For more information about the book Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? —including excerpts, endorsements from top experts (Drs. Russell Barkley, Anthony Rostain, Daniel Amen, Harville Hendrix, Stephen Hinshaw, Michele Novotni, Margaret Weiss, and many more), free excerpts, and so forth, visit the website for the book: ADHDRollerCoaster.com
Why an ADHD Roller Coaster?
What’s the connection between Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and a roller coaster?
When the partners of adults with ADHD join a support group, they frequently use this analogy—because life with their undiagnosed or “in-denial” ADHD partners is sometimes thrilling but too many times it’s whiplash-inducing, from sudden, unexpected drops on the roller coaster of moods and impulses, distractions and forgotten promises.
Guess what? The adults with ADHD, in their own discussion groups, also talk about living on a roller coaster—or drifting through heavy fog—until they learned they had ADHD. Suddenly, they had an explanation for why, no matter how smart they were or how hard they tried, they had a much harder time with some things than the people around them did. (Things like being on time for important events, paying bills, staying focused throughout a meeting, or being able to pay attention to a loved one’s words or feelings.) Unfortunately, many of their partners are in denial, too!
I can’t quote the adults with ADHD, because I don’t take notes during our meeting. But here are some examples from their partners, taken from their posts from an online support group (with permission):
I was on the verge of filing for divorce when I read about Adult ADD. I was amazed that a medical condition might explain my husband’s video-game fixation, his moods, his absent-mindedness, his impulsive spending, and our roller-coaster life!—Jeanette
My girlfriend and I can have a great conversation, lay out plans, and the next day she has forgotten it—or has an entirely different memory! This mental roller coaster is messing with my mind! —Sean
We just learned that my husband has ADD. We dated long-distance for five years, but only after marriage did this roller coaster of mood swings and miscommunications begin. I really need to exit this ride soon, but I’d like my husband to come with me. Is that even possible? —Susan
Our relationship has been a roller coaster of good times and bad for 16 years. We have something special, but I’m getting too old for the frustrations. I thought she’d learn to stop doing things without thinking of consequences, but she never does. I love her, but something must change. —Christopher
For years, my husband and I blamed each other for all the confusion, hurt, and miscommunications. Meanwhile, the emotional and logistical roller coaster—of unpaid bills, bad judgment calls, and co-parenting issues—kept us both too dizzy to see straight. The idea of ADD is the only thing that’s made sense in our lives for a long, long time. —Abby
After two years of arguing with my new wife about her saying or doing inconsiderate things, we read an article about ADD. After being diagnosed, she tried medication and life was good! Now, she’s decided she doesn’t need it, and it’s back to the roller coaster. —Jack
Ack! I feel like I’ve been living on a roller coaster. I never know whether my husband will be up or down, loving or critical, on time or late. Before he was diagnosed, I blamed myself for our unhappiness, because he convinced me that was true.—Suzanne