New here, at the end of my rope

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    • #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.

    • #180429
      Penny Williams

      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:

      My Husband Has ADHD — and It’s Hurting Our Marriage

      Why You Lash Out — Sometimes for No Good Reason

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

    • #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.

    • #182323
      ADD Mum

      Hi Saltwatergirl,

      I just want to say my heart goes out to you during this time, and I would like to pray for you if that’s ok (Christian lady here).

      I’m ADD 37 mum of 3 and I’m going through a terrible time to, very different to yours. You can get through this and you will, this too shall pass.

      Sounds to me that hubby is still dealing with the diagnoses, this takes time and (for me anyway), it is easy to think “I’m lacking, not complete, something is wrong with me and I’m stupid” but this is very wrong.

      I also have had the explosive angry issue, I thought it was just the ADD but a few years back now I went to councilling and worked through some issues regarding people who hurt me, once I let go of that my explosive anger came much more managable and a lot less frequent.

      I think your husband needs a lot of positive renforcement right now, try and build him up with lots of good words, take sometime to think of his good aspects and tell him about them and also good words for every day tasks. A lot of ADD people struggle with depression and low self worth, it might be a good idea to chat to your Dr about him going on antidepressants for a while, this too can take a few goes to get right, but can really help. I am taking them due to being a stay a home mum, I am more balanced when I am mentally challanged ie working, house work is very draining for me because I am not being stimulated. When I go back to work I plan on going off my Antidepressants.

      Look into your husbands “Love Language” there is 5 – words of affirmation, gift giving, acts of service, physical touch and quality time – if you know this it will help to build him up (google it there is a book). Make sure he has something to do around the house, try and make it stimulating, honestly a daily to do list might help him. He needs stimualtion and a purpose right now, maybe an online course or youtube how to do something he is interested in (for instance I have started to learn Auslan this week on youtube because i’m bored) Watch his diet a lot of ADD are diet
      sensitive, do a bit of research on this.

      Encourage him to let his anger out productively, maybe a journal for him to write in, or paints for him to attack a canvas, you know him well, talk to him calmly and lovingly when he’s calm about his anger and brainstorm an activity for him to let out his feelings. People with ADD tend to have a way with words that can cut badly when anger (which they regret deeply afterwards), talk to him calmly about this and the need to find a safe way to let his anger out. (My 6yr old ADHD son currently has a pillow to beat up)
      encourage him to check out this website, ADD people love to learn and like to learn about their ADD, this site is very good and very helpful.
      Also, he might act like he doesn’t want to come to mum’s appointment but more then likely he does, he’s just scared, encourage him to come even if he doesn’t go into the Dr office and waits outside, or ask him to have dinner on the table when you and mum come home, it will help him feel like he is there for mum. He probably feels bad about not going.

      Take time for yourself, go for a walk along the beach, dance to your fav song, write in journal, take some time out daily (If you can) for you even if it’s just 10 min, you need to take care of yourself.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, it will be better.

      God Bless

      ADD Mum

    • #182324

      Thanks, ADD Mum — prayers are most welcome!

      Things have settled down somewhat, fortunately, but we’re definitely not out of the woods yet. He’s still refusing to see a psychiatrist, but we are lucky in that there is an internist who specializes in ADD (and has it herself) that he likes and trusts. She’s just put him on lamotrigine, and he’s already taking an antidepressant.

      In the event, I ended up going to the doc with my mother in law; he stayed home. His mom asked me to go, I think mainly because he’s been angry and domineering and she didn’t want to have to worry about his behavior while meeting her new doctor. Due to covid, only one of us was allowed in the room. He was angry at first, and said he would drive us there and be present via Facetime (video), but he came around to seeing it as intended — taking a responsibility off his plate that he didn’t really want in the first place.

      I’m biding my time unti he’s a bit calmer to ask (again) about a psychiatrist. Actually, maybe I’ll just wait until the next internist appointment next week and let her ask about it. She’s been clear about wanting him to see a psychiatrist given his complex history and somewhat unusual response to certain medications — and I think it would be better coming from her than me.

      We live near the ocean and I have been swimming as much as possible. The cold water, and being well and truly AWAY while I’m swimming, has been a lifesaver.

      Thanks for your advice and support! I’ll try some of your suggestions. I hope you are doing well.

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