Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

A lot of Twice Exceptional* people get labeled lazy. It may not be ADHD. It may be some other hidden issue. In the vast majority of cases, people who get identified as an adult seem to be tremendously relieved and empowered by having a better label than lazy.

* https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twice_exceptional

That's a label I've never heard of before. My younger self checks every single one of the boxes in the strength/weaknesses table. I graduated college with a 2.2GPA entirely on my ability to score really well on all the exams I managed to show up to.

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[1] definitely holds for therapists) and have been sorting things out since.

Holy crap, that sounds almost exactly like my college experience except I dropped out after my major/department was cut from the university.

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

Well, particularly with ADHD, if it’s harder to power through life tasks or remain focused on topics that are not mentally stimulating, it typically means you can hyper focus when you do stumble into something that is mentally stimulating. I think people with ADHD have a high propensity to large successes, or tragic failure because if you don’t find your true interest or calling, it’s harder to carry through something that you find is just ok.

My handicap is medical. If I can't focus, it's usually because I'm miserably sick or feverish.

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.

I went the other direction. I had no problem with being called lazy or calling myself lazy. It was a familiar and comforting crutch, like slipping into an old pair of sneakers. I only got B+ on the test? No worries. I could have gotten an A had I actually tried and wasn't so lazy. But, I couldn't be bothered, because I'm lazy.

The fact I may have an incurable mental illness (and that I could be branded as such) terrifies me.

Don't consider it an incurable mental illness. It's not a sickness, it's just a genetic variation in how the brain is wired. Having a certain percentage of the population with ADHD was probably an advantage in our evolutionary past. There are a lot of good things that come alongside it, like hyperfocus, greater creative thinking, and an increased ability to multitask. It's only really a big problem in our modern society, that values people's abilities to be super-productive cogs in a machine and values consistent output over anything else (like creative solutions), that ADHD becomes a huge problem.

I appreciate what you're trying to do, but it's not about what I think. It's about what the rest of society thinks, especially the legal system and people hiring programmers for jobs. I don't imagine judges look kindly on someone who is officially diagnosed with a mental illness deciding not to take any medication for said mental illness.

Well, true. I have not disclosed to my job that I was diagnosed with ADHD, and I don't particularly plan to (I wouldn't deny it if it came up, but I'm not going to volunteer the information either). There are more downsides than upsides to disclosure. It's generally recommended to not disclose, especially during the hiring process, unless you truly cannot cope in your job without some sort of ADA accommodation, in which case you must disclose for the ADA to kick in.

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.


Exceptional doesn't mean better.

Unusual strengths and unusual deficits are both exceptions to the norm.

One of the two "exceptions" is mental illness so

There are other axes by which to assess humans than "acheivement". There are even other axes for value! Someone can be "exceptional" along any of them.

Goal oriented self-directed behavior is what distinguishes us from apes.

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.

Life isn't deterministic.

I know literally no one who isn't quite lazy. My friends have no ADHD and they suck at time management, hate finishing projects and have a hard time focusing on boring shit.

Welcome. We call it, life.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact