You, Me and ADHD.

On January 25th, 2002 I married a man who truly believed that the glass was half full.   Four years later, I was running for the door.  

This post is a brief look into our lives and how we live with ADHD.   

In 2006, Michael was diagnosed with ADHD.  The diagnosis did nothing to relieve my stress.  I was happy to find out that there was a reason for what was going on with him, but his case was severe.  Add to that his chronic insomnia and dealing with an un-fit working condition, life at home was hard.    But we did our best to find the humour in our situation.  I would ask him a question, and before I would finish, he would look at me and ask “What was the first part?”  Did I mention that Michael has no short-term memory?  His retention skills were… how should I phrase this, less than desirable.

Once Michael found a doctor who not only listened to him, but also had an honest curiosity regarding adults with ADHD, he was prescribed Ritalin.  Looking back, I feel we both hoped that the medication would be the sole answer to our problems.  We were wrong. 

Michael needed to take three pills a day.  With the retention of a sieve and factoring shift work, you can probably figure out how well that played out.  I became a nag.  I took it upon myself to carry the burden of memory for the both of us.  Asking him if he took his medication became a punch line, one that lacked the laughter at the end of the joke. 

Then one day, two years later along came Emma. 

People always say that a child has the power to change you.  Emma made me stronger. I started to truly tune into who I was, not just as a mother, but also as a woman, person, and a wife.  Something had to give.  On the outside I smiled, was nice to everyone, remained sweet and funny, all the qualities that people associate with me.  Was I faking it?  No.  But I am an expert at hiding pain, anger, and stress.   Being the center of everyone’s world can be intoxicating if you crave attention, but I don’t. 

I was Emma’s center, Michael’s center and my Mom’s center.  I was running out of air.  So I chose to focus on one of the three.  Emma.  I had spent the last five years focused on Michael, and before that on my mother.  If you are wondering when I started to pay attention to me, well that did not happen until March 14th, 2009. 

Fast forward to Wednesday April 8th, 2009.  We visited the doctor who had diagnosed Michael in 2006.  It was the first time I had met him.  I loved him instantly, his candor, his humour and the crazy masks that he kept on his wall.   The Doctor asked Michael to bring his medication with him. Michael handed it to him and the look on the Doctor’s face was priceless. He told us that Michael’s medication was archaic. It probably worked initially, for a brief period.  We sat in silence. For three years Michael has taken the incorrect form of Ritalin. For three years, I wondered, why I did not see a change?  For three years I wondered if Michael suffered from something else?  Three years. 

So what does a woman do when she is faced with the fact that her husband has been taking the wrong medication…she finds peace. I stopped being angry.  I let it all go.

Michael was prescribed a new medication.  So far so good.  Michael has a new doctor in Peterborough.  So far so good.  Michael is starting to believe that he will gain a better understanding of his ADHD through reading, counseling and acceptance.  So far so good.

If you have a loved one with adult ADHD, my heart goes out to you.  I can honestly say, “Been there, done that” to most issues around living with someone who has this diagnosis.  My only advice is to find laughter and joy in all that you do.  Laughter and joy are my superpowers.  At times I thought I lost them, but they always returned in some form or another. Hold on to them tightly, because when the dark times come, they will help you find your way out.    


  1. First things first, you are a prolific writer. I followed every word you wrote with anticipation. You know a bit about me so you know I can relate in a myriad of ways to your story. Being the center and dependant upon person in so many lives is suffocating and hopeless at times.

    By and large I am so very happy to see that Michael's world if "a glass half full" kind of life again.

    Am thrilled that you are finding your own voice and basking in the role of mom and wife once again.

    I cherish your friendship, little one. You have a very loving and precious spirit.

  2. You are a strong women Giselle. I applaud your honesty and openess. I've heard people jokingly state that they have ADHD but it's not funny when you know someone who really has it. I'm praying that Michael's medication will be more than sufficient. I pray for stability in your beautiful family. That's a nice picture of you guys. When do we get to see Emma?

  3. Wow. Out of all the things I returned to my office to take care of after my IBM Impact 2009 Project, what do I do? Log onto my Twitter account, to read your blog. It is like I am sucking your words into empty spots within my heart. Blessings to you and your wonderful family.

    I want to thank you for following my company's updates too. I know I am totally addicted to your blog updates. Hopefully my boss doesn't follow your blog, he might start seeing a pattern as to how some of my time is spent. :)

    Be encouraged to continue your journey!


  4. Giselle, I am so sorry for the pain that you have gone through and hope for you, Michael and Emma that things will continue to improve.

    Michael is blessed to have such a loving wife. Thankfully, the medicines of today can hopefully help to get you all through this.

  5. You are a beautiful, brave, creative, inspiring, talented, authentic woman. Go you!
    ps: what a gorgeous family you have :)


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