An Open Letter to My Husband
I have ADHD. You don’t. We don’t always speak the same language, which is no one’s fault — but it’s a stumbling block for our relationship nonetheless. Here are 27 heartfelt requests that I can’t always articulate but wish I could.
1. Please don’t criticize or judge me. I know it can be hard to know how to love someone with ADHD, but I’m doing the best I can — I try really hard to make you happy, and to make things run smoothly in our home.
2. Please know that when I’m acting strong and mighty, I’m probably full of doubt.
3. Please know that lectures don’t work.
4. Please stay grounded when I act impulsively.
5. I need space to thrive. Please give me room to grow, like a patch of daisies in the garden. I will bloom but it might take a while.
6. Please don’t label me or roll your eyes. Just give me a hug and tell me I can do it.
7. Don’t forget to remember all the things you love about me — especially when they aren’t obvious.
8. Know that my procrastination is a survival strategy. I can’t prepare, plan, or make lists in advance without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Last-minute preparation brings clarity and focus.
9. My compassion for you and our family comes from my ADHD brain wiring. My heart feels your every breath, heartbeat, need, and desire. And I have ADHD to thank, in part, for that.
10. I can read minds, so be careful what you think. Your silent thoughts come through loud and clear.
11. I cannot return from distraction the way you do. Phone call. Go back to work. Email. Go back to work. Coffee break. Resume again. I wish I could, but my response time is slower than yours. Just like a physical reflex, this is my brain’s reflex.
12. I am totally jealous of your “0” email inbox. Mine is overflowing at 12,000 — and that’s just in one of three accounts. Does iCloud ever run out of room? If its engineers had ADHD, it would be infinite.
13. I will always fill your life with surprises and excitement (the good kind).
14. If I seem uninterested, distracted, or rude, it’s probably because my mind is hyperfocused on something else. If I’m deeply involved in a project, I cannot think or speak of anything else. I’m in so deep that I can’t even think about saying, I’m busy now, can I call you later? Please know that I don’t intend to be apathetic or standoffish.
15. For all my volume and commentary, there are times I can’t communicate exactly how I feel. There’s so much action going on, it takes me awhile to sift and organize through my thoughts.
16. I am tough and resilient, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need your love and your support. I’m strong when stretched to my limits. But even rubber bands break when the pressure is too great and too frequent.
17. I have heightened senses. I feel an exaggerated version of every scratchy fabric, wrinkle in the sheets, and bunched-up sock. Sometimes a hug feels great; other times it feels like I’m suffocating.
18. I am sometimes too sarcastic. That is my way of lightening up the darkness in my mind. Please forgive me.
19. I’m trying really hard. What is easy for you is a major effort for me. The simplest tasks that you breeze through cause my mind to swirl like a tornado. You exercise, walk the dog, prepare your lunch, go to work, visit the dentist, call the landscaper, deal with family problems, and support your co-workers. Meanwhile, I sit home and write. I get so focused that I forget to pick up the prescriptions. I don’t get around to sending those Thank You cards. The dog reminds me when he needs to go out.
20. Sometimes when you think I’m talking to you, I am actually verbally processing what’s going on in my mind so that I can work through a problem.
21. My “I want” drive is too strong. It steers my choices and messes with my priorities. When I’m struck by a thought, vision, idea, or word, I must get it out and let it flow and grow.
22. I know you love me. And I love me, too. I like the way I am.
23. I try to get the most out of every minute. That’s why I’m always trying to fit in just one more thing.
24. Wake up, Bolt out the door for a run. Shower. Make breakfast. Walk the dog. Get to work on time. Achieving that sequence without forgetting a thing? It’s not going to happen for me.
25. When I look calm, chances are my insides are racing. There is almost always a fast-moving energy flowing through my veins, a burning fire that I can’t put out.
26. Please don’t pressure me by dictating a list of important chores or priorities around the house. Machine-gun lists don’t enter my brain. Even when you speak to me kindly, I only hear the first two items on the list. If it’s before 9 am, I don’t even hear that.
27. Marrying you was the smartest choice I ever made. Growing together isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely rewarding.