Friday, April 16, 2010


I can't remember how much I waffled on here about Oscar's foray into the world of ADHD. We were asked by the school to test him. I didn't take it well. I then came to the conclusion that the school were absolutely right and we're about two thirds of the way into officially diagnosing him. I've been focusing on that really - as a by product of the research we did into what having ADHD means and how it manifests, Rob realised that it also described him to a T. And so we got him referred for testing too.

I thought this was a great thing for him - that he'd find out that some of the things he finds difficult aren't because he's "crap" as he thinks, but because he has ADHD. I didn't really think about how it would impact on me. Or how it HAS impacted on me since I've been his partner for nearly 20 years.

Rob got diagnosed in one session - textbook ADHD. And he's on ritalin now. And I somehow imagined I would get a brand new husband along with that - that isn't how meds work! It's not realistic. We had a MASSIVE discussion last night which was so so helpful - mainly because Rob pointed me towards this link - How Adult ADHD Affects Relationships: Strategies for Coping It's strange but since becoming a mother, I have found myself more dis-satisfied with our relationship. Actually it's not strange. We were both being very honest with each other and I discovered that the reason is that as a mother and wife, those being my primary roles at the moment, I feel I'm constantly giving giving giving to everyone in the family and no one gives back. I'm sure EVERY mum out there will relate to that statement. But part of Rob's ADHD is that he finds it hard to understand that - hard to notice it. And other manifstations of ADHD are the very things that drive me insane - why he doesn't notice when the house is a bombsite. Why I have to ask him 10 times to take the rubbish out, then I just do it myself and resent him for it. Why he never cooks.

I'm sure, again, loads of women have the same complaints about their husband. A lot of ADHD behaviour is normal adult/child behaviour. It's the combination and frequency of certain things that class it as ADHD - it's hard to explain. And also, like I'm learning with Oscar, Rob isn't not doing things around the house because he's intentionally lazy or to wind me up - he has genuinely not noticed or got so hyperfocused on something else he's totally not aware of it.

I googled Adult ADHD and relationships and got a lot of stuff so I'm not the only spouse who finds it hard. And having a son and a husband with this is going to be hard on me. And I need Rob to understand that - if I have to write him reminder letters on the mirror every morning. We've got some ideas already - a big wall planner with a daily routine on it - both Rob and Oz will find that helpful. Rob has asked for cognitive behaviour therapy and is going to ask his doc if they have some for spouses too.

I have to put my big girl panties on and deal with this - and try and be more understanding and patient (two things I'm not very good at). And I'm hoping Rob will reciprocate by understanding how hard it is for me and making more of an effort to make me happier in return.

It's bizarre in a way how we went so long together as a couple without this becoming more of an issue. Or splitting us up. I think we decided last night that when we both worked in our life BC (before children) we both were quite lazy and chaotic - our house was a bombsite, we ate out all the time, we each did our own laundry and had quite busy separate lives - but AC my life changed dramatically - I felt I grew up more but also felt less valued as I became the domestic housewife and mother and had less life away from washing and cooking and wiping butts and being Mum.

I don't know - maybe this is all over-reaction. Just wanted to splarge it out of my head. And if any one out there has any experience of being either married to or parent of ADHD boys or both (god help you) then I'd be really open to advice or information or just sympathy.

Marriage is HARD. Rob and I have always been total opposites in so many things. But now, even down to our brain chemistry we are so radically different. I have no doubt we'll get through this - work out a way to make our family function, even if it's slightly different to other families.

I'm definitely booking my week off to America though! (To go and stay with my ADHD sister and her ADHD wife.........argh! It's like invasion of the brain snatchers - is anyone actually normal? I doubt it).

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

At last....a dream fulfilled

When Rob and I first moved to London I got a job at a costume company - Cosprop. It was my first real job after Uni and I did love it there. It was an artistic environment - Cosprop make the clothes for many period films and tv programmes - incredible workmanship. On my first day I was trying to make a good impression so I started cleaning out the (very disorganised) stationary cupboard which was actually in a large safe in the main office. I was pulling everything out in order to reorganise the thing, when I pulled out a very heavy thing wrapped in a towel in a plastic bag. I unwrapped it....

It was an Oscar. A real, very heavy, very shiny Oscar. John Bright, the founder and boss, had won it with his design partner Jenny Beavan, as they designed the costumes for Room With A View. I stood there, mouth agape, until Bernie, the Office Manager explained that John thought the Oscar was tacky - he had the BAFTA in his office, but kept the Oscar hidden away. I often used to put it on my desk and of course, practice my acceptance speech with it in the ladies...

I worked there for a year and it was fun and fascinating to see that side of the industry I loved. You get the best gossip from design assistants I found....and I met some very very famous people. And made them coffee. And decided that politeness cost nothing - some of the most famous were very grateful for their coffee - some of the B list were downright rude....I always imagined writing a coffee table book one day telling you how each celebrity liked their coffee in case they ever popped round for tea.....

The people were brilliant. The costumes were stunning. Unfortunately I was at my largest in those days so nothing fit me....though that was probably good or I'd have spent my lunch hour every day in period dress! I remember trying on all the bonnets from the BBC 's Pride and Prejudice before sending them off.....

But after a year it was increasingly frustrating. People I knew came in for fittings - people I'd been in the National Youth Theatre with or done a play with - and were always surprised to see me behind the front desk - and surprised to have me ask them how they took their coffee.

I wanted to be on their side - to be coming in for a fitting. And I decided until that day came, if I had to earn a living as a secretary, I'd rather be far away from the world that I wanted to be part of. I'd learnt so much in that year that I knew I could get a job temping so that's where I went. At my leaving party, John Bright gave me a sweatshirt with "Oscar Nominee" on it - a genuine one that was gifted to all nominees....I still have it....never worn it....but I love it!

So....14 or so years later - that day is finally here. I went to Cosprop today for a fitting. As an actor. And someone ELSE made the tea! Lots of people were still there from the old days - in fact Jane who fitted me has been there 32 years! It was SO nice to see everyone again and to catch up and also to finally realise that dream from long ago...

Let's hope it's the first of many!