"Difficulty" as a person with ADD:
- Learning about obscure programming concepts by reading old papers: "This is fun!"
- Unearthing old peer-to-peer architecture stuff and documenting it: "It's tough but I like it!"
- Working on decentralized system and programming language design: "I could do it for days!"
- Submitting an invoice so I can get paid: "Oh my god this is the hardest task ever how could anyone ever do something so difficult"

Apparently if there was any audience that heavily relates to this post, it's the fediverse

We're a bunch of nerds. What do you expect. Smart about everything except that "adult life" thing.

@cwebber And I'm inclined to think it's not because we're stupid or incompetent, it's more likely because adult life is where things, more often than not, do not make any fucking sense.

I mean, with brainpower and technology we as a humanity we have under our belt the problem of people not being able to afford basic things like home, food, education and communication would have been long solved, right? Those are basic stuff that should come with being a human, why in 21st century, the age of AI and robots, should anyone "work" for that?

@drequivalent That certainly rings true, but I think there's something else to acknowledge that isn't universal to all people. I really do think that people with AD(H)D are wired differently; the ability to control focus isn't there the way it is for other folks by default (that doesn't mean no-focus, hyperfocus on interesting things happens). I really fought through school and nearly flunked out because I wasn't able to focus on mundane tasks and was completely "absent-minded".

@drequivalent What I'm saying here is, I do think there's a disorder here in that some people don't have the same focus tools the rest of the population have; in that way it's not just the modern condition.

BUT, it could be that if society were structured differently, this wouldn't be a problem; I think it's no coincidence that many people with AD(H)D are great programmers and inventors. In that sense, if society could get around its drudgery, we could make use of that much better.


@cwebber I wouldn't really call it a "disorder". It's just how your brain works. It doesn't like boring stuff that sucks, and overfixates on cool stuff that rocks, to the point of escapism. Me too, man! We geeks all be like that. It's not a disorder, it's your order.
What I'm saying is, we're in the day and age where boring stuff that sucks should have been automated away or else dealt with long ago really.

Society doesn't think so though.

@cwebber In short, the problem here is not you (or any other person that has this type of mental uh... configuration?). The problem is pretty much everyone else for not being able to accomodate to folks just like you. But that's my opinion.

@cwebber I think the miscommunication on my part was because in Russia we rarely see attention deficit as a "disorder" (one would argue that's because we don't see much of anything because our psychology and psychiatry studies are as wrecked as anything in our country after 1990s, but that's whole another topic). We have a whole lot of people like that, and yes, misadaptation is an issue, but no-one would really think of going to the length of calling it a "disorder". Hell, I might be one of them. Or not. I'm not sure what I am. Don't wanna step on someone's turf and be an impostor. But to me, "disorder" means there's something wrong with the person who has it. Which I doubt it is in this case.

@drequivalent @cwebber Sorry but I need to step in here...

When you say it's not a disorder, what you're actually doing is saying "This isn't a disability" and when you do that, then you're saying that institutions like schools don't need to accommodate for those of us who have such disabilities.

As someone who is learning disabled and has ADHD, this is an incredibly important issue for me. When you say it's just a difference, it erases both my struggle and the ability for me to get help.

@emacsen @drequivalent @cwebber That's not what's being said at all & it's pretty disingenuous to suggest that in the first place.

We accomodate for stuff that isn't disorderly all the time. For example, if someone prefers their cheeseburger without ketchup, fast food restaurants accomodate them.

We as a society understand people are different in many ways, so anyone who says "we don't need to accomodate for stuff unless it's a disorder" are gaslighting, at best.

@emacsen @drequivalent @cwebber I have ADD, autism, etc. but I don't see myself as disabled. I see myself as someone who has a different set of weights to balance out the scales, or as many people call it, differently-abled.

"Disabled" has a lot of "less equal" implications to it and I'm certainly not less equal to non-autistic people. I just have different strengths and weaknesses.

@KitsuneAlicia @drequivalent @cwebber

Disability is a legally defined term.

You can label yourself as you like, and you can decide not to accept the social safety net that is in place to help people like me, but when you say *my* disability isn't a disability, then you're actively harming me and those like me.

@emacsen @drequivalent @cwebber No, what I'm saying is that the terms need to change, legal or otherwise. We need to get rid of the neuronormativity that permeates our culture, including the legal culture.

I'm not dismissing your need for different services, I'm trying to remove the effects of the inequality and frankly, the bigotry inherent to using the term "disability" regardless of which setting it's used in by using a word that more accurately represents us.

@KitsuneAlicia @drequivalent @cwebber I don't think it's worth arguing over semantics, but I don't have any problem with the word, because it's accurate.

Able , Disable- which means difficulty being able to do something. In my case, that means certain types of information doesn't get handled properly, or my ability to keep my attention.

Autism is an executive dysfunction. It means difficulty or inability to process and certain types of thinking don't work the way they would in others. [1/2]

@KitsuneAlicia @drequivalent @cwebber

Part of moving forward, for me, is accepting that. It is accepting that I have a disability. My accomplishments are therefore even greater because of that, and I had to work harder.

It means that I have things actively working against me..

I have no shame around the word, or the concept, and we need this word and this concept to keep the protections.

Apologies for not knowing legal definitions and any miscommunication it might have caused. Whatever country you're from, I'm probably not from there. But still

> When you're saying X what you're actually saying is Y


> learning disabled

Disabled, in my culture at least is defined as "unable to do something". Which yeah, makes sense. A blind person who has no eyes is visually disabled, and they won't be able to see no matter what help you provide them (unless technology gives us working eye implants, which again, it should but it's ways off). People who can learn how to use emacs (as your nickname suggests), I at least have a hard time labelling as learning-disabled, sorry.

> When you say it's just a difference, it erases both my struggle and the ability for me to get help.

In differently (better) organized society the actual and real struggle you are going through now wouldn't really have to happen, is what I'm actually saying.


@KitsuneAlicia @cwebber

@drequivalent @emacsen This is pretty much what I was getting at too. Using my cheeseburger example, fast food chains have no problem just not putting certain condiments on your sandwich on request. It's a non-issue.

Likewise, in a society that truly sees differently-abled people as equal, we wouldn't struggle to communicate in social settings because accommodations would be readily available.

@drequivalent @emacsen My other point was that language has inherent biases. "Disabled" focuses on a negative aspect while ignoring more positive ones. It's therefore treated as a weakness & something to be frowned upon in our culture.

Meanwhile, "differently-abled" acknowledges both that we have things we're bad at & things we're good at. For blind people, they often have better hearing/smell. Likewise, autistic/AD(H)D folks often have an affinity for tech.

@drequivalent @emacsen Correcting the equality issues we face requires correcting the biases inherent to the language people use to describe us.

How we're described sets the stage for how relationships with us will work. Taking an equality approach helps to ensure mutual understanding. But if we're described as a negative, we will be looked down upon.

@KitsuneAlicia this is probably where we have to agree to disagree. I prefer positive thinking as in "positum", the stuff that's real, and if a person for real can't do something, because they positively lack the means to, I think they should be informed of that, if anything to avoid unnecessary waste of energy on trying to do it. Now, what is in my opinion should be happening, is:

0) focus rather on stuff the person can do, absolutely, should go without saying (but nothing ever does)
1) when discussing disability specifically pinpoint as to what they're actually disabled in. Daying that "person X is disabled" does not convey any useful info.
2) take out the shame from being disabled. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being completely unable to do something. A lot of folks can't do a lot of things. My acrophobia effectively disables me from climbing rocks and trees and other high places. Whoever says that acrophobia is not valid because it's psychological can go climb my giant di…

@KitsuneAlicia to the point 0: "if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" (c) somebody, most probably not Albert Einstein.

@drequivalent I don't think we disagree as much as you seem to think. Using language of equality doesn't mean stripping the differences away. It just means highlighting both the positive & the negative together so that we don't have to worry about the inherent stigma that comes with the "only bad" language.

Like I said before, "differently-abled" acknowledges that we have down sides & up sides. It's a way of abolishing the stigma of the bad by giving some good alongside it.

> acrophobia
> rock climbing

Oh. That, and I also have a minor vertebral fracture. Completely slipped my fucking mind, damn. Nothing very serious, I'm functional, but again: I'm not climbing anything even moderately high anytime soon.


> I at least have a hard time labelling as learning-disabled, sorry.

Persons with ADHD may be able to learn emacs and myriad other skills while being seriously disabled in other life domains. There are specific measurable performance deficits in ADHD persons vs controls.

I agree with both the neurodiversity / "differently abled" perspective and the "tell it like it is" perspective.

So, truth: some of ADHD's negative impacts are unrelated to enduring a poorly adapted society.


Put another way, "if you can learn emacs you're not learning disabled" could be viewed as yet another de novo invention of the "if you can pay attention to $interest_domain, then clearly you're just not trying hard enough to pay attention to $boring_domain," an argument which people with ADHD have been dealing with from uncomprehending neurotypicals for their entire lives.

Okay, I see. Thanks for clarifying this without trying to put words I didn't say in my mouth.

I can see that side of the argument. This is not what I was intending to say though. Of course I have to be careful with what I say here (because this is the Internet!) so let me be clear: I'm not

a) claiming to any objective 100% truth (that would take me a long and exhaustive study nobody in my country would agree to pay for)
b) not trying to say that ADHD/ADD people are not struggling or invalidate someone's experience
c) not trying to be prescriptive about what terms people use and how

All I can do is tell how I see tings. And how I see it, is that maybe there's a way to help deal with those struggles without necessarily telling people that they are damaged goods.

Also what I'm saying is that it's really disappointing how a lot of $boring_stuff still exists and still are issues people have to manually deal with in the first place.

And hell. As I said, I might be one of those people. I'm certainly feeling that something is wrong with the way I'm doing things. I'm forgetful and absent-minded about stuff like bills, taxes, names, dates, papers I have to sign or get, in other words, all the stuff other people might consider life-important. My brain does not see them as such, it just tunes it all out into background noise. I always, since childhood got commented by my family on about how I'm misadapted and disorganized and "freaky" ("чудной" in Russian). Hell, I once spent half a day in my appartment looking for a pen that I had in my hand the whole time. I digged through every inch of the place and couldn't find one. Until my mind agreed to register that I'm actually holding it.
I don't know if I have the diagnosis or not. And there's no way for me to tell for certain, because our psychology and psychiatry institution is disfunctional, and people would rarher suffer than go see a shrink.

@deutrino anyway, I could go on, but this thread has dragged on long enough, and it has become some kind of a mess (that is my fault), and I can see how my point is not really welcome here so I'll just stop.

@drequivalent I agree with a great deal of what you're saying (and the "looking for a pen I have in my hand" thing is VERY FAMILIAR). It's all a very fuzzy area and there's a lot of room for new ideas.

I do also agree that all of human civilization would be better off if we had a custom of a) learning more about our own traits b) being more open about them with others and c) accommodating each other when reasonable to do so. We're dropping so much potential on the floor the way things are now.

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@KitsuneAlicia @cwebber @drequivalent @emacsen The magical word "disorder" triggers resources, from your private or government insurance, to create the accomodations necessary to not be left out of society.

@clacke I already went over this. If you had read the other replies, you'd know that.

@KitsuneAlicia Yeah, looking at the thread on octosoc I see there are branches that didn't make it to my side.

I'm late to the convo, so I'll just say that I agree with mstdn.io/users/deutrino/status… and followups by @deutrino .
@emacsen @cwebber @drequivalent Yeah, "disorder" means nothing more and nothing less than "different from the median person in such a way that it becomes an obstacle to living the median person's life in our society".

The solutions are:
1) Don't live the median person's life
2) Fix society
and failing those
3) "Fix" the person with medication and mental techniques
@emacsen @drequivalent @cwebber i cant speak for any other learning disability but im sorry that you feel like ADHD is a disability and not the natural order of humans. there's a lot to suggest that we just naturally cannot focus in such institutions (school, work offices) because we werent really wired to live in an industrialised society. we're forcing ourselves to adapt to that. the fact that you believe that ADHD is the issue that educational facilities should be tackling... where, in reality, schools are just too big, this "no child left behind" (at least in america) harms everyone equally, not just so-called learning-disabled people
@emacsen @cwebber @drequivalent i could get into the conspiracy that diagnoses such as ADHD are a cash grab, and that fixing the underlying issue of society would prevent doctors and pharmacists from earning a quick buck; but even if you dont quite believe that, you can still probably see the truth to what i said previously: institutions need to be rethought

@drequivalent @cwebber That strikes a chord.

I've been reading about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which has been gaining some traction in psychology. It posits that the Western "healthy normality" assumption (i.e. that being happy, calm, etc. is the norm) is actually wrong, and that trying to suppress feelings counter to that (anxiety, depression, etc.) via therapy or meds is what leads to disorders relating to these things. Instead we need to accept & work with it. Fascinating stuff.

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