Help a non-ADHD spouse out…

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Help a non-ADHD spouse out… 2013-07-02T13:28:45+00:00

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD I Married An ADDer Help a non-ADHD spouse out…

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  • #120834
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    sdwa
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    Post count: 363

    @keepingthefaith

    My experience with coaching…that was about five years ago? I worked with a coach for nine months. It was fairly open-ended, focused on identifying skills and interests and ways to relate to my strengths. It helped me understand my ADHD better. I didn’t have goals –  it’s probably useful to go into coaching with goals, but at the time I wasn’t ready for that.

    I didn’t know what I needed, which is, of course, part of the problem a lot of us face. We don’t know who we are, we can’t see ourselves objectively, and we really don’t know what would help. If we did, we would have done it by now. That is the glorious Catch 22 of all things ADHD.

    Mostly what I got out of it was to lay a foundation for looking in the right places, beginning  to recognize the talents I have and patterns I could build on – and as a result, what to stop trying to do. I think a lot of us grow up trying to be contortionists – to fit into places we don’t, can’t, never will fit – and it was freeing to be released from having to do that. Learning to recognize the difference between what I wanted and what I thought I should want, or what I can do vs. what I think I should be able to do. That’s huge.

    Some coaching is geared to working on life skills, which was not what I was looking for at the time. Find a coach credentialed by ADDCA.

    The guy I worked with is great at what he does. I think I heard a podcast he gave through ADD Resources or something, and was impressed by his attitude and the fact that he made sense – understands what we’re dealing with, the map of the territory of this particular wilderness.

    One of the benefits was to talk to someone who heard what I was saying, who was an island of support in a sea of chaos – encouraging, positive, and upbeat. To have that experience was amazing, never mind what we talked about.

    It was the beginning of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, but it has still taken five years to find the cover of the box with the picture on it, so I finally know what I’m trying to accomplish, which makes the process much easier. Ohhhh…now I get it. It’s supposed to be a picture of a covered bridge in autumn!

    I wish there were a way to speed it up, but I am sorry to say that maybe…there isn’t. Learning to navigate this thing is a process. Maybe others have found a faster way. Or it might just take time, and faith that it will come together will help both of you.

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    #120835
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    sdwa
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    Post count: 363

    @ Larynxa: Just want to reiterate that I’m so impressed by what you’re trying to do, becoming a coach. You rock.

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    #120912
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    dithl
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    Post count: 158

    Here’s a question: is the view from your current plateau better than it was before? If so, maybe it’s not so much stalling out as taking awhile to get his bearings after a huge effort and the impact of being diagnosed. It is subtle, but it takes time to see yourself in a different way post-diagnosis. And though ADHD minds can be quick, processing deep, complex issues can take longer – much longer – than non-ADDers. Reflecting on the timeline so far might help: 1) struggling without a diagnosis (for years, I assume?) 2) making the (sometimes terrifying) step to seek professional help 3) examining the confusion of your life, including digging up your past school records, talking to family 4) obtaining a diagnosis 5) working on multimodal treatment (education, medication, therapy, coaching) 6) finding yourself in a place where you accept that you will never be non-ADHD but you continue to put all the supports in place to live your life to the fullest extent you can and stay connected with those you love.

    Sounds like you and your DH are at the beginning of step 5 in this journey. I can imagine the struggle and heartache it has taken to get there. It must have been a relief for both of you to have a name for all the confusion.

    This may be both sobering and hopeful – this is an incredibly long journey. One year in is still very early stages. It is fantastic that you have taken the steps to educate yourself, that will be an incredible support when he is ready to pick up the burden again and continue tackling this ADHD thing. The fact that he is taking medication at all is a testament to the work you two have done. It is extremely difficult to accept the fact that you have to take meds to fix what’s wrong with your brain — perhaps for the rest of your life — and many people don’t keep on with it.

    So, I guess what I am saying, without knowing your situation, so my apologies if it comes across as trite or dismissive, is try to be patient (for now). You don’t want quick change. Real change happens at a deeper level, and takes time. And we ADDers must be an absolute royal pain to live with. We know we screw up, constantly. And feel bad about it. And want to be everything for those closest to us. But keep screwing up. And appreciate your help. But are afraid of being too needy. And interpret helpful suggestions as nagging or controlling. So sometimes will thank you for your help or growl at you and say, You’re not the boss of me!” Underneath all that, we just want to know that we are OK. And that you will stick by us. That you are in our corner. That we are enough. That although we are trying to figure things out to make life easier for everyone, you still love us just the way we are.

    It’s an extremely tricky balancing act, life with us. Knowing when to push, when to back off. Knowing how to support without disabling. Being able to step back and let us fall flat on our faces when we make poor decisions – because we are adults, after all. Living with the consequences of those poor choices. Being able to spend time on your own when we’re not really present, but able to engage in our passions when we’re more than present.

    I don’t know if anyone really knows how to do it all. Best of luck to you, and make sure you take care of yourself, too.

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    #120922
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    klmillscats
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    Post count: 28

    Hi keepingthefaith!

    You’ve gotten some really good advice. I, too, am an ADD spouse. My husband was diagnosed when our daughter was nearly 20 years ago. My father once told me, “If I never teach you anything else, remember these two things; never marry a man thinking you can change him, because you can’t; and never assume the loan.” Well, I’ve never assumed a loan, and when I married my husband 31 years ago, I thought he was just eccentric! Rather than dealing with the ADD, we deal with the effects, sometimes taking baby steps to make minor lifestyle adjustments that can often impact areas of life you might not expect. For example, when we first married, we lived in a mobile home which is somewhat like living in an alley way. When he would get home from work, he would start unloading his pockets, dropping something on every flat surface from living room to bedroom; top of the TV, coffee table, dining table, kitchen counter, washing machine, you get the picture. Next morning, it’s, “where’s my keys, billfold, checkbook, pens…” After watching this performance for a few weeks, it occurred to me that in 29 years of life, one mom and 2 wives, no one had ever told him that if you unload your pockets and put everything in one place, it will all be there tomorrow. This simple thing made a huge difference, allowing him to figure out that if he assigned a place for something, it was more likely to be in that spot every day! Baby steps. I can’t change him, and we don’t talk about ADD because that’s too broad a subject, we just address life and how we can make things better for all of us. Anyone’s self esteem improves when we can see how little improvements in ourselves can make a positive difference. Good luck!

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