Executive function advice from people who are good at it? 2024-02-09T10:11:54.546Z
How to write better? 2024-01-29T17:02:55.942Z
The akrasia doom loop and executive function disorders: a question 2024-01-22T07:01:09.646Z
What’s up with online media and our ability to get sh*t done? 2024-01-19T09:12:14.600Z
Come and daydream with me about science reform 2024-01-15T11:09:44.299Z
How to make to-do lists (and to get things done)? 2023-10-12T14:26:28.790Z
On being in a bad place and too stubborn to leave. 2023-08-06T11:45:49.771Z
What works for ADHD and/or related things? 2023-08-02T18:37:18.216Z
How to deal with fear of failure? 2023-07-15T18:57:58.413Z
Do the change you want to see in the world 2023-07-14T10:19:07.029Z
How can I get help becoming a better rationalist? 2023-07-13T13:41:46.670Z
What to do after a mental breakdown? (Dealing with fear of failure) 2023-07-13T09:09:12.384Z
Why does anxiety (?) make me dumb? 2023-07-08T16:13:13.528Z
How to deplete curiosity? 2022-08-17T09:52:54.291Z


Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Parasocial relationship logic · 2024-02-23T22:31:27.130Z · LW · GW

[quick opinion, late at night, likely wrong]: the reason why parasocial relationships are usually seen as bad is more or less that they’re shallower than normal relationship, and are relationships with the curated persona of the actually successful person behind, not with the actual person. That makes it super easy to just project what we want them to be on our parasocial friends, to be friends with an idea in our head, or with something we see as "ourselves but better". On the other hand, those are mostly reasons to avoid having only or almost only parasocial relationships and fewer normal ones. That’s not good, because in that case you don’t learn how to do people, you take up bad habits of dealing with others through a distorted lens, as it were. But having mostly normal relationships and a few parasocial ones seems like a good idea actually? I know a lot of moderately success people who will insist that something that helped them a lot was reading the biographies of very successful people: if by "having parasocial relationships" you mean a slightly more interactive version of that, I’m pretty sure it’s a great idea! But "parasocial relationship" usually refers more to the kind where it’s less intuitively clear to you that you don‘t actually know the person for real? 

Still, at least in the more moderate version of "read biographies, try to contact very inspiring people on LinkedIn or whatever to see if they’d be okay to answer a couple of questions, or just plainly get really into an interesting person and spend a lot of time listening to their works and trying to understand them", I think that’s good, possibly underrate, advice.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The natural boundaries between people · 2024-02-23T13:11:46.047Z · LW · GW

I think a lot of what you wrote boils down to "it’s hard to both set and respect boundaries if you’re too insecure", which should probably be / is kinda supposed to be "Not Being a Jerk 101" or something we learn as children, but I guess a reminder is always welcome—I certainly could have used it sometimes myself. 

The way I see it is that "boundaries" are about the fact that you can’t decide how others feel, or make them feel in a certain way. If someone comes up to you saying that blue is their favourite colour, you know it wouldn’t make any sense to force them/coax them/gently sweet-talk them into believing that red is better. You can, say, convince them to paint the shutters in your house red anyway by using rational arguments, that the bylaws of the neighbourhood say it can’t be blue, or that the store’s run out of blue paint, etc., or emotionally persuade them by saying that you really like red and you’re both going to live in this house and are they willing to make a compromise? But you can’t say "look, dear, I really want you to like red better/I’m sure deep down you really like red better". 
And, in this toy example, it’s pretty clear.

But in social contexts, sometimes that’s different, because, as you said, it can be rational for children to be afraid of their parents disliking them, and, more generally, a lot of our social interactions are run on that sort of emotions: "I don’t want X to dislike me, I’m afraid X dislikes me". Which is kinda in contradiction with what we just said, that you can’t control people into feeling a certain way. There’s something to learn by practice that is more or less "Ok, I really don’t want that person not to dislike me, but they do anyway, and I can’t prevent them".

We could then, as you do, phrase it in terms of control: having good boundaries is knowing that you can’t control others, or, as I put it, knowing that we can’t force them to feel a certain way. There are a lot of people—sometimes including myself—who, mainly due to insecurity but also to other things, really want to feel like they’re in control, which makes it relatively hard to notice that while you can control how hard you work, you can be really ambitious, etc., there’s still that huge thing out there you can’t actually control and shouldn’t try to control, labeled "what other people think of you". That’s something you can only influence by, say, not being a jerk, and by treating others well. Which includes, incidentally, "respecting their boundaries".

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Stop Defeating Akrasia (1/4) · 2024-02-11T05:38:34.227Z · LW · GW

Really interesting quote, thanks for sharing it! 

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Stop Defeating Akrasia (1/4) · 2024-02-11T05:18:05.126Z · LW · GW

Well-written post. Really looking forward to the next ones.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on More Hyphenation · 2024-02-08T16:35:03.363Z · LW · GW

I agree. Hooray for hyphens! We want more hyphens to-day!

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on More Hyphenation · 2024-02-08T16:34:01.170Z · LW · GW

I think it’s because with the words in -ly you know they’re supposed to refer to the noun? With a "stern looking man", you might have doubts whether the guy is stern-looking or both "stern" and "looking" at something, because stern is an adjective. A sternly looking man can’t both be sternly and be looking.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The Math of Suspicious Coincidences · 2024-02-08T16:07:23.285Z · LW · GW

Quite cool! Reminded me of a video taken from an old TV show where they had an archeologist against one of those pyramidiots (real word) whose favourite pastime is ‘discovering’ that sort of spurious coincidences and writing books about it. The archeologist made the same argument you did, that if you’re trying to find any two things that match among a set of a million things, you’ll find a lot of matches. Or, as he put it "you can find anything if you’re just looking for anything you fancy". He handled it rather well: before going into the studio, he had taken the measurements of a hot-dog stand or something, and then spend his time on the show going "see, if you add the length of the counter where the hot dogs are, plus twice the width of the roof, multiply by a billion, that’s the distance between the Earth and the Moon! And if you…"

That was glorious. The link’s here (in French).

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Things You’re Allowed to Do: University Edition · 2024-02-07T08:26:13.175Z · LW · GW


In my (limited) experience, in college, social relationships become more complex, which will likely put more strain on the social cognition capacity of an autistic person. Not to mention that ASD shares a lot of symptoms with ADHD, including executive function issues, which can make studying somewhat more difficult. But I’m not sure to what extent it’s something that people here already do, or what one would need to do about it.

On the other hand, I suspect it’s quite possible to be too keenly aware of your mental health issues: if you’re on social media and autistic, chances are you’ve learnt to define yourself as an autistic person, and maybe that makes you prone to saying things like "I won’t try that, I’m autistic so it’s likely that I won’t be very good at it", or "yes, I have trouble focusing on my work, I feel miserable, but I can make sense of it, it’s because of ASD somehow (=>nonono, go see a therapist you fool!)". So I’m not so sure whether your suggestion really is a good one. A better one would be "consider the possibility that you’re autistic and if it rings true go have it diagnosed (or not!) by someone reputable who can help you deal with it"

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Arrogance and People Pleasing · 2024-02-07T08:10:51.903Z · LW · GW

Really interesting, very useful to make sense of part of my behaviour and other people’s, but I’m not sure we should assume people just are either people pleasers or arrogant? I see both kinds of behaviour in myself, depending mostly on what I am having difficulty with. (Or is it just that I feel like I’m too arrogant while in fact acting like a people-pleaser?)

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Noticing Panic · 2024-02-06T20:33:10.414Z · LW · GW

Upvoted because it really makes me think, and I can relate with it a lot. The other day, I was wondering about executive function (the psychology concept that encompasses Eliezer’s ‘executive nature’ but also things like mustering the ability to focus on your homework for more than five seconds). Not sure if it is relevant, but executive function seems to include "emotional regulation", so there’s probably some psychology research on the question of how panic can reduce our ability to get things done, even beyond actual panic disorders.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to write better? · 2024-01-29T18:59:51.468Z · LW · GW

Good point, thanks! I read that too quickly as something more like "just edit more" than "writing without editing isn’t a good way to practice", so I kind of misinterpreted it.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to write better? · 2024-01-29T18:11:37.860Z · LW · GW

Really interesting! Thanks a lot for the reminder that working on the components of the end goal is important — it should be very obvious, yet it seems like it’s not often brought to our awareness, and I often see people, including myself, neglecting it

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to write better? · 2024-01-29T18:08:27.347Z · LW · GW

Yes, I know, but I still need to practice: all the editing I do (including the editing that may not actually improve the text) means that it can take me a full day to write a couple of pages that end up not being great.

More broadly, I know practice can only be achieved by practicing more (duh), but I’d love a piece of advice that would make "practice more" more actionable, or help more directly with the root issues in my writing (the most obvious are that I’m anxious not to miss any potentially important detail, that I’m bad at deciding what is important, etc., but there surely are countless other issues I haven’t identified, and advice which would help me identify issues, or correct them, more effectively would be useful).

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to write better? · 2024-01-29T17:12:23.747Z · LW · GW

Thanks! I hadn’t seen those. They’re similar to the sort of stuff I had already seen, but seem particularly actionable, when actionability was the main problem of what I had found.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Making every researcher seek grants is a broken model · 2024-01-28T11:13:41.265Z · LW · GW

Could you expand on that? I’m French, and even though I’m not involved in research I notice that: 1. French researchers are very underfunded 2. Somehow they’re still pretty good at building a lab with duct tape and string. But all the good metascience articles are written in English and focus on the US, so I have no clue how research funding in France has evolved over time, what’s been getting worse or better, etc., and I’d like to know more.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The akrasia doom loop and executive function disorders: a question · 2024-01-27T18:28:57.033Z · LW · GW

I mean, yeah, works somewhat, but I’m really starting to think I have an actual anxiety disorder, given how a cuppa is pretty much never enough

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The akrasia doom loop and executive function disorders: a question · 2024-01-27T09:58:28.553Z · LW · GW

Interesting comment, thanks! For anxiety, theanine and a good therapist have helped some, but I need to investigate more what would work for stress and inhibitions 

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The akrasia doom loop and executive function disorders: a question · 2024-01-24T12:05:34.143Z · LW · GW

OK, so I’m commenting my own question, now… Weird.

Anyway. In my case at least, it seems like a lot of the most intractable akrasia comes down to something like anxiety. Just to give the worst example of all: a while back, I started a project, that required me to spend about six hours a day browsing Google Scholar, with zero accountability to anyone. So… it did not start out too well. Then, the second day, I decided I would be able to get sh*t done for f**k’s sake, damn*t. Or words to that effect. Strict schedule, pomodoros, all the works. I started at 8am. Kept it up relatively well until 11am. By 11:30, I was literally shaking, felt at the end of my wits, and my self-esteem had melted away. I did manage to work another three hours between then and 11pm, but that was all… I won‘t claim I fully understand this fundamentally bizarre experience, but the day after, I realised that the only commonplace explanation for "guy is curled up in his bed, teeth chattering and hands shaking; he missed no deadline, made no obvious mistake, or anything; everything else as far as the eye can see around him is perfectly fine" was something like anxiety. So, the day after, I decided to just assume that I would be able to work the required amount of time, as I had no reason to believe I actually couldn’t do it. And, like, it kind of worked? I still don‘t have a clear picture of what not worrying too much while still worrying enough is like, or how to do it reliably, and it’s still not enough to be very productive, but… definitely 100% recommend not being cripplingly anxious.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The Overkill Conspiracy Hypothesis · 2023-10-20T19:05:38.751Z · LW · GW

Interesting — although it’s not an entirely new argument. Does it work with theories like that of chemtrails, though? Assuming I want to poison the atmosphere or something, say, with the end goal of cooling down the climate, I would need an absurd amount of power to be able to have very many secret planes, that don’t ever get flagged as "not actually a legit passenger plane" by any air force… which is why it’s likely not true. But we can’t really say that assuming I had such power the conspiracy would be unnecessary? The best way to do all that geoengineering would still be the chemtrail planes?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The Hidden Perils of Hydrogen · 2023-10-16T04:08:51.331Z · LW · GW

Really interesting post! Two things: 1. I had heard that the main drawback of hydrogen was that, contrary to oil that can just be dug out, you have to produce it first. And, with the energy inefficiencies in using renewable energy to make hydrogen, it’s not actually that energy-efficient, and even if it were, scaling production would require building masses of renewable power plants and it would basically always be more efficient to use their energy directly rather than through making hydrogen. What do you think of that? 2. Could we have some rough figures of how incredibly expensive those options are, how materials-based storage compares to high-density gaseous storage in terms of costs, etc.?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The Lighthaven Campus is open for bookings · 2023-10-14T18:06:37.737Z · LW · GW


Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to make to-do lists (and to get things done)? · 2023-10-14T15:55:55.285Z · LW · GW

This seems like a particularly actionable version of common-sense advice! Thanks a lot, will try

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to make to-do lists (and to get things done)? · 2023-10-14T14:03:20.248Z · LW · GW

Very interesting comment, thanks! What you say about attachment styles is really quite possible, but what you say above that definitely rings a bell. I can’t tell if the causation goes "ADHD/depression/whatever =>> watching YT videos and binge-reading LW and doomscrolling X" or more simply "superstimuli =>> can’t get anythings else done", but superstimuli are definitely a part of the equation.

Which is an issue: given that I have to spend a significant fraction of my day browsing online reports and things, and given that I seem to have relatively little self-control with that sort of things… how do I stop pursuing safe easy superstimuli all the time, if I can’t just go live in a cave and completely cut my access to it?

I know I’m far from the only one to have this problem, and that many have been trying to solve it, but I’ve never met a solution that worked really well.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The Lighthaven Campus is open for bookings · 2023-10-14T09:21:23.491Z · LW · GW

Kind of a silly question, but: how much did such a compound cost to buy/renovate, and how much does it cost to run? Just asking because I’m curious, and because it’s just past the threshold of "sufficiently bigger/with more amenities than a regular house that I can’t trust my extrapolations"

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to make to-do lists (and to get things done)? · 2023-10-13T05:00:50.106Z · LW · GW

Could be. But there’s a lot of things I mostly want to do for myself, so I don’t know

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How to make to-do lists (and to get things done)? · 2023-10-13T04:59:03.752Z · LW · GW

Well… erm…

Yes. Definitely.

I can see how it can sort of be related to avoidance behaviours in general, but I’m still somewhat curious why you’d ask that question.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Fund Transit With Development · 2023-10-04T11:05:43.004Z · LW · GW

Not to mention that (I assume) transit companies are no good at building and selling houses, so they’d have to partner with developers, who would probably think they could have done it all on their own without the transit company folks who take all the profits?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Fund Transit With Development · 2023-10-04T11:02:33.138Z · LW · GW

Very wrong assumption indeed, but not (no longer? or never?) typically American by any means. Also maybe it is a necessary wrong assumption? How do you merge public and private without rendering either word meaningless, in practice?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Fund Transit With Development · 2023-10-04T11:00:04.892Z · LW · GW

Just to quickly point out that it has happened before! In the 1920s, when London was building its Metropolitan Line, the company that managed it had obtained the right to keep surplus land (when they have to kick you out and buy your farm, the government allowed them to keep the farm, not just the small fraction actually occupied by the tracks and stations), and they also deliberately bought land near planned extensions. It got them enough money to pay a dividend for most of their operating years.

But I think it would be significantly harder to achieve in other contexts: will people sell you the land for cheap if you tell them it’s because you want to build a metro line on it and make a lot of profit by developing the land? Or will they just factor the proximity to the future transit line into the price? 

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Find Hot French Food Near Me: A Follow-up · 2023-09-08T08:57:37.409Z · LW · GW

Mayonnaise is an evolution of aillioli, but not the same thing: it doesn’t have garlic. In fact, southern France also has aioli, with garlic, and these two things are separate.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Find Hot French Food Near Me: A Follow-up · 2023-09-08T08:55:20.866Z · LW · GW

One may also add that ‘bœuf bourguignon’ literally translates as ‘Burgundy beef’, for the very good reason that it is cooked in red wine. That’s not exactly ‘inventing stew’, although it tastes great

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on 6 non-obvious mental health issues specific to AI safety · 2023-08-19T17:16:51.841Z · LW · GW

Yeah, I’d have guessed as much

Maybe it’s a sign I should get into AI safety, then /j

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on 6 non-obvious mental health issues specific to AI safety · 2023-08-19T15:05:18.981Z · LW · GW

I wonder to what extent you meant it when you said those were specific to AI safety? I’m not at all involved in that (but on the other hand I’m still probably on LW far too much), and I liter have all of them. Or did you mean ‘here is how some common-ish psychological issues manifest themselves in an AI safety context’ ?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on On being in a bad place and too stubborn to leave. · 2023-08-14T06:40:52.263Z · LW · GW

That may well be obvious to many, but I’m starting to think that the key problem — in addition to the usual consequences of ADHD/ASD which I’m as ready to accept as anybody here — is just a big ol’ cognitive dissonance: I want to be a smart and promising student in a vaguely rationality-adjacent, science-based field, and to have fun doing it ; but I am a disgruntled, sad student in a business school. Most normal people in my situation might have tried harder to let the "smart and happy" side of themselves win, but I quickly got used to being depressed, in a way that tilted the scales in favour of solving the dissonance by just accepting that I was a depressed idiot. It seems to explain why I just never accepted I was a student at my uni, in a way? I could have done interesting things in that context, but only ever seemed to want to get outta there. That also could explain why I gradually ‘lost interest’ in a bunch of intellectual things I still am into, deep down. Seems like I have my explanation. However, there’s no way I’ll just solve the dissonance by getting comfortable with not being as smart as I used to be. I wouldn’t accept that. And there’s also basically no way I’ll get back to being as smart as I want to be. Especially if I add that, even if I suddenly became a much better version of myself, I’d still have "the fact that I used to be depressed", conflicting with my self-image. Seems like I have either a very difficult tradeoff, or simply no options at all, if I think the tradeoff entails too many sacrifices.

No, judging from the other comments and the bit of common sense I still have left, I’m exaggerating my plight, and I should probably get some rest to clear my mind. Still, I’m between a rock and a hard place.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on On being in a bad place and too stubborn to leave. · 2023-08-13T16:35:14.652Z · LW · GW

Most likely you’re right, and I’m overestimating how bad my situation is. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say I’m in a good situation: 

• I can find an average job easily, but: being a bottom-rung corporate drone filling Excel sheets suits neither my tastes nor my (probable) ADHD, and staying motivated on the sort of things I’m on track to end up doing as a career sounds really hard.

• Frankly, a big part of the issue is probably here: I used to be very curious, and still value curiosity a lot, but, like, it’s as if the depression I’ve been through completely destroyed my will to try anything other than daydreaming and worldbuilding. And, ok, I’ve also taken up good habits like exercising, cooking tasty meals, etc., but that’s not the same thing, is it? I just feel like I’m fast becoming lazier, and equally fast losing touch with the real world even more than before.

• My personal relationships are basically non-existent. I mean, I go to meetups, chat online with a bunch of people, etc., but that’s all. I’m more comfortable than most with not having close friends, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Yet, I think it’s more like I used to be comfortable with not having friends, and I’m starting to miss it? Possibly linked to a mildly shameful point: I had, a year ago, made a great friend, but I got depressed and ended up relying too much on that friend, in a way that made them uncomfortable, until we weren’t friends. I’m still ashamed at how unlike (what I thought of) myself my behaviour was then. What’s the point of seeing myself as nice and reasonably polite if my revealed preferences go the other way? But I guess I’m putting too much weight on that specific situation.

• That last point is possibly the biggest, most interesting, and most worrying issue: I’ve been on LW for four or five years, wanting to raise the general sanity waterline and my own personal one ; I’ve been aware of what mistakes I could make as an aspiring rationalist and how to avoid them for about as long ; I’ve noticed important issues in my life for at least four years (starting with the fact that I began hating my degree with a burning fury about a month after classes started, which is never a good sign) ; I’ve been determined to correct my flaws for as long as I can remember ; etc. And yet, I’ve made all those mistakes, made basically all my issues worse, etc., while being mostly aware of them. Looking back, I see myself turning into someone I despise, and noticing that I’m going the wrong way, and going anyway as if I couldn’t help it. I just don’t seem to be able to iterate and improve, although I agree I’m smart enough that I should be able to do it. It’s as if I didn’t dare to try out anything? 

You say I compare myself to others. Might be true, my therapist seems to think the same. But the way I see it is more like, I compare myself to the sort of person I feel entitled to being? Because I used to be a promising kid with mild autism but no debilitating mental health issues, and now I’m always low-key wondering if I need to get committed to a madhouse. I just want to get back to being the good version of myself, that I was a few years ago. But you’re probably the one who is right in the end: that’s neither healthier nor easier than comparing oneself to the neighbour. And I’m not sure I wanted to be an entitled person.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on On being in a bad place and too stubborn to leave. · 2023-08-06T18:08:44.313Z · LW · GW

Well: the only obvious drawback I see is that my uni just doesn’t offer anything more STEM-related that a course in high-school statistics taught by someone who’s never studied math in her life. And since it’s not an option in my curriculum for this semester, I can’t take it anyway. But it definitely sounds like a great plan, similar to what I’ve already rejected as very good but impossible in practice. I should find a way to make it work.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on On being in a bad place and too stubborn to leave. · 2023-08-06T15:22:16.535Z · LW · GW

Well, I don’t know what my quest is, but I’ve already noticed that this is what I should be working on, and that already involved having interesting chats with a bunch of people. I should keep doing more of that :-)

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on On being in a bad place and too stubborn to leave. · 2023-08-06T15:20:11.569Z · LW · GW

Yes, you’re quite right, I’m obviously falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy here, and I wasn’t fully aware of that, for some reason. But I guess that, being a smart student at a good famous-ish uni and from a moderately well-off family, I feel more or less entitled to a good, well-paying job? And my worry now is that I may not get it, of course. And the shame would be something like "I could have had the life I want but I didn’t bother, and that was kind of a shameful thing to do, I should have acted more according to my own values". The way I feel it, it’s a mix of disappointment at how unlike myself my behaviour was, and fear that I may not be able to make up for the opportunities I’ve lost and the worsening of my situation I’ve caused. That’s why it feels more like shame, on the whole. But yeah, it probably makes more sense to phrase basically the same feeling as sunk cost fallacy.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on What works for ADHD and/or related things? · 2023-08-04T16:33:10.944Z · LW · GW

Not sure how much sense it makes to comment on my own post, but thinking about ADHD sparked another question that’s probably not worth a sep post: if, as seems more and more likely, I indeed have ADHD, and it’s what makes me unproductive and therefore indirectly what made me depressed, … then I really should think about how people who discovered they had ADHD only relatively late, after it had made them make a few poor choices, managed to spring back, and ‘recover’ not from ADHD, but from the consequences of having had undiagnosed untreated ADHD. Any advice on that?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on What works for ADHD and/or related things? · 2023-08-03T06:20:16.009Z · LW · GW


  • Nothing all day is rare, but 3*5minutes is very common. Working 40 hours a day would be easier if what I was doing was really interesting, but that hasn’t been the case in a little while.
  • I just can’t stay focused on doing one thing, although in my experience it’s more about getting sidelined than finding other problems to solve. I mean, can we all agree that looking something up on Wikipedia is a five-hour endeavour that starts with a work-related query and ends with reading something on industrialisation in the Two-Sicilies in the 1850s?
  • My constant thoughts seem a bit dull. OTOH, I literally have 190 tabs open in my browser as of now. And that’s after I removed some recently. But in practice I’m ‘only’ using five or ten of those at any given time and there are many I haven’t opened in weeks.
  • I just can’t stand corporate slang, rude people, and other such things, and have apparently much less ability to just accept that it’s a pain in the backside for everyone and let it slide anyway, compared to other people. But it mostly makes me sad rather than angry?
  • No patience. Well, everyone has that one, right? I’m not the only one who sees a dedicated circle of Hell just for fat chattering middle-aged ladies who take up all the space on the pavement and that you can’t overtake, am I?
  • Clutter: my room’s a mess, all the other rooms in the house are pristine, vacuumed with unusual ferocity by yours truly, who can’t stand the mess. It was notably more pronounced when I was depressed and didn’t want the extra drag on my nerves from the mess, however.
  • Task paralysis. I may or may not have that one: I postponed taking driver’s ed for about four years for no clear reason, I’m currently in the process of not doing some fairly important administrative thing that I could have started about a month ago, I’ve been wanting to make a fruit pie (a two-hour endeavour) for about two weeks, and still haven’t bought the fruit, etc., etc. It is extremely depressing.
  • Hyperfocus, in my experience of the last few years, has mostly been used as a time sink. No, it’s an understatement, it’s more like a time bathtub, time swimming-pool, time Mariana Trench. Very infuriating.
  • ‘Seeing and hearing everything’ rings true, but oblivion even more. I am the world-class champion of not being aware what my siblings have been up to, for instance. But I wonder if it has to do with some broader ‘not bothering to go toward people and find out about them’ which is also what made me think of eg. schizoid disorder.
  • Guilt, regret, and shame: yeah, pretty sure I’ve met these guys quite often. Damn!

My therapist isn’t fully sold on ADHD, since I was more functional as a child, and have always managed to listen to my teachers without chatting or daydreaming even as much as my peers (which, imho, could be that jumping from one thing to another wasn’t so much of a problem then, even if I did as much of it as I do now. And being smart-ish allowed me not to work too long hours. As for not having trouble listening to teachers, that deteriorates massively if I’m not sitting in the front row with no one next to me. Overall, most of what I’ve written above sounds like it was already true then, although it was definitely much less of a problem and ADHD wasn’t something I felt the need to look into).

So, all that seems to suggest ADHD really is a possibility, right?

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on How can I get help becoming a better rationalist? · 2023-08-02T12:06:44.629Z · LW · GW

Interesting comment. You know, the weird thing is that I knew all of that long before I started implementing it (that is, quite recently). And it’s not even surprising that for the longest time I knew that avoiding bad situations, making logs, making a deliberate effort to stay healthy, and avoiding self-punishment were important, but that I hardly ever did any of it. I don’t think I quite grok fully why our brains work like that.

And now, I’m actually a little concerned that I may have taken up negative reinforcement and other such bad habits in a way where it’ll be hard to uproot them. I guess if there is good advice on that, I could probably use it.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Ethics and rationality of suicide · 2023-07-27T19:39:28.606Z · LW · GW

This is very relevant to my life! It really seems like pretty much all my mental health issues boil down to not feeling autonomous and agentic, and not doing stuff. Or feeling lost in the middle of how much stuff I might do. But the way to try and solve that is to try a bunch of things until one gets a better idea of what part of the world one wants to focus on.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Ethics and rationality of suicide · 2023-07-27T19:35:49.445Z · LW · GW

Just to point out that I agree with this (now quite old) comment. 

Took me four years to understand why I was depressed and couldn’t see a way out of it ; and now I can, and I’m no longer depressed! Focusing on the virtue of empiricism is definitely good for that, especially as that’s the main thing a depressed and suicidal person won’t do. But perhaps it’s something you can only do well after having done some work on the virtue of finding a good therapist to start dealing with the depression, though :-) At least that’s how it worked for me.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Break your habits: be more empirical · 2023-07-23T14:51:35.778Z · LW · GW

I should have seen this earlier! Not that its point is new or revolutionary, but sounds like I needed to hear it.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on What Are You Tracking In Your Head? · 2023-07-20T06:25:37.138Z · LW · GW

There’s something really odd about that: it made me notice that I have either trouble tracking many things like that, or trouble bothering to track these things (since it wasn’t so much of an issue a few years ago, maybe the latter is more likely). Can anyone relate or am I weird? How do I learn to track more?

Also, the advice of asking mentors what they track seems really good!

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Life hack request: I want to want to work. · 2023-07-19T10:54:02.702Z · LW · GW

That’s a really interesting comment! "Interest follows focus […] focus on the material", "You’re obsessed about you lack of productivity, so your interest shifts to that and then it’s all you think about" are insights that seem obvious but that I’d never heard before.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Strategies for Personal Growth · 2023-07-18T10:56:34.309Z · LW · GW

Just pointing out that I very much agree with this, mostly because I can relate to it. It really seems as though LW is written for people who are seeking to improve their lives without actually having mental health or similar issues that mean they’d need the improvement. Which doesn’t necessarily mean LW is actually written by such people. We’re very open about the mental health issues some here actually have, but we’re fixing them the way we would do regular self-improvement. LW does seem to do self-improvement quite well, though, although, being an online forum, it’s not that good at providing the practice that is always most of what it takes to improve.

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Anecdotal panic prevention strategies · 2023-07-17T06:23:00.858Z · LW · GW

I know it’s an old-ish post, but it’s very helpful, thank you! 

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on The housing crisis, explained using game theory · 2023-07-16T08:45:17.956Z · LW · GW

I think you’re right, in a way? On the one hand, it had never seemed to me that there was some sort of deranged focus on building more for the sake of it. It’s more like "where I live, five years ago prices were €10k per square meter, now it’s more like 15k, and while my parents built wealth by buying their home, I’d literally need to spend the price of a brand-new car to buy just the toilets with no home attached". In that sense, we need to build more. Or to convince all the people holding €15k/sqm homes to just pretend their homes are now only worth half as much. The latter is, of course, a far better option, and I think that’s more or less the idea behind your comment? But, as you know full well, if I ask my dad to pretend his home is worth only half of what he’s paying it for with his mortgage, or if I ask my uncle to pretend the money for his retirement is only half what he thought it was, they’ll say no! Building more isn’t great, because prices will remain high-ish at best, and because it can make our cities noticeably less livable unless it’s very well done (and certainly, make our cities quite different from what they now are). But I can’t think of any other way of doing it? 

Comment by TeaTieAndHat (Augustin Portier) on Greyed Out Options · 2023-07-15T12:43:24.103Z · LW · GW

I wish I’d seen this post sooner, having pretty much all my options greyed out all the time is something I’ve been struggling with a lot until recently. But about your comment specifically, I’m particularly curious about "altering one’s personality", and maybe even more so about "buying a blue-collar business as investment". Would you mind expanding a bit on those?