As difficult as it is to have ADHD or ADD, we sometimes forget that there are people around us dealing with it too. In this blog article, I interview two people anonymously about their experiences of living with someone who has AD(H)D.
One of the individuals in this blog interview has a husband who has undiagnosed ADHD, and a daughter who got diagnosed with ADHD while growing up (Partner). The other individual has a young daughter with ADD who has not long been diagnosed (Parent). Both have to deal with the trials and difficulties of loving and support someone with ADHD. Here, they explain their journey and their own unique perspectives.
- When did you become aware of the ADHD, or had you always known?
Partner: For my daughter about two years after starting primary school. It was the school who said there might be something wrong, I just thought she was a strong-willed child. She recognised that she thought differently from other children at about the age of 6. For my husband as soon as my daughter was diagnosed it made sense.
Parent: When she was diagnosed – although I knew there was something going on.
2. There is a wide difference of opinion on this, but do they take medication for their ADHD? (If not, why is this?)
Parent: The only medication she takes is sleeping pills – sleeping was her main issue. I don’t want her to given any specific medication for the condition until she’s been seen by the
Partner: Daughter took medication whilst in Junior and Senior School, this helped daughter’s concentration whilst in the school classroom, but the medication didn’t help with living with it either for daughter or parents. Husband hasn’t been formally diagnosed and won’t admit/agree that he has ADHD.
2a. Partner, why do you think your husband won’t admit or agree he’s got ADHD?
Partner: I am not sure why. Perhaps it’s because he would need to address it and that takes effort.
3. As you’ve hopefully seen on the blog there are lots of different coping strategies that people with ADHD can use to help them in everyday life. In what way do they support themselves with their ADHD?
Partner: My daughter after many years growing up without having coping strategies, as an adult seems to have learnt with coping strategies very well. My husband does not have coping strategies and struggles with everyday life. He has mood swings and his mood changes from 0 to 60 in a few minutes.
Parent: She doesn’t really I don’t think she fully understands but she knows she is different.
4. This is the big one…how does their ADHD affect you?
Partner: My daughter not living at home so very little impact. My husband very frustrating, like walking on eggshells. Lots of times can get very sucked into his issues and forget who I am.
Parent: We have good and bad days. Getting to school can be a nightmare some mornings and others she’s fine. It’s hard to get her to listen – she blurts out anything that’s in her head, making conversations hard – having to constantly repeat to make sure she’s heard. She’s very sensitive when things don’t go her way – everything is like it’s the end of the world and it can be her battery on her game has died. The only time she gives full attention is to her games console or phone so we’ve had to restrict it. We can’t just say go and tidy your room – we have to break down what needs doing so it doesn’t overwhelm her.
Partner: I organise our lives on a daily basis, organise all the finances. Do the forward planning. Remind my husband to put alerts into his phone to remind him of regular recurring events.
Parent: We have done a parenting course on how to deal with an ADHD child. We have also done a sensory course. We play audiobooks in her room at bedtime to help her mind focus and drift off. Make sure she understands that being different is ok
6. In general what would you say the support is like for ADHD? Have you found this easy to access?
Partner: When my daughter was growing up there was no support in place for my daughter or family. I don’t know if this has changed at all. No support sought for husband, but I have joined a number of internet groups in an attempt to help me to cope, but I find a lot of times these groups are only to complain and moan about their lives living with somebody with ADHD and not how to better cope.
Parent: Not at all – everything has to go through school. Her first school weren’t interested, and I had to move her to get the ball rolling. Finding any information from anyone is a joke. When she was diagnosed ADD I asked for her to be tested for other learning difficulties, but that doctor said school have to refer her. It’s such a long process and you feel you have no control. I’ve had no support other than the 2 courses mentioned. Her ADD nurse hasn’t even seen her yet – she was diagnosed in Dec 2020.
7. What would you say the hardest part of living with someone with ADHD is?
Partner: The ongoing frustration and finally coming to the conclusion that it is not going to change no matter how much I or my husband want it to.
Parent: Not understanding what they are going through. Keep forgetting we can’t compare her to other children, and we have to keep that in mind when we discipline her. Trying not to lose your cool when she’s playing up – she may be trying to express some emotion she can’t explain yet
8. I’ve spoken to many people who have just found it too difficult to live with someone with ADHD. What makes you want to keep going? Keep supporting them instead of giving up?
Partner: Love and because I don’t think my husband would intentionally want to be this way, he didn’t choose to have ADHD.
Parent: She’s my daughter; I will never give up helping her.
9. What do you say the biggest difficulties or issues are for those living with ADHD?
Partner: Everyday life and learning how to coping strategies in place with boundaries. It is a challenge to maintain boundaries.
Parent: Not fitting into the “norm” social standards and not understanding why- communication difficulties – she struggles having conversations because she doesn’t give context and jumps from subject to subject.
10. Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is living with someone with ADHD?
Partner: Take care of yourself and at times for your own wellbeing withdraw your mind from the situation, i.e. distance yourself from the ADHD person.
Parent: Never give up pushing for the help you need – you will constantly get fobbed off but don’t let them