Thoughts on ADHD

A few different things that have occurred while investigating. It seems weird to me there are lots of posts about akrasia and productivity but not adhd.

1. High Rejection Sensitivity makes my attention in general more flinchy. Rather than just explicit rejection, you can think of this as a high sensitivity to negative feelings in general with rejection just being of extra highlight. This becomes a bit of a closed loop if I’m avoid noticing how flinchy my attention is because that would also imply unpleasant things.

2. Imbalanced novelty seeking dovetails really nicely with 1 because it gives me more buckets to run to. Find something I don’t like in one tab? There is another tab a muscle memory shortcut away. It also encourages multitasking in the sense of listening to music or eating at the same time as I do other things. Novelty feels somewhat additive, so that 3 minor novelties can combine to make me feel ‘stimulated enough.’ In the same way that insulin insensitivity is a problem this feels a bit like a sort of dopamine insensitivity (probably not literally literally since dopamine doesn’t work the way the folk version of it does). When I’m not stimulated enough I’m more likely to notice unwanted stimuli. Novelty, or surprise, is ‘spiky’ (activating, pulling of attention) enough to keep attention away from the unpleasant.

3. Higher than average branch factor + completionism = bad combo. By branch factor I mean the average number of thoughts activated by each thought. When this is less than 1 I tend towards idle relaxation, between 1 and 2 and I have a coherent chain + the ability to analyze a few possible alternatives. 3+ and I’m a bit all over the place. This isn’t so bad if/​when my pruning heuristic scales with the branching, but if it doesn’t I’m in for a bad time. Thoughts tend to just expand without healthy cycles of contraction until they become unwieldy for working memory, at which point novelty seeking becomes a nice relief, at which point I lose most of my cache and am back to square one the next time I go to load the problem. But the next time I go to load the problem I run into exactly the same issue but now even worse because reloading the cache doesn’t have any novelty to make it fun. So now the task feels really big and boring. And I don’t have a strong sense of why I failed last time, so attention remains diffuse etc. This also results in avoidance of needing to keep cache, which makes it harder to break tasks into chunks with reasonable save points, which means both that activation cost is higher and that I’m likely to avoid starting them unless I can dedicate a big chunk of time.

4. The tendency to go up the ladder of abstraction rather than down. This post being a good example....Extracting universal principles feels more productive than doing the local optimization. But this becomes incorrect under marginal analysis even if it is true in general. Going up the ladder of abstraction is a way of dealing with too many branches on the object level, but often throws out getting the actual task done.

5. Mimesis. Spending too much time with others with adhd.

6. Lack of a directly responsible self. If you repeatedly had meetings at work where a particular chunk of work was brought up and the manager just said, yeah this needs to get done followed by moving on to another topic and the work never got done, you’d have a pretty good idea why this wasn’t a workable strategy. Yet when this happens internally we don’t bat an eyelash. Which self will actually do the work? Because it won’t be the planning and virtue signaling PR self.

7. lack of a felt sense of progress and not knowing how to generate that for oneself. Having been spoon fed too many ‘felt sense of progress’ superstimuli in the form of video games and escapist fiction and completionism on link aggregators that I can pretend are educational. These compete with the nebulous and self defined and enforced felt sense of progress from my own tasks.

8. Excess sensitivity to wait times. Ignoring/​glossing over things with only marginally longer wait times to start, even if they are significantly better once started.

9. excessive ambiguity aversion, especially in the face of decisions with negative tradeoffs. Might imply that positive reframes are more important for adhd than for others.

10. In practice it feels like conscientiousness is the ability to generate a sub-system and then have other parts agree to subordinate their goals to it in some space-time-ritual bound way. It feels like time related cognition is the mechanism by which this coordination happens. Therefore, linked to the time dysregulation that is commonly associated with other adhd symptoms.