Bah! Another article about ADHD. ADHD's over diagnosed and not not as big a problem as people make it out to be. But, I'm curious all of a sudden, so I might as well read it.
> For the first 19 years of my life I knew I was lazy.
Yeah, I'm pretty lazy too. That's just who I am, though. I don't have ADHD...
> So what, you can't stop bouncing your leg at the restaurant?
I thought I was the only one that did that. It drives my aunt crazy.
> I'll be halfway through a team meeting and realize I haven't heard anything that was said. That's ADHD.
THAT'S ADHD? I do that all the time. I can't listen to podcasts either. But I just have difficulty processing the spoken word. I'm much more of a book learner anyway.
> I was happiest with my nose in the book
I'm seeing a disturbing pattern take shape.
> I'll take a break to read an article and hours will go by before I realize what's happened. Not minutes, hours. That's ADHD.
> I'm horrible at completing simple, repetitive tasks. I'm terrible at time management, and conceptualizing time in general.
Other comments here have mentioned that stimulants help ADHD sufferers focus. I recently cut back to 2 20oz cans of red bull a day, but I was up to 4 a few years ago. I just thought caffeine was my drug of choice. Everyone's addicted to something, right?
I currently have 52 open tabs on my laptop and another 37 open on my desktop.
I'm not quite sure what to do with all of this. I just thought I was lazy.
Some are clever and diligent -- their place is the General Staff.
The next lot are stupid and lazy -- they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties.
Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.
One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent -- he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief."
-Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord
Well, hard-working but not clever people will do useless work and create extra work overloading everyone else. BUT, this happens when they don't have good management and leadership above them, to prioritize and handle them bite-sized pieces, and to set their frame of mind to focus on "results in the bigger picture".
Probably putting "clever and lazy" and leadership roles is the cause for bad management and leadership which makes his "stupid and diligent" underperform in ways that drag everyone down.
Sayin' this as a "clever and lazy" person myself - I know that if I don't have someone I am responsible to (doesn't matter if it's a managers, partner, peer etc.) that is truly hard working and diligent is a recipe for total disaster. I'd rather be accountable to people way less creative, and even lower both IQ and EQ, as long as they come with a solid work ethic and focus to detail and they manage to drag me in this direction to! If the world would have only of people like myself in all leadership positions, nothing would ever get done, and the "diligent / hard-working" people will probably go crazy and either kill themselves or start wars.
I've always thought of "stupid" as different from "not smart". I can't fault people for not having the experience or knowledge that I or others have. I tend to think more of an "active stupid" as a lack of common sense, and making actually poor choices as opposed not making good ones.
To me, it's more the difference of "My laptop is overheating and I can't figure out why" versus "My laptop is overheating so I poured water on it to cool it off."
Not smart is not intuitively knowing what to do in a given situation - this can be learned away - it won't give you the intuitive answer, but at least you'll know not to do something in a given circumstance.
I like the definition of stupid vs. intelligent from there - intelligent person consistently makes win-win decisions. Stupid person consistently makes lose-lose decisions, inflicting loss on other people for no gain for themselves.
People whose work involves mainly analytical thinking tasks are often mistakenly perceived by public society as lazy while in fact they have always been working all this time, probably harder than most. It's only because the nature of their work is not physically visible to the naked eyes.
Quality decision can only be made after it has been given sufficient time to carefully analyze all the information and its available options. This can only be achieved successfully when people have plenty of quiet moments alone to really think about the specific problem. Those who are always busy doing something all the time rarely have this opportunity, they are always in a rush and don't have the habit to utilize the process or pattern required for analytical thinking. Just like how everything in life is a trade off, if you don't dedicate adequate time for thinking tasks, you cannot expect to formulate quality decisions.
This is the difference between me and my mom. She'll put off something for ages because she could theoretically do it herself, but I'll just hire someone else to do it after calculating the value of my time/opportunity cost vs hiring someone.
If you are heavily medicating with caffeine, then that can be a signal. I was using Pseudoephedrine and caffeine to self medicate and stabilise my moods and behaviours. That was before I got prescribed Ritalin.
But as the article says, I find Ritalin dulls my creative thinking and pattern matching that is required for insightful realisations.
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is big problem for me. I over think things, the slightest misread comment can ruin my day.
I also have a problem with cyclical depression and euphoric highs that are a bit like bi-polar but not as severe.
So yeah - It's hell. I hate having ADHD. I never looked for a diagnosis, but when I got one it was a light-bulb moment. Life still sucks. It's not a super-power and I'm not blessed.
I am a recent adult ADHD diagnosis recipient, and I never knew that there was words to describe this but it describes me perfectly as well, so thank you for the knowledge kind stranger.
I ditched my Ritalin for similar reasons, although I do have a hunch Adderall would help me better since the one time I took it recreationally in college, rather than "get me high" like it was the other college kids, it sort of just made me well..normal. I got my homework done that day according to schedule!
Adhd is absolutely widely misunderstood. It fucks up and affects so many parts of my life, from inhibition, impulsiveness to emotions and motivation. I overthink everything, my mind gets trapped focusing on completely wrong thoughts and don’t even get me started with RSD (Intuniv / guanfacine treats RSD by the way but it’s not available for adults where I live. Look into it!) . The more I myself learn about it, the more I realize how completely mislabeled the name “adhd” for it is.
I agree with you, adhd is hell. I would pay a lot to get rid of it it if I could. Stimulants somewhat help with the focus part but that’s about it. I’m even self experimenting a lot with other medication like MAOIs and antidepressants that have some studies related to adhd done on them them in the hope to find something that works better than my Ritalin.
TSM is another thing that has a 50% success rate in “treating adhd” but it’s not enough evidence for me to shell out this much money.
Same here, about a year ago I came across a thread here on hackernews pointing out symptoms. Then I remembered that there was some testing done in my childhood (but didnt remember what for). Got properly diagnosed some time later.
I wish I remembered that thread and who pointed out the symptoms, they very much deserve a beer on me.
I just don't know how to make them get it. I feel like I have so much potential for success, but I can't harness it.
He interviewed me about my symptom history for an hour. Pro tip! Make yourself a list of all the things you want to mention to the psych. I wish I had brought a list, because after I left I thought of so many more examples I had wanted to bring up.
Despite my not bringing a list, he said near the end of the hour that if he had to make an immediate diagnosis, then yes, he would say I had ADHD. I took home a test (it was around 350 true/false questions) that he wanted me to take to rule out any other diagnoses that might be an issue.
I took the test and returned to him in a week. We went over the test results (nothing unexpected) and he diagnosed me with moderate ADHD-PI (primarily inattentive). He wrote me a letter to take back to my GP to try medication, and my GP handles my Adderall prescription now.
ADHD is a lifetime condition, and having symptoms since childhood is part of the diagnostic criteria, so when you're making your list, make sure you're including your childhood. I was very smart, and coasted through grade school with excellent grades, but there were still signs even then. Like when in 5th grade I just stopped doing any work for an entire semester. They threatened to hold me back from 6th grade, and I made up all the work in a single afternoon, sitting in the teacher's office while the rest of my class was on a field trip. Or all the times I would get in trouble for "not listening to the teacher" because I was hyperfocused on reading a book and literally was not even aware that I was being spoken to.
It's so, so helpful to have a partner who can help with actually getting an appointment set up. I found it to be one of the hardest parts of the process of getting diagnosed, and probably wouldn't have gotten through it without help from my wife.
When one of us is struggling, the other helps pick up the pieces. When both of us are struggling, we work together to prioritize what actually has to be done (ex: we have to acquire something for dinner tonight, but we can do the dishes tomorrow), and do the necessary things together.
I first saw a GP for my cyclical depression issues. She suggested I might have ADHD. I then got referred to a neurologist.
An Adult ADHD diagnosis can be hard as many Dr's work on the basis that ADHD is something that 'goes away' in adult hood. Which isnt really the case, and wasnt the case for me.
I was able to demonstrate childhood patterns that matched the disorder diagnosis; despite having a high IQ (for want of a better way to describe it), I have zero qualifications, failed at school, never went to uni and bounce from job to job. Always starting well, but then going off the rails. Where as my siblings are all exceptional performers in their careers. I was also the eldest, and suffered a high degree of stress in the womb and early childhood (for reasons I wont go into), which are contributing factors.
Best of luck to you - I made an appointment to go and actually finish the assessment process off the back of reading this article this morning. I wonder if having started it and got distracted twice previously will count as a point in my favour?
You'll probably want to figure out if it makes sense to convince one of your existing doctors to consider it, or if it makes sense to find a new doctor who can help you. Odds are good that you'll need to do the latter anyway, as your primary care doctor is going to refer you to a psychiatrist for an actual diagnosis. So one thing to think about is just asking for a referral.
One way to shortcut the actual finding-of-a-doctor would be to do a search for "adult ADHD" on Yelp for your area. Hopefully, someone's reviewed a doctor and used that phrase, and you can figure out if the review is for a doctor who'd be good to connect with.
GPs would tell me to stop being lazy when I would asked for a referral to one, so I paid top price and went direct.
I found this doctor _did_ get it, it was worth it, so now navigating treatment. It was a huge relief as it's like someone has finally listened to what I have been saying for over a decade.
Best advice I've heard here is that you need to talk less about how you're coping, and more about how it's still impairing you despite that.
After all, so the doctor reasons, if you've built coping skills that handle it without medication, then why not just stick with those? What you have to do is give them an answer to that unspoken question.
I hate this and it's the case with most GPs, at least in my country. I genuinely just wish my therapist was also my GP.
Yes I know, thats exactly where the issue is.
However, I can imagine that some aspects of ADHD - notably the hyperfocus - can be considered a positive trait, something that is hard to let go of. And that's fine, if you want to have it you can skip the medication just fine.
However, you also mentioned RSD; my girlfriend described that the medication she's on helps a lot with daily mood swings. She seems a lot more patient and resilient about small things in the day now that she's on the medication. Do consider it if you find yourself struggling in e.g. the workplace.
But that person was actually diagnosed with "Sensory Processing Disorder".
I'm glad that people are more aware of ADHD and because of that receive proper medication. On the other hand the symptoms of ADHD can be very similar to other disorders. Many neurological problems overlap and someone having a dysfunction in one area could also have a dysfunction in others.
So to all commenters in here, be aware that a label of ADHD may only be a part of the full picture.
Does tea count? I dislike coffee; I only drink some when I absolutely need to stay awake (caffeine in energy drinks is another thing, this I like). But ever since I was a kid, I've been drinking ridiculous amounts of black teas every day, on the order of 10-15 cups. I ask because I keep hearing that the stuff in tea is pretty much the same thing as caffeine...
I think it’s treatable. Anecdote: I knocked doors for the Hillary campaign in Denver in 2016 at the request of a friend. While this initially terrified me, something changed over the week I was there.
I found that when I went home, my social anxiety was damn near nonexistent. I’d inadvertently done exposure therapy for rejection, and goddamn it felt great. It wore off eventually, but I’m still trying to get back there, now that I know where “there” is.
Edit: Yikes! I took their little quiz, I ticked the 'often' choice to all those questions...
It's on the level of the pot head in your team telling you "Dude, you're my hero, I've never seen someone not give a fuck like you" because he noticed you were not paying attention during a meeting.
Everybody is losing focus in school, sure, everybody is losing their school items, sure, but not everybody sits on a test and then goes home with the test in his backpack, instead of submitting it, right?
How many times have you boarded the wrong train or buss?
How many times have you booked and airplane ticket with the wrong dates?
Does everybody mess up their invoices on a regular basis, until it stresses you out enough that you triple check it every time?
Do you only perform while anxious?
Have you ever tried stimulants? I have and it was a HUGE "AA-HAAA, so I guess the chatter in my head is gone, I can sit at my desk for 2 hours straight, my pulse has gone from 90bpm to 60bpm, I'm completely calm, I guess this is how normal people feel everyday? "
Sort of. I have no problem paying attention in a meeting in which I might be called on because of the terror of getting called on and not knowing what was asked (that happens to me a lot).
I find it very difficult to listen to podcasts. My mind drifts off and I realize I haven't heard the last 20 minutes, so I rewind. On good days, I can make it about an hour before I start drifting off. On bad days, I'm lucky to make it through 10 minutes.
> How many times have you booked and airplane ticket with the wrong dates?
Never. I'm hypervigilant when traveling by air. I only board the wrong bus if I'm really distracted, like I'm in a conversation either in person or online and I'm focusing on that instead of where I'm going. I'm the kind of person that really has to focus on where he's going. Even when I'm driving, I'll miss turns if my passenger is talking to me.
> It's on the level of the pot head in your team telling you "Dude, you're my hero, I've never seen someone not give a fuck like you" because he noticed you were not paying attention during a meeting.
I've had people tell me that after meetings before.
> Have you ever tried stimulants?
I've never tried stimulants stronger than red bull. I have noticed that large doses of caffeine calms me down. It's a fairly common occurrence for me to drink an espresso or red bull before bed and having no problems sleeping.
I've boarded a wrong tram a few times. I never did book an airplane ticket wrong because it's a high-stakes thing that I check 20 times (and then few more times next day) just to be sure I didn't screw up. Whenever I feel there's a chance to make a mistake that would be inconvenient, I'm fixating on it and doing it really extra careful - therefore not making the mistake. Same with invoices; I wrote myself software to calculate and I still check everything with a calculator before sending the PDF off.
Depersonalization/feelings of emptiness -- I do experience those occasionally because those are part of BPD, but they've gone down significantly over the years and I have a pretty stable life right now.
The bad thing for me is if I'm well rested/not anxious I'm usually not interested in doing anything at all; it's just my hypothesis that anxiety is my high-functioning mechanism for my ADD.
While on certain stimulants (they're not all the same) things just click and I am very calm, zero chatter in my head, I feel a bit dumber than usual, but I also can just focus and do meaningful things. Other stimulants make me euphoric and while I can focus I can easily end up focusing on the wrong things; on other stimulants I'm more anxious than usual, more driven and still better able to focus; unfortunately I live in a country where adults cannot receive stimulants period, let alone find a psychiatrist who's willing to play with stimulants/non-stimulants, dosages and so on.
It's also much more difficult to maintain their attention on things that are no longer stimulating.
So ADHD folks are great at starting interesting projects, but once the space of possibilities has been narrowed down and all that's left is hammering it out, it becomes intensely difficult to maintain attention on that due to lack of stimulation.
Dr. Barkley’s talk completely altered my understanding of the disorder. I always knew I had it. My life roughly paralleled the author’s. After failing out of school, I found workarounds that got me through the second time (thanks to extremely supportive parents).
This video, combined with my wife’s urging, caused me to find a legitimate doctor who specialized in it (he’s ADHD too), and get treatment. I was already doing well with my coping mechanisms, but my life took off like a rocket with treatment.
If anything in the article or the comments resonates, I would watch this ASAP: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SCAGc-rkIfo
After watching this video, and almost being moved to tears with how accurately everything in it described my life, and seeing your comment about being better off with treatment, I am convinced I should finally try something.
I too have been able to cope, but I would love to live beyond just coping and I am realizing it is only shame and pride stopping me from getting help, and fear that meds could make me worse or I couldn't find a good doctor.
If they’re cavalier about just throwing meds at you, I’d probably keep looking. My doctor always counsels that the ideal is to work myself into a position in life where I no longer need to take medication. He encouraged me to bail on it during vacations, if that’s my preference. He interviews and is constantly looking for signs that I should adjust my dosage. If you’re in SF, shoot me another reply and I’ll send you his info.
(It's not that I'm not suited or capable of doing the writing part of blogging; I make a living ghost writing other people's blog articles and ebooks.)
It's not a matter of preferring to work on more interesting things. It's more along the lines of not realizing uninteresting things need to be dealt with (or even exist at all, sometimes) until they bite you in the ass.
Keeping up the theme of starting a blog... you'll have a rational understanding that a blog needs content. But you'll get wrapped up in solving the more interesting design/engineering problems. Once those parts of the project have been sorted out well enough that you are no longer actively solving a problem (note, I didn't say they were completed), something unrelated, but more interesting, will cross your mind and steal your attention away.
The rapid dialogue means there’s no opportunity for intrusive thoughts to enter, but I know it all by heart, so there’s zero intrigue in any of it.
This is not something that most people have problems with?
>28% of individuals with ADHD repeated a grade compared with 7% of controls (p< .001).
You can find many such studies about ADHD that find that people with ADHD just do worse in situations that require sustained attention and persistence.
Yes, all of those things are classic ADHD... But they barely even scratch the surface. That's just the "haha" relatable stuff. Time management issues are real.
ADHD is, in essence, making a list of all the things you need to get done, placing the list in all areas you frequent as visible as possible, and then wondering how 16 hours went by and you're still on item #1 but now you know a whole lot about lizards that you didn't before.
ADHD is also the reason you can get work done for 16 hours straight without distractions.
The overdiagnosing of ADHD is only making things worse because it prevents some people from understanding when they need to make real lifestyle adjustments... both people who hide behind the diagnosis and people who refuse to take it seriously.
In today's world of hyper-distraction this is becoming all the more pertinent. ADHD can affect people of all walks of life and level of intellect, and it can be paralyzing as an adult with the amount of sensory information present in today's society. And we still aren't even sure what environmental factors if any can cause ADHD... for all we know modern society is contributing.
> ...even short-term engagement with an extensively hyperlinked online environment (i.e., online shopping for 15 minutes) reduces attentional scope for a sustained duration after coming offline, whereas reading a magazine does not produce these deficits
Overdiagnosis is real -- being a developmental disorder, ADHD people present age-inappropriate behavior -- "you're too old for this." A lot of people simply grow out of it (although, the ADHD brain typically reaches maturity around the age of 35, so, it can take a while). But many people never grow out of it, so underdiagnosis of ADULT ADHD is real.
In most countries, however, underdiagnosis is the real issue in most countries. I'm in the Netherlands and I went to a school for special children and talked to half a dozen therapists over ten years, and not one of them even considered it, while it's one of the most common disabilities, and considered one of the easiest to treat. I went to my GP and she had no idea about it, I basically had to explain the diagnostic criteria to her myself. It's possible I've just been really unlucky with the last 10 professionals I went to, but I think it's representative of the attitude in Europe -- especially the farther you go south and east.
For me, the meds have a simple to describe effect: the amount of mental energy I use to concentrate goes down greatly when the meds are in my system.
I did some of my most innovative, creative work early in my career, before the meds. This was due to a number of factors, and I've done some pretty innovative stuff since, but not on that same level. (A big part was being in the right place at the right time.)
But there was cost: even though I was in my 20s, coming home after concentrating for 8 or 9 hours, even after a full night's sleep, I would need to take a nap before finishing my evening. Many hours of concentration just drained me, because it took so much energy.
The meds have changed little, for me, except allowing that focus to cost less.
No, it's not lost on me that I admitted to previously consuming 3/4 of a gallon of Monster a day two comments ago and now I'm posting about shitting blood, but I think there were other contributing factors (notably bad lifting technique).
Edit: More on topic, if I don't care about the yes/no checkbox of whether they think I have "ADHD," and I don't want to get on the medication (which I've tried, informally researched, and made a fairly informed decision about), what can professional advice provide me that internet research about symptoms and ways of coping with them can't?
May be pure coincidence, but in my case the former was causing the latter. Through trial and error I discovered that zero caffeine intake completely eliminates my symptoms.
I know you didn't ask me, but as somebody who just realized he could have a mental illness, the thing that terrifies me most is being branded. Technically, on the books, ADHD is an incurable mental illness. That means, once diagnosed, you're forever mentally unstable in the eyes of both the law and potential business partners.
I doubt I'll bother to get officially diagnosed. The risk is too great and the upside too small. I've been coping this long with it and now that I know what I'm dealing with I can find ways to cope with it even better.
Talking to a medical professional was eye opening. It's worth having he conversation, at the very least. I was very skeptical after being diagnosed.
Then I forgot to renew my prescription the other week and it was utter chaos. I can't believe how much focus and discipline I used to lack.
I get that these questions can be gamed if you're just seeking a prescription, but in my case I'm generally quite hesitant to take these sorts of drugs. I have close friends who had many very messed up years due to struggles with ADHD medication.
Now I feel like I'm living life with my eyes open. Far from perfect, but I am able to have ownership of my issues.
And absent minded. And flighty. Thats why the homework never got done. Can binge on a video game for hours and hours, with a singular, obsessive focus. Therefore, no attention problem, right? (WRONG!)
Talk to a doctor. Do be wary of the temptation to explain away all these failings that you presume are choices... thats always a very attractive scenario... but get a professional opinion.
Can you elaborate on that? Why is it wrong?
I've thought about this topic a lot in the past. I remember back in the day I had massive gaming sessions (like 10 hours a day for weeks). Games that are competitive and "skillful" too, not just lounging around playing them 1 handed. It required tremendous focus.
But when playing a game, you often have only 1 task happening which is "play the game", there's nothing distracting you and it requires your brain to actively be engaged.
However if you replace gaming with writing a 5,000 word blog post or creating some web app suddenly that focus isn't there. If you can focus during the game, why can't you focus outside of it?
Hyper-focus like that doesn't mean you have ADHD - but people often use it to rule out ADHD as a possibility, and never get tested, when maybe they should.
I don't know if it's me or modern culture but my brain needs instant feedback. Video games are nearly unparalleled for that. Programming is similar, exams and homework (unlike a lot of people posting here) do it for me too, because I get that feedback in a solid, concrete number.
Video games are highly stimulating and full of immediate feedback when you do well or poorly. This gives you the dopamine hit that your brain is searching for. And the immediate feedback means that the results of your doing well or poorly are felt right away, instead of in a nebulous future.
So you can focus during the game because you're getting a constant stream of dopamine and you always know how well you're doing. Get to the blog post though and... where'd the dopamine go? If you don't write this blog post right now when will you feel the pain? If it's not for a while, then it's too far away for the ADHD brain to put it into perspective because of the time-blindness. It's one of the reasons ADHDers are famous for procrastinating til the last moment, then suddenly cranking out that paper the night before. Once you finally get that sense of urgency of the impending deadline, you can focus.
It's deceptive; from the outside games seem like a single task that you can just focus on, unlike those other single tasks. But games are usually made up of a lot of things to keep track of, remember, etc. and it oddly works well for ADD/ADHD since you repeatedly switch focus between them all, something we're actually great at doing.
Take a competitive game like Overwatch: there's the general things to focus that any FPS has, but you also have to keep other things in mind like: map layout, your own positioning, ability cooldowns, enemy positioning (where you remember them and where they're likely to be next), the objective, whatever strategy you or your team have, etc. Instead of being distracted off the single task of "playing Overwatch", you're actively switching between the different phases that make up "what am I going to do next", even if you don't notice it.
Conversely, if a game is going slowly, you might get distracted and wander off looking for something more intense to do -- like killing an enemy -- and get yourself caught out of position.
Or in a PvE-multiplayer/single-player sense, consider raids (10-20man group vs. 1 boss) in MMOs: you have your own character's attack rotation to do, but also the flow of the current boss to think about: incoming spells, curses/debuffs to watch for, positioning, next objective (if the boss is more phase-based rather than just repetitive attacking), etc. If you're a melee character positioning and moving might be a constant thing to focus on, too. Even if you're already used to it and it's automatic to you, it's still something your mind actively thinks about and switches focus between.
Even in a game that has much less mechanics going on, your ADD/ADHD might just switch focus between the game's visuals, just as you physically get distracted by things around you (except this time they're the in-game environment and not distractions, but things the devs intended for you to interact with).
TL;DR: A video game isn't a single, coherent task that goes from A-Z, it's a giant collection of many tiny repeating (but not necessarily repetitive) tasks that you constantly switch between, like a processor context-switching between processes. And that plays into ADD/ADHD's pros rather than cons.
You have writing docs, writing tests, working on the user auth work flow / any app features, researching features / inspiration, designing a page, writing a bit of CSS, tinkering with the ops side of things (deployment / infra code), thinking about how you're going to generate traffic to it, writing blog posts or making videos surrounding your project idea and the list goes on.
You could bounce around all of that and could think "ok, what's next?" after completing any one of those things but for some reason it's not the same.
Although I guess another difference is games tend to have a lot of immediate rewards, or even more strongly, "potential" rewards. Like in your PvE MMO example. There's always a chance something might drop that will make your character better. Especially useful in games like path of exile (action RPG where your items / loot play a big factor) and even if the items you want don't drop, you're still gaining experience to level up your character which gives you ancillary rewards, and since it's a multiplayer game you could trade them with other people for things you want in return.
Where as with the coding project, there's really no rewards until it's done and even then there's no guarantee. You have to be content with just patting yourself on the back with a "hey good job, you finished writing tests for the user sign up work flow, now move onto X".
The same thing applies to writing to a lesser extent. There's research, coming up with a good example, writing sections / paragraphs, creating associated images, etc.. None of that really has immediate effects until it's fully done and you publish it, and even then, the publishing aspect might not even be the thing that motivates you to write it. Like, I've written 230ish blog posts but I write them with 0 expectations. I write them because they help me materialize what I'm learning or have learned, but sometimes it's difficult to write even if I think to myself that I want to.
The idea of loot and reward is a good theory but I meant it only in the sense of gameplay, and I can prove it by "loot lockout": in World of Warcraft you can only get loot from a raid boss in a specific difficulty once a week. The next successes give you no reward (and you can't trade loot with someone who did get loot when you couldn't). However, I've still cleared the same bosses several times a week because they were also fun. It was guaranteed that I wouldn't get immediate -- or any -- rewards for my success but it was still fun and focusable.
Your experience is interesting because I played Diablo 3 when it first came out and shortly afterwards got bored because the loot wasn't interesting. Once I finished all of the difficulties in hardcore mode (before everything got nerfed beyond its initial release) I uninstalled. But, I somehow managed to put thousands of hours into Diablo 2 and Path of Exile, both of which have much more interesting items (at least to me). Maybe the reward aspect is more important to me in those types of games.
I get what you mean by the gaming tasks though. I used to play moba style games. Every second had something to think about, and really it's almost like you have to turn off your brain and just let your brain take over if that makes any sense. If you tried to explain the exact work flow of what you had to think about in 5 seconds it almost seems impossible, but somehow with enough practice it's effortless. Maybe when your brain is in that state, it's not possible to get distracted.
Most people can relate to that experience, of course. Its just a much bigger struggle for ADHD folks (hence, the self-image of laziness, lacking discipline, etc), and often takes medication to manage.
In a fast paced action game, everything tends to stimulating. In software development... its mixed bag for most of us!
Yes, this was indeed my point (alongside the micro-tasks point in my other reply): games are made to be flashy, stimulating and exciting. They're made to pull your attention, which makes them easier to focus on for someone with ADHD.
I failed freshman composition 3 times in a row since it was the only class where tests were not part of the grade.
As an adult, I find that laziness had become a learned behavior. I was smart and generally easy-going meant that none of my K-12 teachers were willing to flunk me, but getting an A seemed out-of-reach. This meant that I could "get by" with minimal effort, while intense efforts didn't result in obviously visibly better outcomes.
I eventually found a good therapist (though Sturgeons law definitely holds for therapists) and have been sorting things out since.
As far as "getting by" and laziness as a learned behavior, I always worked hardest on my hobbies throughout K-12, so as an adult I've gotten to the point where my hobbies have become my careers. I started building PCs and running Linux on my own in High School, along with playing music, so now I'm a software engineer/musician. Software is one of the few careers where you can go on an insane research binge on a whim and actually be praised for it, and performing music is one of the only things that I've ever done that fully quiets my mind. Something about the adrenaline of being on a stage really helps with my ADHD-Inattentive type; guess it's just like a stimulant.
"Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life", etc
Having the correct label helps some people get their uncooperative body to be productive enough to make life suck less. Just calling it "laziness" generally suggests zero real remedies and often leads to the beatings shall continue until morale improves.
The fact I may have an incurable mental illness (and that I could be branded as such) terrifies me.
Plenty of people with ADHD choose not to take medication though, and I'm having trouble coming up with a situation in which a judge would order you to take it. As long as you're not blaming your ADHD as a reason you broke the law (which you shouldn't, ADHDers may have poor impulse control and bad executive function, but we still need to hold ourselves accountable for our actions), I don't see where it's the law's business if you have it or don't, or medicate it or don't. There are plenty of non-medication coping strategies, including therapy and coaching.
Underachieving is just inability to deploy your efforts effectively, or even inability to muster an effort in the worst cases. That translates to every domain and aspect of human life from scholastic to social to friendships etc etc etc.
Value is not entirely subjective.
Welcome. We call it, life.
That's probably sugar, not caffeine. Sugar is a much stronger drug than caffeine. Try coffee, not red bull.
My brother as an adult was able to self diagnose and just try adderall(or was it ritalin) since even non-ADHD people get benefits concentrating with it, and yeah that worked out well for him, he doesnt continue using it and can approach professional work more holistically. I would attribute a lot of his academia challenges and underperformance to undiagnosed ADD/ADHD. Works great for the coked out party scene though. Got to swim in the right environment.
I dont have the above experience, but I did take an in person class at a college recently. Havent otherwise done formal education in almost a decade. The first couple of sessions I was fidgeting and couldnt stand sitting still, which was shocking to me but I got acclimated after that. I cant imagine what children are going through, I think our environment isnt helping
How do you KNOW that adhd is “overdiagnosed?” Are you a clinical psychiatrist? Or a clinical researcher?
Probably not. You just saw some article written by a person who doesn’t specialize in the area. Who doesn’t have access to the full data, nor have any exposure to what’s REALLY going on out there.
You don’t know. You just think you know because you saw some Netflix documentary about teenagers selling adderall pills.
Remember selection bias: the narrative comes first and then we filter data to fit our idea of how the world “is.”
Nominally what this means is people avoid getting treatment that could make a real difference to their life.
Practically speaking any disorder that impairs executive functioning and uses Schedule II drugs in treatment is going to be over diagnosed because of malingering by people who want the drugs and under diagnosed in the population of individuals with the disorder because of impaired executive functioning and self awareness.
The human mind can only concentrate on a few things at a time even when "multitasking", and it cannot concentrate on anything else when working on a complex, concentration-oriented problem. Respect how your brain works, even if it goes against your ADD instincts. (Example, from a book on how thought works... you can concentrate on multiple things while driving, but you can't concentrate on multiple things while computing 57 x 432.61 in your head. There are two modes to thinking; one allows multitasking but limits complexity of individual tasks. The other allows deep complexity, but at the exclusion of thinking of anything else.
So those 52 tabs? If you try to think about all of them, you can't think about any of them in a meaningful way. Pushing things off your plate is the most fundamental defense mechanism the ADD mind can have. Have one tab open. Or two or three. Finish what you're doing before trying to do something else. Don't let the squirrel do the thinking for you. You can outthink the squirrel.
> I'm seeing a disturbing pattern take shape.
I fall into alot of the list but I will say I do not suffer from ADHD.
When I was at school I was told I had ADHD and put on Ritalin. But I couldn't tell the difference between taking ritalin and not taking it, I didn't focus any better, didn't get in trouble any less.
I always figured I wasn't challenged enough in school, or wasn't doing something I enjoyed.
If I was doing technical drawing I always got top of the class and helped the other kids with their work. In History class we learned about NZ history which is like 150 years of nothing, so I couldn't focus, yet you give me a book about Egypt and I'm fascinated and sit for hours reading.
Fast forward many years and I watched: https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_cre...
ADHD is a real thing, but I recon majority of people 'diagnosed' with ADHD, don't actually suffer from it. And I don't believe the Author suffers from it.
While I like Sir Robinson's talk, for me The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher is what really struck a cord: http://www.swaraj.org/multiversity/gatto_7lesson.htm. I always felt like the school system (in Sweden at least) mainly wanted to students to fit into it, rather than the other way around. So as someone who is gifted according to WISC and WAIS, but who lacks the executive functioning and skill to do anything except whatever happens to be the most interesting at the moment, it was just hell. Even now at age 36 my body goes stiff whenever someone mentions homework O_O
The author was diagnosed after multiple sessions with a medical professional.
Yes, and we also know that medical professionals can also misdiagnose ADHD...
I know for me, I went to my dream college and studied exactly what I wanted to study, yet I couldn’t keep up. I went from getting mostly As in high school to eventually failing out (later to return). I was under immense psychological stress and couldn’t get myself to do basic things. I was always overwhelmed. I couldn’t and still can’t be in social situations when loud music is nearby. I’ve essentially had to reshape my life to work around this. It made me nearly non-functional.
And years later, now that I’ve built my life in a way where it works with my ADD, I can be incredibly productive and imaginative and innovative.
What about the second desktop?
My evernote and bookmarks are overflowing, though.
I feel your pain. I hate typing on phones; feels so inefficient. It is definitely good to not have the 50 tabs problem mobile too.
wait, aren't we all like that?
However, actual ADHD, and other similar attentional or executive function impairments are very likely to be under diagnosed BIG TIME.
Two great reliefs came from the diagnosis:
1. I’m not a lazy, unmotivated person
2. Meds, at the right dose, are amazing. When my Vyvanse kicks in, it’s like walking away from an outdoor block party in my brain and getting into a sound proof booth where I can hear only the noise I want (or have) to.
Things I lived with my whole life that were both positive and negative depending on the circumstances:
- I can’t even stand the thought of a task, class, or activity I’m not interested in, but if I’m even slightly interested I can go deep fast and keep going with no loss of zeal until I’m satisfied. Basically, I can get super obsessed with stuff for short or long periods of time. My hobby background is ridiculously all over the place.
- I think and iterate my thoughts faster than most people can keep up, and I iterate my thoughts externally, if I’m on a roll good luck getting a word in between breaths. My psych “classified” me as a second order thinker and I run lots of what-if permutations and shave and shape creative solutions very fast. It also means I must be extremely cognizant of letting other be heard, especially those that like to ruminate on an idea and bring it to light more fully formed.
- My leg never stopped bouncing, helpful when I played music to keep time, annoying to anyone near me.
- I’m quick to temper and just as fast back to moving on.
- Little to no patience for bullshit or things I just am not interested in. Don’t tell me a detailed story of how to get there, just give me the highlights. I do t care about how you feel about some objective thing, just give me the facts and let’s keep moving.
Lots of other stuff, but basically I coped, unknowingly by creating rituals that allowed me to not forget or have to waste time finding things:
- Get home, keys and wallet go in the exact same place every time
- Todo list for next week created at the end of every Friday, revised at the end of every week day, and reviewed every morning
- The thing I want to do least is the thing I force myself to do first, and nothing else until it’s done
- Organize my schedule in a calendar, if it’s not in there it doesn’t exist and I won’t remember
- Just remembered to put that thing in the car for tomorrow and I’m laying in bed? Get up RIGHT NOW and go do it.
- Can’t forget your coat if your car keys are always in them
- My working area is spotless. No bobble heads on the desk or stacks of papers. Desk is completely clear, cables neatly organized, zip tied, and hidden.
Here’s the thing, maybe you do have ADHD. Maybe you don’t. The rituals you focus on and make so habitual you don’t even have to think about them will still work for you.
1. Lazy - CHECK
2. can’t even stand the thought of a task, class, or activity I’m not interested - CHECK
3. My hobby background is ridiculously all over the place - CHECK
4. My leg never stopped bouncing, helpful when I played music to keep time - CHECK. Literally air double-bass drumming to some really high tempo progmetal as I type this.
5. I’m quick to temper and just as fast back to moving on. - 1st NEGATIVE
6. Don’t tell me a detailed story of how to get there, just give me the highlights - 2nd NEGATIVE
7. I'll take a break to read an article and hours will go by before I realize what's happened - CHECK
8. I'm horrible at completing simple, repetitive tasks. I'm terrible at time management - CHECK
9. Lost hours / while day at a time when I was doing something interesting - CHECK
10. creating rituals - Literally follow 90% of the rituals you already mentioned.
At this point if I was diagnosed with ADHD, I don't know if I'd be annoyed or relieved at the revelation.
But who is?
This is one of the problems in modern society, the concept that if you're not interested in something then you can skip it and find a medical excuse.
No-one ( generalising ) likes doing tax returns or washing dishes, but you need to look beyond the immediate discomfort to the longer-term benefits. That is self-discipline, not some magical superpower.
And that is _exactly_ what someone with ADHD struggles with. Long term consequences be damned, I want something that excites me and gives me a benefit _now_.
My brain wanders off to the point of literally not being able to pay attention. To the point, that I would routinely get barely passing grades in a boring course but ace interesting courses. Very few other students had that level of variance in their grades.
I also just can't do anything that has to do with data entry. I start, and in 2 minutes I realize the number are all wrong. I get double vision on the screen and am either yawning/daydreaming/thinking of the interesting things within that small time.
My main issue was that originally it gave me a calm and relaxing feeling but over time I began to feel more an more anxiety. I'm not normally an anxious person, and the first time I an anxiety attack I thought I was having a heart attack and went to the ER. Magnesium, L-tyrosine, and good sleep can help but eventually, it would just make me feel jittery and unfocused. The anxiety also caused me to subconsciously swallow air and combined with the increased water I would drink it started to cause me stomach issues. I suspect the excess water diluted my stomach acid causing my stomach to make more. The swallowed air put pressure on my esophagus and eventually, I developed a hiatal hernia. This allowed my stomach acid to start damaging my esophagus and would result in constant burping / GERD.
The worst part is that the GERD was anxiety induced and things like Tums or even Zantac or Nexium did nothing. The only thing that worked was Xanax. However, Xanax is an incredibly powerful drug that can cause bizarre behavior because sometimes you speak without a normal filter. I didn't like the concept of having to take another powerful drug to counter the side effects of the first powerful drug, nor was I comfortable with medication effecting my personality. Furthermore, because of the stomach issues, I began to feel like I needed to make a change because it wasn't sustainable. I began a regiment to taper off by reducing the dosage and stopped taking it daily.
It wasn't as bad as I thought because what I realized is that the original effect that helped me just didn't work anymore and I really hadn't felt it in a long time. In many ways, that slow reduction of effect over time trained me to be able to do work without it. By the end, I was more productive without it because I wouldn't have the stomach/anxiety issues. Furthermore, my sleep has never been better.
That can end really badly; I'm glad it's worked out for you.
I should probably see a psychologist someday.
I were in ADHD tests but I was told I may just have "small_brain_clipboard", never heard anything back..
It's also worth noting that in France, ADHD is seen as a problem with a child's environment instead of a medical issue.
Context and history is just as important.