Why a Roller Coaster?

What’s the connection between Attention Deficit Disorder and a roller coaster? When the partners of adults with ADHD join a support group, they frequently use the analogy of a roller coaster to describe their lives. Their actual words say it best:

I was on the verge of filing for divorce when I read about Adult ADHD. I was amazed that a medical condition might explain my husband’s video-game fixation, his moods, his absent-mindedness, his impulsive spending, and our roller-coaster life!


My girlfriend and I can have a great conversation, lay out plans, and the next day she has forgotten it—or has an entirely different memory! This mental roller coaster is messing with my mind!


We just learned that my husband has ADHD. We dated long-distance for five years, but only after marriage did this roller coaster of mood swings and miscommunications begin. I really need to exit this ride soon, but I’d like my husband to come with me. Is that even possible?


Our relationship has been a roller coaster of good times and bad for 16 years. We have something special, but I’m getting too old for the frustrations. I thought she’d learn to stop doing things without thinking of consequences, but she never does. I love her, but something must change.


For years, my husband and I blamed each other for all the confusion, hurt, and miscommunications. Meanwhile, the emotional and logistical roller coaster—of unpaid bills, bad judgment calls, and co-parenting issues—kept us both too dizzy to see straight. The idea of ADD is the only thing that’s made sense in our lives for a long, long time.


After two years of arguing with my new wife about her saying or doing inconsiderate things, we read an article about ADHD. After being diagnosed, she tried medication and life was good! Now, she’s decided she doesn’t need it, and it’s back to the roller coaster.


Ack! I feel like I’ve been living on a roller coaster. I never know whether my husband will be up or down, loving or critical, on time or late. Before he was diagnosed, I blamed myself for our unhappiness, because he convinced me that was true.