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Addressing Non-ADHD Spouse Stress and Depression: The Importance of Self-Care in an ADHD Marriage

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

According to recent studies, nearly 60% of non-ADHD spouses report experiencing elevated stress due to the complexities of their relationship, with 1 in 4 experiencing symptoms of depression. In this blog post, we'll delve into these statistics, shed light on the importance of self-care, and provide practical tips to help you prioritize your well-being while supporting your ADHD partner.

Understanding the Impact of Stress and Depression

In the context of an ADHD-affected marriage, the statistics surrounding non-ADHD spouse stress and depression are concerning but not surprising. The constant adjustments, unpredictability, and emotional toll of supporting a partner with ADHD can take a toll on your mental health. For me and other non-ADHD spouses that I spoke to, we often describe that we are on a battle field 24x7, where we can be attacked by our ADHD spouses at any direction and at any moment with missed flights/appointments/tasks, anger, restlessness, etc. that could turn our lives up-side-down in minutes!

While we all have a built in flight or fight system, often, we are ignore that stress is building up in our system until it is like a volcano where we erupt and everyone, including our ADHD spouses, get the eruption. This is why it's crucial to recognize the significance of self-care as a means to cope with and reduce these elevated stress levels and the risk of depression.

Set Boundaries

Given the stressors you may be facing, setting boundaries becomes even more critical. Clear communication of your needs and limits to your partner can help alleviate stress and provide a sense of structure and stability within the relationship.

For me, this is a super critical step to reducing stress. Once you have establish your boundaries, determine the importance of each boundary, allows me to clearly communicate to my spouse those boundaries and do what it takes to adhere to it.

For example, my ADHD husband has problem sleeping and would get up multiple times a night. When he gets up, he will wake me. To ensure I get a full night of sleep the night before important meetings, I would ask my husband to sleep in our second bedroom for that night, leaving me undisturbed. If he somehow "forgot" and come into the bed and started to wake me up, I will ask him to leave and lock my bedroom door once he depart, preventing him from coming in, allowing me to sleep with no more interruption.

Prioritize "Me Time"

When you're dealing with heightened stress and potential depression risk, allocating time for self-care becomes non-negotiable. Make self-care a priority by scheduling regular "me time" sessions. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation can significantly improve your mental well-being.

For example, every morning, I go out for a 30-min walk by my local jogging path which is right off a water slough. This allows me to spend time with nature which provide me alone time to think and plan through my day. This always brightens my day and allow me to fill up my tank help me combat when unexpected things happen throughout my day.

Seek Support

You don't have to face these challenges alone. Connecting with other non-ADHD spouses who understand your experiences can be incredibly validating and empowering. Consider joining support groups or seeking therapy to gain valuable insights and strategies for managing stress.

If you are reading this blog, join our community, by click the subscribe button on the top right of the page. This is especially made for non-ADHD spouses to help with connecting the dots between ADHD behavior and symptoms faster.

Stay Informed

Understanding ADHD and its impact on your partner is a key step in managing your own mental health. Knowledge can lead to increased empathy, more effective communication, and reduced frustration.

This is one of the reasons I put together this blog and my non-ADHD relevant event calendar. The blog provide insights, reviews on ADHD related content, events, trainings and non-ADHD partner support groups, while my calendar list all upcoming relevant events to help you stay informed.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, are powerful tools for managing stress and depression risk. Incorporate these practices into your daily routine to stay grounded and focused on self-care.

Non-ADHD spouses in ADHD-affected marriages face elevated stress levels and an increased risk of depression. By setting boundaries, prioritizing "me time," seeking support, staying informed, and practicing mindfulness, you can better cope with these challenges and enhance your overall well-being. Remember that taking care of yourself is not only beneficial for your mental health but also for the strength and resilience of your relationship. As we address the elevated stress and depression risk in non-ADHD spouses, self-care emerges as a crucial strategy to navigate this complex journey.

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