Hi. Sorry for the long post. This is from the heart, and I hope that I can help. I know from personal experience how hard it is to seek help. I know from personal experience how hard it is to live with ADHD as an adult. I know from personal experience how hard ADHD can be on a spouse. And I know from personal experience that it IS possible to make changes to one's life AT ANY AGE. And, (edited) do seek help quickly, the suicidal comments he made should be taken seriously and acted on. RunsLikeDog is right. Do what it takes to get him help to make sure he doesn't hurt himself.
anyhow, let's begin:
Try to encourage your husband to seek help. I waited until 30 years into a failing marriage to allow myself to seek help at my doctor’s suggestion. I was embarrassed to consider that I had any mental problems, I was blaming all of my physical ailments (that were killing me) on my aging body, and not my mind. My wife also discouraged me from seeking help because her family had bad luck with psychiatrists.
There is (but should NOT BE) a horrible stigma for an adult male to seek mental health care.
I was suffering from depression and anxiety on top of ADHD and didn't seek treatment until I was over 50. My doctor pretty much took my by my ear and led me to a psychiatrist who got me properly medicated for anxiety and depression. He said I was experiencing deadly high blood pressure. My anxiety had sent me to the emergency room with anxiety attacks several times. I had tachycardia every couple of months. I had GERD constantly. Sleep apnea when I was overweight. Insomnia. I had yo-yo weight gain/loss over the years, going from 180-260 and back a few times, though I have been in the 195+-5 zone for a few years. I was UNHEALTHY. I was unhappy.
The medication calmed me down, which finally gave me enough mental bandwidth to explore what was going on in my head and my life.
I realized that MANY of my problems with my life and my job and my relationships were as a result of my ADHD behaviors. I am NOT disavowing responsibility for my actions. I was able to perform very (very) well professionally, but my personal life was in chaos. My refusal to seek help was my own fault, though I could easily blame “society” and my ex.
When I finally got medicated for the anxiety and depression using initially tranquilizers, beta blockers and finally Celexa and Welbutrin, I was able to slow down. Suddenly life was NOT full of burning fires emergencies. Suddenly I could walk around without counting tiles and worrying about dates. I attended a men’s group (find one for your husband) where other men discussed their issues.
In my men’s group, we finally discovered I had ADHD, and I was pointed to a prescription for a stimulant. I take it daily (no more coffee) and I am able to manage my ADHD symptoms much better.
I am sure that my marriage to my ex suffered considerably due to my ADHD. If you were to ask my ex what her issues were with me, it would read like the DSM-IV definition of ADHD ( DSM IV - ADHD Criteria
). In my case, my relationship with my wife decayed over many years. I was a target of repeatedly abusive behavior on the part of my wife, and my ADHD/Anxiety/Depression made it hard for me to cope and keep up with her. I was also capable of hyper focusing, was rather impulsive sexually (but never cheating on my wife) and avoided all drugs because I knew I had trouble controlling addictive urges.
I drank a 16 oz cup of coffee with 4 added shots of espresso to start a day of constant coffee drinking for YEARS, as that was the only thing that helped me retain my focus. I was a constant user of calendars, posit notes, electronic reminders, cellphone reminders, email reminders, and every possible kind of reminder, yet I still forgot to do things like closing cabinet doors and birthdays and anniversaries etc. I waited for stop signs to “change”. I put the milk in the cupboard. I acted like a 99 year old person with failing memory starting at age 5. I did, however, test in the 99 percentile, so I made it through school more as a result of my IQ testing than my actual graded. Until I went back to college after was treated in my 50s, I had a B+ GPA. Teachers always said “you could better”. I tried. I used all kinds of tricks, and became OCD about stuff. I was OCD about dates and times, things that were on schedule were RIGID because I was unable to cope in unstructured, last minute changing things. This was an ADHD coping mechanism. I was considered "brilliant" and "eccentric" by some, but called a "moron" and "retard" by my wife who was certain I was passive aggressively acting out on her.
I was simply ill equipped to handle machine-gun questioning, etc.
Anyway ... I weaned myself off the SSRIs due to some side effects. (the side effects, weight gain and some sexual issues were, in hindsight, a very acceptable thing in exchange for the changes I went through overall).
After I went through all the diagnosis, I did end up separating from my wife, and have subsequently divorced and married a very accepting woman..
I went back to school and have received a 4.0 GPA in a master’s program. (Unfortunately, I’ve had a hard time getting work due to the economy, my age, and a gap in my career that happened when I lost my job and moved about the time my marriage broke up. Oh well, you win some, you lose some).
Had I sought help many years ago, I could have saved my marriage. I was, frankly, embarrassed to consider that I had a mental problem. My ex was ALSO not encouraging me to go to see a shrink, her family had horrible experiences with electroshock therapy in the 50s, so she was deadset against ANY mental help.
I'm sure I would be dead today had I not sought help. I was heading for either a cardiac event, or some form of suicidal behavior.
My best, sincere wishes to your husband and you. I really wish MY ex had cared enough to poke around and find out what the possibilities are.