended up becoming a MultiLevel Marketing scheme. It had a lot of potential at the beginning, but the company grew so quickly that my odds of making the money that was promised were slim to none. I had gotten excited about the possibilities and knew that I needed to find a new source of income because the work I had been doing for 8 years was so physically demanding, that I could no longer work as many hours as I once had. I thought this new business was the answer. Boy was I wrong. It was one of the dumbest decisions I ever made.
      Additionally, I invested about $6,000 in the initial stages, split between 3 credit cards. Almost a month in, I felt like I was drowning, but I keep believing the hype that the company was putting out – that the harder you worked the first few months, and the more inventory you have, the more you will sell and meet your goals.
      I started to get behind on our mortgage. And since my husband has worse ADD symptoms than me, I’m the one that has always organized the finances and made sure the bills were paid on time. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. I also thought that any day now, something magical was going to happen and that I’d be able to catch up. I had indicated that we were “a bit behind”, but I felt like a failure for always having to ask him for money to pay the bills, when I used to be able to contribute much more income. I didn’t want him to wonder “where is all this money going?!” So I kept juggling the phone calls and bills, paying just enough, just in time to not get any of our utilities turned off.
      My husband did not find out the extent of the financial issue until he came home to a foreclosure notice on the door. He called me panicking. I felt more horrible than you can imagine…well, I think you can imagine it, after the worries you’ve expressed. Like a said, I can relate.
      We had a “come to Jesus” talk. And while it was tense, and there was a lot of crying, and heavy emotions, we slowly started to work out way through figuring things out, and how we got to where we were. It wasn’t fully my fault or his fault, but we knew that there was A LOT of miscommunication.

      It did feel better for me to get this off my chest.
      And it helped clear my head a little bit about how to get moving in SOME sort of direction, instead of staying stagnant in my fear and anxiety. I tried to think about baby steps that I could take toward sorting things out. I made the call to our mortgage holder, got the paperwork to request financial hardship consideration. We FINALLY opened a joint bank account in addition to our separate ones (I had been asking him to do this for years), so that I couldn’t hide anything anymore about our bills and financial situation. He began to deposit his checks from his 2nd job into that account, that would go toward catching up on the mortgage.
      We were approved for hardship consideration. We went to court, I brought ALL of our documents, and we told them our situation and that we were trying to be proactive. We made our first reduced payment a couple of weeks ago, and go back for our continuance hearing tomorrow. So things are looking up. Baby steps.

      Sometimes you just have to clear your head a bit and take one step forward.
      So now, I’m in the process of working out terms on my $18,000 student loan that has just gone into default. I was able to make a payment toward that, but evidently, it was too late and that process had already begun. So, I’ll sort my way through it. I absolutely hate making phone calls, but I’ll call and sort through a solution to resolve the loan.
      The world of debt and loans in s**tty, but most people that you get on the phone are human and will try to help you as much as possible if you explain your situation and are willing to work with them toward a solution.
      I had worked for YEARS on my credit score to buy this house, it had gotten it up to around a 770, and now it’s back down to a 561. But you know what, it’ll take more hard work, but I’ll get back there. I try not to beat myself up about it. Compared to other things in my life a freakin’ credit score pales in comparison. I know that it’s important in our world, but there a number of things I can think of that matter much more.

      Anyway, my point in saying all of this is not to detract from your issues.
      I’m just saying it to express to you that I know how debilitating that fear of judgment from your spouse, and the rest of the world can be.

      I know how it feels to KNOW that you need to take a step towards resolving a debt, of finding a job or just reaching out to another human.

      But as others have pointed out, your diagnosis is relatively new. You have to realize that you have operated in one system of thinking, and now you are relearning how to relate to life as an adult with ADD. It takes practice.

      Most people that I know, who were diagnosed as adults, have lived most of their lives feeling like they can never live up to many peoples’ (as well as societies) standards. And often times we were told how much our behavior was disappointing and unacceptable, but our intentions were never out of ill will. We simply didn’t know how else to operate. And a good number of us have coped with depression and anxiety just as long as we have with ADD because we lived with this idea that we weren’t “good enough.”

      EVERYONE makes mistakes, but I think that those of us who were diagnosed with ADD later in life, automatically revert to feeling like we did as children in trouble. We start hearing that adult voice in our head saying “how could you?”, “Why didn’t you”, “what were you thinking?” far before we ever share our mistakes with others.

      **PLEASE be kind with yourself. You sound like the sweetest man in the world (as sweet as my dear husband.) And it’s no secret how much he loves me. It’s clear to me that you adore your wife, and have the utmost love and respect for her.
      You didn’t do this intentionally, or to hurt her.
      You got lost in the way of thinking that you didn’t know how to pull yourself out of. That takes practice too!
      For example, people who have anxiety attacks and go to see a professional counselor, are often given tactics to “Self-talk” themselves through an anxiety attack. They learn how to recognize their patterns, and bring themselves back into a “reality” that isn’t this vicious cycle of a panic attack.
      But that takes practice. And people often report that they get better and better at it until they can start to see the beginning signs of that cycle, and (most of the time) engage in self-talk that helps them avoid sinking into that cycle again.

      So I BEG you to be gentle with yourself. – The things that you are saying to yourself right now, those criticisms; would you ever say those out-loud to another person? If not, then you don’t deserve to hear them either.
      You made some mistakes. You know that. It’s time to take steps forward.

      I really, really hope that you will find a licensed professional to talk to, that can help you see more clearly through the fog in your brain (I know that fog well also.) It is VERY difficult to objectively see solutions sometimes. We need the help of other people in our world. After all, you reached out here, because you knew that some of us would understand. 🙂

      *Please find someone to talk to.
      Let your wife know that this is your first step to resolving all of this – is to understand yourself, and how you can make improvements, that will help YOU and your marriage prosper.
      If that’s not a commitment to the relationship, I don’t know what is.

      And if your wife is willing, have her come with you when you and your healthcare provider thinks it is appropriate.
      There are a lot of people who mean well, but still don’t fully understand how ADD and ADHD affect the executive function and decision making centers in the brain. If she can understand why you are the way you are, you can come up with strategies together, to make sure that you all avoid this huge bump in the road again.

      So again, I’m going to say that you seem like the sweetest man, with the biggest heart.

      As someone who has also considered suicide, let me say that::
      We NEED people like you here on this Earth.
      You deserve to be here.
      You’re not a faulty model of a human.
      You are valuable.
      You have worth.
      And you deserve to be happy and have a joyful life. And you will have that again.

      No matter how bad it hurts right now, it will get better. Please stay with us.
      Don’t let us loose you because of money. Money is abstract. It only has as much value and worth as we give it.

      You deserve to be here. You matter. Please take care of yourself. And please keep us updated. We want you to succeed. Sending you love and light.

    • #54908

      Also, for you and anyone else who is interested; I’ve been reading “The Soul of Money: How to Transform Your Relationship With Money” and I HIGHLY recommend it.

      It’s been brilliant at helping me see that we are all conditioned to be a consumer culture that is steeped in a scarcity mindset. – That there is “never enough”, “that’s just the way it is”, which becomes a me vs you, acquire more, prove more culture.
      But when we can shift our mindset to that of sufficiency, sustainability, “enough” – that we can begin to use our money in a way that aligns with our values, and actually brings us joy. It also helps us shift to a me AND you culture, whereby we can live more meaningful lives and connect more deeply.

      It’s been a fairly life changing read for me, and it uplifted my spirit. Just wanted to share. 🙂

    • #55020

      Thank you all again for such kindness and understanding, its been a hellish. I had an apt today with a psych, I was terrified. I had an awful panic attack this morning before we left. The Dr was extremely kind to me, amazingly so. But it was hard being stripped bare and losing all my screwed up safety nets. Really soul deep challenging. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder ADHD along with childhood trauma issues just to get a treatment protocol started, re-evaluation in two weeks to be reassessed as there may be something else. I’m also getting apt’s with a Psychologist specializing in childhood trauma. I’ve started to have flashbacks which are frightening, I buried all my past trauma deep in my head and its starting to come back out, it wasn’t a bundle of laughs the first time round.

      My wife was wonderful today, so compassionate and held my hand through the whole process. She is so devastated and hurt, I can’t believe what a good soul she is, gives me faith. She has been talking of divorce but said she will allow me to stay and she will help me, keep a roof over my head. She played our wedding song after the apt and we hugged, my poor darling wife, we cried buckets. I guess there is hope.

      I have been prescribed Vyvanse, and Seroquel so that I can sleep.

      I told my family back in England too. They have been emailing and leaving messages of support. They are extremely worried about me understandably. I am hoping they can assist with some financial help just for now, as I have just $50 to my name.

      My wife and I went to CentreLink yesterday to get some financial help, hundreds of pages of forms! The man was very, very kind to me too. And Jo was wonderful again. Fingers crossed.

      My wife has suggested I paint the house and landscape the garden until I have recovered enough to start work again. I think that’s a great idea as I am very fragile and not coping very well, I think the manual work and being outside will help a lot and give me some confidence.

      There’s a hell of a mountain left to climb, it’s overwhelming. But it gives me hope seeing that there are still many kind and compassionate people in the world, yourselves included, I am truly touched.

      I am truly, truly grateful to you all for your human kindness and non-judgement, really.

      I need to get well now so I can treat my wife in the way that she deserves, and I hope I get to do that for the rest of my life. Early days, one step at a time.

      I will keep you posted.

      • #55026
        Penny Williams

        So happy to hear this update! You can do this!

        ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #55114

      Dear Sir,
      Congratulations! You’ve done the hardest thing anyone can ever do – confess our fears and ask for help.
      Those 2 things are the start of healing and hope.
      I read all of the threads. Please disregard any advice that made you feel ashamed and embrace the suggestions that make you feel hopeful.
      I know you are worried about hurting your wife but the kindest thing you can do is be honest with her and trust that she is stronger than you think, and that she’s relieved to know your truth.
      A few other things- focus on physical health (sugar is terrible for our ADD brains); pursue the right medication (it took me several tries to get the right combination of antidepressant and ADD meds).
      I happen to be a Christian and believe God is the only one who can totally heal us. As Pascal wrote, we all have a God shaped vacuum (only a relationship with him will fill).
      If you don’t believe in God I just encourage you to explore what you do believe.
      Most people with ADD have a problem with addiction. Many churches have a group called Celebrate Recovery- open to anyone and everyone. Many of these people realized as an adult they are just discovering ADD was probably the root of the addiction. You don’t
      have to belong to the church or even believe in God.
      But having a supportive, loving, compassionate group of people who will not judge you is enormously healing.
      I’ll be praying for you and your wife.
      I was 51 when diagnosed with ADD, 6 years ago. I echo the statement that having been recently diagnosed is part of your depression and paralysis.
      I had feelings of grief, anger, relief (there was actually a medical reason), fear…
      Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief.
      Your wife’s suggestion to paint and landscape is genius. Physical activity combined with productivity is healing.
      Nurture and feed the physical, mental and spiritual needs- it’s common to focus only on 1 or 2 of these areas since we like to laser focus once we find something we are interested in. Also watch and read whatever makes you life. Great mood booster!
      DON’T GIVE UP! God has a plan for your life and all of us in the forum are rooting for you.

    • #61135

      Dear ADD, I’m 52 and found out that I had add 3 years ago. I didn’t take it to seriously and was under prescribed in dosage . This shame thing finally manifested itself 8 months ago as I have learned that it has been growing probably since my teens. I work for myself and had some good years but never seemed to excel. I kind of just subsided and keep picking up little by little more shame , getting more in debt. Not to mention getting more ornery short temper bad attitude etc. Treating my wife just a little more worse as years went on. I managed to go to the porn world to get my sanctity like getting on a hamster wheel. Not to long until I found another thrill through Craigslist. You can fill in the blanks . I’ve never cheated or did anything like this after 20 years . It has been devastating for her when she found all on my phone in Jan 17. I was somewhat relieved but very depressed. Went to therapy and learned ADD was the root of this. My wife hung in really to protect the our 11year old who is an awesome boy that’s very athletic and smart. She didn’t want to have his environment crushed. I’ve learned a lot about the shame the shame. Shameful and shame our 2 different meanings. It the embarrassed moments that you feel and get over the years of failures disappointments bad luck that you keep and it builds unknowingly and it affects everything thing you do . Your wife and
      you have to learn what this is all about to understand for you to understand how to connect the dots of this to realize the debt job loss and probably marriage stress has been going south way before all this as well. I just loss my shame and felt feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. It was almost and kind of was a revelation. My wife even hurt stood by me. Now I can start navigating out of this mess and heal her collateral damaged wounds as well. Remember you get well first then you will be able to heal your family. It’s a hard road and she may not buy into acknowledging that add was the cause. It’s hard I know but think about your kid every day to get you refocused some to take a positive step forward. Don’t worry about everything at once. Good luck man , I’m working hard as well thinking we have to make this work. We’re a team and I’m hoping to hear good things from you as that will
      motivate me . Keep it going!!!
      PS Edit adjustment. I didn’t read through the rest of the threads and the one you updated in July 27, coincidencdentaly my birthday. My wife and I attended a Retrovaille marriage workshop. Its a Catholic generated but you don’t have to be Catholic or diehard. They have a lot of testimonial couples that has gone through the worse marriage devistating events from one of the couple and hear both sides of how they managed to forgive and hear how they struggled to mend and stay together. It’s not ADD related but has a lot of the torment that comes out of when the disability brings us to the worst catastrophic damage it does to marriage. They have them all over the country two weeks out of the year somewhere. I got a lot out and connected alot that I’ve been learning and taking stock of what my Therapist talks had taught or stayed with me to hear some things making me trigger thoughts that made sense to put my understanding full circle of shame. I actually felt all the shame being sucked out of me and the most euphoric love and peaceful feeling was thrusted in me. I’m not a every week good Catholic but but after experiencing that I know God put that little extra and touched me to let me know that I can go on and heal. I’m running clear now but still have the ADD. I just have to be vigilant and work every day. Read and learn tidbits all you can get. You’ll connect the dots. I would have never thought that would of happened like that. Just keep banging away until the beat makes sense. EA

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