Let’s continue with more answers to this question in the ADHD Partner survey: “What do you wish you’d known earlier about Adult ADHD?”
The question touched a nerve with survey respondents, 164 partners of adults with ADHD:
• Public awareness on ADHD stinks, especially the campaigns by various groups about how awful it is to give people medication. My partner and I continually encounter people who don’t “believe” in ADHD, as if it’s the tooth fairy. They should live it. And those adults who have ADHD and don’t know it – but do a lot of “self-medicating” with tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, sex, or speeding on the freeway — should learn about it. I know that having untreated ADHD deeply affected my partner’s health. He used to get so exhausted just getting through each day, dealing with the stress of trying to function “normally” at work and lapping up way too much coffee, sugar, and adrenaline. Medication helps him to function better and work more efficiently so he’s not continually exhausted and he gets better sleep.
• I wish I had known much more about ADHD when I met my partner. It would have saved me years of pain and suffering, feeling like he just didn’t care and was intentionally doing things to make me feel badly. I got so depressed I couldn’t see straight.
• I wish I’d known what ADHD is and how it could affect me. He seemed to be able to live with it quite well, except for the fact that all his girlfriends eventually run away screaming. I guess he never learned because there was always a line of new ones. He’s very handsome and charming. At first.
• I wish I knew that ADHD could affect our sex life, as it has for so many partners in the group, that he would lose interest in sex like the rest of his “hobbies.” What a disappointment
• I wish I hadn’t dismissed ADHD years ago as another “disease of the month.” I now see ADHD among friends, family, and co-workers and have a greater understanding of how this affects all family dynamics. Even society at large. Even politics and business on the highest levels. Greater awareness will bring adult ADHD “out of the closet” and allow us to discuss this openly without encountering ridicule, ostracism, or fear from “educated” people who don’t have a clue. And don’t get me started on the therapists who tie all the symptoms to childhood. Talk about clueless!
• I wish I’d known it all! I wish kids were screened early, because without treatment to help them clear their clouded view of the world and people’s unenlightened reaction to them, the ego builds up immense self-defenses. By adulthood, these defenses are often iron-clad.