Life with my ADDer
By: Joan F. Hutchinson
Itʼs definitely like being on a magical mystery tour when you live with a person who has undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD. ADDers like Bryan desire constant excitement, positive reinforcement, and acceptance for their extraordinary talents as well as their limitations. At first living with Bryan was both scary and exhilarating; it felt like driving at high speed into a glistening, dense fog, not knowing what to expect, but trusting that the fog would clear and reveal a wondrous path ahead for both of us.
My husband, Bryan, was recently diagnosed with ADD after we had been together for two years. His ADDer traits, the positive and the negative were always present in our relationship, although we did not know why he responded to situations and acted the way he did at first. I already accepted him completely for who he was from the beginning. However, since he was diagnosed with ADD over a year ago, there has been a remarkable change in his attitude and behavior, which has changed our lives for the better.
We were drawn to each other from the first moment we met, and have been inseparable ever since. Our first date was electric and surreal for both of us. After we had dinner, we started running and chasing each other around downtown. I got way ahead of him and crossed a very high bridge connecting two buildings and spanning four lanes of traffic. When I turned back to see him, he was standing on the opposite end of the bridge smiling and anticipating my return. Instead of returning, I asked him to walk towards me, focus on my eyes, and meet me in the middle on the bridge. Slowly, he began to cross the bridge towards me. I ran to him just before he got to the middle, took his hand in mine, and whisked him across to the other side. We laughed after we crossed, and then he admitted that he was terrified of heights and that he would have never considered going near that bridge before that night.
Our relationship has been a wonderful intense journey of personal awareness for both of us since our first date. I did not know he had ADD when we met, but I did know that I fell in love with his highly creative spirit, his individuality, and his unique way of processing the world around him. I loved that he was brilliant at anything he chose to focus on, whether it be his job, his world class pool playing, or our relationship. Unfortunately, there were also challenging times in our relationship, before he was finally diagnosed with ADD, when he could not focus on anything that did not interest him, became disorganized, did not connect with others, or chose to daydream instead of living in the actual moment. We didnʼt know why he was the way he was, but that he had always been like that since he began school as a child. I encouraged him to talk to a professional about his inconsistent behavior and inability to focus on seemingly mundane tasks.
Since he has been diagnosed with ADD, we have a better understanding of his innate behaviors. I admire his awareness of his ADD and that he strives daily to modify the negative traits, as well as fully embrace the positive traits of his ADD not only for his own personal success, but also to ensure the success of our relationship.
Living with my brilliant ADDer today is a magical tour de force, minus all the mystery.