My husband has ADHD. It’s true whether or not he feels like admitting it today. After the insistence of our marriage counselor he finally went and got back on drugs. Thank you Joyce! Four days later I can already tell a huge difference in him. The bags under his eyes aren’t as palpable, the deer in the headlights look is completely gone, and I would even argue that he is more emotionally engaged.
I’ve been feeling a little guilty that not only did I not recognize completely how his meds helped him, but that I didn’t insist he stay on them. Back in 2011, after a really bad couple of years in Tennessee, LG and I were grateful for a new start in Utah. With our newly acquired health insurance the first thing LG did was go to a doctor. He was really motivated to be amazing at his new job and he welcomed help from his ADHD prescription. However, over time, he got cocky. He felt like he didn’t need them and didn’t want to deal with the side effects. He also didn’t want to spend the money so he went off of his drugs. Slowly, over time, the old non-functioning LG was beginning to resurface but it was so gradual that I didn’t pin-point it. Once again the marriage counselor came to the rescue.
She had a really frank talk with LG last week. “LeGrand, do you understand how it effects you and everyone around you when you don’t take your ADHD prescription? There is not only a direct correlation but a lot of research to support the fact that your ADHD is feeding your other issues? You need it to be treated and you can’t wait another day.” Then she challenged him to get into the doctor last week, which he did, bringing me to this post.
I’ve been thinking a lot about living with Einstein for the past sixteen years. My husband is genius. I am not kidding. He is one of the smartest people I know. It is not surprising to me one bit to know that Einstein is a poster figure for ADHD. I am married to him. (I also have a daughter who is him in his female reincarnated drop dead gorgeous form.) My husband (and daughter) could not only figure out how far infinity is but once he knows the answer he could also quite simply explain it to anyone else who needs to know. When other people would have lost the patience to teach me after an hour of explanation, my husband always finds another way around explaining it (and another, and another) until I understand. When anyone has a question, it must be answered to everyone’s satisfaction. There is no way around it. Knowledge and wisdom are his guiding light.
My husband would also get to the other end of infinity and realize that he forgot his keys to unlock the door, and the pen and paper to write down the formula, and then he would make a mental note of about 800 things to do when he got back and proceed to forget every single one of them.
In short, it is extremely challenging to be married to someone with ADHD. If you don’t believe me, check out this article about Einsten’s personal life.
Let me help you understand what it is like.
- My husband is on his 7th or 8th wedding band since we got married. It was really sad the first time it happened, and the second, and the third, but now I am not even sure if 7 or 8 is an accurate number. We quit counting a long time ago.
- My husband struggles with major self-esteem issues because of his ADHD. No matter how much confidence I try to instill in him, years of under-functioning with ADHD have robbed him.
- When my husband doesn’t know the answer to something (like fixing anything) he will avoid it indefinitely.
- His keys and wallet are in one form or another of lost at all times. (One of LG’s favorite sayings is, it’s only lost if he’s looking for it.)
- The man needs constant stimulation. Constant. I am not talking about sex, (although that works) stimulation comes in all forms…reading, texting, gaming, watching TV, fidgeting…doing all of these at the same time.
- He literally cannot remember insignificant tasks like taking out the trash, complimenting his wife, planning ahead farther than one day.
The list could go on and on, but honestly all you have to do is read up a little on ADHD to understand the challenges I’ve faced in my marriage. Perhaps one of the hardest parts of loving a person with ADHD is their inability to connect emotionally. Here is a great article that explains how marriage is effected by ADHD. I really get the resentment mentioned about being the spouse who has to do everything. I am sure if you asked Mileva Einstein, her and I would echo succinctly.
As I was just researching for this post, I came across this article with this accompanying picture. I have read a lot about ADHD but this is the first visual that has brought home the reality of ADHD being an inclusive disorder. ADHD takes pieces from the rest of the disorders. For the first time, my husband’s ADHD also explains his tick of constant blinking (that in others would mean Tourette’s), his social anxiety, and some of his OCD tendencies such as never having dirty hands and always wearing socks with shoes.
This post has gotten quite long and so I think it’s time to split it into two. Coming next will be ways that we have successfully navigated through ADHD. The simple answer is we have remained loyal to one another, have sought out professional help, and never stopped loving one another, but stay tuned for some more specific helpers.