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ADHD Adults

I need Help BAD

I am about at the end of my rope. I got just about enough to make a big mess with. I seem to fail at everything I do. My marriage is pretty much over, my husband can’t stand me anymore. I am “selfish,greedy,lazy” and probably a few other things I can’t think of. I just can’t pull it together even though I am losing everything I love. I just don’t know what to do anymore. There is much more this is just a small part. If anyone can help me I will post more in depth things.Thank you


Hi Walks,
You have come to the right place. And posting in depth is a very good idea. I suggest that you pick the most urgent thing and describe it. It might be more helpful for you to take up one thing at a time.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Dec 14, 2013 at 8:45pm

Sometimes ADHD can interfere with a person’s ability to accurately assess the situation. Your “story” above is common, so I will assume your story also has elements of other people’s similar stories and say that you are NOT failing at EVERYTHING you do.

Get a glass of water, sit down, and find one thing you are not failing at. Sometimes knowing one positive thing can help.

Sometimes people with ADD take on way more than the average person. Maybe when they were younger, they could multitask pretty well (as a kid or very young adult).  When you get older, the stressors increase in number and complexity when independent living, relationships, houses, children, pets, careers, caring for parents, changing careers, car issues, health issues etc come in.

These things send NT (neuro-typical) people over the edge. People with ADHD have probably taken on double.  If you look carefully at what you think you are failing at, try to assess how many of those things are “extras”. Make a list of everything on your plate.  Legal size pages - a pad of them if necessary. Make categories - “house things” might be one. Underneath, make 4 columns (2 are narrow, 1 is pretty small). Put everything on it (maybe “get window fixed before more snow comes in” is on that list, maybe “freshen up fake flowers on deck” is another). “relationships” might be one that might have “show husband some sign you heard what he said” as well as “send Christmas cards to the hairdresser”.

When you are done (ha ha - ADDers might never be done!) Look at the list and you will absolutely see things that you are involved in that have not failed completely.  You will find that there are things on that list that represent a lack of perfection that meets your standard, but certainly is not a failure

Give yourself points for trying. When you see the massive amount of things you have had either dumped on your plate or you have put there yourself, you then have full permission to stop saying “I can’t pull it together”.  See if the statement “NOBODY could pull it together with this on their plate” is true. If so, follow it with - “hey, wow, with this much going wrong and yet here I am still - not in a mental hospital (or jail from snapping) I am doing remarkably well!” .

Sometimes when I force myself to see things that way it takes a bit of self blame away. The reason taking self blame away is important is because self blame causes more anxiety and becomes another stressor - which further reduces my executive functioning ability.

When you are hitting bottom, it is important to grab anything positive and hold it. Knowing it’s not all your fault can help. I have a counselor that helps me see things this way.  It’s important to me to have somebody help me differentiate between events that went wrong because of me or because the appliance really was at the end of its life, or because of me or because the other person was sick and cranky that day and it had nothing to do with me - things like that. When I can differentiate and take emotion out of it, I can think more clearly.

Go back to your list and categorize the items. Highlight the really important ones - really important - like “Get that follow up CT scan”, “refill prescription” “pay the mortgage”,  “get the car defroster fixed”.  Then mark in one of the narrow columns a letter “U” for “urgent”.  Then mark items “L” for “low priority”. Those are things like “clean out sock drawer” or “trim hedge” (if it’s winter - now is not hedge trimming time - so it’s low priority).  Then mark a “D” for “desired” - they might be low priority for now out of necessity.

In the third column, mark when the thing really should be done. Use words like “ASAP”, “winter” “by spring” “<April 15”, “any Thursday”
“before June 30” (this might be the day the inspection expires on the car).

In the 4th column write a star or your initials next to things only you can do. Next to things other people need to do but you are hounding them, write their initials. If the thing is something other people can do for you if you tell them what to do, write their initials in parentheses (I have an informal agreement with a neighbor - when it’s bad weather and one of us is going to the store we call each other and say “Hey, do you need anything - I’m heading out to the grocer” One drives my kid, I loan them patio furniture if they are having lots of guests).

If it’s something someone can be hired to do, add a dollar sign and who that is “appliance guy”, or “neighborhood teen” or (whether you have the money or not - you may at some point decide something you are spending money on should be better spent getting this thing done instead - maybe a grad student would love to help clean the house with you or a neighborhood teen can get all that stuff into the attic)

When you look at things in this way, it can clear your head.  It can also be shared with your family so they will know a bit more of why you are the way you are, and will finally allow them to help. Perhaps you are failing at things because you are doing too much. Maybe you are scattered or snapping about things they can now do but you weren’t able to make clear what needed to be done.

When an item is completed you can cross it off and see you have had a success. Prioritizing in writing can help you focus. When the most important things are done first, the stress goes down. 

For anxiety - to stop the catastrophizing, check out the workbook “Mastery of your anxiety and worry” by Michelle G Craske and David H Barlow. It forces you to imagine the things that can go wrong all the way to the worst case and works you through to how you really can deal with it. It’s very rational and forces yourself to analyze the all possible outcomes of an event, the probability of each one happening and what your response can be to each one.

Sometimes a counselor and/or a life coach can help.

Now I must get back to my swirling vortex of unfinished things as a storm is coming and guests are coming and I have nothing to feed them, a garage full of garbage that needs to go to a dump, a dirty cluttered house and on and on and it’s nearly noon and I lost several house somehow this morning ...

You are not alone. Nobody has all the answers. I hope the list idea might be something to help you.

Posted by Juggler on Dec 14, 2013 at 9:44pm

Oh I have definitely been there! While I’m not married I am a single mom and I just moved back in with my parents. :/ They think I screw up at literally everything. My insurance won’t kick in until January so I can’t see my psychiatrist yet, but I would recommend seeing your doctor and maybe getting on some medication. Also learn to develop a thick skin unfortunately.  A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to have ADD. Those people aren’t very sympathetic when comes toward us.

Posted by _ashlynnicole on Dec 14, 2013 at 10:09pm

Dear Walks,

I can identify with you completely…It is hard, but you can get better. You need help, and you cannot expect really anyone to understand your situation..I was a college football player, NFL player (7 yrs), and when I got to my early 40’s I was at the end of my rope….
I needed help desperately…..I could not go on living like I had been….. It took time, but things got a little lighter the more I dived into my many problems. 
I must take meds, eat right, Sleep enough ! and check in with my doctor(s) any way I can. Slowly I have become someone that I’m proud of and have learned how to actually love myself….Imagine that…
I hated myself ! 
You can do it….Know that the universal spirit, God, whatever, etc..,. will help you move mountains but you have to bring a shovel with you….Doesn’t matter if the shovel is the size of a gardening tool, just bring yourself and it will change…

Take care….

Your brother in the fight

Posted by press on on Dec 14, 2013 at 11:36pm

There’s great advice above.  What I would add is that there is hope for restoration of the relationship you fear is lost.  That may take a counselor familiar with ADHD.  There are reasons you fell in love with each other.  I suspect they are still there, just buried under a bunch of frustrations.

From many posts here and my own life it is hard for the non-ADHD spouse to understand the difficulties we have getting through every day.  Several books have been written for the non-ADHD spouse.  When I am trying to get my mountain of things done, my husband is usually more understanding.

Posted by whizinc on Dec 15, 2013 at 12:15am

I dont have anything to add, simply want to let yoi know that you arent alone. I posted a similar thread last night. Maybe knowing someone else is at this very moment right there with you will help? Im going to fight it, take ALL the help I can get and work it little by little.


Posted by bwilliams23 on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:41am

I am completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of caring that I feel here. You all have no idea how much this means to me. I have joined other groups at other places and got no responses. I will be posting about my worst problem later. right now I am trying to actually eat supper before it is ice cold. Thank you so very much.

Posted by walksinair on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:00am

My biggest problem is my marriage. The problem is the problem is all the things that go into a marriage. He doesn’t trust me cause I have let him down. He feels overwhelmed cause he literally does everything. Were my time goes I have no idea. I just never get things done. The house is a mess clean enough to be safe but messy enough to cause anxiety. The kids are homeschooled which I was supposed to take care of and haven’t. He owns his own business so he has all that to take care of plus the kids, the house meals and me. He really does not believe that ADHD exists he really feels that it is an excuse for laziness and selfishness. both of which I obviously am. He believes I don’t care because I make the same mistakes over and over and over again. and no one who cared for someone would do that, so therefore I do not care. I understand why he believes what he does about ADHD. he had a step brother who was on meds for that he had other things as well I personally think maybe autism. but regardless his step-brothere committed suicide though they think it was accidental. My husband also has some depression and so much going on he may have ADHD as well not sure I think he just has to much to do because of me. He has always no matter how depressed he is been able to get his work and mine done. He can’t understand why I can’t do the same. I have no answers for him. I have caused this family so much damage. Our kids don’t like me. or respect me. My husband is just sick of me. We have lost so many opportunities because of me. He has been working on a masters since high school. because he is doing everything he lost the chance at a scholarship because his grads dropped. The kids are doing poorly in school because he can’t possibly spend 5 hours a day on their schooling when he has so much else to do.. about 9 months ago I got hurt at my job as a Med Aide Care giver in a demeniia unit. I am not going to be able to continue in that field anymore. He feels that I put myself out for those people who don’t even remember me got myself hurt and have wasted this whole year. He can’t understand WHy I can’t just pull my s**t together. Neither can I! I am supposed to help him on the business. I am just failing at that as well. as I said before I am so frustrated. Some days I just want to run away, so I can stop messing up everyones life. When I feel this way he says yup take the easy way out. cause you don’t want to work on it and don’t care. I just want everyone to be happy and because of me NO one is. sorry just venting but I have never had anyone to vent to for so long.

Posted by walksinair on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:15am

I will share that if we don’t reach out and get ‘some’ help, we can be in trouble with our condition… Anyone that has ever said,
“I don’t need anybody” is full of s_ _ t !

So, now with the knowledge of knowing what needs to be done it is up to you to take that SCARY FIRST STEP…. We all know how hard it is to START…..But, we must try…
Even if it’s finding the phone number….
The next day maybe we call…
We must take action or we will never get anything done….Just do what is in front of you…..A baby step is an adult thing smile

Posted by press on on Dec 17, 2013 at 2:22am

At this time I don’t have any health insurance as I am not working but as soon as I get some I will be going to the dr. I have not been on meds or in real counseling for almost 20 years. Before I met my husband I had been on meds (lost my insurance due to a move) Wow was I a different person. My house was pretty clean,I got some work done. I had energy. Being on meds will be a struggle cause he doesn’t believe in them But I am gonna go crazy if something doesn’t change. Reading over the posts I saw that one of the posters had said the words I hated myself. I totally am there!! people think that I am selfish and love only my self. fact is I hate almost everything about me. I have absoultely NO idea who I is looking back at me when I look in the mirror. some days I just want to smash it so I don’t have to see them anymore. I used to see myself as a caring loving person. but now I see myself as lazy fat stupid out of control and worthless. as well as very co-dependent. I think I need to have a councelor help me learn mindfullness and Meditation. ]
I am so frustrated with not being able to fix myself. I am a certified Reiki(energy healing) Master. I have used this with dementia patients to calm them when they were aggitated. and during the early stages of transitioning. and Damned if I can help myself with it. grr. well enough rant for now. I am so very thankful that I found this group where I can just write my feelings and have them validated. I know many of my problems are caused by me but it helps to know there are others in this situation. Thanks everyone.

Posted by walksinair on Dec 17, 2013 at 3:00am


See if you can find an ADHD clinic or psychiatrist who offers a sliding scale of payment for individuals without insurance. You obviously had great benefit when you did take medication in the past, and you have so much at stake now, including the happiness you deserve.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 18, 2013 at 8:06pm

Hi Walksinair,

Others have responded so well, especially Penny: “...the happiness you deserve.” It is so easy, I known too well, to beat ourselves up when things go wrong.

You mentioned that you would like to…“learn mindfullness and meditation”.  There is a book for ADDers called “The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD” by Lidia Zylowska. Through her own research, and that of others, she has discovered that mindfulness is very helpful for ADDers.  Recorded guided meditations are provided to help you through.

Rick Hanson, author of “Hardwiring Happiness,” says that the minds of most people are, “like Velcro for the negative, but like Teflon for positive.” To counter this we need to “take in the good” and rewire our brains for the better. I have read many self-help books in the past but this one is real gold. It’ll help you feel good about yourself again. You deserve it.

Posted by DeltaSigma on Dec 19, 2013 at 8:38am

what does everyone think of medical marijuana for ADHD? has anyone had any experience with it?

Posted by walksinair on Dec 23, 2013 at 1:27pm

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