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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

On this journey, there is nothing quite like meeting someone on the road whose experiences have resembled my own. Whether we cross paths in person, through a computer or a book, the result is the same when their words resonate with my own feelings.

The affirmation that I am not alone in my situation, that my story is understood by another and to be able to relate to someone else’s story, is like balm to my hurting and confused soul.

The following statements came from a couple as they shared how their marriage has been (and continues to be) affected by ADD.

He Said:

“I felt that no matter how hard I tried I could never do well enough for my spouse, even when I was successful elsewhere, such as at work. It didn’t matter – I still felt like a failure at home.”

“I often responded with anger and defensiveness, when it was shame that I was really feeling.”

“I had to anticipate my wife’s response to every single thing I did. I lived my life trying to second guess her because I really did want to please her, but most of the time she was still mad.”

“I sometimes felt that the easiest way to deal with my spouse was to simply leave her alone.”

“Our marital issues left me feeling unloved.”

“Even if my ADD made me see or remember something ‘not right’, it still was my reality, and that was not respected.”

“I learned to lie to cover for mistakes. I learned to deflect criticism, to shift the blame to anything or anyone other than myself to protect my ego. I avoided being decisive, because in deferring the decisions to someone else, I could also defer the blame.”

“I have trouble planning ahead. I am notoriously late because I easily lose track of time and I’m often terrible at judging how long it will take to complete a task. I know this bothers my wife, but I don’t understand why it bothers her so much.”

“I felt the only reason my wife was insisting on treatment was so she could change me. I didn’t realize that what she wanted was the real me – without so much of the ADD baggage.”

“I don’t understand why we still have problems, even though I am now receiving treatment for my ADD . . “

“I don’t believe all of our problems are my fault . . . or the result of my ADD.”

She Said:

“There has been so much inconsistency living with my husband. I have usually been the one left to “clean up” from what was forgotten or not finished by my spouse.”

“I get so frustrated that my husband never seems to follow through on what he has agreed to do. He focuses intently on things that interest him, but never on me. I feel lonely and ignored in our relationship.”

“I am scared for myself . . .that my life will continue along it’s current path. I think about leaving my husband because the current path feels unsustainable.”

“The effects that my husband’s behavior have had on our marriage and family are much more than can be imagined.”

“At times, I become overwhelmed by sadness. And I mourn for the relationship I could have with my spouse, if not for ADD.”

“Life often seems depressingly up and down and out of control. I can not believe how many years we have dealt with the same issues over and over again.”

“I don’t understand my husband’s anger, stonewalling and defensiveness. If he is not responding angrily towards me or the kids, then he is ignoring us. I am constantly seeking any scraps of attention, respect, help and support I can get from him”

“He can be convinced that he is upset because of something I have just said, but he doesn’t recall that he was upset long before.”

“Understanding my husband’s quite different reality can be so challenging. I am exhausted and depleted. No amount of effort seems to fix the relationship.”

“I want to be able to love my husband unreservedly, without having to make as many of the horrific trade offs in my own life that responding to his symptoms has required.”

“He doesn’t see that deciding to get treatment is not the same as pursuing effective treatment that gives both of us relief from his
symptoms.”


“By the time we finally find solutions for our issues, I feel my life will be shredded beyond recognition – I have already been scarred forever.”

They Said:

Our marriage has been a progression from happy to confused to angry to hopeless.

There is more sadness than hope in their story, but it was good for me to hear the husband’s perspective. You see, although ADD is a topic I now know much about, this is probably the closest I will ever come to knowing what life is like for my own husband . . .

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I’ve been wrestling with God these days. Struggling with my faith and my reality. Taunted by theologies, verses and writings that cause more confusion and questions about “suffering” and it’s application to marriage. Realizing that as I am praying for God to show me His will, I have every intention of following His direction . . . as long as it does not involve further suffering or sacrifice. Wondering when my marriage will change from a trial to a testimony.

I do not know how to interpret the Truth I read and apply it to my reality.

I Peter 1:7 These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Romans 8:18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later.

I Peter 2:21 This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow His steps. He never sinned and He never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted. When He suffered, He did not threaten to get even. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried away our sins in His own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.

Is my faith being tested through the difficulties I am having in my marriage? As a Christian woman, am I to continue living in these circumstances because it is what “God has called” me to do?

What have been the reasons I have tolerated my husband’s behavior all these years? Possibly my own lack of self forgiveness? Even though it hurt me and I didn’t understand it – has it been what I subconsciously believed I deserved?

“What we believe is revealed by how we live.”

What have I believed that has caused me to live with such dysfunction for so long? That I am paying for the sins of my past by living in the present with a husband who is an emotional abuser? Is that why I have never enforced consequences for his bad behavior? Feeling that divorce was “never an option”, because of my faith and the failed relationships in my past. Resolving I would make my marriage would work at all cost and hoping God would honor my steadfast commitment? Thinking that one day He would look down and say, “Enough. She has atoned for her past. She has remained faithful to Me in adversity and I will now bless the fruit of her labor.” Is that why I so desire to be hopeful that my husband will one day change . . . and that one day, I will have the marriage and family that I have dreamt of since I was a young girl?

The Truth is . . .
Life is Hard
Marriages Fail
Love is not Enough
And sometimes . . .
Faith & Commitment aren’t either
May God have Mercy on me

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For my own mental health, I have decided to “unfriend” my husband on Facebook.

Here is the latest post on his wall from a new “friend”:

Hey there!
I would love to catch up with you over lunch, but my schedule has been hectic. Hope you are doing well. Let’s go out sometime soon. We could take a long hike or spend some quiet time together over coffee. I can lend you my ears. Sending you peaceful thoughts.
Until then,
Trista

When I brought it up to my husband, he denied the message even existed. He was offended that I challenged him to open his Facebook to prove me wrong, then his fingers suddenly became clumsy as they hit the computer keyboard and it took him several attempts to type the right password. When he finally did, of course the message was there. He claimed to have no idea why this “acquaintance” would have asked him out since he had absolutely no relationship with her other than being co-workers. Eventually, he said it was possible that the message came after she saw him “looking down” over his marital problems, but that they had never gone on a hike or out to coffee . . .

A few days later, he sent me this e-mail:

“I am sorry for what you are going through based on what you feel is due to my behavior. I never responded to Trista’ s invitation and that is the truth. Even if I was on Facebook and I had seen the message before you brought it to my attention, I am not the type of man who would engage in such behavior, but obviously you think I am, and seem to have made up your mind already. I am sorry that you are in pain because of me, when all I want is to be the husband who desires to love you.”

“I am not sure what it is that I can say to you because anything I say will be misconstrued. I have already told you that I was not on Facebook and that even if I had read this message, I have no intention of having any kind of relationship with anyone outside of my marriage. Not once have I ever struggled with the temptation of infidelity. I am not the type of man that you make me out to be, and while you are entitled to your opinion, I find it unjust to question my integrity – not when it comes to my faithfulness. I am only sorry that after all these years, you would put me in such a category of men. I know that I have many faults, but you should know that I will never be unfaithful to you. If you are done with me, please find a different reason. My OCD, my lack of ability to make you happy and communicate, my inability to meet your expectations as a husband and father, but not as a cheater.”

“I feel blessed and at peace to have a clear conscience.”

My husband is adamant about not having a struggle with infidelity, but there is definitely some type of struggle going on with him.

I suspect the truth is being manipulated because he’s afraid. Because he keeps what he’s done wrong in the dark. And in the dark, everything seems worse than what it is. Sometimes being married to my husband can be like navigating a minefield when all I’ve ever wanted it to be is a place of comfort; a place to step without having to look first.

“Our love is not a victory march, it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

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I am guilty. Of many things, be assured. And in thinking about the ways I have contributed to the issues in my marriage, I acknowledge that I have been desperate in seeking the affirmation of my husband. I have been driven to gain his approval, thinking, if I could only improve myself in some way, I would stop being invisible to him. But because of the state of dysfunction I have been in, it has taken much time to realize that no amount of affirmation would ever be enough. I was letting his lack of attention determine my worth, and fell for the lie that without his approval, I was worth nothing.

“One of the most common actions of an ADD spouse is that he stops paying attention. A wife will then feel abandoned and ashamed that she is no longer attractive to her husband. But what is really occurring is the defining symptom of ADD – distraction.”

Regardless of whether a husband is intentionally ignoring his wife or being ‘distracted’, the results are the same. His actions are speaking louder than his words. The hurt caused by his behavior elicits a series of bad feelings and behaviors on her part which compound the problem.”

“Loneliness is a key component for the non-ADD spouse. It comes from many things:
1) the distraction of the ADD spouse which makes the non-ADD spouse feel ignored and unloved
2) a sense of never being heard since so many patterns of bad behavior are repeated
3) the fact that few people outside the marriage ‘see’ what is going on

After so many years of living with this cycle of behavior in my marriage, my self-worth has inevitably become a casualty. Only through this blog have I been able to realize that. And through the information that I’ve learned about ADD have I gained an understanding I did not have before. But having realization and knowledge is not where I want to stop. While I don’t think I could have reached this point without realization and understanding, I now want to heal. And as I heal, I want to become stronger, I want to move forward, not in circles, I want the realization and knowledge that my worth is given to me from God and not from man to become my reality.

I John 4:9-10 God showed how much He loved us (me) by sending His only Son into the world so that we (I) might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we (I) loved God, but that He loved us (me) and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our (my) sins.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not calamity, to give you hope and a future. In those days when you pray, I will listen.”

Psalms 139:17-18a How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

(Excerpts taken from ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov and Is It You, Me Or ADD by Gina Pera)

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What would you give your spouse if you could give her anything?” our marriage counselor once asked my husband. His answer: “Financial freedom.”

“. . . Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and although yesterday was payday, I will only have $75 left after paying the bills. And that will be needed to put gas in the car for the next two weeks. We have no food for tomorrow and as I walk down the aisles of the supermarket, I am so drained, I could cry . . . not from the lack of funds in my checking account, but from the weariness of feeling so alone . . . ”

This is what I wrote in my journal November 2008. I can’t help but feel that same weariness as I remember my husband’s answer to our marriage counselor, as well as that walk down the supermarket aisle and realize that much hasn’t changed since then.

My husband recently told me that he feels I am the “parent” in the family and he is the “paycheck”. He feels like I don’t appreciate him for providing for us financially – I feel like he doesn’t realize just how dearly I have paid for his provision.

While my marriage has not changed much since 2008, and my heart is wounded just as easily by my husband’s words and actions, I find strength and comfort in a different Source.

“The Truth has the power to set me free and to protect my mind and heart from deceptive thoughts and feelings. The moments when I feel besieged with emotions or thoughts I know are not of God, I need to run to the Truth for refuge.” (Lies Women Believe – DeMoss)

When we are weary, looking at the future is draining and discouraging, but His mercies are new each day – we need to do what is right for today. Weariness leads to discouragement. When weariness sets it, go to the Word and wait (with expectancy) on the Lord to renew your strength.”    (J. Osteen)

My purpose in life is not to pursue all the health, wealth and happiness I can obtain but to glorify God in whatever circumstances I may be.

Isaiah 35:4-6 & 10b . . . to those who have tired hearts, “Be strong and do not fear for your God is coming to save you.” And when He comes, He will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer and those who can not speak will shout and sing . . . Sorrow and mourning will disappear and they will be overcome with joy and gladness.

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When my kids started using Facebook, I didn’t give it much thought after setting down some initial ground rules. When my husband started using Facebook, I could foresee the potential for problems. Lacking his own boundaries and disregarding mine was a guarantee that issues would (soon) arise.

Not sure how long it was before the first incident happened, but it was as he was getting ready for a medical missions trip out of the country. Since we were “Facebook friends” I could see what was being written on his “wall”. Amidst the comments of those wishing him a safe and successful trip was this post from a female “friend”, “Looking forward to our trip to N_____! Can’t wait to see you in your white Speedo!”

Of course, confronting him brought the usual responses of defense. “I don’t know what she’s talking about” . . . “She’s known for her inappropriate comments” . . . “It was just a joke” . . . “I have no control over what other people write.” And the usual defensive responses brought on the usual cycle of questioning my own insecurities, but at the same time, my intuition was telling (yelling at) me that something was very wrong with his behavior. I wondered about the kind of friendships he had with women where they would see nothing wrong with this type of interaction.

The next Facebook incident involved a different female friend of his and something he posted on her “wall”. Again, it was confronted (as I continue to “be the buffalo”) and here is how our conversation went:

Me: “This is a conversation I really wish I didn’t have to have with you, but if I don’t, then you will never know. . . I do not find it appropriate for you to write ‘Happy Birthday, Good Looking! Sorry we couldn’t spend the day together,” on a female co-worker’s Facebook wall.”

The range of his responses was so broad, they included:
1. there was nothing inappropriate about it
2. with the type of friendship they have – that’s how they talk to each other
3. it was meant as a joke
4. he will no longer give compliments to anyone since I find it offensive
5. he’s not a child and should not have to explain himself to me
6. he’s uncomfortable around me – even to sleep in the same bed is uncomfortable for him
7. he feels he can’t talk to me
8. I am just using this as an excuse to fight with him
9. am I in love with someone else?
10. he thought he saw hickey marks on my neck last week
11. he didn’t write the message to hurt me
12. I am just looking for reasons to be upset so I can end the marriage

An unfortunate conversation on so many levels – he feels so justified in his behavior. Nothing I say will change that. Whenever there is a situation with him, I usually react inwardly, but outwardly shut down. And during the times I do express myself, our discussions are never productive enough to resolve the conflict. Instead, my husband becomes defensive and self-righteous. My feelings are then invalidated and my frustration/hopelessness escalates.

I can’t see myself lasting much longer in the state I’m in . . . My spouse’s behavior is going to push me out the door one day, if not soon.

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I have been living, unknowingly, in a world I never knew existed. A world where nothing has made sense and I never knew why. Where well-meaning advice to “let my husband re-assume the family’s leadership” left me stunned and dejected, further convincing me to believe our problems to be my fault. Where I have been angry. So angry. And while I didn’t want to live with this constant feeling, I also didn’t want to continue pretending it wasn’t there.

I now have a new awareness. An awareness that has caused ADD to no longer be associated in my mind with hyperactive, unruly children. An awareness that tells me perhaps it has been a factor in the unexplainable behavior of my husband. Does it help to know that ADD might account for his behavior? No, the damage is too deep. Lacking this knowledge though, I felt like I was losing my mind.

As I learn about the symptoms of ADD, I breathe deeply, realizing how many of them I see in my husband:

  • Impulsivity – trouble delaying gratification, doesn’t think before acting or speaking, failure to consider consequences
  • Hyperactivity running unnecessary errands, feels overwhelmed easily, restless, has difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly, is often “on the go”, rushes through or has difficulty completing tasks
  • Insatiability – tough to please, seldom satisfied
  • Rigidity – uncooperative, either/or patterns, low capacity for or expression of empathy
  • Poor coping techniques (defense mechanisms) – avoidance, rationalizing, blaming, controlling, aggression

Issues with confrontation include:

  • Arguing about little things
  • Skipping through topics
  • Defensive and blaming
  • Poor short-term memory

Issues with conversation include:

  • Conversations that go everywhere
  • Monologues
  • A love of arguing or inability to argue
  • Poor memory of argument or incident
  • Difficulty understanding non verbal expressions
  • Difficulty understanding sarcasm
  • Difficulty understanding abstract thinking

Behavioral Issues:

  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty coping with stress
  • Often loses things
  • Depressed or anxious
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble focusing/concentrating
  • Disorganized
  • Lack of follow through
  • Makes piles of “stuff” around the house
  • Usually late
  • Overestimates time
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor money management
  • Hyper focus on certain things
  • Forgetful
  • Addictive tendencies
  • Hypersensitive to criticism
  • Unstable relationships

“I’m not asking for a perfect husband, but I feel like I’ve given so much and tried so hard and it hasn’t made any difference at all. This relationship has taken so much out of me and the return just doesn’t seem worth it some days.” – Joann

“If things don’t change, marriage for the non-ADD spouse will continue to be painful and eventually become untenable. She feels she has no choice but to become either more aggressive in expressing her needs or to disconnect completely.”

Psalms 31:7b You have seen my troubles and You care about the anguish of my soul.

(Excerpts taken from “Is It You Me or ADD” by Gina Pera and “The ADD Effect On Marriage” by Melissa Orlov)

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