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51 thoughts on “Contact”

  1. Hi GIna

    I’m so sorry but I just had to get something out. I am not sure how to keep going in this relationship with my husbands ADHD. It seems impossible to move forward despite medication, a coach and many books read. He just simply won’t/forgets to implement anything. I can’t keep carrying him. I feel as though I’m drowning!! Sorry Gina. I wonder if there’s a support group for wives in Australia.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. Hi Kim,

      You are welcome to join my free online group. It’s based on e-mail, through a Yahoogroup. We have a few members from Australia.

      You’ve read the books (did you read MINE? specifically the last chapter, where I bring it all together?), but have you put them in practice?

      Some adults with ADHD simply do not learn, despite the best Rx and support, until they truly realize their spouse is not going to keep picking up the slack. Sometimes taking a week’s vacation can make this clear.

      Good luck!

  2. I am the non ADHD partner… I might as well be invisible…what kills me is that I am robbed of my right to be the good person I strive to be bc he sees critic and judgement in anything… he sets me up…”please remind me to call my daughter”….so I gently as I can…I help set up alarms (that go ignored too often)…. I get “I am not stupid, you don’t need to tell me I should call her.” I am heart broken ….. I have stopped talking, hoping, … We are human beings, not perfect tricycle wheels, always there to think solutions etc…when another grown up we ‘partnered’ with decides you get to go at it alone, be responsible and hence blamable, ….. frustration and hopelessness wears us to the point we cease to believe anything can ever get better… Not with the ‘lucky’ lack of memory of the ADHDer who 10 minutes later comes to you as if nothing happened, 30 later has the same negative response…10 more like nothing…. No,….we carry every minute with us to the point where jumping of a bridge seems a perfectly acceptable way to force the roll-o-coaster to stop. Even articles that get it seem to try to see how long can be gotten from us till breaking point… Just keep learning one side like, communicating just to be misunderstood, and counseling so there are more voices saying what seems so obvious but goes ignored…. Never time for us, our hopes, our needs…is all about the rush to bandage the wild and always forgetting…and yet fighting like mad dogs to be right in what are faulty memories/judgements…..horses of ADHD My body not only does not remember his touch, now it jumps out of the way…it has grown so unfamiliar… I keep saying I don’t know what else to do…. bc I truly don’t… like asking for a line while in quick sand and you get: I feel judged…or some other ‘me’ statement. Even his child (also ADHD)…now I cannot ask her to put her dish in the sink bc she feels ‘judged’…. Slavery must look good on me… but I don’t see it…. I can’t even smile at what I see in the mirror… I see failure, exhaustion…and %$&…I must be quite ugly to be so very forgettable. Yeah yeah ADHD….blah blah blah…. I fail at being able to be un-subjective about my own life falling though the cracks…even if the bitch has a name… ADHD … I was about to threatened your stupid face but I have crossed into hopelessness so blah…you win. Oh wait…it gets better… he needs to wear diapers to make him feel safe… so i tried the nonADHD hyper understanding…’as long as things are clean and night time’ even though it killed the very small sex life ours became days after our wedding (he only touched me in our honeymoon bc I cried)…what a set up… how did I get tricked like this… the smell when he feels like being oppositional is impossible… I no longer believe life can bring me any good…it is just work work and this slow death.

    1. Anbe – I truly understand. I also understand that you need to take control of your life. No one else is going to do it for you. Depression can also be impairing, robbing us of our ability to see clearly, be able to take initiative and see that there can be a brighter day.

      I strongly encourage you to seek some help for yourself. A therapist who can help you make space for your needs, and perhaps an anti-depressant to help pull you up so you can help yourself.

      Please take care,

  3. Hello Gina.

    I have just read a couple of your articles and after crying my eyes out I just want to say -thank you!!!! I live in Australia and how blessed am I to find you. When reading “when someone you love has ADHD.Faqs.” You seemed to completely describe my marriage and it is so nice to feel that finally someone understands. I have been married for 16 years and have 3 children and my husband has been diagnosed with ad/hd two weeks ago and I am trying so hard to understand it. The diagnosis came at a time when I was about to leave him and I could take it no more. I am still not sure of what to do next but I am trying so hard to understand and accept the diagnosis. I need to find hope!!!! He is currently trying a low dose of Ritalin which did concern me. having said that the effects of the medication have been instantaneous and profound – he is finally happy in our children’s presence (his anger has been increasing over the years) recognising his past mistakes, has started planning and using his iPad to alarm reminders to himself – things that I have nagged daily for years for him to do.

    There however is still so much for me to reconcile. I have called him way too many names in frustration over the years and I can’t stop beating myself up about this. I am also experiencing this absolute feeling of relief or something for finally knowing for sure that he has something because as you say, the many therapists I have seen have indicated I needed to be less critical and see his differences as simply that – differences.

    We too have lost so much money with this through lack of promotions loss of jobs and him managing money when I thought he was fine.

    I care for my husband and keeping our family together – however the love has certainly been lost. He has definitely hurt me along the way and I feel as though no matter how much I plan, fix or prepare – being in a marriage with him means he will inevitably ruin my good work and as a result the kids and i will have to suffer the consequences. This frustrates me so much and makes me resentful as I don’t think it’s fair for any of us when we haven’t done anything wrong.

    I’m not sure what to do next. I’m not sure how much he will improve with treatment. I’m taking one day at a time. I’m under no illusions that the medication will not be the only answer and he needs more support with therapy and processes. But at this point I am so grateful to you that your blog articles are there to look after and support me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kim,

      I’m sorry to hear yet another story of the impact of untreated ADHD on the individual who has it and the loved ones. And I’m so happy to know that my blog and other articles have been helpful to you.

      I am working this morning on an opinion piece, to respond to the egregious article run recently in Esquire: The Drugging of the American Boy. By “drugging,” they mean ADHD treatment. The article claims that we are drugging boys into submission — simply for being boys! It’s awful. And it’s this kind of propaganda that keeps people stuck in confusion and stigma.

      Look at the difference already that you and your husband have seen! He can be calmer with the children. That is HUGE — and a good portent of better things to come.

      If you haven’t read my book, I recommend it (of course), but so do many other people. It will be your guide through all aspects of the coming months and years. People with ADHD and their partners absolutely MUST take an active role in medication management, and my book covers that. The last chapter covers environmental and logistical strategies. All in all, about 400 pages covering this topic. Readers have written to me from Australia, so I know it’s available there, perhaps through Amazon. Here is the U.S. link.

      As for your regret at names you’ve called your husband, I did the same thing. I, too, felt horrible when I learned that my husband had, to that point, undiagnosed ADHD. We both formally asked each other’s forgiveness for past transgressions and put the past to rest.

      Best of luck to you and your husband,

  4. As an adult with ADD I was wondering if you had heard anything and could share your thoughts on neuoroptimal brain training? I had a GP mention it a few months ago as possibly being helpful with certain symptoms.

    1. Hi Brett,

      Each person with ADHD is different. What works for one might not work for another.

      That said, we have a huge body of knowledge that stimulant medications go a long way in mitigating ADHD symptoms. We have some evidence that ADHD-emphasized CBT strategies are also helpful, along with environmental strategies such as working with calendar-planners, etc.

      We have very little evidence that these so-called “brain training” games work. They are very lucrative for their makers, so it’s important to be careful. Unless you have money and time to experiment.

      Here is another post on my blog, about neurofeedback:

      Good luck,

  5. My husband has really bad ADD. Yours was the best book I’ve ever read on the topic. (I adopted two children through foster care with my ex-husband years ago, and they both have ADHD. My son also had fetal alcohol effects and is much worse off. I’m only now starting to look into medication for my daughter who is now 12. Her anxiety and oppositional defiance disorder are either part of the ADHD or vice versa, or both. She’s much easier to handle than my 17-year-old son, but I think medication would make her quality of life — and the rest of ours — much improved. My son was sentenced to a boys group home, after years of trying to get help for him and him eventually acting out some of his past abuse. 🙁 It’s been very difficult, especially since what he did to be sent there hits close to home, but they are better equipped to manage his needs than I.)
    Back to my husband…
    Has anyone dealt with Adderal withdrawal? My husband also has mild to moderate narcolepsy, so he was prescribed quite a bit of Adderal, and has taken it for years. He recently switched to extended release.
    The problem is.. it interrupts his sleep. And he uses melatonin sometimes, too. He can’t sleep well while taking Adderal, but he sleeps practically all the time when he’s off of it. But when it starts to wear off at the end of the day and when he goes off it on the weekends so he can get good sleep, he turns into a monster. 🙁 I suffered in silence for years, me and our family, but I can’t do it anymore. I love him, but the mood swings have gotten worse, and every weekend, I completely lose my loving husband unless he takes some Adderal. I have heard it called “legal meth” by some recovering drug addicts in their support groups. What we go through, how my husband behaves, is just like a horrible drug withdrawal (gets sick a lot, too), and he’s trying to quit smoking on and off, too, so we have the nicotine withdrawal to deal with, also. He said the patch made him feel weird, so he stopped using it. I got him a weaker one, but he has yet to try it. The pharmacist said he could taper off his cigarette use with the patch, and that can be easier than going cold turkey. My husband also uses an electronic cigarette sometimes. His smoking ranges from not smoking at all for a few days to a couple of cigarettes some days to half a pack on days when he’s really stressed out.
    I’m at my whit’s end here. I want him to try a nonstimulant, like Strattera, instead of the Adderal, but I doubt I can get him to go off the Adderal, just like that. Can he take Strattera with Adderal? I know Strattera works more over time…so I’d think he’d need to take it daily, not just on the weekends. My son has taken Strattera for years. Stimulants were awful for him. Strattera isn’t enough, and they have him on something for anxiety, too. Not strong enough, but he had no appetite and they wanted him to gain weight and not be skin and bones. It’s been great to see my son gain weight, but with his behavior (and whole life) getting out of control again… I think being very scrawny is worth putting him back on stronger meds. It’s all so complicated and awful! I’ve tried the natural route, no meds, in the past, with my son and husband. We gave it a lot of time and research and supplements. They need meds!!
    I am interested in this nutrient stuff. I used to take micronutrients. I loved them. But you know how hard it can be to get a person with ADD to take vitamins (or anything) consistently. My husband takes his Adderal religiously during the workweek because he has a hard time functioning at work without it. But what about when he’s home. I deserve him in his right mind, too!
    His emotional and verbal abuse of me and my daughter has gotten so bad.
    I don’t know what to do.
    He only has a general nurse practitioner for a doctor. He needs to see someone who specializes in ADD, but getting him to another doctor would be even a larger battle than getting him to see the same one for an extra visit. I’ve accompanied him to all of his doctor’s appointments, have stayed in the room and been involved, but I don’t know how much they will allow me to do or how much say I have. And I’m sure just one call from my husband and I could be shut out of all of it. I feel so alone…like the only one wanting to help him…and help our family. Some of his family members are starting to get it, but he’s a grown man and as long as it doesn’t affect them that much, they’re not going to do a thing. They wouldn’t know what to do, anyway, but I need support!!
    I’m blamed and used as his scapegoat way too much….for how he’s doing in his life. I now realize, It’s not me!!! My ex-husband has ADD, too. (Honestly, what is up with my luck?) ADD runs in his family, too, but he won’t take medication, and he had me believing our whole marriage that it was all my problem. You can see why we ended up divorced. His rages could be bad (tempers in that family, too), but my husband now…. they’re worse. 🙁 But they’re only when he seems to be withdrawing. Otherwise he’s such a sweet guy. And my husband can warn me or begin with the start of spiraling down, unlike my ex who would just have an immediate, out-of-nowhere temper flare-up.
    This really seems like a drug withdrawal, but I need someone to back me up and/or my husband to want help. He always later apologizes, saying he’s sorry he’s an ass and confused (lately) as to why he seems to have such anger issues. It’s worse than it used to be.. Bad enough that at his last doctor’s appointment, he asked for extended release because of “mood swings.”
    What do I do????
    His behavior and how awful he treats me is so shocking and off the charts at times, and he threatens to call the police and have me thrown out. It’s so strange!! (The same guy is so adoring and telling people how wonderful I am during the week, on his meds!) If I’m to just walk away when he starts spiraling down, instead of asking him (very calmly for as long as I can) to try to be nicer and gentler, it won’t usually get bad, but sometimes I’m in bed trying to sleep when he starts in on something on the weekend, and I don’t have another bed to sleep in.
    I have sometimes wondered if he has bipolar disorder, but with all my studying and experience with those who suffer with bipolar disorder, I’ve never seen someone be able to warn me that their behavior is going to get bad. They usually just spiral and have their highs and lows, etc., and others have to help clean up the mess. And my husband’s behavior (prior to meds) lines up more with extreme ADD than bipolar disorder.
    I recently earned my bachelor’s in psychology and have much experience with people with mental illness…who seem to find me. lol. I’ve had to end friendships because of people going off their medications or refusing to seek treatment.
    One of my best friends says she takes two other medications with her Adderal, and I know of others who take multiple meds, as well.
    I am really hating Adderal these days. I now think that we’ve been suffering the effects of Adderal withdrawal for years. 🙁
    It’s the only medication that he takes. And every weekend, and some nights, my life is turned into a living hell.
    I would REALLY appreciate any guidance or suggestions. Thanks!

    1. Oh my dear, you really have been riding the ADHD roller coaster. You deserve a break!

      There is much more here in your question than I can address in a response.

      In brief, I would suggest looking into other stimulants, such as Vyvanse, and definitely tapering off the smoking. Nicotine can potentiate the stimulant’s effects.

      Also, the Strattera, in combination with a stimulant such as Vyvanse or Concerta, might help with providing a 24-7 “background” focus and mood regulation. Or maybe an SSRI (e.g. Luvox, Celexa, etc.).

      Beyond that, it’s hard for me to say. If you’d like to schedule a consultation where we can review this issue, here is the link:

      Meanwhile, please take care of yourself.


  6. I have been taking add medication since I was 25 with exception to breaks between pregnancy and trying to get pregnant I was a mess! I didn’t focus I would start something not finish or just not do it all together I was all over the place! In the mean time I started to get sever depression and anxiety. After I finished breast feeding I started back on my ads meds, but the depression followed I then started my anti depressant and became less sad but started to have signs of insomnia and lack of energy. I tried every sleeping medication without success and then started seriquail which put on excessive weight but I functioned somewhat. I had been diagnosed with bipolar through previous pysc but felt I was not so I did not take medications required. Now since I moved a year ago I have seen two general doctors but can not explain the feeling I have over me. I recently started back with psyc and he said I was bipolar and felt not so much add started me on mood stabilizer reduces my 20mg of lexapro and took me off my adderall of 30 mg a day. Now I am completely in a daze, it is like I am outside of my body watching. I loose myself daily wether it’s sleeping or making dinner or finding my wallet. I sometime I stop mid sentence and forget words or even what I am talking about! I am on a low dosage of the mood stabilizer! I am torn because I don’t sleep and I don’t know how to function should I get a second opinion!?

    1. Hi Kris,

      PLEASE, do get a second opinion. And a third and fourth, if that is what is necessary.

      Unfortunately, all physicians are not created equal in diagnosing these complicated conditions, such as ADHD and bi-polar disorder. Especially post-pregnancy, when fluctuating hormones add more than a few wild cards to the mix.

      It is extremely important that the treating physician understand your history. If you functioned well on stimulant medications for years and had no signs of bi-polar disorder, they should know that.

      I’m not an expert in the complications of pregnancy and post-pregnancy, but that is an important factor that they should be familiar with. Also, you don’t mention if you have several children but perhaps dealing with babies’ round-the-clock needs has exacerbated ADHD-related sleep challenges.

      Please find a physician who will listen to you and who has a broad base of knowledge, not just a “bi-polar specialist.” Any kind of specialty can blind the physician to other possibilities, or even the complexity of their own “specialty.”
      I wish you luck!


  7. Hermione Granger

    Thank you, I must admit that though I have read most of your book, I have not read the entire thing, as I have done so in bits and pieces when I have the time. I do have a vary full understanding of what is going on, and have little control over it. I guess I just want to help somehow, but my dad would never accept my advice, or really listen to me; after all, I am still a high school student. I will go back and read the chapter on denial, though, and I really appreciate your advice.

    1. Hi Hermione,

      You’re a high school student? And you’re this smart? 🙂

      Here is why I suggest reading the book closely: It’s because the more grounded family members become in the facts, the less they can be “out-talked” by the “in-denial” person with ADHD.

      Also, understanding the nature of denial is so important.

      This is not your problem to solve. Your mother should be reading my book. But understanding why your dad does what he does (not out of disregard for his family but out of “disconnection”) might help you feel less hurt by his behavior. That’s not to excuse his refusal to get help. But maybe detach a bit from the emotional impact of it, as I imagine it might be.

      take care,

  8. Hermione Granger

    I know this website is for couples and individuals with AD/HD, but kids sometimes need help to. I was diagnosed with ADD about 10 years ago (a bit more then half my lifetime) and fortunately have learned to cope with it. My dad quite obviously has it, his behavior is quite consistent with the examples in “Is it You, Me, or Adult ADD?”. My mom is being driven to distraction, and has often wondered how much worse a messy divorce would be for me and my younger siblings, then a erratic dad and arguing parents. Dad refuses to admit that he has it, does not take his meds (they do not seem to help him anyway), and so has only gotten worse. What can I do?

    1. Hermione Granger

      By the way, my dad is not an alcoholic, drug abuser or anything of the kind. You could say he is disorganized, does not work hard on the behalf of his family, has little empathy, and denies that he has any flaws, but I think he actually does try. No one would know any of this, he is not vary communicative, and is vary good at hiding and denying the facts.

    2. Hermione, those behaviors you list can be “abusive” in very real ways to loved ones. It’s not that he’s trying to be mean or “abusive,” but he is minimizing the effect of ADHD on himself and his relationships, and that is inexcusable.

      Your family might need to draw very firm boundaries, lest he just zone off into the lala land that some people with ADHD can fool themselves into believing exists.


    3. Hi Hermione,

      Actually, my blog (and my book) is for anyone affected by Adult ADHD. One has to change only a few words in the book for the information to apply to the adult children of adults with ADHD, their siblings, parents, etc. The dynamics are very similar.

      It sounds like your mom needs to get some education and validation, and to know that there are sometimes ways to work with an adult’s “denial.” My book has three chapters on the topic.

      I can tell you, for many of these relationships when children are involved, divorce doesn’t solve anything — and sometimes exacerbates the situation around shared custody. With older children, that’s not an issue.

      As far as what you can do, I’d say read my chapters on denial. I wouldn’t have written a book if I could explain all you need to know in a response to your comment. 🙂 Honestly, “denial” is a complex issue, and you need a full education in why and how it happens — and how to work around it.

      For now, I’d say your dad needs to know that you don’t approve of his behavior. In no uncertain terms. Sometimes people with ADHD “in denial” are those who are extremely unreflective. They need something put right in front of their faces to pay attention, to know that you mean it. And yet, there is still the risk that they will play the victim and turn it all back on you.

      That’s why reading my chapters is important, to give you a grounding in what’s happening so you can stay solid and not get your head turned around by the rationalizations, blaming, etc.

      Good luck!

  9. Hi Gina,

    Does anyone know of a good Dr fro adult ADD/ADHD in or near Santa Rosa Ca. I am trying to find help for my ex-husband. He’s been down the psychiatric route in the past without success. I really would like him to go see a medical Dr who specializes in this condition. He’s just lost his 17th job and can be very successful in short bursts. For our son’s skae (well, and his) I’d love to find him help.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Cathy, Sorry, I don’t know any MDs in the Santa Rosa area. I suggest that you and he attend the Santa Rosa branch of CHADD of Northern California’s Adult ADHD support group. You can talk to other attendees to get recommendations of local care providers.


  10. My husband and I have been married 22 years. His ADD wasn’t diagnosed until about 6 years ago, after we started counseling subsequent to his being with my 4 year old son and sending son out into a busy street to get a ball; son was hit by a car and hospitalized for a month (and has made a full recovery). Then husband was laid off from his job (he’s a civil engineer), got another job 6 mos. later, but was laid off again 3 years ago. While he was working, he moved out. Then his $$ ran out and he came back 18 mos. ago. He tries to say he can’t work due to health and ADD issues, but when he gets involved in a job, he’s able to do it full speed ahead.

    He quit the original counselor after 2 years (his reason: i wasn’t being “fixed”); we found another counselor 3 years ago, but he quit last May (I wasn’t being fixed again; focus was turning to him). He sees a counselor for what he sees as his “issues”: depression, anxiety, etc. I am currently seeing a therapist as well. He is trying to make a case that I have Borderline Personality Disorder (my therapist laughs). But neither therapist has ADD background, and I think that’s a big mistake.

    Financially, things are going downhill rapidly; we have 2 kids, the first of whom will start college in 3 years. He says I make enough $$ for both of us. I do make a great living, but we’re going backwards each month with almost no financial contribution from him.

    I live in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Can you recommend a therapist or a different direction to take here?

    1. Hi Tina,

      First, I’m glad your child is okay. This afternoon, I am editing a chapter in a clinical guide for couples therapist, the chapter on co-parenting. And that is a very real risk with untreated ADHD. A well-intentioned parent can truly endanger a child.

      Second, it is hard for me to recommend a different direction to take, when I’m not quite clear the direction that’s been taken. You don’t mention medication.

      Third, if the “direction was turning to him” in therapy and he didn’t like it, he might have had good reason. Therapists who don’t understand ADHD and thus don’t target meaningful strategies can feel, to the person with ADHD, as less than useless. They can feel abusive, in the sense the therapists simply are not understanding the nature of the problem.

      Fourth, if you haven’t read my book, I recommend that you do that. Then, if you have questions or would like for me to help assess the next step, I offer private consultations. This page explains how it works:

      I don’t know of any therapists who specialize in ADHD, in your area. Even if I did, though, I would still recommend that you read my book first — it is vital to be an informed client before you even begin to interview a therapist for ADHD.


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