In every relationship, there is that crystallizing moment when you look into each others’ eyes and just KNOW. I’ll never forget that moment with Scott.
It was March 13, 2010. We were in a crowded school theatre at an academic conference, listening to the keynote speaker: producer and comedic performer, Rick Green. It didn’t matter what he was discussing, every word out of his mouth made me think of Scott. When Mr. Green discussed his relationship with his wife, it was as though he was talking about Scott’s relationship with me. The session ran long, but when it ended, Scott and I found ourselves still seated, as the theatre quickly emptied. Finally, we worked up the courage to look at each other. As our eyes locked, we just knew. With our hearts in our throats, it was both an eternity and a mere second before I had the courage to say what we were both thinking: “Scott, you have ADD”.
Scott was diagnosed and started treatment for ADD just after Christmas this year. It was both shock and relief. It flew in the face of all that Scott had accomplished. After all, even his psychiatrist remarked how successful he has been despite how severe his symptoms are. He married, had a child, graduated with a degree and a diploma and was on a successful career path.
But I felt like I could breathe again. While I can’t take credit for his success, I do know I helped. Sometimes, it was just normal relationship stuff: if he needed more focus at work, I took over all responsibility at home. Other times it was more intense, like walking away from my desk at work so I could talk him through an anxiety attack. It was exhausting trying not only to help Scott untangle parts of his life, but also to stay a couple steps ahead to deflect anything that might potentially tangle him up again. Finally, someone (with the right training) was stepping in to help.
Now a few months into treatment, the shock as faded and relief has been replaced with reality. For Scott to move forward, it means I have to move backwards. Even during the worst moments of the last 6 years, there was a comfort in being the one in control. And now I know that if I want him to to actively learn skills that I’ve taken for granted, I have to let him both take over, even if that means letting him make mistakes and lose control.