Letters from a Reader

Excerpts of letters to Gina from a reader we'll call Peter:


Thanks for the book. I only cried a little (ok, a few tears) and it offered me the hope to learn more, carry on, and never let go of the person I love so much -- my wife (and her ADHD).
It is almost scary how much some of the anecdotes, surveys, and other information you write about are exactly things I've learned or felt or experienced.

Last week was a valley, but we're on the way up the other side again and committed to moving forward


I wrote to you a while ago and wanted to let you know my story is soooo much better now.

I found your book last October. In December, before anything I'd learned from the book and shared with her made any sense to her (she had been diagnosed 2 years before and was on meds, but had no other treatment or help), we separated. In February she realized that I might really be right about how we could try to understand our relationship in the context of ADD and she read your book, too.

She has been seeing a therapist who has ADHD himself, and a few months ago, we both started seeing him.  She is also working with a new doc and some new meds that are giving her better results and fewer side effects. Recently, we decided I should move back home.

We'd been separated two times previously, but always found our way back to remembering our love. Now we have the tools and support to live that love in a life that isn't hurting us. I've dropped my negative coping behaviors (many of which you described accurately in the book), and I feel more healthy (physically and emotionally) than I have in almost 20 years.

I now have a new relationship and understanding with my wife and I have a new lease on life thanks to my new found relationship with my daughter (17 with ADD) and my son (12 without ADD). And, we continue this work-in-progress to take it on to new and better places.

Last Thursday I mentioned ADD in a casual conversation with a co-worker. It turns out that her 14-year-old son just got his diagnosis. The last couple of years have been such a struggle that she and her husband are in marriage counseling.

By the time I'd told her about my son and wife and our journey with ADHD she was tearing up from feeling some hope for the first time in a long time. 

It felt good to offer someone hope.


In a previous note, I think I mentioned stopping all of the negative behaviors I used to cope with my wife's ADHD.

One of those was the 2 or 3 drinks in the evening to anesthetize myself. As a result, my irritability became less frequent but more intense at times and my general level of anxiety shot through the roof. The last couple weeks have been a real struggle.  I joined my wife in seeing as a couple the ADHD specialist she'd been seeing for counseling.

He started connecting the dots in my history, and soon I saw a physician to conduct an evaluation. It looks like I've done a great job of burying my own ADD. I've heard of this before -- I guess we are all icebergs and it is hard to tell what is below the water when you only see the top 10%.

Yesterday was my first day of Vyvanse and we'll see where it all takes me, but I'm feeling another wave of hope that I can be way, way less irritable and anxious. I'm also connecting with my wife on some things that I haven't before. And, that was enough to nudge my son back to his doc to keep his meds going. 


 Recalling your admonition to make sure that we're working in the correct direction and since I had the chance, I thought let you know that I've familiarized myself with the work of Russell Barkley and his work (some of which I recall you citing in your book). It was kind of eating at me to unwind where the folks helping me were coming from.

His recent work on Emotional Impulsivity and Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation (as a part of the EF understanding of ADHD) is very interesting and as I read through a recent presentation of his, it described me in a way that was really amazing. It links back to my father and forward to my son and their lives and behavior. He also describe sets of symptoms and issues and correlate to my experiences in a way that is amazing.
I don't think that I'm just aligning my memory with this idea as I recall my mother being so upset with me as a procrastinator, teachers unhappy that I wasn't living up to my potential (except for one that reached out to me), supervisors upset with my inability to avoid having occasional big reactions to things at work, and job performance reviews that always reminded me to do the work that I didn't immediately see as valuable or fun (I just figured that they told everybody that).

Life's a journey and lots of steps and work to go I'm sure, but this looks like a pretty important piece to me. I think that there's potentially a lot of us out here that are similar. We don't immediately identify with Inattentive or Hyperactive (or both) but if you dig deeper you can find some interesting information and some help.

Right now, I feel better than I have in a long, long time with my CPAP addressing my apnea and my other help. We have a healthy dynamic in our family of 4 that is better than I can remember for a long, long time. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings and what I get to learn.

Thanks again for your contribution to its start. 


Well, life's been pretty amazing the last couple of months. I continue to explore my diagnosis and am taking my Vyvanse every day.

It is so amazing to feel myself connected together better than ever before. I took advantage of the reduced appetite during the first few weeks to learn to eat intentionally. I'm down about 30lbs, feel great, and go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week.

Friday I skipped the gym in the morning, and I took my meds late since I was going to be out with friends later. Throughout the morning, I had a really difficult time focusing my work. Still, I pushed through until lunch by setting up my office with some white noise and a closed door. I went to the gym at lunch and zoomed through a whole bunch of work when I came back.

I just started an ADD strategies class. There are 3 of us engineers in the group of 9. One works with someone I used to work with and the other I already know from the industry. Wow, being in a group of 9 people that have shared many of the same issues and frustrations I have -- I'm not the "weird kid."

My wife and I continue to work together and individually with our counselor also. He's really wonderful at understanding us as individuals and our relationship. We've been going through an amazing time of growth. ADD is moving to one of the things in our relationship from being the dominant thing. That is a good thing.

Work is moving forward really well and I'm branching out in new responsibilities, including business strategy and other big-picture stuff. I'm also to the point where the main satisfaction (not just my highest priority) is about me and my family, not what happens at my desk and at work. Its given me a whole new resilience for the day-to-day ups and downs.

I'm developing new skills that help me to remember tasks and follow through.

Thanks again for all of your work being a positive helpful resource for so many of us. I've been working to continue to help others around me where I can and it has been amazingly rewarding to help folks discover credible and helpful resources.



  1. This is so encouraging to see the progression of him, his marriage, and his families healing. It comes too late for me as a former spouse of an ADHD husband who I have known for 26 years. I always knew something was wrong with him but not until our first son was diagnosed with ADHD 10 years into the marriage (20 years) did I finally have a name for it and hope in trying to understand it. Now my second son has just been diagnosed (2010). My two daughters remain undiagnosed. I bought the Barkley book for my ex, went to countless sessions of therapy, begged him to seek treatment in order to be a better him, but finally succumbed to initiating seperation when things spiraled into severe dysfunction and abuse. Sometimes as non-ADHD spouses we enable (co-dependency) the situation by trying to fix and reason it and sometimes the only way to resolve it is to set up the final boudary and leave. I have peace with my decision however, I still have to deal with the dysfunction of a unmedicated ADHD father. I want to try to salvage the dysfunction my children have been exposed to by teaching my boys how to effectively live with ADHD and be successful in life. I have taught them the most important words they are going to have to learn are "I am sorry", remain humble, and always stay on their meds and have a psychiatrist/therapist realtionship. It is part of keeping their minds healthy for themselves and their loved ones. We learned this lesson the hard way this past Fall when a beloved family of 4 in our neighborhood was murdered by the father who was having psychotic episodes. It was a teaching lesson to our community on the importance of taking care of our brains and seeking help before it is too late. I tell my boys that God made them with ADHD because their dad, grandfather, etc. have genetically had the disorder but that there are ways to successfully deal with it (not a pot of coffee in the morning, not a couple of drinks at night, not blaming everyone else)- ignoring is not one of them. I struggle as a single mom with the irrationality/violent tendacies that ADHD affects on my boys and their dad but, I am so thankful that my boys feel that their meds make them not perfect, but better managed people. I continue to pray that their dad will seek honest, soul baring treatment one day and who knows we may stand a chance at reconciliation of a bad marriage into one that is something healthy and new.

  2. Wow! I feel as though I know Peter and the situation he experiences.


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