Getting Unstuck

I get frustrated easily. Angry out of proportion to the situation. And then get “stuck”! Some people can get angry and get over it quickly (if not also easily). That’s not me . . . And I assume not many other Brains.

And biggest problem is that these situations occur mostly with my wife. I know my ADHD and poor “executive control” is a large factor. But not the only factor. The brain, my brain, is not uni-dimensional. I deal with depression, anxiety, and some OCD. Years ago when I “lost it” with my wife she asked a brilliant question: “Are you angry . . . Or are you anxious?” My immediate reply: “I’m angry because I’m anxious”. It was at that moment I promised her that I would see someone about medication (for the first time). I started on a minimal dose of Prozac. First day I felt “weird”; Second day “Buzzed”; and Third day it was like the clouds parted and I felt calm / less anxious & depressed. But none-the-less . . .

To complicate matters, my wife does not like (nor should she!), but more to the point, does not tolerate when I become obviously annoyed (she would say “angry”). We’ve been married 46 yrs. I’m 73 she 74. We are solid. Been through some rough patches, but are not in danger of splitting. But yet, the quickness with which I react, the annoyance / anger I display, and the difficulty de-escalating are not helpful . . .

I still take Prozac, now with Wellbutrin. Tried stimulant medication but that negatively impacted my BP.

I meditate and bike (indoor, stationary) . . . But not consistently!!

So, there are “No easy answers!” . . . Are there!!

But needed to get this out there and would appreciate support and any ideas any of you care to offer.

Thank you,

Struggling in NJ (USA)

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I have this too. When I get frustrated with myself I am more likely to sound ‘angry’ than at any other time. My therapist helped me to reduce how often this happens with the ‘be kind to yourself’ idea. If you wouldn’t shout at someone else, why are you so hard on yourself, that kind of thing. Eventually I realised that it came from judging myself more harshly than others.

So if there’s a bit of that going on, you could try finding a therapist to work on this with you. It is (in my case) also linked to self esteem issues. And the huge irony for me was realising that although I had worked hard all my adult life to put up a distance between myself and my ever-disapproving mother, I was carrying my own internalised version inside my head! She didn’t need to be there to put me down, I was managing that splendidly my own :roll_eyes::joy:.

Anyway, my other suggestion is to revisit the medication question with your psychiatrist, if it’s been a while. Our bodies change over time so what was not working may eventually be worth another try.

I didn’t get on very well with the amount of dexamphetamine needed to be effective (some blood pressure issues, and increased irritability - despite the general improvement from the therapy! - and in any case I wanted to try a non-stimulant solution so that I would be able to drive a car without risking a fine. I switched to Wellbutrin (150 mg) but after a few months realised it was doing a great job on some things (my mood for a start) but not quite giving me the kick start I needed. The solution in my case seems to be to top up the Wellbutrin with a much smaller dose of the dexamphetamine. Maybe worth reopening the discussion with your prescribing doctor?

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Appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Some added ADHD specific medication might help. I know definitely that getting on my exercise bike on a regular, almost daily basis, would definitely help. The problem has been being consistent with that, as with so many other things! Years ago, I had a Nordic-Trac ski machine. It helped tremendously to lessen depression and anxiety. I was easier to live with. It was so important that in order to remind me to use it I put on the wall, in my bedroom, a poster that said: “exercise or feel like shit!”.

Maybe it’s time for another poster. Though I will say that I find How To ADHD serves a similar purpose. And people like you, sensitive to the issues, thoughtful and caring are much appreciated.

Thank you,
Barry from Brooklyn

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One thing that has helped me was figuring out why am I triggered by what the other person says or does, what is really going on with me, what are my underlying feelings and needs and that helps me see how to deal with them. Initially this was hard but I did two things: 1) I joined a group where we could practice this by role playing etc. and 2) I would do analyze such an bad interaction after calming down and try to figure out what I could have done. Such as requesting the other person if we can talk about it calmly. Ultimately it became easier.

What would happens before then was that (particularly if I blew up in the past) I was more likely to /tolerate/ whatever irritation. But then over time things would build up until I would get really angry and say something that prevented further communication. As a result everything would get worse. Now if I start getting irritated I ask myself what is going on. One observation was I was more irritable when low on sugar or under stress. Those are things I can deal with!

Another technique was to realize when I get so upset that I stop thinking rationally (“all circuits overloaded”!). In this case I walk away, calm down and then try to figure out what is going on.

The following video may be of some help but the key thing to realize is that a lot of practice is needed.

Good luck!

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Omg yes, food! If I am hungry I am horrible! Especially before I had therapy and got meds!

My first partner used to walk away from a row and come back with food for me, which made me really cross (because I felt humiliated?) but it was true that it was necessary.



Watched the video. Thank you! Gives me food for thought . . . and practice!

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