Gina and I corresponded by e-mail a few months ago, and she told me about her soon-to-be-published book (it's coming out August 31). Like me, she is the partner of a wonderful, brilliant, good man who has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). I've been living the roller coaster for 15 happy but crazy and sometimes extremely frustrating years, especially because like my husband (Ed), our two sons, ages 6 and 13, also have AD/HD, and so do my in-laws, who live in the downstairs apartment within our home. Ed and the boys all take medication for the disorder and we all work on behavioral modification for all of them. My father-in-law takes an antidepressant that helps a bit with his AD/HD, but he refuses to take any of the first-line AD/HD meds, some of which he can't take because of his high blood pressure (treated by other medication). My mother-in-law's AD/HD is undiagnosed, but it's obvious that she has it. Also, I take an antidepressant, partly because I'm apparently genetically prone to depression but also because of situational depression caused by being the sole occupant of the House of AD/HD who doesn't have the disorder.
I'm so excited about Gina's book because there is very little out there for non-AD/HD partners of people with AD/HD about coping with these intimate relationships. After all, it has been only a decade or so that the medical literature has admitted that if children have AD/HD, they usually don't outgrow it. That means that there are loads of adults who feel like square pegs forced into round holes—who have undiagnosed AD/HD that affects every aspect of their lives, including long-term intimate relationships. For years, even therapists didn't know how to deal with couples in which one or both partners had AD/HD, because they didn't know that adults could have AD/HD ... and so they often gave counterproductive relationship advice to these couples, including Ed and me.
My wonderful Ed and I have, over the years, cobbled together our own way of dealing with the effects of the neurobehavioral disorder, but now, it will be great to see what Gina's "support group in a book," as it is billed, has to say. Finally, someone else who has lived my life and knows that I'm not insane or evil for both loving my husband yet simultaneously feeling sometimes as if he's intentionally trying to drive me bats! That's a comfort, because I'm totally open about AD/HD and its effects on my marriage and family life—with Ed's full permission—in an effort to inform people about AD/HD and make it real to them, yet some real-life listeners and some readers here have felt uncomfortable. They don't understand because they haven't been where I've been. They don't know how to separate the disorder from the person who has it, so they've sometimes mistaken my complaints about AD/HD behaviors for complaints about Ed. Nyah, nyah! I haven't been making up the stories I've been telling for years! Told ya so! Told ya so!
You can bet that I'll be diving into Gina's book immediately so that I can review it here. Meanwhile, in just skimming, I see enough good things about it to tell all of you non-AD/HD partners of people with AD/HD to run—yes, run—to the bookstore or your computer to order a copy of the book. Here's an excerpt from the table of contents:
- Financial Loop-the-Loops: "It's Only Money, Honey!"
- Peaks and Valleys: ADHD in the Bedroom
- Strategies for Right Now
- Psychological Denial: The FEAR Factor
- New Ways to Broach "The Conversation"
- Why the Wrong Therapy Is Worse Than No Therapy [a hot spot for Ed and me]
- Therapy That Works for ADHD
- Making Connections Between Brain and Behavior
- Rx: Treatment Results That Last
- In Their Own Words: Three Views from Decades on the ADHD Roller Coaster
ADHD ADD medication neurobehavioral disorder marriage distracted depression Gina Pera author EditorMom