My boyfriend and I both struggle with ADHD

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    • #186468
      zomnipuff
      Participant

      My boyfriend and I are both 21 and have been together for a little over a year now, the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. We were long distance for the first 8 or so months while in college, but this summer when Covid hit I essentially moved in with him. I only got diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of the summer after quarantine began, and shuffling between new medications and struggling to cope left me looking for anything to comfort me.

      I realize now that I have a tendency to become codependent, and I was relying on both him and his 2 roommates (very close mutual friends) to distract myself and ignore my own worsening mental health as the world seemed to take a complete pause. The four of us essentially lived in a little bubble for 5 months, barely interacting with anyone else and all of us struggling deeply with depression, anxiety, and my boyfriend and I with ADHD. We all distracted ourselves by trying to help with each other’s problems, but never focusing enough on ourselves or our own growth. When school started everything eventually came to a head, we had some conflicts, and I realized how toxic things had become. I’ve since moved back in with my parents, which was the original plan at the beginning of the summer, gotten some serious help, and taken the past few weeks to really be introspective and find myself again.

      I’m still on this journey, and it’s been really hard, but I know that my boyfriend and I still have a very good relationship. We are very communicative, understand each others issues (it’s a little uncanny sometimes how similar we are,) and we’re both very committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure things stay happy and healthy. The toxicity of our environment was never really due to problems between him and me.

      I’m finally feeling like I’ve broken out of this toxic cycle, my anxiety and depression are only really manifesting now when I struggle with schoolwork, and my therapist has been incredible at helping me slowly build good habits to combat my struggles. I know that with how similar we are, my boyfriend would really benefit from the same kind of help I’ve gotten. But he’s still very, very stuck. We both have always been avoidant types, pretending issues and responsibilities don’t exist until the threat of consequence is so great that ignoring doesn’t work anymore. He’s still in this distracting environment, though it seems to have become less toxic lately, and he’s still not able to motivate himself to get anything done. He is falling further behind in school, but cannot afford to fail any classes. This is essentially paralyzing for him at this point. He avoids almost anything that requires real effort. I’ve tried for many many months to help him seek professional help, but we both know that this is his journey and his responsibility. I know that at this point, for him seeking help feels like running a marathon: daunting and near impossible. Every step of the process of getting a psychiatrist has been like pulling teeth. I know where he’s coming from, because I’ve been there, but I’ve always eventually been able to muster up the strength to get the help because I know how necessary it is.

      I wanted to get some insight from adults with ADHD or ADHD partners, because we’re both very young and our support systems have very little experience with this. I just want to know how to support him without being overbearing or taking on his responsibilities as my own. I’m very worried for him, but that worry used to overwhelm me and impact my own ability to cope. I was overbearing and overly critical and actually caused him to avoid more. We both understand how it happened and why, and he forgave me, but can’t go back to that place. Sitting and watching him hurt is painful, but I don’t know what else to do anymore. How do I stay supportive without going overboard and hurting him or myself?

      • This topic was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by zomnipuff.
    • #186471
      DNP
      Participant

      I applaud you for getting the help you need and you likely have a good grasp on how to handle it already from what you have posted. Providing encouragement to seek help in those moments he seems more open to it. Can help ease the path by helping him navigate whatever hoops (ie locating local resources, helping him make appointments, etc) there are to get the counseling/psychiatry help he may need. Exercise patience, active listening, and caring support but be mindful of your own well being and that ultimate responsibility for his well-being rests with him not you. Best of luck to you both! May find the below link helpful.

      https://www.nami.org/getattachment/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Anosognosia/I_am_not_sick_excerpt.pdf

    • #188380
      Kerplunk
      Participant

      Coming to this late, but for any other ADHD partners out there: My partner and I have ADHD but we’re older than you guys. I would say, keep reminding yourself that the worry is probably part of your condition, anxiety is commonly comorbid with ADHD. Which means the issues is split between your condition and his behaviour, but who’s right about it ? Sometimes an outside view is helpful in such cases.
      Also that there are two ways to go, medicated/therpay or not. ADHD is a spectrum so again it’s debatable which way is best, different for each person.

      My partner and I both have managed without medication as we were diagnosed only recently. But my natural coping mechanisms, of which I have loads, don’t hit the spot anymore so I’ve decided to get help and she hasn’t. If I nag her, that’ partly my bad, because who’s to know what the best way is. However, we now have an agreement that if our behaviour effect others we will then get help regardless. Trouble is her nagging does effect me, but as we ADHDers are sensitive to critisum and good a denial, how do I point this out to her ? We both have anxiety comorbid with the ADHD. So I know the nagging is an anxiety thing, and currently It’s not unbearable so we’ll see. That’s how we’ve approached it, we’ve been together around a year also. I hope that helps. Anyone else out there in an ADHD relationship ?

      • This reply was modified 4 days, 18 hours ago by Kerplunk.
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