November 16, 2017 at 4:39 pm #68353BFREEParticipant
My partner is currently being diagnosed with ADHD. When he was little in school, it was advised that he get tested but his mother never followed it up.
As his partner, we have so many trials and issues but on the flipside, he is my best friend and we have fun together and he is so loving and hilarious and genuine and he treats my son with so much love.
But then there’s this other side to him, he forgets everything, sleeps 12 hours at a time, I am left to do the morning routine, housework, etc etc and he has days off work all the time.. (luckily his boss is nice!) I’m always trying to motivate him, coming up with ideas to help, I even applied for jobs for him in the past coz he says he struggles with that.. I don’t want to feel like I’m with a teenage boy (I work with learning support teens and I see similarities) I need the man that I know is inside him. Recently, I’ve stopped ‘micromanaging or mothering him’ I just can’t. I have anxiety which makes me feel like I need to help and make sure everyone is OK but I’ve had to pull back for my own wellbeing but I can see the shit storm that is coming by his inaction, attitudes, problems controlling his anger (he name calls, yells).. I just don’t know if the way I was helping was doing more harm then good.
He said he feels like in his head, he has ideas, plans and can be more articulate and clearly see his thoughts, emotions but it all comes out wrong. He said he wants to be able to put the things he knows he needs to do out into the world.. he knows he needs to mow the lawn, help out more but something is stopping him.
So that’s incredibly brief explanation but my question is what tips can you guys give me to help me be better for him, me and my son? Also, has anyone found that ritalin helped?
I am close to walking away but I don’t want to, I know the beauty and love in our relationship. I know the happiness it brings us and my son.. I know that this isn’t US.
I really need to know that things can improve once the diagnosis is done and treatment is happening.
November 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm #68373liasamturnParticipant
God I do feel for you… I can only imagine what it would be like to live with me. I find it hard enough myself!
Although I agree it must feel like he’s lazy, sluggish and not trying to help himself, I think that he’s probably totally fatigued. It’s a very under-looked but veryyyyy common symptom of adhd, fatigue.. I thought I was a lazy and rubbish person, but I eventually learnt that so much energy goes into appearing normal 😂 and trying to function like normal people do, all while conversely hyper-ly thinking about 2 books I want to write, what Saturn’s rings must look like when on the planet and oh wait was that a robin I just saw? It’s a very exhausting, confusing and unlovable thing.. . I started a thread on here about fatigue myself, when I was first diagnosed ..stimulants made me more focussed and productive and the hamster wheel in my head stopped within an hour of the first pill, but after that it’s still a learning curve. More meds added; some taken away.. It took me a while after to realise drugs would never completely ‘cure’ me and that it was important to develop coping mechanisms alongside the meds.. For example, I know now that my memory will always be terrible, so I have a ‘launch pad’ by the front door so I don’t drive my boyfriend mad forgetting everything every time I leave the house.. I’ve accepted that after the bombardment of a week at work I need to sleep for 12 (16, sometimes, honestly, like a sloth) hours some weekends, which makes it easier on me and my loved ones because it removes the pressure to be ‘on’ and the inevitable tension that’s caused when I can’t shake it off/flake out of plans last minute… The last thing… I’m going to start another paragraph in case you’re skimming, because I feel it’s the most important thing:
You have to take time for yourself and not feel bad about it. It’s so important you get some time away to do things that are good for you, too. I have the same anxious empathising-to-a-fault thing it sounds like you have, so you’ll probably feel bad about it, but block that thought and do it anyway. I think your partner might benefit from this, as well – a chance to be solitary and level out is so important to me. It will probably remove some of the guilt he must have about being a burden on you, too…that’s such a massive thing with adhd….the guilt that you should be doing something more..that your loved ones would be happier without you, etc.
Also – joke about it! I always joke about how I do an eternal circle about losing things in a place where I find another thing….about how grumpy I get when I’m hungry or tired like a toddler..about how I spend 3 hours watching Rizzoli and Isles instead of going to work because I’ve been wound up all night so cant do anything but splodge on the sofa like melted ice cream…taking the p*** really helps with defusing tension!
Hope you get on ok. He sounds like he’s incredibly lucky to have you supporting him. Just make sure you get some you time as well!
November 16, 2017 at 9:38 pm #68376hayesParticipant
BFREE – I’m the ADD husband here. Teacher married to a clinical social worker (25 years; 19 yo son & 16 yo daughter). Diagnosed 15 yrs ago at 35 yo. Like my amazing wife, you have been remarakabky patient and loving. However, the last 2-4 years nearly cost me my marriage.
Your husband’s experience sounds an awful lot like mine. I get frustrated that I can’t always seem to remember basic daily things – the little stuff that says “I’m all in with you”. Those things snowballed, as did my shame and guilt, to the point where I was pretty a crappy husband and partner. And like most ADD folks, I didn’t see it or blamed others. You can see where this goes. We were to the point of discussing separation.
Even with medication, I thought I could ‘handle’ this ADD thing without therapy – fat chance. I’ve found a really good therapist, and have put some difficult work to date. And I’m lucky that I have a resilient and loving wife – though I even pushed her limits. I’m just glad I wasn’t too late (a rarity in my ADD life!). Meds and therapy are whatbseem to work for me. We’re heading in the right direction; and I feel more like the guy she married 25 years ago. I still have stupid ADD periods – but we both seem to know now that theyre not intentional, or that I don’t love her. Because immmore willing to acknowledge and talk about them, we can even laugh about some of them, too!
I think you can get to that place; it’s not easy, but it can be done. From your post, you seem to really love each other – that is a huge plus! It makes the struggle bearable, and can get you to the other side when it seems too hard. Your story sounds so familiar – I’m really pulling for you both!
November 16, 2017 at 11:30 pm #68393BFREEParticipant
Thank you guys so much for the advice and the encouragement!
I appreciate both your outlook on living with ADD.. I can only imagine the struggle it can have on you. The fatigue is something he brings up regularly and is like if only I can put you in my body so you can feel what i feel! I used to think he was lazy but I know he isn’t 🙂 Can I ask one more question. how does ADD/HD affect a person’s emotional state, specifically controlling anger and frustrations… he has never been good at doing this and usually results in him yelling, name calling insults and behaving like someone else. I know he doesn’t mean it and he doesn’t want to behave like this.. he is seeing his psychologist weekly now which is great… I just wanted to know if this ADD thing affects things like this?
I mean when I’m sick he is SO ATTENTIVE, when I need to focus he helps keep my son entertained so I can work, he brings me flowers and makes an effort to cook dinner, he makes me laugh soo much and not the kind of laughing to be nice but like real laughing lol…he is amazing I love seeing how loving he can be.. but then he shows a different side where I am called all sorts of names and turns into an arsehole (only in a fight when it’s reached a point where I can see he is struggling to maintain composure and he always thinks that “I’m not listening” when I really am.. I’m reflective listening and answering back with his own words. I don’t get it) Sometimes he says things that really make no sense but I see that in his head it does..
He is determined to work at this.. apart from everything we’ve been through… we don’t want to give up.. I’m in this but the name calling is something I need to stop because my son can’t see that behaviour as normal. I work with troubled teens, mental illness, disabilities.. I know what is tolerated and whats not but name calling and yelling going off his rocker is the one thing I am struggling with a lot atm.
Thank you guys again, I want to learn so much about this so we can grow stronger instead of apart.
November 17, 2017 at 12:11 pm #68434liasamturnParticipant
Yep, but again please don’t take this as gospel – I’m only speaking from experience and a year of reading. The most valuable thing I’ve learnt is that adhd is very different for everyone, so it may or may not apply to your situation.
You know how you feel like you’ve been steam-rollered when you’re hungover or have flu? That’s the best way I can describe the fatigue thing. Stimulant meds helped a lotttt, but it still catches up with me when I’ve spent a long period being ‘normal’. It’s less frequent with meds, but still a thing.
The emotional issues are, from what I have been told and understand, very common in adhd but have been very misunderstood and misdiagnosed until recently. I was lucky enough to see an incredibly devoted psychiatrist who knew this. That was the main reason I was diagnosed, actually – I never did badly in school or struggled to sit still as a child, but the emotional side seems to be increasingly recognised and acknowledged, now. I was started on a mood stabiliser recently and it’s helped my anger/sadness/panicked outbursts hugely, so that might be a thing to discuss. There will still be moments of overflow because that’s just the reality of it, I think, so acknowledging that and lessening its impact on you is important… I used to work in a school full of kids with emotional difficulties, too, and always found the best thing was to recognise what was happening, get some distance and the talk about it once it’s passed. It’s hard not to take it personally, but you must try!
I’ve always found empathy/being needed by other people to be my main kickstarter…so I’m thinking he’s the same as me there – stepping up when you’re struggling yourself. The 2 motivations for adhd people are interest and urgency, so if you’re unwell or something he’s most likely going into hyperfocus to support you because he loves you so there’s urgency. I will bend over backwards for my family if they need it, but household chores don’t have that urgency or interest so my house is a pig-sty! It must be incredibly frustrating to live with…God knows I’ve had countless fights about it…but unfortunately I think it’s just a hard to stomach truth.
Also….after these periods of urgency hyperfocus, it’s a bit like being a pressure cooker. There will always be some sort of overflow afterwards because it’s mentally strenuous, and even though it’s automatic and fine at the time for me, what goes up must come down. Another unlovable fact of us lot!
Lastly, don’t feel like you’re doing anything wrong or failing in some way. You could be an adhd master and there would still be moments where he goes on one and you despair at the whole situation. I keep saying it but I really do think acknowledgment and distance are the way to go – like putting a blanket over a parrot’s head and going out for coffee until he becomes less frustrating! It sounds like you are doing an amazing job already in trying to understand… I wish my family were half as interested as you are…! Keep asking on here if you need to – it’s the most productive thing I’ve done all day, to be honest, so it’s of mutual benefit 😆
November 18, 2017 at 3:52 pm #68526hayesParticipant
I don’t have the outbursts, but the fatigue is definitely something I experience. Like liasamturn says, it feels like a hangover; it takes so much energy to stay engaged during the day (i.e. At work) that when I get home I’m often ‘useless’. I, too, am great in a crisis or movements of high stimulation – but keeping track of the mail piling up daily on the kitchen table goes right by me!
Rather than lash out, I shut down and completely disengage. It’s an old coping skill learned from childhood. For us that’s worse, because it makes my wife feel like I’m disregarding her (when I’m really beating myself up internally). I think liasamturn is also right in that it’s different for everyone – I’ve learned that ADD is so nuanced in each person, as well as in relationships.
You two seem committed to one another, and to your son. I think that same foundation kept us together. Take good care of yourself (VERY important), and each other…
November 20, 2017 at 10:24 am #68643
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