July 30, 2020 at 6:53 pm #180394
I’m doing my best to support my husband. Truly, I am. But I don’t know how much longer I can shoulder not only him and his needs but now also those of his 77 y/o mother with early dementia.
He was diagnosed in November at age 50 and has tried both Ritalin and Adderall. Both showed some initial effect, but neither has worked consistently or well. He also has depression and PTSD. We’ve begun working with a psychiatrist, who thinks the stimulants may be making things worse and wants to try Strattera. He is now off the stimulants for a few days to clear his system before he starts the new drug, but he isn’t happy about it. He’s down on himself (“I’m just messed up, this is just how I am, it will never get better, no one can help me.”) as well as unfocused (losing things, unable to finish tasks), explosively angry (breaking things around the house when he gets frustrated), and generally a nightmare to live with right now. His lashing out has cost him almost all of his friendships — people just think he’s a huge jerk — so there’s not much in the way of other support. He has not been getting any counseling for about 8 months.
When he was first diagnosed, it was both good and bad. Good in that it told him that he wasn’t just a morally deficient, lazy person — which was the message he got from a strongly authoritarian father for his whole life. Bad in that he was mourning “what might have been” if he’d gotten treatment earlier. But now, 7 months or so into this, we still haven’t found an effective treatment, and his frustration and rejection sensitivity are just getting worse and worse.
Meanwhile, his mother moved across country 2 years ago to be near us and — again, pandemic — needs us to do her shopping, etc. etc. She’s also starting to have memory problems, so we’re also needing to coordinate medical stuff. She’s asked me to come along to her visit with a new geriatrician in a couple weeks, and I feel like I need to do that too — my husband can’t keep things straight, and bc he’s basically a powder keg, if he tries to manage her stuff and loses track, she gets mad, and he goes ballistic.
I’m trying to help, and I am walking on eggshells all the time, and none of it works. This afternoon, when his mother showed up unexpectedly, he announced that he was going to take a shower. I said I had a work call and he told me to shut up, never mind, he would go somewhere with his mother, if I kept talking, he would kick the door in.
I am exhausted, hopeless, and hurt. It’s like living in a war zone. The one good thing I can say is that I don’t think he would hit me.
I love him, and this is not our first rodeo — he’s been suicidal in the past, which is always in the back of my mind now as I watch his anguish and wonder if we will be there again soon — but I am really struggling. I am also the sole breadwinner, trying to work from home in a pandemic against a backdrop of nonstop interruptions and demands, dirty laundry, leftover foodstuffs left around the house, etc. I just can’t keep up.
I have a therapist of my own, so I get to unload once a week for 60 minutes. I’m just fried. Fried, fried, fried.
July 31, 2020 at 10:14 am #180429
With comorbid conditions like that, it’s good that he’s working with a psychiatrist. It makes treatment much more complex. I can take a few months to a year or more to find the right medication and dosage, or combination of medications. It’s all trial and error unfortunately.
You need to prioritize your own mental and emotional health as well. You’re experiencing a lot of stress and you deserve a reprieve.
Here are a couple of insightful articles for spouses of ADHD:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
July 31, 2020 at 12:44 pm #180475
Thanks, Penny. I’d read both of those and found them somewhat helpful, though we are in crisis mode here now. Last night was rough. I left a message for the psychiatrist, who wants to try risperdal for the next few days. Hope that helps. This is not sustainable.
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