1106: "ADD"

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Max™
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Max™ » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:59 pm UTC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaBkCDtt-7o
I love the one where they survive the rocket immediately diving into the ground after takeoff.
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby scotty2haughty » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

Yeah I definitely have ADD. Last night I tried to juggle homework, a game on my laptop, and watching a movie all at once.
All while talking to my wife on the phone.
/s/

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby The Cat » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:31 pm UTC

purrito pack.jpg

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:48 pm UTC

So now I have 99 Luftballons going round my head. Anyone else?

mharrizone
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby mharrizone » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:27 am UTC

I LOVE this comic - I've been linking it to all of my friends saying "This is what it's like. 24/7."

JustDoug
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby JustDoug » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:36 am UTC

Lower your ceiling.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby justalurkr » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:42 am UTC

janhunt wrote:I really identified with this - but who wouldn't? We all have far too much on our plate these days, and life just gets more and more complicated.

Please watch this delightful, thought-provoking TED video clip about a little girl who was thought to have ADD but fortunately was taken to a doctor who was able to diagnose the real "problem."


It's a good thing when a child gets or is allowed to discover their focus. Diagnosing the tiny dancer with ADHD would not have been wrong, though, and the myth is that appropriate and effective medication smothers creativity. Telling "a child of eight" (and I do love the genteel shock that adults can have behavioral expectations of a grade schooler) to calm down and pay attention isn't a failure of our system. That specialist guessed right on the first try; he could very well have said the same thing about me, as my restlessness caused my mother to try three forms of dance before giving up and telling me to burn the energy off outside because I'd been thrown out of all three classes for inattentiveness.

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Pfhorrest
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:49 am UTC

justalurkr wrote:ADD is a fact of your life (and mine.) Along with the one minute to cross town dramas, it brings a whole different way of perceiving the universe, and people envy it. All the "whack on the side of the head" and "thinking outside the box" and even the pop psych concept of "flow" claptrap from the 90s are all linear-brained people envying what the people with ADD medicate and meditate (and isn't meditation entertaining? :D) to keep from happening all the time. I'd only want to die if I had to perceive the world one think at a time like the linear people do.

This is somewhat tangentially related, but taking some forms of neurodivergence to be gifts, as you do, and the pain of conforming to neurotypical workflows, reminds me of a short analogy I wrote recently, which I'll just repost here:

Imagine a world where, for whatever reason, people lose their hearing much more rapidly than in reality, and thus most people are deaf by adulthood. As a consequence of this, there is no consideration for the amount of noise made by anything, as most adults are blissfully unaware of it, which further contributes to early hearing loss in the children who can still hear. Which is the original cause, the deafness or the noise, is a chicken-and-egg question.

Due to fortunes of nature and nurture, some people are either born with more sensitive hearing and thus avoid the damaging noise more readily than their peers, or they are luckily sheltered from it through good upbringing or simple good fortune. Some such people thus reach adulthood with much of their hearing still intact. But the majority of adults consider hearing things a childish distraction; becoming deaf to the noise is considered a mark of maturity and a normal part of growing up, and those who can still hear are seen as disfunctionally hypersensitive to things "normal" (deaf) people get by just fine ignoring. Adults, most having been deaf for so many generations, are scarcely even aware anymore of the fact that children are hearing things the adults have no perception of.

Consequentely, many "normal" adults consider the abilities of the gifted few adults who can still hear to be miraculous; the ability to tell what's going on around and even behind themselves without looking directly at it, or even discern something about what's happening through solid walls! They attribute these powers, half-seriously in their ignorant curiosity, to some kind of powerful sight, "eyes in the back of the head" or "x-ray vision", as the deaf majority rely entirely on sight to get by and can scarcely comprehend (or remember) that there is another means to accomplish such feats, one which they once had and lost.

The majority are so dependent on sight that the more successful of them have taken to thrashing their heads about frantically, looking all around them in brief glances all the time, to increase the breadth of their perception, though at the sacrifice of depth. The ability to do so effectively is considered a hallmark of an able and productive person. In contrast, those few who can hear appear, to the "productive" among the deaf, to be simply staring at something or other, or worse, off into space, and ignoring anything that may be going on around them. They are sometimes harshly criticised for "not looking hard enough", despite the fact that they, with functional hearing, naturally perceive more by holding their heads still and listening, than the hard-lookers do by thrashing their heads about.

Unfortunately as the hearing adults make their way into the working world, they are often forced more and more into the noisy environment carelessly produced by those who cannot hear, and gradually become deaf themselves. They may protest the noise and attempt to improve things by making them less loud, but that is too often considered a useless inefficiency -- nobody else can hear any noise, so why should any effort be wasted making things quiet for your sake? Get back to work and keep thrashing your head, stop staring into space like that.

And as they gradually go deaf themselves, the hearing-gifted adults, unlike those who "naturally" lost their hearing in childhood, are keenly aware of what is happening to them. Their peers and superiors may praise them for finally learning to tune out the noise and focus on what's in front of their eyes, and many may rationalize and agree that they have picked up a "skill" as their ears go numb and they learn to thrash their heads like "professionals"; but somewhere deep inside, they will still remember what it was like to perceive more than just what's right in front of you, to sit back and take in all your surroundings at once at ease without any head-thrashing.

If you understand this analogy, congratulations, you can still "hear".
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby sidran32 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:13 am UTC

pyronius wrote:to add a serious note to the discussion,

I think something most people are missing about this comic is the alt text. the thing about ADD or ADHD is that it's inherently an issue of risk evaluation. in essence the portion of your brain that judges risk is still working fine and the portion that judges reward is working as well but the portion that turns the risk evaluation into the ability not to do something (the prefrontal cortex) doesn't work. basically you can see the wall coming but you have no brakes. what this means is that you're a lot more likely to do something because its pleasurable rather than to reduce pain. so to bring the alt text back into it Randall ended up picking the KSP balloon because its fun. someone with ADD/ADHD will often pick the fun bits despite the future consequences. for instance i spent all last night watching the fourth season of dexter despite knowing full well i had calculus to do. were i on my meds i would have easily chosen calculus first because i would have been able to delay my reward until the prospect of risk was gone.

everyone has varying levels of difficulty juggling their balloons but the person with ADHD lets all the bad balloons fly into the fan in favor of keeping hold of the shiniest ones.

I would like to reinforce this.

I was diagnosed with attentional ADHD (aka "ADD") during college. In retrospect, it explains a lot of what I went through in highschool and before, though...

But, basically, it means I can't prioritize properly. It's hard for me in a discipline sort of sense. One major thing is being online doing stuff like this when I should be sleeping. It's really easy for me to stay up late but then I have to get up in the morning for work. My mind is going going going until I start getting really tired (and even then, I only stop once my brain starts forcing me to shut off). And then I end up sleeping in and being late for work.

Seriously, I cannot switch tasks to work that I have to do even if I want to, without the help of medication. I get frustrated and crazy stressed out by this fact. School was so stressful that, even though the work was pretty easy if I did it, it was hard for me to even start it because there were so many other things that feel better to do. I want to do my work but I cannot hold my attention on it and my brain just refuses to stay on focus.

The reason medication helps is that it stimulates the brain when it otherwise wouldn't be. It gives me the ability to let my will dictate my course of action, rather than the disorder. When on the medication, I have no problem doing the vacuuming, paying the bills, starting new tasks at work, etc. When I'm not, I'll start the task with full intent and desire to complete it (often with a mantra repeating in my head that I must), but I end up doing it slowly or just zoning out or taking a lot of breaks because no matter how much I will it, my body and brain just does not cooperate.

It's frustrating as hell.

And make me go to sleep. It's 1:13 AM and I really want to get up at 8 AM for once...

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby vector010 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:33 am UTC

A few things... As far as I'm aware there are not two different things called ADD and ADHD. They are both the same disorder, it is just that one of them is the more modern and acceptable term for the disorder (I think it is ADHD).

One of the things I find most interesting about ADHD is how stimulants basically have the opposite effect on a person with ADHD. People who have ADHD basically have their brain constantly misfiring. In an effort to correct this their body responds by "amping up" which can cause restlessness, inability to focus, hyper focus, hyper activity, etc. ADHD medication often comes in the form of a heavy duty stimulant (The generic name for my Adderol is Amphetamine). This has a kind of counter intuitive effect on a person with ADHD. The stimulant provides the amp up needed to correct the signals in the brain and allows their body to stop trying to amp up. Stimulants basically calm them down because their body isn't working hard to stay pumped to keep the brain firing right. Personally, if I want to go to sleep at night nothing puts me to sleep better than a nice hot cup of coffee. I don't know if it is common among people with ADHD, but depressants have the opposite effect on me. They are basically like my stimulants. So, if I go drinking or something it turns into ADHD on overdrive.

I think the thing here that hit home for me was the alt text about 20 balloons floating away while trying to permanently tie the one to a tree. The Attention Deficit part of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can often be misleading. It isn't that it is impossible for those of us with it to focus on something, but more like it is nearly impossible for us to consciously attempt to focus on something (if that makes sense). One possible symptom of ADHD (Which I suffer) is basically hyper focusing. I've had people think that I had OCD because of it, and I suppose it is like short term OCD in a way. One thing will distract me or grab my attention randomly and I will hyper focus on it. Nothing else matters except that one thing, the rest of the world is drowned out. Maybe it is learning everything I can about wave functions or possibly drawing a frog I imagined. Video games can trigger it pretty easily, anything flashy and challenging. The difference between this hyper focus with ADHD and something like OCD is that once the challenging part is done or hours/days have passed and I break away from the task long enough to be distracted by something else I generally never return to it again. The focus is fleeting, attention goes elsewhere, and the task is gone forever. So many unfinished projects.

Anyway, didn't mean to write a book... And crapola, homework is due in an hour... Ermm...

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby marianne » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:02 am UTC

janhunt wrote:I really identified with this - but who wouldn't? We all have far too much on our plate these days, and life just gets more and more complicated.

Please watch this delightful, thought-provoking TED video clip about a little girl who was thought to have ADD but fortunately was taken to a doctor who was able to diagnose the real "problem": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NIUg2GdBNY .

The full video is at http://www.naturalchild.org/videos/ted_ ... inson.html .

Dr. Thomas Armstrong, a former learning disabilities specialist, changed professions when he "began to see how this notion of learning disabilities was handicapping all of our children by placing the blame for a child's learning failure on mysterious neurological deficiencies in the brain instead of on much needed reforms in our system of education." See his article "Why I Believe that Attention Deficit Disorder is a Myth":\
http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/thomas_armstrong.html


I realise that it's becoming rather trendy nowadays to think that ADD/ADHD isn't real, so I'm going to try and explain things that are known about it that prove there's a measurable difference in ADD/ADHD brains. First of all, there are visible differences in brain scans with people with ADD/ADHD. Second, it's known that people with ADD/ADHD have abnormally low levels of two important brain chemicals - noradrenaline, and dopamine. Both these chemicals are responsible for a variety of extremely important things, such as focus, concentration, attention, alertness, awakeness, memory, making decisions, motivation to do things, reward for or satisfaction with doing things, etc. Standard ADHD medications (methylphenidate, aka Ritalin, Focalin, amphetamines, aka Adderall, Dexedrine, Desoxyn, Vyvanse, and atomoxetine, aka Strattera) work to raise the levels of these two chemicals in the brain, which to a person with already-normal noradrenaline/dopamine just gets them high and energetic, but to an ADD/ADHD person just brings us up to normal.

The other thing I'd like to say is that, having suffered from a particularly severe form of ADD (possibly made worse by the presence of mild autism), I know full well that something like dance lessons (which I haven't tried) or physchology talk-based therapy (which I've tried years and years of) are not going to help me. I have an IQ of 162, and yet I've been unable to study since about the age of 14, and can't actually make use of my potential intelligence very much - it's like having a super-fast, dual 16 core CPUs, 512GB RAM computer... that crashes every 15 seconds. I've also never been able to work. It's a struggle to fight through the mental fuzz, forgetfulness, distractibility each day, especially when my energy and motivation levels are incredibly low by nature. I struggle just to feed myself (microwavable ready meals, that is - I never feel capable of cooking), my house is constantly an utter mess, I'm always anxious and upset about all the things I need to do (tidying, laundry, etc.) or want to do (resuming study, learning C/C++ beyond the bare basics), but I can still almost never manage those things. I spend 95% of my day sitting on my sofa in front of my TV/computer because I just can't manage anything else. And when I finally figured out that I may have ADD, I was so desparate for the last 15 years of hell to be over that I illicitly experimented with stimulants once or twice to confirm my hypothesis - it was amazing. My anxiety and stress just melted away, I was calm, serene, tranquil, *incredibly* chilled out (a normal reaction to stimulants for a person with ADD/ADHD, whereas a person without those conditions would just become really really high). I also suddenly... amazingly... could think clearly. My thoughts were no longer drowned in a sea of mental static, it was like the world and my mind had been in a haze but now everything was crystal clear. In other words, for the few hours while those experiments took place, I thought and functioned... like a normal person. And now I'm finally being treated by my psychs, although with a newer, safer medication that unfortunately takes many weeks to start working.

Now, as with medicine in general, yes, some people will be misdiagnosed. Some hypochondriac parents will think "Oh NO, ADHD!!!" if their child exhibits such troubling symptoms as running around, being noisy, not paying attention, you know, being a little kid. Some may even manage to get their kids briefly put on these drugs, but it's not going to last, for reasons I will shortly come to - the common media hysteria that thousands of badly behaved and/or hyperactive non-ADD/ADHD kids are being prescribed Ritalin to sedate them into docile compliance is utterly absurd, for the simple fact that Ritalin is the opposite of a sedative - it is a stimulant. It acts on the brain like a weaker, longer lasting version of cocaine. Now if you give a cocaine-like drug (or another ADD/ADHD stimulant such as amphetamine) to a non-ADD/ADHD kid who's hyperactive and badly behaved, do you really think that that medication is going to *calm them down*? It will increase their ability to focus and concentrate somewhat - stimulants do that for everyone - but it's absolutely not going to give them the ADD/ADHD-typical calm, serene tranquility, where finally their thoughts aren't lost in a sea of fog and confusion.

Sometimes kids who are just a bit hyperactive and badly behaved do get (temporarily) misdiagnosed with these conditions, but ADD/ADHD are most certainly real. Without my condition being treated, I'll be condemned to a life of immense stress and uselessness, rather than being able to pursue my dreams of becoming a video game developer. So I really hope this "ADHD doesn't exist" trend doesn't catch on, as it'd be throwing a load of kids and adults under the bus, some of them with problems as severe as mine are. I truly can understand the fear of giving stimulants to kids who don't need them - doctors should be very careful about this - but some people really do need them. And to write this post even vaguely coherently has been a massive effort, but I hope it helps you understand things a little better.

vector010 wrote:A few things... As far as I'm aware there are not two different things called ADD and ADHD. They are both the same disorder, it is just that one of them is the more modern and acceptable term for the disorder (I think it is ADHD).


Sort of. It now all falls under the range of ADHD variants, with ADD being officially now called ADHD-PI (Predominantly Inattentive). ADHD-PI basically means "ADHD without the H (hyperactivity)", which, well, ADD already covered in a much nicer, more concise way. Many psychiatrists will still unofficially use the term "ADD" for that reason, finding the new terminology somewhat silly. In fact, I believe the latest DSM was considering reintroducing the term ADD, though I don't know how far that suggestion went.

(edited for minor errors, and to avoid an automatic word replacement which, while funny, didn't quite match what I was trying to say.)

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby dwarduk2 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

-snip-
Last edited by dwarduk2 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Schema » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:48 pm UTC

leroyjenkinson wrote:I, too, feel this one deeply. I've had trouble making analogies in the past to those that don't understand it or think it's not a real condition (thanks to those who get falsely diagnosed so they can sell Adderall). This is by far the best possible analogy I've ever seen. And it does suck, but with a little help from Adderall and structure it does get easier to keep track of the balloons.

I agree with so many comments on this comic, I picked one at random to reply to :)

This comic is exactly how my life runs, and I've always assumed that this is the way it is for everyone else. I've never assumed I have ADD, so this comic is really making me wonder. Other people seem to just be more nimble than I, catching handfuls of balloons with ease.

Can I request that someone make an analogy (in comic form, if you wish) of how people without ADD view the world and the endless list of things that have to be dealt with in life? Really, so I can have a comparison point. I honestly can't imagine living life any way other than what the comic shows.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Angelastic » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:06 pm UTC

Schema wrote:Can I request that someone make an analogy (in comic form, if you wish) of how people without ADD view the world and the endless list of things that have to be dealt with in life? Really, so I can have a comparison point. I honestly can't imagine living life any way other than what the comic shows.

Ditto; I've read people's explanations and I believe ADHD is a real thing and I can see some things in the posts from people with ADHD that I don't identify with (edit: and some things I do), and I can sometimes put a balloon or two in another hand in order to grab another balloon, and sometimes get back to them before I let them go (not that it really helps when there are zillions of new balloons coming all the time and everybody misses most of them), but the difference between my life and this comic is subtle enough that the comic makes me want to cry (and not many things do that.) So a comparison comic would be nice. I assume people without ADHD can't really tie all the balloons down and watch TV in a chair in the sky. :)
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby GreyingJay » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

Schema wrote:Can I request that someone make an analogy (in comic form, if you wish) of how people without ADD view the world and the endless list of things that have to be dealt with in life? Really, so I can have a comparison point. I honestly can't imagine living life any way other than what the comic shows.


In "normal" people they wouldn't be helium-filled balloons, they would be post-it notes or labeled rocks or whatever. You put one down, you go play with another one, then you come back and see the ones you put down and go "oh yeah, I have to do that too".

I think the point of the balloon analogy was that once you let go, it's up and gone. You've completely lost the previous train of thought.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Angelastic » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:39 pm UTC

Drat. The ADD people get fun helium balloons and I get rocks. It's like Christmas in Ignace. :|
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

Angelastic wrote:Drat. The ADD people get fun helium balloons and I get rocks. It's like Christmas in Ignace. :|


I get juggling balls - if I expect an interruption to be brief, I can toss what's in my hand up into the air, and catch-and-rethrow the incoming ball, then catch the original ball - if I don't catch the original ball when it comes back down, most of the time it lands and rolls somewhere nearby where I can probably pick it up later; sometimes it rolls somewhere and gets lost; sometimes it whacks me on the head.

Meanwhile, if I'm not being bombarded with incoming balls, I can juggle several tasks at once, each getting a chunk of my attention for a little while, or stack them in a pile near my feet to deal with later. When the pile gets too large, it collapses under its own weight, and some of the balls roll away. Or an incoming ball or a missed catch hits the pile and scatters it...

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby mharrizone » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:59 pm UTC

dwarduk2 wrote:I was going to ask you guys if it sounds like I could have AD(H)D, but from reading this thread it seems that it is everyone's perception that they struggle with the balloons. So instead I'll ask you: do you think it's worth talking to a doctor about it? I can 80% cope on my own, and theoretically with reminders on my phone and/or a routine of checking a diary I could 100% cope, and so even with a positive diagnosis I would not actually need the drugs per se. Is there any possible advantage to a diagnosis other than medication?



No one here is really qualified to tell you whether or not it's worth seeing a doctor to inquire about ADHD - that's up for you to decide. Google for the symptoms of ADHD and see if you think you have the signs (and they need to have been present for a long time/most of your life).

I can, however, share with you the three things that really opened my eyes and led me to get an ADHD diagnosis when I was in my fourth year of college and really struggling at the age of 25:

I've always had trouble focusing on school and work, and massive amounts of caffeine was the only thing that ever actually helped me get stuff done - and even then it was quite a chore. But big deal, right? Nobody likes homework or the grind of a job, of course I can't focus on them. But then I realized I couldn't focus on the stuff I wanted to do either. Making progress in that video game, watching an entire movie/TV show, reading more than 1/4 of a book, listening to a full music album, learn about that new and interesting subject, practice a musical instrument, etc. After years and years of beating myself up and thinking I was lazy/an idiot (despite being very intelligent), I knew there had to be something wrong if I couldn't even focus on the fun stuff.

So I did some casual reading on ADHD symptoms and was like "Huh. That's a bit familiar, but isn't everyone like that? Anyway, ADHD isn't even a real thing, it's just something slackers say they have as an excuse for not doing work." Then I started joking with friends and family - "Haha, wouldn't it be funny if it turned out I had ADHD all this time?" I also casually (and jokingly) mentioned this on the phone to my mother one day, and later that week I received a package with two books on ADHD that she had apparently ordered from Amazon for me. That made me go "Ok - if my own mother thinks I might have it, then perhaps I should read these books and look into it a bit more..." And, man, let me tell you - skimming through the book and reading about some of the stories from other people who had it - it was like they were talking about me. It really hit close to home. But again, there was still a little bit of doubt/denial because I thought everyone was that way and they just had the willpower/work ethic to make them focus, unlike my lazy and stupid self.

And the final thing that fully opened my eyes and made me call a psychiatrist were the checklists. I had already filled out the "Signs you might have ADHD" checklists from the books and online, but still, it's easy enough to take those and be predisposed to answer "Yes, I exhibit this sign of ADHD" for everything, so I started having friends and family who knew me well answer the questions on my behalf. And the most surprising thing was that their answers differed from mine on several questions. Now, I initially just figured that they differed because I know myself very well - after all, I spend time with myself 24/7 - and clearly their answer wasn't the "real" answer because they didn't know me well enough to have all of the data. But everyone's answers were the same! The questions (with friend/family answer differing from mine) that particularly stuck out as "this is important" were (and these are all on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being "Extremely/all the time" and 1 being "No, never"):

  • "I have a quick temper, a short fuse." I said 1 because I regard myself as being a very cool, calm person who doesn't really have a "temper", although I do get annoyed with trivial things a lot. Everyone else gave me a 4 or a 5. Apparently I can be quick to anger and snappy about certain things when talking to people, I had no idea at the time.
  • "I am always on the go, as if driven by a motor/I have a hard time sitting still." Again I said 1 because I regard myself as a very sedentary person - lots of time on the couch or in front of a computer. Again, everyone else gave me a 4 or 5. I thought they were all crazy! But when I asked my girlfriend-at-the-time to clarify why she gave me a 5, she said "Are you kidding?! You never sit still! You get up every minute to go to the kitchen/bathroom/look for something, you're always shifting positions on the couch/in bed, you're always fidgeting with your hands or drumming on something with your fingers, you sway/spin back and forth in your computer chair, you're always running off or stopping to look at something when we're walking, and when we're out in public you're always looking around every time you see movement out of the corner of your eyes." Whoah. And that made me realize she was 100% right about all of that.

So, after many expensive visits to the psych (and plenty of questionnaires to take home/give to other people), I finally got my ADHD diagnosis.

And that leads me to your other question: "Is there any possible advantage to a diagnosis other than medication?"
YES! Getting an official diagnosis and reading up on ADHD gave me something priceless - an explanation. I finally understood why my brain worked the way it did, why I have problems with certain things, why I have particular behaviors, etc. And once I knew what the problem was, I learned about some ways to better manage it which I employed to great success...for a while, at least. Unfortunately however, I live alone (so there's no one to watch/help me and keep me in shape), and the very nature of ADHD means it's really really difficult for me to make myself do all of these little tips and tricks to manage the ADHD so I can grab onto all the balloons =(

(I swear to jeebus I meant this to be a very short reply and a quick response - there's some very important code I'm supposed to be writing right now =/ )
(Also, I'm new around here (the forums), and my first post hasn't even been approved yet, so hopefully you'll see this in the near future while the comic is still relevant (I wrote it at ~10:50am EDT on Sep 11)

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby pierreb » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

I used to be like this, then I "grew up".

Instead of balloons now I have a ladder, with each step having a one such label.

Of course, the steps order is dynamically reassigned, but in order to reach the top part (where the fun is at) I must do all the bottom steps.

I learned all that around the age of 10... then re-learned it when I turned 20... then re-learned it when I turned 30...

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Angelastic » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

I guess an advantage of helium balloons is that you don't really see how many of them you let go; there's no ever-growing mountain of rocks and juggling balls. Just the occasional very angry pilot.

Actually, it's sort of like a Tetris game made of rocks and juggling balls and post-it notes. Every so often you complete a line and it goes away, but if you're not super efficient it piles up and the bottom ones become unreachable (hey! I just remembered I had actually planned to make a to-do list Tetris program illustrating exactly that, but I forgot about it! Must carve that on a rock.) And sometimes you just get random rows thrown at you. Can I have a long straight piece of rock, please? Oh hey, how about you tie your helium balloons to my rocks so they don't fall as quickly? We can work together for neutral buoyancy!
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby janhunt » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

"Subjective labels, being neither valid nor reliable, have no usefulness. They do, however, have many unfortunate consequences. First, all subjective labels are self-fulfilling. If I believe that I am "clumsy", the next time I drop something I will view that as further proof of that label, when there may be a much simpler reason. Perhaps my sleep the previous night was disturbed or I am not paying attention because I am worried about a friend who is ill.

We truly are what we believe we are. In fact, there are many understandable, human reasons for clumsiness, sadness, forgetfulness, distraction and all the "symptoms" of "learning disorders". Anyone - at any age - can drop things, forget things, and over-react to frustration if they haven't had sufficient rest, their diet hasn't been adequate, or their life is currently stressful. These reactions are universal. They are understandable. They are human."

This is an excerpt from my article "Subjective Vs. Objective Labels: A Plea for Occam's Razor" at http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/subjective.html .

This is xkcd. Let's be scientific!
Last edited by janhunt on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:26 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby GreyingJay » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:15 pm UTC

pierreb wrote:Instead of balloons now I have a ladder, with each step having a one such label.

Of course, the steps order is dynamically reassigned, but in order to reach the top part (where the fun is at) I must do all the bottom steps.


Oh, I hear you. It got way worse when I bought a house and started taking care of it. I have a conversation like this in my head just about every weekend:

I should clean this bedroom. But the stuff needs to go somewhere. It would make sense for it to be stored in the office room. But I can't just throw it on the floor in that room, it needs to go somewhere. I need shelving units. But I can't just buy any shelving units, I need a plan for the room first. So let's go for a walk around IKEA. Ooh, here's an idea I like. Now I know what furniture to buy. But I should paint the walls first before I fill the room with furniture. So I need to go buy paint. And brushes. And drop cloths. And a ladder. So let's go shopping for ladders. Ooh, Home Depot. This is decent. But let's check Wal-Mart too to compare prices. And Costco. Hmm, but I shouldn't buy a ladder right now, because they'll be going on sale next June for Father's Day. And I need to research what kind of paint will work best. And, really, I could build my own shelving unit rather than buy one at IKEA, right? All I need is some plywood. Oh, and a table saw. I should buy a table saw. Let's do some research...

Wait, what? The weekend is almost over? Rats, guess I'll just watch TV then.

Six months later, I've got a complete woodworking shop in the garage, I've built a storage shelving unit, sanded it, stained it, and there's still boxes of clutter in the bedroom.

Maybe I do have ADHD...

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby bantler » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

Does anyone have any historical perspective on how people with severe ADD/ADHD were treated before there was a common medical diagnosis?
Was it all Alcoholics, Asylums and Hobos?

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby fishfry » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:48 pm UTC

This is my life. So much going on I can't get anything started.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby noema » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

Schema wrote:I agree with so many comments on this comic, I picked one at random to reply to :)

This comic is exactly how my life runs, and I've always assumed that this is the way it is for everyone else. I've never assumed I have ADD, so this comic is really making me wonder. Other people seem to just be more nimble than I, catching handfuls of balloons with ease.

Can I request that someone make an analogy (in comic form, if you wish) of how people without ADD view the world and the endless list of things that have to be dealt with in life? Really, so I can have a comparison point. I honestly can't imagine living life any way other than what the comic shows.


Just signed up to this forum because of this comic... pretty much feeling what schema said.
Confused. Beginning to question a hell of a lot of assumptions about myself. So many of the things people have said are making me :shock:. That's ADD?
God... I don't even know what to think.

All these things I've struggled with, I just assumed they were *me*. Is this ADD, instead? (but what does that even mean, in the end.)
Forever jumping, lazy, lost, running madly about in a sea of zipping particles. Grabbing and one and falling into temporary obsession, repeat. Or something like that. I don't know.
I have a little boy... sometimes I feel like a terrible parent.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby marianne » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:57 pm UTC

janhunt wrote:"Subjective labels, being neither valid nor reliable, have no usefulness. They do, however, have many unfortunate consequences. First, all subjective labels are self-fulfilling. If I believe that I am "clumsy", the next time I drop something I will view that as further proof of that label, when there may be a much simpler reason. Perhaps my sleep the previous night was disturbed or I am not paying attention because I am worried about a friend who is ill.

We truly are what we believe we are. In fact, there are many understandable, human reasons for clumsiness, sadness, forgetfulness, distraction and all the "symptoms" of "learning disorders". Anyone - at any age - can drop things, forget things, and over-react to frustration if they haven't had sufficient rest, their diet hasn't been adequate, or their life is currently stressful. These reactions are universal. They are understandable. They are human."

This is an excerpt from my article "Subjective Vs. Objective Labels: A Plea for Occam's Razor" at http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/subjective.html .

This is xkcd. Let's be scientific!


janhunt, I'd already explained ADD/ADHD in objective, scientifically measurable terms, but you seem to have missed it, so I'll try again more concisely - measured levels of noradrenaline and dopamine (important brain chemicals) that are significantly lower than normal levels, and significant differences visible on brain scans, in people with ADD/ADHD. Given that for two thirds of ADD/ADHD sufferers, drugs known to boost noradrenaline and dopamine significantly ease our symptoms, I'm still on the side of my condition being a real one.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby steamforged » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:11 am UTC

bantler wrote:Does anyone have any historical perspective on how people with severe ADD/ADHD were treated before there was a common medical diagnosis?
Was it all Alcoholics, Asylums and Hobos?


There's a book for people with ADHD titled "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?" and the title sums it up well.

My father, one of the most intelligent and wise people I've ever known (you could say I'm biased except everyone else who knows him says the same thing), dropped out of high school and was called a lazy idiot, among other things. He's neither of those things. When I got diagnosed, he was as well, and it turned his life around. Perhaps unsurprisingly, ADHD and depression often go hand in hand. They did for him. It's partly a reaction to the stresses of coping with a non-ADHD world, and partly dopamine/etc stuff that ties into the brainchem problems ADHDers get.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby seahen » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:51 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:If you understand this analogy, congratulations, you can still "hear".


Yeah, but sometimes noise is inevitable and we all need our "earplugs". That's what I think medication is, when used properly.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby J Thomas » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:57 pm UTC

marianne wrote:
janhunt wrote:"Subjective labels, being neither valid nor reliable, have no usefulness. They do, however, have many unfortunate consequences. First, all subjective labels are self-fulfilling. If I believe that I am "clumsy", the next time I drop something I will view that as further proof of that label, when there may be a much simpler reason. Perhaps my sleep the previous night was disturbed or I am not paying attention because I am worried about a friend who is ill.

We truly are what we believe we are. In fact, there are many understandable, human reasons for clumsiness, sadness, forgetfulness, distraction and all the "symptoms" of "learning disorders". Anyone - at any age - can drop things, forget things, and over-react to frustration if they haven't had sufficient rest, their diet hasn't been adequate, or their life is currently stressful. These reactions are universal. They are understandable. They are human."

This is an excerpt from my article "Subjective Vs. Objective Labels: A Plea for Occam's Razor" at http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/subjective.html .

This is xkcd. Let's be scientific!


janhunt, I'd already explained ADD/ADHD in objective, scientifically measurable terms, but you seem to have missed it, so I'll try again more concisely - measured levels of noradrenaline and dopamine (important brain chemicals) that are significantly lower than normal levels, and significant differences visible on brain scans, in people with ADD/ADHD. Given that for two thirds of ADD/ADHD sufferers, drugs known to boost noradrenaline and dopamine significantly ease our symptoms, I'm still on the side of my condition being a real one.


People's thinking can affect their hormone levels etc. And they can get into feedback loops where deranged thinking leads to deranged neurochemistry and vice versa. I say that if it turns out you can wind up with bad symptoms starting from mental responses to the environment you think you're in, that doesn't mean they are not real. Biochemical problems are just as real regardless of their original source.

Can you improve your mental state with meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback, etc? Maybe. It's worth a try if the opportunity arises. If it turns out that "soft" methods help you, that does not mean that the problem is not real in the first place. This sort of treatment will never have results as reproducible as drugs, because it depends on people learning stuff when their minds are already affected in idiosyncratic ways. Drugs block your physiology in dependable ways, so of course their results will tend to be less variable.

Janhunt has a point. If you get all worried that you might be ADD, and you spend all your time looking for signs that you are, it can make you sick. One more thing to think about, one more thing to distract you from whatever you're trying to do. No unlikely your noradrenaline levels will go up sharply, and then get depleted and go down. Too much thinking that way can really make you sick. When somebody is doing that, what sort of treatment is effective? Is it best to tell them that it's all in their head and to just stop worrying? Possibly, in the very earliest stages. Maybe not even then. If somebody is spending their time doing unpleasant worrying, do they have the skill to just stop? Probably not. Telling them they have to stop worrying or it will make them sick just gives them one more thing to worry about.

I'm not sure it helps to split problems into subjective problems -- hard to measure objectively-- versus objective problems -- easy to measure with medical instruments. That arbitrary boundary will shift as we get new medical testing procedures. Will we tell people "it's all in your head" until we get a new test that some of them test positive for, and then we tell those people "You have an objective problem we will try to find treatment for" while we continue to tell the rest "It's all in your head"?

This whole thing hasn't been thought out very well.
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby harukamae » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:26 am UTC

My balloon that I can't seem to hold on to is "take medication" It never fails I'm always late taking the stupid immune suppression drugs :(

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:58 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:Janhunt has a point. If you get all worried that you might be ADD, and you spend all your time looking for signs that you are, it can make you sick. One more thing to think about, one more thing to distract you from whatever you're trying to do. No unlikely your noradrenaline levels will go up sharply, and then get depleted and go down. Too much thinking that way can really make you sick. When somebody is doing that, what sort of treatment is effective? Is it best to tell them that it's all in their head and to just stop worrying? Possibly, in the very earliest stages. Maybe not even then. If somebody is spending their time doing unpleasant worrying, do they have the skill to just stop? Probably not. Telling them they have to stop worrying or it will make them sick just gives them one more thing to worry about.

I once dated a girl who claimed to be depressed about being depressed about [...] having OCD focused on the fact that she has OCD focused on the fact that ...

Best as I could figure the situation out, she had had obsessive-compusive behaviors at some point which got her diagnosed with OCD, which really upset her and became the focus of her obsession, making breaking the obsession even harder than it otherwise would be. The hopelessness of breaking out of that loop eventually got her depressed, and she began to fixate on the fact that she was depressed about having OCD about having OCD, which in turn made her more depressed, and in that fashion turned into a depression about her depression.
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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby noema » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:42 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I once dated a girl who claimed to be depressed about being depressed about [...] having OCD focused on the fact that she has OCD focused on the fact that ...

Best as I could figure the situation out, she had had obsessive-compusive behaviors at some point which got her diagnosed with OCD, which really upset her and became the focus of her obsession, making breaking the obsession even harder than it otherwise would be. The hopelessness of breaking out of that loop eventually got her depressed, and she began to fixate on the fact that she was depressed about having OCD about having OCD, which in turn made her more depressed, and in that fashion turned into a depression about her depression.

I wonder how often that happens...
Kind of intriguing to think about, in an impersonal way. Would be an interesting basis for a character.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby bantler » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:03 pm UTC

OCD all the way down.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Thorbard9 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:48 pm UTC

Randal wrote:Title Text: 20 balloons float away while I'm busy permanently tying one to a tree to deal with it for good. Unfortunately, that one balloon was 'land a rocket on the moon in Kerbal Space Program.


Downloading that game was possibly the worst thing I've ever done. I don't think I'll be able to sleep again!

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby *** » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:47 am UTC

So I was working on my lab report last week, and at about 3am, I started reading xkcd. I hadnt been on in a while. I even went through all the what if articles.
Then I started working on my report again.
at about 5, I thought, "I wonder when the sun comes up" so I googled it.
Then I accidentally clicked images. "ooo! wow!"
One of them was a martian sunrise. "Thats right! we landed that rover!."
So I wikipedia-ed the rover.
The thing is nuclear powered! (sort of: decay, not fission)
Then I kept reading. But the more I read the more I was disappointed. The on-board computers are less powerful than my iPod.
Thats when I realized: the most exiting part of its life is over. 5 years of development and now it gets to spend the next (projected) 7 years collecting rocks.
This depressed me. I started looking at transfer applications. I am just like that rover. I shouldnt be wasting my years like this.
Dont you hate paragraph format? I mean get to the point already. I prefer bullet points. Just say whats on your mind. No bs.
Unfortunately I remembered that the school printing network doesnt work on linux... and Windows doesnt always start... and the charts dont convert to word.
Thanks TA John for giving me an extention!
Anyways, balloons! I dont know why this is sad. It looks like he is having fun!
Anybody want to go buy some balloons?
He should get a bb gun, of course that would require going to target/ walmart/ etc., and, well...

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Max™ » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:07 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Janhunt has a point. If you get all worried that you might be ADD, and you spend all your time looking for signs that you are, it can make you sick. One more thing to think about, one more thing to distract you from whatever you're trying to do. No unlikely your noradrenaline levels will go up sharply, and then get depleted and go down. Too much thinking that way can really make you sick. When somebody is doing that, what sort of treatment is effective? Is it best to tell them that it's all in their head and to just stop worrying? Possibly, in the very earliest stages. Maybe not even then. If somebody is spending their time doing unpleasant worrying, do they have the skill to just stop? Probably not. Telling them they have to stop worrying or it will make them sick just gives them one more thing to worry about.

I once dated a girl who claimed to be depressed about being depressed about [...] having OCD focused on the fact that she has OCD focused on the fact that ...

Best as I could figure the situation out, she had had obsessive-compusive behaviors at some point which got her diagnosed with OCD, which really upset her and became the focus of her obsession, making breaking the obsession even harder than it otherwise would be. The hopelessness of breaking out of that loop eventually got her depressed, and she began to fixate on the fact that she was depressed about having OCD about having OCD, which in turn made her more depressed, and in that fashion turned into a depression about her depression.

Yo dawg, I heard you're depressed about your OCD induced depression about your OCD.
mu

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby meeshyscarver » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:15 pm UTC


  • "I have a quick temper, a short fuse."
  • "I am always on the go, as if driven by a motor/I have a hard time sitting still."


And that leads me to your other question: "Is there any possible advantage to a diagnosis other than medication?"
YES! Getting an official diagnosis and reading up on ADHD gave me something priceless - an explanation. I finally understood why my brain worked the way it did, why I have problems with certain things, why I have particular behaviors, etc. And once I knew what the problem was, I learned about some ways to better manage it which I employed to great success...for a while, at least. Unfortunately however, I live alone (so there's no one to watch/help me and keep me in shape), and the very nature of ADHD means it's really really difficult for me to make myself do all of these little tips and tricks to manage the ADHD so I can grab onto all the balloons =(


This.

All of this.

Especially the "live alone" part. And the "thought I was good-tempered and sedentary" part.

My life.

I hate starting over every few years... I'm going to find a new shrink... again... moving is wonderful and exciting and life-expanding and helps me not feel trapped and it's a great way to keep myself light on possessions...

but...

moving is really really bad for the consistency of my habits (which is already severely compromised).

Wish me luck.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby Feylias » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:24 pm UTC

Isn't that how everyone works?
nobody will ever know.
Last edited by Feylias on Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:00 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:14 am UTC

noema wrote:I have a little boy...

So one of the issues is: if medication changes your emotional range, then it will change your kid's idea of what a normal emotional range is.

I'm the child of a medicated schizophrenic and a don't-ask. It's taking a lot of unwinding, which seems to make my life better. It would have taken less unwinding if we'd had more relationships outside the family, for me to know that other people were different, but that was difficult because of everyone's built-in limitations.

If that parent hadn't been medicated, I'm fairly sure the results would be worse.

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Re: 1106: "ADD"

Postby arthurd006_5 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:23 am UTC

noema wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I once dated a girl who claimed to be depressed about being depressed about [...] having OCD focused on the fact that she has OCD focused on the fact that ...

Best as I could figure the situation out, she had had obsessive-compusive behaviors at some point which got her diagnosed with OCD, which really upset her and became the focus of her obsession, making breaking the obsession even harder than it otherwise would be. The hopelessness of breaking out of that loop eventually got her depressed, and she began to fixate on the fact that she was depressed about having OCD about having OCD, which in turn made her more depressed, and in that fashion turned into a depression about her depression.

I wonder how often that happens...
Kind of intriguing to think about, in an impersonal way. Would be an interesting basis for a character.

This reminds me of the bit in "Blink", by Malcolm Gladwell where, if people are asked for reasons, it changes the choices that they make, in directions that they end up disliking.

So there's a contradiction in my world-view, where I'd like people to make the choices that are good for them, but I'd like reasons if I can have them.


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