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Navigating the Seas of Self-Care: Essential Considerations for Non-ADHD Spouses

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As I immersed myself in the recordings of the ADHD International Online Conference, Brendan Mahan's session, "Self-care for caregivers with ADHD," unexpectedly resonated with me. His journey through the challenges of caring for aging parents, raising kids, and navigating the complexities of the sandwich generation deeply struck a chord. As a non-ADHD spouse, my own emotional rollercoaster unfolded not long ago. While my situation didn't involve caring for kids, I faced the responsibility of supporting my ADHD partner through severe depression and presenting a brave front to my parents as they contemplated brain surgery for my mother, whose medication was no longer effective. Today, I want to shed light on a lesser-discussed aspect of self-care for non-ADHD spouses – the paramount importance of prioritizing financial well-being and preparing for the unexpected.

Prioritizing Financial Well-Being and Emergency Preparation and Support:

The realization of the significance of prioritizing my financial well-being and emergency preparation struck me unexpectedly. The haunting question arose – what if an unforeseen accident occurred, leaving me incapacitated for an extended period? The fear of returning to chaos due to my husband's aversion to handling finances lingered, intensifying my stress. Melissa Orlov's guidance during a non-ADHD partner support group session became a turning point, offering a solution to a problem I hadn't known how to address. It became clear that financial well-being and emergency preparation and support should take precedence in my self-care plan.

Why Financial Well-being and Emergency Preparation Should Be the Most Important Pieces of Self-Care:

Money stands out as the most significant stressor in couples, as evidenced by a 2018 study revealing the top five stressors:

Having too many things to do, finances, having to make difficult decisions, traffic or bad drivers, and not having enough money.

Recognizing this, prioritizing financial well-being becomes a strategic move to alleviate a substantial source of stress. Emergency preparation takes a front seat as well. The revelation of my mother's need for brain surgery paralyzed me with worry, even though I masked it from my parents. Balancing the care of my depressed ADHD spouse with the responsibility of supporting my parents post surgery overwhelmed me, causing mental paralysis as I struggled to find solutions. This experience highlighted the critical need for emergency plans and resources, propelling them to the top of my self-care priorities.

Join Me at Our Free Webinar: ADHD & Midlife Sandwich Webinar:

I openly invite all to join our ADHD & Midlife Sandwich free webinar on February 23rd, crafted with the sandwich generation and ADHD couples in mind. Facilitated by Anita Robertson, ADHD couple therapist, author of the book "ADHD & Us," and LeAnn Levering, a therapist who focuses on helping adults with ADHD, this session offers practical strategies and tools tailored to the challenges faced by ADHD couples and those navigating the complexities of the sandwich generation. Even if you are not part of the sandwich generation but going through similar challenges, the tips and tools we share will help you tremendously.


As non-ADHD spouses, our self-care journey encompasses more than just conventional practices. It involves fortifying the foundations of our lives, ensuring that we can weather any storm that comes our way. By prioritizing financial planning and embracing the pillars of preparedness, we empower ourselves to be strong for ourselves and others when we all need it the most.

2018 Study: Timmons AC, Arbel R, Margolin G. Daily patterns of stress and conflict in couples: Associations with marital aggression and family-of-origin aggression. J Fam Psychol. 2017;31(1):93-104. doi:10.1037/fam0000227

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