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What Can I Do For My Husband (and my family)


My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years and we have two adorable little girls under 5 years of age.  Both of us have had bouts of depression in the past and my husband is currently diagnosed as ADHD and is taking Adderall and Zoloft.  When he first started taking Adderall, it was like a dream come true!  He as always been an procrastinator and has/had classic ADHD symptoms.  The Adderall was amazing!  

Before I start with what is going on, let me first say that my husband is not a monster.  It's quite the opposite...he is a wonderful husband and father and he loves us immensely.  He spends a lot of time with the kids and has been helping me get my small business started.  He can be incredibly supportive, although inattentive and distracted (when on the computer) ...somewhat often...but I can totally deal with that!   It's really not a problem for me right now and when I read some "husband stories" I second-guess myself and think "What right do I have to complain?" Furthermore, I would not complain really...except for the fact that I am starting to suffer mentally and physically from the situation that has been taking place for about a year now.  

Currently, he is on Zoloft because it is believed that he has depressive tendencies.  My concern is that he has more than just depression (not that depression is a mild issue!) and the Zoloft appears to do nothing for him.  If anything else, I would say that after being on the Zoloft, he has more tendencies to hyperfocus on things, become somewhat compulsive/obsessive, and even display rage that has almost scared me at times.  He is becoming someone that is NOT HIM!  However, he argues that he is making improvements and is more productive.  He has also stated that I only focus on the negative and I don't want to see improvements (comments like this destroy me).  I am so desperate for help because I hate that our kids have to witness the arguments we get into now and last night resulted in my locking them into the bedroom with me while he was in our oldest daughter's room fuming (she was with me).  He has never hit any of us and I don't think he would ever do such a thing.  However, the look in his eyes and the tone of voice...it is literally like a totally different person and it's scary!

He has been unemployed since September 2008 and while we are not really suffering financially (he is very intelligent and started planning for rainy days/years for a few years now), he is home all the time and not really getting out.  At first he was playing an online RP game about 10 hours a day.  He has tendencies to game way too much and let it almost consume him at times.  However, after getting back on the Zoloft, he quit the game entirely.  He says that he has no desire to play when he is on Zoloft.  This sounds great...but it's not.  Instead of focusing on the game which happens to have friendly, relatively stable, responsible "friends" playing with him/us, he focuses on other things, including things that trigger his paranoid tendencies. He is getting very little social interaction (other than me and the kids).  There have been a couple of occasions in the past 6 months in which he went off on me screaming, in rage, accusing me of taking our youngest daughter from him (when I simply picked her up because she was crying)...incidents that cause me to lock everyone up in a room (except for him) and call his psychologist or his parents.  THIS IS NOT LIKE HIM!  

After this first rage incident, I went with him to see his psychologist and during the visit I just ended up crying and in a great deal of distress because my husband was being very defensive and not completely honest.  Furthermore, his psychologist just kept insisting that this was simply depressive behavior and my husband has some control over it.  His psychologist seems to agree.  However, I happen to know that my husband can put on a good show.  I see it in marital counseling!  It devastated me in a sense...it's NOT that I want something to be wrong with my husband...I just want to find out what is going on and do something about it!  Unfortunately, I tend to internalize all of this stuff and it makes me very emotional.  It's difficult to get a point across to a psychologist, marriage counselor, etc. when you are sitting there crying and having flashbacks of your husband screaming at you in front of your kids...I just look like the one with the problem, especially when he is sitting there calm and looking at me like I need help.  

This is tearing me apart...my blood pressure has always been very low, even through both pregnancies.  For the past few months it has ranged from the 140's-150/90something and last week I checked it and it was 160/101!  I have started taking Xanax (prescribed) and I feel like an overly anxious emotional husk at times.  I starting having panic attacks around December, and while they have subsided I still have them sometimes during or after a major argument with him.  The worst part is..when I have them, he doesn't know how to react and it seems to anger him more.  There were 2 incidents that I recall vividly where I was having a full-blown panic attack and he started yelling at me (not directly because of the panic attack). It was surreal!  It's like he is yelling things like "What do you want me to do!!!!  I am trying to work with you!!!" LOUDLY, and he always says, yells "I am TRYING to be helpful!" whenever we have these arguments.  I often feel like I am in a circus fun house with the crazy mirrors, minus the "fun" part.  I don't want to really focus so much on myself here, but I am just desperate for help and suggestions.  

It hurts me that he is so defensive and in such denial about so many things...and if I try to point these out to help him (he has had issues with the same problems in the workplace, with friends, etc.), I often seem to become his enemy and he becomes exasperated, defensive, and irrational.  I am cautious about how I try to point out that his lack of control is causing me to suffer mentally and physically, because he is very defensive about that and can often act WORSE when I am going through something.  He got worse when he found out I had high blood pressure.  It's like if he thinks he is the problem...it triggers some kind of paranoid defensive anger that prevents him from being empathetic, compassionate, and remotely helpful.  I have surgery scheduled for next week for something that is probably not serious and I have told him this...but he has just been crazy.  I don't know what to do.  

We can have huge arguments where I feel just emotionally destroyed and I am ruined for the rest of the day.  He tends to emotionally detach himself in these situations, and speaks in a cold, analytical voice.  He can also throw out accusations and insulting comments such as "You are full of it!" or "You are so unhealthy in the head!" even before the argument even begins.  However, an hour or so after these situations (which are traumatizing for me), he is fine.  He is playing with the kids and saying things like "Isn't Mommy awesome?"  I find it a little disturbing how he can transition like that and I hate to admit that it also angers me.  I seem to suffer the most and it's not really that I want him to suffer...I just want to him to recognize that is behavior is neither normal nor acceptable...at least for him!  I cannot be with someone who keeps me in such a state of emotional turmoil and he was not like this on such a consistent basis until several months ago!  

I've already written way too much, mostly because I'm still wired from last night's events.  Thanks to all of you who had time to read all of this and I really appreciate any suggestions!  
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Avatar universal
Hi- your situation sounds almost identical to mine. I love my husband very much- especially when he's feeling well. When he's not, it's a whole other world.

He is diagnosed ADHD with some depression. I suspect some bi-polar too, although it's not that blatantly apparent. He takes Adderrall and Prozac. Yes, at first, Adderrall was a miracle. Prozac was prescribed for his anger-- as anger is a sign of depression. It doesn't really affect him so much as it makes him sleepy so he takes it at night.

One thing you have to realize about Adderrall is that it is an amphetamine, i.e. SPEED. I bet the rage happens when he starts "coming down" or it's wearing off? Afterwards, does he start eating lots of sweets, does he start sleeping alot for several days? How many mg does he take and how often? I find my husband likes to take a week or two-week break from his meds because he feels they become too much for him and also they start to lose effectiveness. Does he start increasing his dosages? Does he stay up all night playing games? You may want to consider the other Adderrall XR. It's extended release. I like it when my husband is on this. He is MUCH nicer. BUT...they tend to dislike this med because it makes them feel trapped in a suspension of some sorts (makes them feel really sluggish) so he may resist. But their "sluggish" is actually our "normal." However, it is VERY expensive which is why we had to switch to regular.

I'd like to say that he'd never in a million years hurt me-- the man I know-- but he has. It's not deliberate so much as he's in a rage and he just snaps. I'm still trying to digest all of this myself. I'm in shock actually which is why I sought out this site. He doesn't hurt the children and we NEVER argue like this when they're around. Sure, we bicker but never on this scale when they're around. I really think it's the Adderrall. Unfortunately, it helps with ADHD. It's a terrible mess.

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Avatar universal

Agree big time with Left Coast. Way more going on.

It's not clear if the Adderall is still being taken but the behaviour you describe is very much a reminder of ADHD behaviour is it not?

Rage is also a factor in many depressions and I have such myself. I know that some things can drive me absolutely to the edge of wanting to destroy something or someone but I haven't yet stepped over that line. Instead I've changed the way I deal with such situations.

For example, phone calls to big organisations that lie to yoiu and give you the run around. I can't make those calls any more so my partner does. I scream and rant and threaten when I last made such calls so had to stop even taking them. My rage is more directed at others, such as big organisations so my family is safe.

In your case you appear to be the focal point of the rage and that tells me it is just a matter of time before he goes too far. Seriously, I mean that. You know it too don't you?

He must see a psychiatrist, probably change his meds and stop lying to his therapist and others. A way to get around that stuff is to have him write down before you go what actually happens. You follow? When face to face he wants to avoid the truth but in paper with just you he has to be honest.

I would seek medical advice for yourself before you try and change things for him though as your safety, and your kids, is first priority, always.

If you are threatened then don't hesitate, take relevant legal steps so he knows hoiw close he is to going way too far..

Protect yourself.

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Avatar universal
To be honest, it sounds like there is MUCH more going on with your husband, he needs to get a referral to a psychiatrist, not a therapist.  The meds sound like they aren't the right ones either. You should also get a check up with your family doctor, and probably see a therapist, so you can wade through the issues you are going through. Your husband is not going to get better (i'm pretty sure) without the correct meds and therapy appropriate for his diagnosis.  It sounds like he's getting worse, so the faster you get help, the better you'll both be.
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