Sidebar recommendation March 21, 2010 9:34 AM   Subscribe

I would like to submit this thread on ADD/ADHD for sidebarring. It contains some of the most honest, vulnerable, relatable descriptions of the effects on one's daily life that I have ever heard. Since ADD comes up a lot in AskMe, I think it would be valuable to highlight it.
posted by desjardins to MetaFilter-Related at 9:34 AM (108 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Isn't this what the "fantastic" flag is for?
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:14 AM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the fantastic flag was for donuts?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on March 21, 2010


I don't know about that thread (haven't read it), but isn't pointing out excellent threads/comments that might warrant side-barring or other highlighting a fairly accepted use of MeTa?
posted by Dumsnill at 10:28 AM on March 21, 2010


Yes, yes it is, but that won't stop people who think we're running out of MeTa.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:44 AM on March 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


I second the idea. That thread is fascinating.
posted by Solomon at 11:13 AM on March 21, 2010


pointing out excellent threads/comments that might warrant side-barring or other highlighting a fairly accepted use of MeTa?

But, then, why bother to sidebar it if it's already got a MeTa pointing to it?

FantasticIAMO.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:45 AM on March 21, 2010


Because lots of regular users don't come to MeTa that often, by which point this post would be way down the page?
posted by bettafish at 11:50 AM on March 21, 2010


*opens jar of meTa*

Shit, we're out of meTa!

*opens pantry door, sees cases and cases of unopened meTa*

Whew!

It is indeed a fantastic thread, and I think sidebarring it would be good.
posted by rtha at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a great thread, and yeah, I think it should be sidebarred. MeTa is not the same thing.
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM on March 21, 2010


I forget what this is about. Did Brandon Blatcher spouse someone again?
posted by special-k at 12:50 PM on March 21, 2010


And now that I have read the thread: It was actually quite interesting. Dumsnill has spoken.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:56 PM on March 21, 2010


I thought that AskMe about objections to health care reform was quite good.
posted by box at 1:09 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Completely out of nowhere and apropos of nothing, I want to encourage all of you to listen to Bauhaus's cover of Brian Eno's Third Uncle, because it is awesome.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:17 PM on March 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


tl;dr
posted by orthogonality at 1:24 PM on March 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was told there would be donuts here.
posted by elizardbits at 1:28 PM on March 21, 2010


I do read meta, but if I did not, I would have missed this thread.

I know it sounds corny and schmoozy and all that, but this thread may be the start of something good for me.

Like many others, I saw myself on that post, down to very specific details, but I thought nothing much of it for a minute. This happens to everyone to a degree, right?

Then I called my mother and she confirmed a fuzzy memory I have. At age 12 or so I got into a lot of trouble at school, but I had very good grades. Instead of expelling me, they sent me to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed "hyperactivity". The diagnosis was confirmed by a second doctor.

My mom did not want to drug me, so instead of giving me the right pills, she game me vitamin c pills (this is what the foggy memory was about). She also told the teachers that the psychiatrists had said it was ok for me to be drawing or reading a book during class. I got good grades, so all was fine. Yay for placebos, I stopped getting int trouble and had a (what I thought was) normal school life.

Could it be like they day I got prescribed glasses in college and I finally understood how everyone could finish their technical drawings in 2 hours instead of 8? They can actually see the lead touching the paper!

After I take a shower, fix my bike, wax my bike, ride my bike, ride by the park to say hi to my wife, buy the new saddle, check my email, take pictures of the i-94 to send to the lawyers, do the fishtanks water change, order new shoes, call my mother again, adjust the bike again, read the tutorial on adjusting the bike, emailing myself the link to the tutorial, I will call the doctor.
posted by dirty lies at 1:30 PM on March 21, 2010


I'm spousing the crap out your donuts RIGHT NOW.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on March 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The wife is back from the park, I never showed up because i decided to check mefi just for 3minutes before taking a shower, 1 hour ago. I am going to buy her donuts and try to save the day.
posted by dirty lies at 1:35 PM on March 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was told there would be donuts here.

You were misinformed; there were some cheap potato chips and off-brand Sprite, but we plowed through them before you got here.
posted by killdevil at 1:39 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is a very interesting thread, and worth sidebarring, but speaking as a person who would likely get the diagnosis, I think I get the most out of the very rare accounts of struggles with ADD/ADHD which aren't mostly just bragging.
posted by jamjam at 2:07 PM on March 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree that this merits sidebarring. I've read tons of literature on ADD and struggled with it for over ten years, and still this thread opened my eyes to new perspectives. Thanks for being awesome, MeFi!
posted by Fui Non Sum at 2:41 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


jamjam, what would you like to see instead of bragging? And what do you consider bragging? Sure, there might be a lot of people saying, "Yeah, I have 182 browser tabs open and I am doing 18 things right now while tapping out 'Swan Lake' with my left foot and wiggling my ears in hemiolas," but to me that sounds like people trying desperately to explain to someone who doesn't understand. Or if people are saying, "I am an awesome EMT because I am always on alert and I am happy to be stimulated," maybe that's a bit more like bragging, but whatevs -- the person is sharing that it's possible to succeed in life with what lots of people might consider a mild disability.

This is what strikes me as the biggest impact/loss from ADD/ADHD: the enoooooormous amount of coping that goes on. What kind of a life is that? I would rather hear anything about how people deal with it, survive its impact, THRIVE with it by using its manifestiations in interesting ways than hear about how someone suffers mightily. Because damn hell, we have all been suffering for a long time. We don't need to know about that.

Having been diagnosed myself, but not believed by my mom because, "well, that's just normal!" I wonder what life would have been like if my parents had gotten help for themselves, too. Because those piles of New Yorkers are only getting taller.
posted by Madamina at 2:45 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've moved onto your pies now, beware!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:57 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


> speaking as a person who would likely get the diagnosis

...you're not the target audience.
posted by languagehat at 2:59 PM on March 21, 2010


BRANDON BLATCHER STOP MARRYIN' PEOPLE STEALIN' MY PIES
posted by elizardbits at 3:06 PM on March 21, 2010


That thread is really interesting, because I see a lot of myself in it. Not enough that I'd bother getting tested for it, but I'll definitely read Driven to Distraction and see what they suggest for the stuff that feels relevant.
posted by jacalata at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2010


I recently moved in with my boyfriend and one of the rooms of his house is filled with boxes of stuff I need to unpack. I struggled for about an hour and a half and managed to get most of one small box unpacked and put away. I gave up and came to Metafilter, read that thread and cried for half an hour. I saw so much of myself in a lot of those answers and it completely overwhelmed me.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:24 PM on March 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


jamjam: "It is a very interesting thread, and worth sidebarring, but speaking as a person who would likely get the diagnosis, I think I get the most out of the very rare accounts of struggles with ADD/ADHD which aren't mostly just bragging."

I don't get what you're saying, want to rephrase and try again?? This seems insulting.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:27 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh man we should start a MeFi NYC ADHD club! NYC attracts ADHD people, I think. So does MeFi.

PERFECT STORM OF !!!!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:29 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post, I would've completely missed it!

While I can identify myself in many of the posts, I really don't like self-diagnosing and I don't feel it's bad enough to warrant a visit to the doctor and the related expense. Something to think about I guess.
posted by Memo at 3:32 PM on March 21, 2010


ADDADHD

Tried playing that a few times but couldn't get into it. Ever tried calculating thac0 on a rhombicuboctahedron? Or rolled a saving throw vs. OH MY GOD A BLUE CAR? But the final straw was having to write our character sheets on the thin edge of the paper.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:42 PM on March 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


For me the ADD thread was "you say bitch like it's a bad thing" material. I saw myself in almost every post and I like my alternative lifestyle very much, thank you. I have no desire to medicate, though I know it's good for some, I'll pass for now.
posted by Xurando at 3:42 PM on March 21, 2010


xurando I sympathize, I always like(d) myself and the way I live(d) for the most part.

of course when I really started having a huge negative impact on the lives of my loved ones I sucked it up and got some meds. If I lived alone I would probably still have an apt that closely resembles a gerbil cage. I find it comforting and kinda entertaining to have my things and papers everywhere

still think I'm more creative off of them and occasionally enjoy the wackiness of my brain as long as the stimulation is there; some days like today I forget to take my meds, so it all evens out somehow
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:50 PM on March 21, 2010


*opens jar of meTa*

Shit, we're out of meTa!

*opens pantry door, sees cases and cases of unopened meTa*

Whew!


I'd check the use by date on that. Just saying. It might have gotten all snarky.
posted by Splunge at 3:52 PM on March 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Nah, just flame it for a good long while and serve it up with some beans and taters and portabellla mushrooms and you'll be fine.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:00 PM on March 21, 2010


Thanks for this. A few days ago I actually booked an appointment to see a doctor about similar problems. I don't know if it's this or something else, but I can definitely see shadows of myself in these stories. My appointment is tomorrow afternoon, and it's nice to see so many people get good outcomes after they've admitted their struggles. Here's hoping.
posted by Sova at 4:03 PM on March 21, 2010


Thanks. I didn't see the thread, and as an ADHD case, I put in my 598 cents.

And I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with a growing stack of New Yorkers. I'm trying to be more diligent in reading them, because when I'm done, I give them to my local baristas at the coffeeshop - and they go through them faster than I do.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:20 PM on March 21, 2010


I keep meaning to drop my own description into that thread. But I keep getting distracted when I'm at a real computer, and I can't even imagine trying to describe my life with ADD via the iPhone screen. Maybe on Wednesday...I'm dogsitting then and there is Internet there.
posted by bilabial at 5:16 PM on March 21, 2010


speaking as a person who would likely get the diagnosis
>you're not the target audience


It would be nice if you could elaborate on that, as I'm not quite getting who you think the target audience is and and am deeply doubtful as to whether AskMes even have objectively-defined target audiences, not counting their respective Askers.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:59 PM on March 21, 2010


@xurando- if you can call it an alternative lifestyle, you probably don't have ADHD. Or maybe you do, and you have people in your life who do a lot of this stuff for you. There is a raft of difference between an in-the-moment lifestyle and a disorder that causes real pain for a lot of people. Kinda like saying that since you enjoy dressing in black and being morose, why can't those loosers on prozac just embrace the dark side?

I can see where someone might see those stories as bragging. After all, we are just a bunch of Adderall junkies, amiright? Seriously, though, what seems like bragging is the joy found in finally getting treatment. Or even the clarity that simply having a *reason* for what's going on in our heads. Sort of the same black humor you see in recovering alcoholics, who sometimes revel in sharing stories of their former exploits. What you don't see is the pain and damage that is the result of those exploits.

Life with untreated (medicinal or otherwise) ADD is miserable.
posted by gjc at 8:15 PM on March 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those who say they feel more creative off their meds- have you considered that your dose might be wrong? Speaking for myself and others I've known, there are no changes in the level of creativity, and with the added benefit that you actually have the focus to complete whatever creative endeavor one might choose.

Maybe a too-high dosage would have this effect. You end up being strung out?
posted by gjc at 8:23 PM on March 21, 2010


Isn't this what the "fantastic" flag is for?

Yes, but MeTa is for ultrafantastic.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 PM on March 21, 2010


I just posted in that thread, and it occured to me that it might sound like bragging, but I remebered to put in the "failure" and "idiot" parts, so it's cool.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:27 PM on March 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd be really interested in seeing neurotypical folks describe how they deal with some of the scenarios in the post. For instance, what happens when you have a free Saturday and want to clean your room?
posted by SemiSophos at 10:33 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


gjc: "For those who say they feel more creative off their meds- have you considered that your dose might be wrong?"

Naw, although thanks for the suggestion, here is how I describe my brain

Most people's brains have a filing cabinet system where they store ideas, memories, book learnin's, and they have an easy time finding stuff, putting stuff away, etc. (It's an imperfect metaphor but work with me)

in my brain, there is no filing cabinets, it's just a huge pile o'stuff

sometimes that is cool when I end up mushing together disparate things, imagine putting one page of one book next to a page from another book and then being like "hey a white whale who is in an open relationship...that would be an awesome poem" voila! and that's something I can often write, when off my meds. so I do feel more creative in that way.

In terms of actually completing creative projects, yeah, I am hella more productive on my meds, but I don't get the same wacky (quirky? bizarre?) mush of ideas, images, and other stuff that leads to the kind of creative juxtaposition that I sometimes enjoy.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:54 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm in an altogether different situation - off meds, I'm so inundated with ideas I end up getting confused and distracted and do nothing.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:39 PM on March 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't know what a sidebar is, but I really loved this thread. My hubby was given some kind of ADD meds 'to see if they'd help' and they did, but he felt so much better on them and never got a diagnosis from a psychiatrist that he actually felt like he was abusing them. He was so full of energy and getting so much done that he thought he was using them the wrong way (he thought they would make him feel mellow.) So he stopped taking them. After reading what everyone wrote, I'm making him an appointment to get in and get an official diagnosis. Then he can go back on the meds and start feeling good again.

I'm also going to get myself and my kids screened. The descriptions of school fit all of us. My younger brother was diagnosed and I've always wondered if maybe I had the same thing. The only thing I had going for me was that I could really concentrate if the subject was interesting enough, and I did well in school because I could read ahead and ace tests. Never did homework. The tuning everything out I blamed on being the oldest child and having really noisy siblings. Now I wonder if it might be more. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I was blaming a lot of my problems on anxiety, maybe ADD is causing that anxiety. It's worth the trip to the Dr. to find out.
posted by TooFewShoes at 11:41 PM on March 21, 2010


I always did well on tests because I find tests fun (heh) but went through all highschool math including AP calc without doing homework ever.

I also had to do all my calculations by hand because I lost calculators so much I never had one.

The academic thing with ADHD is that we do fine until things really start getting challenging or we have less structure (like the move from high school to college) and then we completely fall apart

In my case, I chose a college where I only had to go to one class at a time because I have, in the past, frequently been unable to find the room where an event was and then got too embarrassed to walk in late. Only needing to find one classroom helped. I flunked driver's ed because I couldn't find the classroom again after the break. It's the little things! But in elementary school my teacher regularly dumped out the contents of my messy desk on the floor and made me sort through it. As I was getting A's in every subject and being pulled out of class to take higher level reading/writing.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:47 PM on March 21, 2010


Hours after I made my comment about bragging, it finally dawned on me that what I think of as bragging might be one of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD in some people.

Well, perhaps not quite, but bragging-- clinically, grandiosity-- is a feature of mania and mania does seems to be all tangled up with ADD/ADHD:

Is it Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, or What?

...The differentiation of mania from ADHD is difficult. The response or lack of response to stimulant medications is not diagnostically helpful. Elevated mood and grandiosity are the symptoms best able to distinguish between pediatric bipolar disorder and ADHD. With bipolar disorder, hyperactivity may be more episodic. However, ADHD may be the first manifestation of mania and is often comorbid with mania in children. An overwhelming majority of manic youth also have ADHD. Almost one quarter of youth with ADHD meet the criteria for mania.
[my emphasis]
posted by jamjam at 11:53 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm still really confused about what you see as bragging. Quotes? Something? Again I'm trying not to be offended, especially because you seem to know little to nothing about ADHD or bipolar.

--Childhood bipolar is a diagnosis that has little or nothing to do with adult bipolar, so that article isn't that relevant to us grownups with ADHD

--Childhood bipolar is difficult to differentially diagnose from a lot of things, probably because very few docs have experience in it and there are few to no set guidelines for its diagnosis

--ADHD (or ADHD-like symptoms that respond to ADHD treatments) also comorbid with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD also comorbid with depression, anxiety, etc. Maybe they have something to do with one another, but they are not connected in the way that you think they are.

--Bragging and grandiosity have nothing to do with each other! Well, perhaps they do, in the same way that being a little selfish and sociopathy have something to do with each other. But there is no grandiosity in that thread. Grandiosity hardly ever includes descriptions of weaknesses, failures, confusion, humiliation. Grandiosity is more like "I'm awesome, I have the best idea ever, this is the best quiche ever made, I am going to write the best cookbook ever written, and I will get rich" than "I forget a lot of stuff...I mean a LOT"

I am trying to guess what you see, and I am going to assume that it is one of the better traits that comes with ADHD (or at least a positive side of a weakness) which is a lack of self-consciousness. We tend to be low self-monitors, blurt stuff out, say things that are weird and then go "what? what did I say?", disclose more information than is wise in a burst of enthusiasm or lack of thinking out the consequences etc. Sometimes this is good and often I make friends and have interesting conversations in this way. (The bragging! I am trying to think positively! Oh noes!) Sometimes it is not so great. (Backwards bragging! Bragging about negative stuff! NOOOOOO)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:44 AM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


there are few to no set guidelines for its diagnosis

On a re-read, this is oversimplifying it, there are criteria. There still are a lot of issues with the diagnosis.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:47 AM on March 22, 2010


Fuck....I tried to type a sentence and failed. Then I gave up. Then I figured I should post about it since I couldn't figure out what to write about my ADD in the thread. Now I'm thinking of peanuts. Why doesn't this thread have peanuts?
posted by nursegracer at 1:36 AM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jamjam... the hell? Apparently there wasn't enough shame and self-loathing in that thread to suit you?

Since you are so familiar with bipolar I'm sure you realize that a big problem with treating it is that many folks who have manic or hypomanic episodes refuse to take their meds (or go off them regularly) because they miss the high energy and creativity of their manic periods. In other words, there is (or at least appears to be) an upside to bipolar that is, unfortunately for most people, far overshadowed by the downsides.

So in similar fashion, maybe some ADD people do enjoy aspects of their disorder, or are amused by them. Or maybe some of us are just thrilled to death to discover other people who have shared our struggles and we're just kind of enjoying comparing notes with others who get it and don't think we're terrible awful lazy stupid turds because we can't keep our rooms clean or our bills paid or find our fucking shoes.

And maybe some of us have become identified with personas like "cheerful ditz" or "cool slacker" because it's a hell of a lot easier on your pride to walk around in the world pretending to be unbothered by your weirdnesses and shortcomings than it would be to slouch around projecting a "kick me, I suck" attitude all the time just to make sure the normals know that you are properly contrite.

You ever hear the phrase, "If you didn't laugh, you'd cry?" Just because someone chooses to have a sense of humor about something doesn't mean they aren't experiencing very real pain or difficulty.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:42 AM on March 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd be really interested in seeing neurotypical folks describe how they deal with some of the scenarios in the post. For instance, what happens when you have a free Saturday and want to clean your room?

Semisophos, I'm trying really hard to give a coherent answer to this. I guess it just seems so obvious to me that I can't see how it would be helpful. For me, the secret is routine.

Cleaning:
My week is organised by routines for all the stuff I regularly have to do. So I usually spend two hours on saturday morning cleaning my flat and two hours on Sunday morning at the gym. I spend a certain time each evening cleaning the kitchen. I have internalised my routines and tweak them and I always remember to do these things on time *because* they're regular.

If I have a Saturday to do an extra task like clean up my bookshelf (which is a total mess), I would mentally gird myself to be unavailable for the next two hours. And then I would just start removing all the books and putting them back in new and interesting ways.

I do sometimes get distracted by other stuff and sometimes I will give in to the temptation of doing other stuff (while leaving piles of books on the floor). But it's always a conscious choice. To keep myself focussed, I always picture my end goal (clean book shelf), while I clean. So I have this real sporting drive in my head to get to my goal, that is usually stronger than other distractions. Kind of like running a marathon and *not* getting distracted by the cute little dog on the pavement.

Losing keys:
I had a phase as a kid where I'd lose my key every half a year or so. Like, need-to-have-the-locks-changed lose. As an adult, I've trained myself not to do it by having a definite place where my key is supposed to be. I never put it anywhere else except on the table or in my bag. I also never slam the door shut but always use the key, so I don't lock myself out. Same thing with my cell phone. It's a habit and I train myself to it. Not sure how that works for ADD people.

Multitasking:
I have up to 13 tabs open and watch tv at the same time, too. I do get distracted, but in a pleasant way. It's kind of nice to be fuzzy brained sometimes (that's what that feels like).
posted by Omnomnom at 5:18 AM on March 22, 2010


For instance, what happens when you have a free Saturday and want to clean your room?

This is where it's gonna sound like bragging. I have no idea what jamjam's talking about wrt people with ADD/ADHD and bragging.

I grab a bag for trash and one for recycling and I go clean. I throw out the trash/recycling (I tend to be a pile-maker, so the top of my dresser is often covered by pocket detritus - old receipts, ticket stubs, change, etc.), put laundry in the hamper, straighten out the shoe pile, hang up/fold whatever clothing needs it and put it away.

Is it possible for me to get distracted? Oh yeah. If I come across an envelope of photos or an old magazine I haven't read, and I'm already doing something I don't like to do, my brain is happy to tell me "You've been working so hard! Take a little break and read this/look at this for a while!" and I might succumb. Or I might tell my brain to shut up, and I'll put the interesting thing aside until I've actually finished cleaning or whatever.

This might sound like my house is spotless and clutter-free, and it isn't. I have a high tolerance for clutter and I'm a pile-maker and I'm lazy. Right now the kitchen table is covered with mail because I just don't feel like sorting through it. But when I do make myself sort through it, it will take maybe ten minutes and be done.
posted by rtha at 6:34 AM on March 22, 2010


a MeFi NYC ADHD club

OMG HI HOW AREYOU I HAVEN,'T SEEN YOU SINCE THE BOWERY SHOW YOUR HAT IS SO CUTE IS THAT A BIRD I LOVE BIRDS DID YOU THE ZOO POSTERS REFILL THIS DRINK OF HEY DID SOMEONE BRING COKE I LOVE THIS BAR DID YOU SAY COKE EVERYBODY DO JUMPING JACKS AND MAKE OUT WAIT WHAT WAS I SAYING I HATE YOU!
posted by The Whelk at 7:02 AM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


That sounds like some kind of crazy goddamn magic to me. Ten minutes? Amazing.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:02 AM on March 22, 2010


(the cleaning, not the ... never mind.)
posted by louche mustachio at 7:03 AM on March 22, 2010


the irony is I am refreshing MeTa to avoid inking some cartoons and then scanning them in and oh my god so boring another cup of coffee I need a smoke hey John STOP TYPING NOW
posted by The Whelk at 7:03 AM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


That sounds like some kind of crazy goddamn magic to me. Ten minutes? Amazing.

The thing is, if you do some cleaning every day, things don't pile up that much. I mean, I pick up something from the floor and put it back where it belongs almost every time I enter a room, in passing. It's become automatic

That's why I took cleaning my bookshelf as an example rather than cleaning my room as a whole. My room is rarely that messy that it needs more than ten minutes - at any given day there are maybe five items lying where they shouldn't be.
posted by Omnomnom at 7:08 AM on March 22, 2010


Very interesting! While I was reading that thread, I kept waiting for everyone else to come in saying, "Uh, actually everyone's mind works this way." Now I want a counterpoint thread to hear about the internal lives of everyone else. What's it like to be able to listen to a lecture? What do you do with your free time, if not pursuing 15 half-baked ideas at once?
posted by xo at 7:46 AM on March 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


What do you do with your free time, if not pursuing 15 half-baked ideas at once?

I am able to pursue a single half-baked idea at a time.
posted by not that girl at 8:11 AM on March 22, 2010


Okay normal people, could you sit through Avatar? What about There Will Be Blood?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:33 AM on March 22, 2010


I kept waiting for everyone else to come in saying, "Uh, actually everyone's mind works this way." Now I want a counterpoint thread to hear about the internal lives of everyone else.

xo, that was kind of the impetus behind my comment just upthread here. I suspect that there are shades of everyone's experience in the AskMe thread, ADHD or not. After all, mental health isn't binary. Then again, we can only know our own experience, so while I'm reading along and nodding my head, I'm wondering if the majority of folks are utterly befuddled at the descriptions therein.

For what it's worth, I've never been evaluated for ADD/ADHD, but I have worked closely with a "twice exceptional" friend while he sorted out his diagnosis and treatment, and I saw much of myself in the literature he was working through to understand his own condition.
posted by SemiSophos at 8:35 AM on March 22, 2010


Okay normal people, could you sit through Avatar?

With or without tapping a finger, jiggling a leg or otherwise repetitively squirming ?
posted by y2karl at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2010


I was going to recommend Driven to Distraction in that thread, but someone already had done so. In the Treatment sections, one of the first things the authors stress is the value of education. In particular, the value of learning what ADD does and doesn't do as well as learning that there are other people out there that have the same problems. A lot of people with ADD suffer from low self-esteem because they have chronically underachieved and have been called "stupid" or "lazy" all their lives. Imagine having undiagnosed near-sightedness and spending your entire childhood a) being made fun of for not being able to read and b) being told that if you would just buckle down and look at the letters, they'd become clear. [1]

Learning that it might not be your fault and learning that other people are going through the same thing can be such a relief and can be such a boost to the person's self-esteem. That is why the original thread is so great.

[1]Furthermore, imagine if we treated people looking for glasses as though they were drug-seekers.

orthogonality: tl;dr

If the original question were about depression, would you have joked "Too depressing - didn't read it!" ?

posted by chndrcks at 10:38 AM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now I want a counterpoint thread to hear about the internal lives of everyone else.

I'm a non-ADD person who seems to always date people with ADD. So I know the difference between the way I do a lot of things at once and the way they do a lot of things at once. The big deal is that [and again, not bragging but trying to draw a line here] I do a lot of things at once, or a lot of things that are sort of incrementally progressing simultaneously, and most of them get done. And this is true every day, even if I'm tired, even if I'm stressed. And this happens without me feeling that finishing a task [one that I have to do, not necessarily want to do] is excruciating, making me sleepy or making me angry or frustrated most of the time. I do not fight with my brain, I work with it to accomplish the things I need to do.

One of the things I've noted with the [unmedicated] ADD people I've adored is that they don't have a "power through it" mode where they can buckle down and do the thing they don't want to do, or the thing they have to do. They can't. They try and they can't. They practice and they try and they want to and they can't. They develop strategies that mostly work and still this sort of thing is incredibly painful for them and causes a lot of stress and anxiety. Being able to do day to day things either becomes a huge burden every day [laundry sits in the washer for days because it was forgotten, food spoils constantly, trash doesn't go out, mail doesn't get open, bills are always overdue, movies are half watched, dates are broken or forgotten about, food burns or is undercooked, toilet paper runs out, horizontal spaces are filled with half-started projects, for months], or they adapt a "eh who cares" approach and do very little.

It's easy to look at this as "oh well maybe they need to try harder" but in all the time I've spent with various wonderful people, this is just not something I believe anymore. The example that I've read in the ADD literature is say you're sitting somewhere and someone has a gun to your head and says "do not move or I will shoot you" I could stay put as long as I needed to, I would not forget about that gun. My wonderful ex, who had many fine qualities and was a charming person and did manage to get himself barely through law school though it was a constant horrible hassle for him and he was often frustrated, he would be dead.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:38 AM on March 22, 2010 [22 favorites]


what happens when you have a free Saturday and want to clean your room?

I don't know that that's a fair scenario for comparison, because for me and for the other ADD people I know, there is no such thing as a free Saturday, because there's always such a backlog of things you've been trying to get to for weeks/months/years.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:50 AM on March 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


you're sitting somewhere and someone has a gun to your head and says "do not move or I will shoot you"

Yeah, for me, that is exactly the same as saying "I'm about to shoot you."
posted by bingo at 11:13 AM on March 22, 2010


what happens when you have a free Saturday and want to clean your room?

I don't know that that's a fair scenario for comparison, because for me and for the other ADD people I know, there is no such thing as a free Saturday, because there's always such a backlog of things you've been trying to get to for weeks/months/years.

Let me add that there's no such thing as just having to "clean my room." think more along the lines of, "clean the whole house." it's never just one room that's messy. i can set out to focus on cleaning my room, until I find something that belongs in the living room. putting it away in the living room leads me to straighten up things in the living room, and maybe I'll finally manage to put away that bag of things I bought for the bathroom, which is messy upon entry.

you can imagine where it goes from there.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:17 AM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


What jessamyn wrote is perfect. My husband has ADD, I don't, and the differences are sometimes stark and occasionally frustrating. I can remember my to-do list in my head, and actually do most of those things. I can power through unpleasant and boring tasks. I know where I put stuff. I can read a book cover to cover.

It's sometimes difficult for me to understand why he has trouble doing these things (unmedicated). Threads like this are a really good reminder that our wiring is different, especially because there are so many stories that sound exactly like his. It removes the "oh you just want me to do stuff for you" aspect of frustration. Instead we have a division of labor according to our abilities. I handle the boring stuff like insurance forms and laundry, and he comes up with the exciting stuff like places to go, things to do, new recipes to try, etc.

Medication has made all the difference in our relationship. If you're in a relationship with someone who you think has ADD, please encourage them to see a doctor. You'll be floored at the difference it makes.
posted by desjardins at 11:22 AM on March 22, 2010


> It would be nice if you could elaborate on that

I would think it was obvious, but the target audience is people who don't have ADD/ADHD and want to know what it's like. Glad I could help.
posted by languagehat at 11:22 AM on March 22, 2010


Okay normal people, could you sit through Avatar? What about There Will Be Blood?

These are two vastly different kinds of films: one is plot and dialogue driven, and one is visually driven. I, in all my abnormality, sat through Avatar 3 times. BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME. I barely made it through TWBB even once. Ugh, talking interpersonal relationships and feelings. So uninteresting.
posted by elizardbits at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2010


IF ONLY EVERICHON WOULD APPLY HIMSELF. The AskMe and this thread make me sad and weary and also a little happy, due to misery appreciating company.
posted by everichon at 12:01 PM on March 22, 2010


You know that awesome feeling when you walk into a room full of your friends and they've all been laughing about something, so when they turn to see who's walked in they're already smiling, and when they see it's you they smile even bigger and shout "Hey!" all giddy-like?

The thread kind of made me feel like that.
posted by sallybrown at 12:56 PM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I, in all my abnormality, sat through Avatar 3 times. BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME.

I totally know what you mean. I sat through it three times too. First when it was called Dances With Wolves, and another time when it was called The Last Samurai.
posted by bingo at 1:41 PM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


We went to see Alice In Wonderland yesterday, and on the way home I mentioned to my husband how happy I was that it was only a two-hour movie instead of going for three like so many of the blockbusters do these days. Just about the time I was starting to think "ok, this is really good but I'm really ready for them to wrap it up now" they did. Three hour movies, even good ones, are sort of torturous.

At home, my husband finds it very difficult to get me to commit to watching a movie. Doing one thing for two hours rarely sounds pleasant to me. Occasionally I'll get drawn in to something he has on and then I can watch the whole thing, so now I'll just tell him to put on a movie if he wants to watch one and if it "grabs" me I'll watch it with him.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:36 PM on March 22, 2010


That's nothing, when I was a kid I watched it (at least) tens of times in the Fern Gully reincarnation.
posted by jacalata at 3:14 PM on March 22, 2010


...Okay so with the new ALice in Wonderland, am I the only person who went "WTF SCOTTISH NATIONALISM?"? Cause, seriously
posted by The Whelk at 4:29 PM on March 22, 2010


Also, there are very very few examples of good 3 hour movies. At least Gone With The Wind gave you an intermission.
posted by The Whelk at 4:30 PM on March 22, 2010


I didn't notice much in Alice In Wonderland aside from OH GOD JOHNNY DEPP'S EYES THE HORROR THE HORROR.

Apocalypse Now: Redux was a srsly awesome 3+ hour movie and one which I have seen maybe 100 times. Yes, really for reals 100.
posted by elizardbits at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2010


Also, there are very very few examples of good 3 hour movies

The only 3 hour movie I ever sat through without getting fidgety was The Green Mile. It really grabbed me and at the end I couldn't believe so much time had passed.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:00 PM on March 22, 2010


There's lots of good 3 hr+ movies. Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, Solaris, Andrei Rublev, Once Upon a Time in America, Godfather II, etc. etc. etc.

I can get through any of these long without too many problems. Some of them took a couple of tries, but I CAN get through them and enjoy the experience.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:12 PM on March 22, 2010


forgot a word. damn.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:12 PM on March 22, 2010


Hm. Dr. Zhivago is one of my least favorite movies. But I agree with some of your other choices.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:18 PM on March 22, 2010


I paid five dollars for my "medium" (read: 1.5 litre) Pepsi, so I'm damned well going to drink it all, especially since the six dollar popcorn is so thirst-makingly salty. Now, great, an hour into the movie, and I'm just about bursting.

Intermission, please!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:19 PM on March 22, 2010


It's harder to make a 3 hour movie than a 90 minute one is what I'm saying. Not like, hard for the creators cause doesn't want more running time to do EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED but harder to keep up interest and make it dramatic and engaging and all that.
posted by The Whelk at 6:22 PM on March 22, 2010


Ideally that is where the zombies and ninjas and space robots and car chases and slow-motion boobies come in.
posted by elizardbits at 6:32 PM on March 22, 2010


I don't see how the nude zombie ninja chase in space helps us understand what the protagonist wants.
posted by The Whelk at 6:35 PM on March 22, 2010


YES WELL. I bet the motocross-riding dinosaurs from Mars will have a few ideas.
posted by elizardbits at 6:46 PM on March 22, 2010


Avatar really needed an intermission!

INTERMISSIONS FOR ALL!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:04 PM on March 22, 2010


What's it like to be able to listen to a lecture?

A lecture I'm interested in? Edge of my seat, asking questions before it's done, fantasizing about what I'll do with this new knowledge, missing that next part about where you can't do that, etc.

A lecture I'm not interested in? Squirming, picking at hangnails, unscrewing that screw in the armrest with the side of a pen cap, sleeping (I once slept through half of a bowl game. AT the game, indoors.), etc.
posted by gjc at 8:34 PM on March 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


(I once slept through half of a bowl game. AT the game, indoors.)

Oh! I once slept through a rock concert - The Firm. Yeah, I slept through Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers. Indoor concert, decently close seats. I'm probably going to hell for that.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:47 AM on March 23, 2010


gaslighting is when other fingers move your sock puppets for you...
posted by infini at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2010


gasdarkening is when you screw with someone who is trying to gaslamp you by constantly putting things back.
posted by The Whelk at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always thought the "fantastic" flag was for things that seemed too amazing to be true. As in, "The young man was late for class again and proceeded to spin forth a truly fantastic yarn in order to excuse himself." Like when someone is all, "I did my ph.d. in a summer and now work for NASA on a spaceship," I'm all like, "Flagged as fantastic."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


NYC attracts ADHD people, I think.

I just noticed this remark, and I think you're right. I live in Central Iowa right now, but will be moving to NY next year. I'm getting engaged to a NYC native next week, and I remember her being surprised at how much I loved the city and how much it felt like home to me the first time we hung out there together. Now I know why: NYC is ADD heaven! Constant stimuli surround you! You can move about the city without paying attention to driving! Great museums to be had all over the city. Every cuisine imaginable! I can't wait.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:10 PM on March 23, 2010


I should also add that I absolutely LOVE being surrounded by people speaking a variety of languages that I don't understand. I enjoy just taking in the sounds without having to assign meaning to them.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:12 PM on March 23, 2010


One could make the argument that the constant outside stimuli forces you to learn how to block it out.

THen again, there is as much (or more) stimuli in a meadow*, it's just not as overt.

* I was fascinated by bees as kid. I wanted to know how many flowers they went to and if I just hovered over them would they lead me to the hive? I never got there, but I did wander off more than one basebal field when I was supposed to be deep left. Bees are neat.
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on March 23, 2010


NYC was an ADHD nightmare for me. Sensory overload, and nowhere to go to recharge.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:55 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, my ADHD is arguably the shortest explanation to why I still don't love New York after seven years. My inner world is already complicated enough.
posted by bingo at 9:08 PM on March 23, 2010


I like New York but I've driven 12 times in my life and 8-ish of those times I was in an accident. So...I love New York! Because nearly nowhere else will have me!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:51 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh believe me I know the feeling. now I just say that I'm sorry, I have no license.
posted by infini at 3:07 AM on March 24, 2010


I would think it was obvious, but the target audience is people who don't have ADD/ADHD and want to know what it's like. Glad I could help.

To declare 'You don't meet the criteria to have an opinion on this' is still a load of arrogant bunkum. Unsurprisingly arrogant bunkum in that it's coming from you, but bunkum nonetheless. Is there any particular reason why your default setting seems to be Dismissive and Pompous Little Turd lately?

Also, bunkum.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:44 AM on March 25, 2010


Any thoughts on making that post a sidebar, mods?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:10 AM on March 26, 2010


Pretty much feel like this MeTa thread has served the same purpose. We menntioned it in the podcast. I wasn't planning to sidebar it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:52 AM on March 26, 2010


See! I told you so!
posted by Sys Rq at 9:56 AM on March 26, 2010


It's cool that you mentioned it on the podcast, although I do still think it should be sidebarred.

Thanks for the update!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:13 AM on March 26, 2010


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