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…Squirrel!!!…And other aspects of adult ADHD in a marriage

image credit to the ADHD Guy

image credit to the ADHD Guy

Because we’re feeling very optimistic about the success of my husband’s new CPAP and cautiously optimistic about the success of his increase in antidepressant dosage, we’re now looking at how to whip his raging ADHD into shape.  In case you’re not familiar with what it’s like to live with an adult who has attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, here’s a little slice of our life:

 Scene 1 (when there’s something – anything – I need to communicate)

            Me: Honey, are you able to listen right now?…I’m going to say something to you. (wait until he’s actually looking at me) Are you listening? (proceed with communication, stopping frequently to check for understanding). 

Scene 2

            Him: I’m going to tighten up the screws in the bed frame so it doesn’t come crashing down in the middle of the night.

            Me: Good idea.

(half an hour passes)

           Him: I found a whole basket of different kinds of tape in the garage while I was looking for the right screwdriver.  I got it all sorted out and cleaned up.  By the way, while I was refilling the wiper fluid in the car just now I noticed somebody had spilled some popcorn in the back seat, so I cleaned it up.

           Me: Thanks, that’s great.  Did you find the screwdriver so you can fix the bed frame?

           Him:  Screwdriver?  Ummm…no.  I forgot to look for it.

Scene 3

           (Incredibly loud, goofy, and rhythmic mouth fart sounds coming from upstairs as he walks around trying to find the notes he made about the latest screwed up TMobile bill)

Me: Would you PLEASE stop making that noise?

(rhythmic noises continue for 15 seconds)

           Him: What did you say?

           Me: I said would you please stop making that noise?  You’re driving me nuts!

           Him: What noise?

(shortly afterward, the mouth farts resume) 

Scene 4

          Me: Just want to give you plenty of warning: Supper will be ready in 45 minutes.

           Him: Okay.

          (Ten minutes later)

           Me: Hey, supper in 35 minutes.

           Him: (clicking away on the computer) Right.

           (Fifteen minutes later)

            Me: Supper will be ready in 20 minutes.

           Him: Huh? Okay. (computer still clicking away)

(Fifteen minutes later)

            Me: Five minutes to supper.  Could you please wash up and come to the table?

           Him: What???  I can’t stop what I’m doing right now, in the middle of this!  You said supper in 45 minutes!

           Me: That was 45 minutes ago.

(Ten minutes later, the rest of us have started on our meal.  He comes upstairs to wash his hands, upset about feeling rushed.  EVERY DAY.) 

Each of these scenes, on its own, is kind of amusing.  Add a dozen other extremely difficult behavioral symptoms, repeat them a hundred times a day for years on end, and that’s what it’s like to live with adult ADHD in the house.

And then there’s how he describes what life is like for him.  He can’t think if there is any noise or motion anywhere near him.  He has intense difficulty putting his thoughts into words.  It takes him several tries to read a page of text, and if there is even the slightest  bit of noise in the room, has has to move or give up.  Any activity that involves sitting still and listening for more than five minutes makes his eyes dart around the room for escape. His legs start to twitch, and he either has to be up and moving around or he zones out and nearly falls asleep.

On the upside, my husband is:



•child-like (in a good way)


•patient with children


•fantastically calm and competent in an emergency, and with three kids we’ve had plenty of those

•incredibly intelligent, well-informed, and interesting

As I noted, we’re working on tackling his ADHD, for both our sakes.  He sees his psychiatrist next week and will discuss the possibility of a new type of non-stimulant medication that we’re hoping won’t lead to panic attacks for him.  We’re reviewing behavioral coping strategies – things that worked in the past but have fallen by the wayside, as well as new ideas we’re reading about.

In the meantime, I’d like to know what strategies have been helpful for other adults out there with ADHD.  In other words, HELP!  🙂



2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this wonderful description for those of us who don’t know what it’s like to walk in your shoes, or your husband’s. Beautiful!

  2. It was actually pretty helpful to spit all that out. We treat a lot of this stuff as a joke around our house because as I said in the post, taken individually, these types of occurrences are pretty amusing. But really it’s not funny – it’s a major disability when it’s as severe as he has it. Thanks for being interested enough to read my tirade. 🙂

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