One Man’s Story: Growing Up Undiagnosed ADHD

growing up undiagnosed ADHD

My Rugged Reality of ADHD

By Dylan Rosen

Do not read this if you are looking for a “Happy ADHD Story.” I do not have the gold medals of Michael Phelps or the arm of Terry Bradshaw. My life has been a struggle from the time I walked into first grade to my current age of 30. If you want something real and authentic to someone’s experience growing up with undiagnosed ADHD, however, I hope you will read on.

A Silent Struggle

When I was in elementary school, my ADHD symptoms were as classic as the Rolling Stones were to Rock ‘n Roll. However, I did very well. Teachers always said I was bright.

I did well in middle school too, even making the president’s list one marking period.

As I moved from middle school to high school, a couple things changed. My grades went from A’s and B’s to C’s and D’s. My relationships changed too. I grew apart from old friends and was not able to make new ones. I viewed myself as a loner, a recluse. My confidence was slipping, and I had begun to experience the awful taste of depression.

The pressure from my school’s academic standards became unbearable. I did not do well under that pressure, coupled with the negativity I always received at home. My parents expected high academic performance from me. After bringing home a poor interim report one semester, I was threatened to be sent to technical school, which frightened me. Going to trade school, growing up where I lived, was a sign of absolute failure.

growing up undiagnosed ADHD

Feeling Worthless and Alone

I do not understand why my parents did not see me trying. After trying to complete my assignments, I’d finally get bored and find something else more stimulating like a video game. My best attempts at reading still meant I fell asleep.

Other issues began to seep into my academic life. I did not know how to manage my time. I could not sustain attention or plan out future activities. Projects in the future became a terrible task. I could not figure out ways to accomplish them. These abilities are crucial when you are grappling with learning about DNA or Julius Caesar.

I felt worthless and alone at the age of 15. I would cry a lot because I was not good enough. My mom was verbally abusive and would even punch me with a closed fist. Just after turning 16,  I moved out of her home into my dad’s apartment.  This brought positive change to my life.

It did now, however, improve my grades.

growing up undiagnosed ADHD

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No One Saw That I Was Trying

Regarding my grade, my dad treated me the same way my mom and stepdad did. C’s were not good enough, even if I tried my best. I always had this sense that I was not trying hard enough. My dad failed to see that I was trying. Working on chemistry, I’d  get that sense of tiredness in my eyes and stop.

I felt shame and also felt like I was a disappointment. I also had that feeling of being alone, a lifelong theme.

The years of negative attention and constantly being told what I did not do right took its toll on me. I felt like I could not be myself, and the world had made its statement:  You got all A’s but you still got a C in math.

I limped into community college.

The same themes present in high school continued in college. I took a semester or two off and had multiple classes where I received “F”s. I felt really down on myself for not completing my education as the people I grew up with did.

I did not complete my Associate’s Degree until five years after I started. I was married by this time.

growing up with undiagnosed ADHD

 

Struggles Grew Worse But Not Ready to “Seek Treatment”

My mental health struggles continued, and depression made my life very challenging. Depression affected my relationship with my new wife and at work. I was not ready to seek treatment.

My work struggles began within the first couple months of marriage. I was let go at my job probably because I was not catching on quickly enough. I had one job where I was yelled at for not being able to find tools or because I did not understand something quickly.

The boss, who yelled a lot, was always ready to jump down my throat. I was not trying to be a poor employee. All along I felt awful about myself and the feeling that I was in my own world of trouble, a desert without a human in sight.

During this time, I began to experience anxiety.

growing up with undiagnosed ADHD

Confusion Becomes Clarity

About three years later, my wife and I had decided to break up. What came next was life-changing.

In the summer of 2006, I began seeking treatment for anxiety through my family doctor. I also went to see a therapist, who revealed the bigger challenge of my life.

After answering a questionnaire in our second session, she said, “You have ADHD and you’ve had it your whole life.” I felt relief like a traveling and parched nomad, finally finding a well in a barren desert.

Several years later, my life is alright. I own a condo and received my Bachelor’s degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude.  It took me ten years to complete. The same year I graduated with my degree, I was fired from my job. I was not getting enough work done.

I cannot help but wonder how I slipped through the cracks laid by people who were supposed to be looking out for me. Recently, I have been pondering why they were not able to reach me when I was a kid, even without the ADHD diagnosis. I was bombarded by negative messages on my report cards about my school work. They have never left me.

I am a living example of the damage this disorder can do to someone’s life.  I am an example of how doing your very best with what you have been given is still not good enough.  I am constantly compensating for insecurities, which are probably due to my poor relationship with my mom and also never measuring up to what was expected of me.

growing up undiagnosed ADHD

And Some Hope

I have some positive things in my life, which bring me hope. I dream of being married again but know how challenging it will be to find someone who is safe and understanding.

I am a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  My “little” has some medical problems, and I picked him for this reason.  It has been a joy for me to spend time with him and give him things I did not receive as a boy.  Big Brothers and Big Sisters has taught me boundaries to use when I interact with him.

My heart crumbled when my “little” told my supervisor he loved me.

The major joy in my life is my participation in an online community dedicated to people with ADHD.  I am among great people and finally feel like I am not alone. I finally have what I have always deserved regardless of what or how I did something.

This is love, support, and acceptance.

Dylan and I welcome your comments. Just scroll down the page; no registration or annoying codes to enter.

This post originally appeared Dec 1, 2011.

About The Author

95 thoughts on “One Man’s Story: Growing Up Undiagnosed ADHD”

  1. Undiagnosed and wanting help. My life has been filled w struggles. Plus a divorce, and ruined relationships.I’m over 50 too. A Loss of a job got me into a deep depression …… financially I’m at a very low point. Will things improve ?
    Linda

    1. Hi Linda,

      I feel for you. Your situation sounds bleak right now.

      I can’t read your future, but I suspect things will start looking up when you get on board with an evaluation and treatment.

      And if you’ve already done that (been evaluated and take medication), you might want to revisit your approach to medication, diet, sleep, and substance use.

      take care,
      g

  2. I can relate to so much of this story. I was lucky enough to get a good group of friends early and I’ve maintained those relationships for 18-24 years. Because I needed to keep up with them, I was always pushed to maintain my grades, so they didn’t deteriorate until my third year in college when raw ability couldn’t make up for not being able to focus in class. If you have solid relationships, make sure to to reach out on a semi-regular basis. I keep birthdays in my to-do-list app and have a weekly task scheduled to give one of them a call. It keeps the depression and anxiety away.

  3. Mary Whitman

    Good read. Thank you for this! Oh so much respect for this man thank you for sharing your experiences!

  4. Hearing other’s stories and experiences helps. I got diagnosed at 58 (18 months ago). Still being here is a victory. However, some days it feels like a hollow victory when I can’t see beyond my past. Yet I get up everyday hoping things will be better and go to bed thanking the Creator for the day. And some days just getting out of bed is the best I can do. One step at a time. Peace & love.

  5. Thanks for your response Gina, it put a big smile on my face.

    I saw him for a 3 month follow-up appointment.

    I told him that things are much better and that the anxiety which brought me close to the outskirts of insanity has shrunk substantially. “I now feel like I can carry on” I told him. “But the problem still exists and so does much of the anxiety”. He then asked me: “Did you read the book I told you to get last time”? “No” I replied. He told me to get it on the way home. “Getting the love you want by Harville Hendrix, read it cover to cover, get your wife to do the same”.
    If it was anyone else I probably wouldn’t have listened, but he proved himself a wise man, so I obeyed.

    Being exposed to this book with the aid of my new brain has been an eye opener and a heart opener.
    “I feel that sorting out my ADD issue didn’t directly solve all problems, but it was the foundation needed to enable growth in all aspects”. J-Dub

    1. Hi J-Dub,

      A very smart neurologist indeed!

      Harville Hendrix is a lovely, wise man. He has been very generous to my mission.

      He provided an endorsement of “You Me ADD” (maybe you saw it in the front matter) and then another for our couple-therapy book, wherein we adopted the Imago model to help ADHD-challenged couples create more fruitful, harmonious communication. You might want to check it out: https://amzn.to/2Udp7jM

      I am basing much of the online training for ADHD-challenged couples on the couple therapy book. The site is here: https://ADHDSuccessTraining.com

      Here are Dr. Hendrix’s endorsements of my work:

      Most books on marriage offer insights and help to common marital problems such as the traditional conflicts around sex, money, children, time, and in-laws. They offer credible solutions such as conflict management, improved communication, and problem solving skills.

      This book is different. For some couples, these problems are exacerbated by the often unnoticed presence of a particular neural wiring in the brain, called Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, that makes traditional solutions ineffective. This book describes ADHD in detail and with empathy and helps couples with this added challenge find hope and solutions.

      I recommend it highly to all couples whose troubles seem incomprehensible, and for all couples therapists it should be required reading to help them distinguish between ordinary conflict and the roller coaster of this syndrome.

      — Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples and co-developer of Imago Relationship Therapy

      First came cutting edge theory in Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?, shining light in the darkness for couples living with the amazing complications of one or both partners having ADHD.

      Now comes a luminous clinical guide for Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy, helping therapists identify the essential elements of the therapeutic process for successful outcome, including therapy models ranging from medications to cognitive-behavioral to couples therapy.

      The thoroughness and clarity of the theory and therapy, and the voluminous sources and research citations, make these two books a seminal contribution to the field.

      –Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, Getting the Love You Want and Making Marriage Simple

  6. Dear Dylan,
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    I am 31 and have been diagnosed with ADD a few months ago. What triggered my concern was that my 7 year old daughter had been diagnosed with ADHD and I noticed that my daughter and I, have many awfully similar traits.
    I first went to a certain neurologist and complained about attention issues. He gave me a questionnaire which I filled out on the spot. He looked at the paper and said: “Maybe you have it but maybe you don’t. Go to a hospital to do a written test which will help us find out”. I didn’t do it. I wasn’t interested in travelling, spending money or time on this. I thought to myself that it’s so unlikely I have ADHD. After all, I got through school (without cheating TOO much), and anyways, even if I do have attention issues, how much can it be affecting my life at this stage?

    A few months later, I went to a neurologist who turned out to be a superstar (I didn’t know it at the time). I went in order to complain about two issues: Anxiety and attention issues. I decided to give it another try. All be it, the main purpose of this appointment was to seek help for my anxiety which was becoming unbearable.
    I had prepared my case in advance and planned my presentation.

    The 25-minute appointment went something like this:

    Me: I would like to speak to you about two issues (I did not mention them yet).
    The 1st one is anxiety: I went through my list of things which trigger anxiety throughout my day. Included in the list was one specific trigger which caused such anxiety, that I couldn’t carry on, something needed to change because I was slowly cracking.

    When I concluded the anxiety section, the side doctor looks at me and says: “Do you have attention problems”?

    Silence. A moment of silence was taking place in which the aforementioned, life-changing words were to be absorbed into my brain.

    I told him that that was the 2nd issue I had come for. I decided to go through my list of attention issues. I mentioned the 1st one when he stopped me short. He asked “Are you hyper active? I answered negatively. He said “So you have ADD and not ADHD”. I told him that I have a long list I didn’t manage to tell him about yet but he wasn’t interested.

    “I heard all I need to hear”, said he. “It is clearly ADD”. He told me that sorting out the ADD will eventually fix the other stuff. He told me to do regular exercise and to get a certain book which will help me with the unbearable anxiety.

    I asked: How can it be that I survived school and accomplished other difficult tasks with ADD, and what changed now that caused this to be discovered?

    The Doctor responded with yet more words of wisdom: Till now you’ve been single, with yourself only to look after, so you managed to get through school etc. despite ADD, now you’re taking your ADD into a relationship and fatherhood, this is why you’re not coping NOW.

    I told him about my experience with the other neurologist to which he responded with a smile: “That’s why people come here”.

    Something I learned from this is that there are two types of neurologists:

    1) The ones who know what their talking about.
    2) The others.

    This may be useful information to some.

    I am writing this about 5 months after this episode.

    I am on Concerta and I have put exercise into my schedule. I feel like a different person. I feel like I now have a brain and a very powerful one.

    I am noticing things around me and deriving principles from situations.

    I am discovering talents, confidence and strength I never knew I had. I feel like many opportunities are slowly coming my way and new wonderful paths are unfolding in front of me.

    1. Woweeeee!

      Now that’s the kind of commend I LOVE to read, J-Dub.

      And THANK YOU for detailing your story about “The Two Types of Neurologists.”

      I’d say that’s true throughout the medical profession: Some rise to the top and keep abreast of the emerging science and some….well, they graduated medical school in 1964, as a neurologist, and write “ADHD Does Not Exist.” 🙂

      How ASTUTE….for that neurologist to explain to you what I must explain to people (because their MDs don’t).

      Do you still see him? Please give him a big thank you from me.

      Thanks!!
      g

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. Your words are a pain and a balm. Tears can be very healing and your narrative cerainly brought those. I’ve never heard anyone else mention the thing with ‘tired eyes’. When I was six, I started experiencing insomnia because the house I grew up in was noisy and chaotic. I had started reading and read until my eyes got tired, and could then not sleep. When my eyes wouldn’t get tired from reading easily, I did those things with a pencil the doctor does when they are checking how well your eyes track.

    I was able to learn how to schedule studies in college because the counselling center at my college realized that I had never had to study and didn’t know how to study or organize time. Maybe it’s because I’d been referred into therapy when I was 19 by an organization I volunteered with, after an unpleasant episode in my life.

    1. Hi Nine,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s amazing, isn’t it, the resourcefulness that we humans can draw upon to cope with so many things.

      Still, a six-year-old shouldn’t have to cope on his own. 🙁

      best,
      Gina

  8. Great post Dylan. UN-diagnosed ADHD is terrible to live with. I didn’t realize I had it until I was age 58. I went in for marriage counseling (again!) for as we all know – it puts a strain on marriages. Fortunately the counsel I had was well aware of ADHD because he ‘is one’ himself. When he revealed to me how my ‘symptoms & issues’ lined up wt ADHD – the light went on and I just began to cry – as all of a sudden life made sense. I had always felt like the light switch was turned on put the full connection didn’t occur or like I was always standing on the outside of window looking in – always outside. Then I cried more as I read Gina’s book and others that confirmed so much. I didn’t have the classic symptom of doing poor in school – I was a B student and I made it through college in the same way. Back then we didn’t have ADHD issues we had ‘bad boy’ issues in school. My problem was always overcompensating or trying so hard because I knew something wasn’t like it should be – Like Sam’s story, some of the hardest working people are people wt ADHD – many succeed but there is that always nagging ‘I’m not good enough or I’m missing something’. My big issue is distraction, impulsiveness and follow through. On the outward I may appear OK – corp credit mgr and adjunct business prof – but inwardly it is always a struggle to grasp complex issues, data and most importantly relationships. My wife and I decided not to go the ‘drug route’ so I use supplements, cognitive thinking practices and try to use other practical means to control. Speaking of, I got distracted reading the email leading to this post and I need to get back to work!! Dylan, God Bless you for sharing and Gina Thanks for all you do. You are a help and a blessing to us all.

    1. Dear Ron,

      Thanks for riding the roller coaster with us.

      We appreciate your comment!

      g
      P.S. Might be worth a try at rx…it’s not like cutting off a leg, ya know. 🙂

      Couldn’t resist.

  9. Serafina Polito

    @Gina Peru
    Thank you for your feedback.
    Im in Australia.
    Today I am spent of energy.
    I won’t give up though.
    Ill keep soldiering on somehow.
    Thanks heaps.

    1. Ah yes, Australia has its pockets of awareness — and the vast empty spaces.

      But I know there are enough knowledgeable people there that you can make some connections.

      You have a right to healthcare that helps you live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life.

      That “psychologist” can go jump in the lake!

      g

  10. Serafina Polito

    @Dylan, I just read your story and it made me cry.
    ……
    I am 53 years old. My 3 sons have all moved out of the family home in last year and I am for the 1st time in my life left with just me.
    I self diagnosed with ADD in 2012. After my life had reached rock bottom I pin pointed to ‘impulsivity’ being a main culprit to my downfall. After surfing the internet I found symptoms of ADHD and I could relate to all of them.
    Even at school. I was in a top math class at one time and the next thing I could not grasp what was being taught and was put in a lower math group.
    Hiding behind being a wife and a mother for 28 years has kept me focused on what my duties for the day were.
    But now, divorced twice, children who don’t need me and failure to have developed close friendships leaves me isolated.
    Yesterday I went to see a psychologist.
    I must learn to live with this change in my life so I’m calling for help.
    I told her I suffer with ADHD.
    She doesn’t believe that exists.
    She was quite harsh with me. Telling me what the brain needs is my responsability and that it’s a part of life that children move on.
    I have to give my brain Endorphins and Dopamine which you get from excercise and food.
    And I can manage the Flight or Fight chemical Cortisol she says.
    I’ve worked as a nurse 5 years ago but have since stayed home to try learn how to run my home life better.
    It is most challenging! I’d rather build a house than get mastery over home duties!

    I own a dog and a cat. I use my left over energy to look after them and be a responsible pet owner.

    As far as exercising myself?
    Eating well? I sustain an Eating Disorder and I’ve just now got a handle on a Foodplan with the help of OA.

    I am only surviving.

    I don’t know much about how I’m going to cope with my life right now, but, one thing I do know is, this psychologist has given me all she has and cannot help me further.

    I am left saddened.

    But, thankyou for your story.
    Much appreciated.

    Serafina.

    1. Hi Serafina,

      Here is my first thought about that alleged “psychologist”: HOW DARE SHE!

      I MEAN, SERIOUSLY. HOW DARE SHE.

      It’s not that I haven’t heard stories like yours for years. It inspired an entire chapter in my first book (“How Bad Therapy is Worse Than No Therapy”).

      Can I know for sure that you have ADHD? That this “psychologist” is wrong?

      No, I cannot. But in my many years of experience, adults such as you don’t hit upon ADHD on a whim — or as an excuse. Instead, it comes as a massive epiphany….”You mean that’s why….”

      Speaking of eating disorders, you know that ADHD is associated with greater risk of obesity and eating disorders, right? Medication treatment often helps.

      You don’t mention….do you live in Italy? My home country is one of Europe’s worst when it comes to recognizing ADHD. But everywhere, there are pockets of enlightenment.

      I hope that you don’t give up. That psychologist is an idiot. Moreover, a MEAN idiot. She doesn’t “believe” in ADHD? Please tell her that 1,000s of research scientists and clinicians much smarter and more capable than she is have settled that question. We don’t care about her little opinion.

      Please don’t listen to her.

      best,
      g

  11. Dylan, thanks for sharing your story so well. As it happened I had just come back from my son’s doctor where we had a very serious meeting about his rejection and defiance at school. He’s had ADHD as long as I can remember is also on the spectrum as well. So he too has been suffering for years about all those, “You’re a loser!” Messages that get lobbed at him everyday. I think he will really like your story.
    Oh, and about Michael Phelps, he’s so often used as an adhd success story and he is a remarkable person. However, I stumbled on his “It Gets Better” video where he talks about his problems with depresssion and suicidal ideation. Even while he was winning all those medals he was thinking that he was a loser and wasn’t deserving of anything. So even getting that amount of fame did’nt make him feel good about himself. So I guess self acceptance is a long path for us all

    1. Hi Clare,

      I’ll send a “thank you” from Dylan. I know your comment means a lot to him.

      I’m sorry to hear about your son. When I hear such stories, I always want to ask…”are you SURE his treatment is as good as it can be?” Because, in my experience, most of the time treatment falls very far short.

      So far short that clinicians are likely to assign ADHD symptoms to Autistic Spectrum disorders.

      Re: Michael Phelps. I’m afraid his is a very complex story. Yes, he’s held up as an ADHD success story, and I know it’s important to have role models. But I’ve always hoped he’d be more forthcoming about his ADHD, particularly in managing it.

      He seems defiantly in denial of his ADHD, however, refusing to see his “depression” and other challenges as almost quite certainly (untreated) ADHD fallout. He seems to think therapy is the answer but from the interviews I’ve read, he seems mentally lost in rationalizations and psychobabble. His mother was openly critical of the ADHD diagnosis, not that she is a neuroscience expert.

      When a person lacks the “ego strength” that comes from strong prefrontal cortex functioning, the person often feels only as good as his/her last success, last achievement. Then it’s back to the loser status. The constant needing of outer affirmation…it might motivate a person, but it isn’t always internalized. This is a definite risk for many with untreated ADHD: to keep chasing reward after reward and always being disappointed. That seems to me where Phelps is stuck. What a high it must be to win all those medals. What a low it must be to be unable to keep doing that when so much of your sense of self seems to depend upon it.

      Dopamine is released in anticipation of the reward, not in having it. For some people with poorly managed ADHD, this means that they lose all interest an item once they purchase it or lose all interest in their betrothed on their wedding night. What goes UP must come DOWN.

      Ah, but depression is always more socially acceptable. People who scoff at ADHD will speak in hushed, respectful tones about depression. Go figure.

      I wish your son all the best.

      Gina

  12. Donna Marie Mattera

    I found out that I had ADHD when I was 60 years old.
    I have worked hard and did not give up, but am sure the ADHD made things harder. I am also a highly sensitive person and that has helped me. I ,of course, would have preferred to have been diagnosed when I was much younger. I read “Driven To Distraction” and self diagnosed myself.

    I would love to correspond with other people who have ADHD of course.

    I wish you all the best Dylan.
    Sincerely, Donna Marie

    1. Hi Donna Marie,

      Thanks for your comment. Good for you — you didn’t give up.

      My friends who have ADHD are some of the most persevering people I know. No matter how flattening one day is, the next day they are up and at it again.

      Of course, ADHD is a highly variable spectrum condition, and there are other aspects to personality. Some manage to do okay in life, despite the struggles, but others never get a chance.

      g

  13. Hi,
    Thanks a lot for your post. My question is about denying the ADHD condition. My husband and I are going to marital consulting and looks like he has ADHD, he definitely is denying and completely refuses to get a deep diagnosis an treatment. Things between us are getting really bad day after day, he lost his job and he is still rejecting any diagnosis and help. he believes that I am the cause or all the bad things. I am very ready to divorce because things are getting very out of control, but we have a 1 year old son and I am 3 months pregnant. My last hope is for him to start treatment and therapy o whatever is needed but for now that hope looks impossible. I do not understand why he does not want to get help, because he complains a lot about his unhappiness and depression and firs and very low self esteem.

    1. Hi Aida,

      There are many reasons for “denial” around ADHD. It can be partly caused by the symptoms themselves.

      Here is another blog post I wrote on the topic:

      http://adultadhdrelationships.blogspot.com/2011/03/adult-adhd-question-and-answer-on-adhd.html

      You will need to learn all you can about Adult ADHD in order to get help, especially before the baby arrives.

      I encourage you to read my book. Pronto.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0981548709/ref=s9_sims_gw_s1_p14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0Y9XTBJ1CB14HVJ3H570&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

      Good luck!

  14. I am having trouble accepting my husband’s ADHD which was diagnosed 1.5 years ago. He is getting treatment. His first focus was to do well at work because he simultaneously got a very demanding job. Now I’m realizing it’s time for him to focus on how he behaves at home, which is atypical ADHD but still a roller coaster. He says things without thinking them through to me, and thinks he’s right, so I go with what he says and then often realize he didn’t think it through and I get very angry. Even with treatment, I cannot expect him to be stable in his thinking. So I feel I can’t trust what he says, and just when I get to trusting him again, he’ll say something without thinking it through and I can’t trust again, so it’s that kind of roller coaster. Plus, it takes so much mental energy for him to do well at work that when he comes home he’s exhausted. I can’t get past the fact he is always trying so hard and I’m sick of it being such a huge effort. Plus, I’m sick and tired of helping him with it. I don’t think life should be such a big struggle – he also has a bit of a child neediness mentality which makes him look at having adhd as this huger than necessary hurdle. I get it’s INCREDIBLY hard for him but his limitations bother me. Yes I know every man has imperfections but I feel tired, so tired, from dealing with this. The love is seeping away.

    1. I hear you, Jackie. Every person with ADHD is different. We can’t make any blanket conclusions or offer any blanket advice. Each person must do what’s right for his or her own life.

      That said, I always question when people say someone is “in treatment,” because I know that most treatment is sub-par.

      I would wonder if your husband’s medication is even active when he is interacting with you, in the evenings or on the weekends.

      I also wonder if you both could use some strategies that help you to know when he’s just saying something impulsively and when he really means it.

      good luck sorting this out,
      Gina

  15. Thank you all for your posts. I almost wanted to cry as I read them. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD after my daughter was. We had been married for almost ten years at that point. I am constantly surrounded by chaos and mess. Things are forgotten and mother’s day went by without as much as an acknowledgement from him. I am a school teacher, so I understand what ADD does in the classroom, but I had no idea how it affected so much of daily life. I need to know how to get his attention and get him to help and do things around the house. He stays home with the kids and that has been a disaster, but it did not make financial sense for him to drive the distance that he was driving to go to a job where he was basically working to be able to pay the sitter. Okay, honestly it has not been a complete disaster. I have noticed that the kids are a lot closer to him now that he has been home with them during the day for the last year and a half. I am thankful for that, but the simple necessary things get forgotten about. I get home from work late in the afternoon or early evening and the kids are not even dressed or haven’t brushed their teeth yet. The youngest one has eaten all of the junk food and left food all around the house and he is sitting in front of the computer. I know that he loves us, but I do not know how much longer I can handle the stress of it. Plus, the kids are starting to learn his habits. Plus, the oldest has ADD. I am wondering about the other two, but it is too early to tell.

    I am so sorry. I am pretty sure that this probably sounds like a lot of ranting and I have probably lost the whole point of this somewhere. I just needed a chance to vent where my husband would not be criticized. I can’t talk about this with anyone, because as was stated by another person, people begin to believe that he is lazy. Please send any advice that you may have and thank you again for sharing your story and affirming what is going on here.

    Best wishes,
    Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I’m glad you found us. It sounds like your husband is diagnosed but not pursuing any treatment?

      If he is the stay-at-home dad, he needs to start addressing his ADHD-related challenges. Kids need routines, organization, and conscientious supervision.

      I recommend that you educate yourself fully about Adult ADHD and its treatment strategies. You could start with my book. There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll have to invest more time and effort to learn how to turn things around at home. Your kids will benefit from this.

      best,
      Gina

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