Letters from the ADHD Roller Coaster Mailbag

Since my book was published (Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder), I have been receiving letters from readers worldwide. I have permission to share the following three.  These mens’ words might strike a chord for you.

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Hi Gina,

I am a man diagnosed with ADHD. I have accepted the diagnosis only after realizing that focusing on myself and exercise is not the only answer. True, it took me 50 years to discover this, I feel the combination of my medication, exercise, and focusing has proven to be successful. At least in my mind, less so for my wife, apparently.

From the first day I took medication, I realized how effective the results could be. Upon my first dosage. I had always been criticized for being hyper and loud (but entertaining) as well as disorganized and easily distracted. Since the medication, I can hear myself and have more sensitivity to my own volume. I am now more aware of my ranting. A good argument was like food for me. Now, I don’t have to be in the ring with every discussion, and I can focus on a discussion that I am engaged in.

With all my celebration, I have never been more ostracized and condemned by my wife. I can’t celebrate because my wife is obsessed with blaming me for a failed marriage. Sometimes I think that while I was not being treated, her obsessions were much more tolerable and I was able to deal with them.

My wife has lots of support from your online group and local meetings. There’s a lot of sympathy to the spouses out there.

I am the happy owner of a company that has been in business for 30 years. My employees tend to stick with me and like me. I have never had a moving violation nor an accident. I never, never swear. Don’t smoke, don’t drink, never eat sugar, and no drugs. Just the opposite of my wife.

Sorry ladies, not all the stories are what they seem. I think you have to let yourself take some responsibility for your life, and stop blaming your partner on your unhappiness. We are not all the abusers. We do heal. We do make amends.

My psychiatrist and therapist do agree that my therapy is not only working, but is a success story.
I am celebrating in my heart. Too bad no one’s there to toast with me……..

G. H.
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Dear Gina,

A little while ago I purchased Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder . I purchased the book on the recommendation of my Significant Other. She is a medical professional who realized on her own she has ADD. She has had treatment and is taking medication. Yet, we have had some real ups and downs, the roller coaster ride, if you will.

I did not understand her behavior and thought most of it malicious on her part. For her part, she did not recognize it. Yes, I did say she is taking medication, but she still exhibits much of the behaviors. Once I started reading your book, though, it was as if a light went on where there was none before, and a fog lifted. I realized that much of what I thought was a malicious behavior was not really. Once I realized where or why she acted like she did, it became easy to understand where this behavior was coming from (and she was not the only one). I have been around her when she has been off her medication for a while, and that was not pleasant (we were out-of-state for an extended period and she could not get her prescription renewed when she used to be able to – the State laws were changed).

It has really changed our relationship. I understand where a lot of it comes from and now know it’s not malicious. It really has made things a lot easier for me to accept (now I laugh at things that, before, would have me emotionally reeling). I know it’s not personal, which she has always claimed it was not. To her credit, she has also taken a deep interest in the behaviors noted in your book and is now even more aware of behaviors that, before, she simply did not recognize in herself.

She is very much a workaholic, and that can be directly attributed to her inability to organize and concentrate. I must say that she is brilliant and very much the epitome of a medical professional, and I now, more than ever, appreciate the self-discipline it took for her to get there and keep there. (I must say that all of her peers all have the same opinion, which tells me that I am not just being kind to the one I love.) I do not see her making the mistakes mentioned in your book, but I do see her taking extra care to ensure she does not. Now, though, I can really appreciate how much she puts into it so that she does not and I have learned to be even more supportive so she can.

I have read other books on ADD, many by medical professionals, and they cannot touch your book. It has really opened my eyes and made a difference. If you were to look at my copy, I have highlighted it and made notations in it as if I was studying (which I was, in a way).

Thanks!!!!!

Jack
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Hi Gina,

Yours is the 3rd book on ADHD I am reading. Call me thick, or whatever, but I find myself thinking about this quite a bit now. Of course as I read through the other 2 books, one by Edward Hallowell (admittedly haven’t finished this one:-) and the other by Nancy Ratey, I find myself relating to a number of the symptoms and individuals offered as examples.

Then I read in your book about John on pg 28; I can relate! I took the self screener on page 25 and have marked the 1st 4 in the dark squares (assuming I answered them right … this is where it gets a bit fuzzy, in my opinion). But having said that, I could be very motivated to seek an evaluation and treatment for ADHD if I learned that I would not have to work as doggone long as I do to achieve what I want to achieve (which always seem twice to three times longer than other people of similar intelligence and ability).

I look at one of my sons who is on medication. I can see so many similarities between personalities. But one area where we are not similar is that every one of his courses in High School has been honors and AP; and he continues to get “A’s”!

What I wouldn’t give to be able to do this (or to have been able to do this)!!! Yet, I know I could have and still can … and this would be a dream come true. While I have a number of certifications, they came with much effort. Not that I mind effort, but what if it was undue effort? What if I could accomplish the same or more … faster?! Guess what? When I got one of my certifications, when I took the test, I took Sudafed that day for a sinus headache. Discovered this by accident (just like the example you have in the book), but what a difference it made! I was able to focus so well … passed first time, no problem (wish I knew this when I sat for the CPA exam). I do not take Sudafed anymore though; take some medicine for atrial fibrillation.

As I continue to read in your book about Edith (pg 31) being married 25 years and then Joe was diagnosed at age 55 … well, I have been married for 25 years and am close to the same age (and my wife, very successful in the medical field, has complained about being codependent and that I am controlling). Maybe it is time to stop denying and to investigate.

By the way, your book has been addressing all my questions … extremely thorough.

J.T.

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26 thoughts on “Letters from the ADHD Roller Coaster Mailbag”

  1. My ex-wife, childhood friend, and still close friend, gave a copy of your book to my wife, who has suffered since childhood with depression. She is currently on medication. I am 69 years old, a formerly licensed counselor with a Ph.D. in Education. I have recently been diagnosed by a phychiatrist as having ADHD and started medications. I was also tested on the TOVA and but only scored – .2 with – 1.0 to – 1.8 being an indicator of ADHD. When my wife read your book, she like some who have posted here, immediately identified me as the sole cause of our marital stife. I have tried to point out that I could write a book, “Is It You, Me, or Your Depression?” and that she reacts often reacts/overreacts to the same behaviors in me that co-workers and friends do not. Most of the examples in your book seem to assume that there are no underlying issues with the partner of the “identified patient.” Would you comment?

    1. HI Karl,

      If you read my book, you could see for yourself. 😉

      I emphasize repeatedly that ADHD is not a cookie-cutter condition, that the partners of adults with ADHD are not perfect and might indeed have problems of their own.

      But, understandably, this book focuses in-depth on ONE topic: ADHD.

      Perhaps your wife is not truly saying that your ADHD was the “sole” problem. Perhaps, though, it was the “elephant in the room.” When something as big as ADHD goes unrecognized, it can block the way towards shared strategies and equal responsibility.

      If she suffered all her life from depression, that was something you knew going in, right? So, I wonder if you blamed her depression as the “sole” problem in the relationship. The stress from living with a partner’s untreated ADHD can cause depression and anxiety in those without a proclivity towards others, and it can greatly exacerbate it in those who do.

      Moreover, when someone who has been living in this situation for many years finally reads my book, it can come as a shock. There can be anger that no other physician or therapist pointed out the issue, that they have been dealing with unnecessary stress. There can be even more anger if for the longest time the partner with ADHD has been “in denial” of his or her problems and blamed the partner for any relationship troubles.

      So, you see, this is a complex issue. I hope that as your treatment progresses that you can both start teasing out the issues and working on solutions.

  2. Thank you. I put through an email to caddra and hopefully they will be able to direct us. Once again, your book is the most useful resource that I have found and refer to it time and again, even showing chapters to my teenage children to explain why Dad acts the way he does (not willfully or maliciously). it really helps.

  3. Many thanks. I have read and reread your book so many times…and Hallowell and Ratey and anything else I can get my hands on. One thing we are afraid of…are there instances where one’s life can be affected for the worse with the identification and treatment of ADHD at age 45

    1. You know, that really depends on the person. I don’t know anyone, though, who has not benefited from understanding the nature of their challenges and gaining solid information to help them.

  4. Dear Gina, I’m sure you’ve heard this story before…we became aware of my husband’s undiagnosed ADHD when we became aware of my 9 yr old son’s diagnosed ADHD. Now I have so much hope that maybe we can put the reins on the irritability, unpredictability, overprotective, etc etc behavior through meds and/or therapy. Who should I contact first? I am in the Toronto area. I will not be able to deag my husband from dr to dr (he will lose patience :)) so I want to get it right the first time… Thanks!

    1. Hi J,

      Yes, I’ve head that story a few times…. 😉

      Hope is a good thing to have! And you are wise to “get it right the first time.” You’ll increase your chances of that if you educate yourself first. The best ADHD treatment outcomes — even with the best care providers — require a pro-actiive patient (and partner). Reading my book will give you a strong foundation on optimizing medication and understanding the type of therapy that research shows is effective for ADHD.

      I don’t know specific care providers in Toronto, but I bet you can connect with the Toronto ADHD community my friends’ blog: http://totallyadd.com/forum/

      I hope this helps!

  5. Thank you. 🙂

    I have been on the CHADD website before and the only support group listed is the CHADD group that meets in Minneapolis and we are about 2 1/2 hours north. I did find an email address and sent a message to see if they have additonal info for our area.

    I will also check in to the yahoo group as well. My only dilema is we do not have internet at home so staying connected via the web proves to be a little more challenging, but sure worth a try.

    Thanks again. Your book as given me some vital education tools and even more vital undestanding of what my men live with every day. The greatest help has been to know I am not crazy!. My life statement from the book as become “I do not have to attend every argument I am invited to.” what a life saver! 🙂

    God bless!
    J

    1. haha — that line was a lifesaver for me, too, back in the day. Fortunately, I don’t need it anymore. And I wish that for you and your family, too.

      You might want to talk to the CHADD Minneapolis folks about setting up a satellite meeting in your town. That way, you could advertise it (it would also be listed on CHADD’s list) and build up interest over time. All CHADD chapters/meeting are initiated and run by volunteers.

      As for the online group, it might work well for you. You can post your mail, leave, and check for responses the next time you are at a computer. There is a search function that lets you enter terms (e.g. your subject message) and find responses quickly.

      Meanwhile, just keep reading that book. I wrote it as a “support group in a book” specifically for those who needed a crash course! 🙂

      g

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