Am I Lazy, Stupid, Messy, Flaky? ADHD

Am I Lazy, Stupid, Messy, Flaky? ADHD


Hello, Brains! Here is a riddle for you … If I’m supposed to study for a test but I can’t get started because i’m hyperfocused on playing a video game… …and then I fail the test…Who’s fault is it? Mine or my ADHD? The answer? It’s complicated. … and like any chronic medical condition it comes with symptoms that create impairments that can’t always be perfectly managed. One of those symptoms is difficulty regulating attention, transitioning from one task to the next, especially one that’s less stimulating, and then actually being able to focus on that task. Even when we want to and know it’s really important. Which, in this situation, created the impairment of not being able to study and doing terribly on the test. Does that mean I get to fail every test and it’s fine because my ADHD made me? No. …to find ways to work with my brain. Tools and strategies that will help it be able to do what I want it to do, so that I can have the kind of life I want to have. But here’s the problem: if we don’t know why our brains are having a hard time focusing and everyone else seems to be able to do it if they just put in the effort … At first that might look like guilt. “Aww man, I should have started studying earlier.” “I should work harder at this.” So we try to, but the 50th time it happens we might start to feel like our behavior isn’t actually the problem. We are. And it doesn’t help when our parents, teachers and classmates agree. These are the labels a lot of us with ADHD pick up before our actual diagnosis. And even with the diagnosis, these labels are hard for us to shake. By then, many of us have internalized them. And there are still those who will say to our face, or our Facebook feeds, that our ADHD doesn’t even exist And all of the stigma and misunderstanding results in an incredible amount of shame. And while guilt can be productive — — because guilt is about our actions, and our actions we can change — On the way to his diagnosis, my husband looked at me in the car and said, Luckily I was driving, so we kept going. But I hear from so many people who are afraid to seek a diagnosis. Because what if it’s just them? What if they don’t have ADHD? What if it’s just their fault? Because if we feel like we should be able to study without checking in with an accountability buddy, we’re less likely to do it. Instead of motivating us to change, shame can contribute to anxiety, depression, even addiction. So what’s a brain to do? First, educate yourself, … and if possible, the people around you, on how your brain works. A lot of research has been done on ADHD, so there’s a lot of good information out there. Articles, books, YouTube videos, podcasts … … not all of it is reliable … … but there are plenty of trustworthy sources for ADHD information … … that can help you learn how your brain works and what can help with the impairments. Second, connect with others with ADHD. Because while experts can be an important part of our mental health journey … they can’t necessarily take away our shame. When a doctor prescribes us ADHD medication, we might feel ashamed if we believe we shouldn’t need it. Even going to a therapist can feel embarrassing. Like, there’s something wrong with us. Like we need to be fixed. Connecting with others with ADHD can help us let go of that shame, by normalizing what we’re going through. Because it is normal when you have ADHD. It’s normal for treatment to include therapy and medication and for that to still not be enough. It’s normal to struggle with things as simple as doing the laundry, or the dishes, or sitting still in a chair. And when you don’t have to explain why those things are hard for you, when you can talk openly about your struggles and be met with empathy and understanding and humor, instead of skepticism and judgment, and pity … it’s healing. Knowing you’re not alone is healing. And that’s what’s magical about this community. Those of you in this community who have opened up about your struggles and strategies and STRENGTHS … … have changed my life — and each other’s lives — for the better. We’ve celebrated each other’s accomplishments. We’ve traded ADHD-friendly life hacks that come from hard-earned experience. And we’ve helped each other let go of a lot of shame. This kind of support, it turns out, has a name. It’s called peer support, and research shows that it can benefit people in a lot of ways. And I think we need more of it. So, in between videos, we’re creating more opportunities for ADHD peer support in three ways. If you want to live chat with other ADHD brains, you can do that privately, any time, pretty much day or night, on Discord, through donating on Patreon. There are also free public forums for the tribe at … Created by this brain, the impressive Scot Melville, and moderated by this brain, the incredible Harley. Head over and visit if you want a bear waving hi at you. There are some secret projects … … I can’t tell you about just yet, but I will announce them for ADHD Awareness Month, and they’re going to be awesome. There’s only so much connecting you can do through a computer. Meeting up with other ADHDers live and in person is really fun. The first time I experienced this was in 2016 at CHADD’s International ADHD Conference. That year I was kind of shy. I had just started the channel, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be welcome among the “real” experts and ADHD veterans. But Eric Tivers showed me around and introduced me to everyone, and everyone was fidgeting and spacing out and talking all at the same time, and nobody cared, and it was so much fun, and I’m pretty sure I cried a few times. I’m going back this year, and this year it’s going to be even bigger. CHADD, ADDA, and the ACO are all putting it on, and, this year, I was invited back to be the closing keynote speaker. So if you can make it, highly recommended. And if you let me know you’re coming, I can host a Meetup there as well. You could even meet our resident research consultant, Patrick. He’s the winner of this year’s Young Scientist Award for his research on exercise and the ADHD brain. If you can’t make it because you live in … New Zealand… If you can’t make it for other reasons, no worries, I’m sure there’ll be more opportunities to meet up, and I will keep you posted. That’s it for this week. To our Brain advocates, and all our Patreon Brains, what would I do without you? So much of what we do on this channel has been influenced and improved by our conversations with our Patreon Brains. For that, and your support every month that allows us to keep doing what we do, thank you. And I just realized how much extra stuff I’ve put on my plate over the next couple of months, and I have no idea if or how I’m going to pull any of this off, but I know it’ll be okay. Because … … you get it. I’ll … try to see you next week. Bye, Brains.

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “Am I Lazy, Stupid, Messy, Flaky? ADHD

  1. I viewed your tedtalk and I cried before it even finished because it sounded way to familiar. I have an evaluation next week and I can’t stop thinking about it. Thank you so much for existing!

  2. This channel helped me a lot to deal with ADHD..knowing my brain works differently helped to make peace with my shortcomings..Kudos for such wonderful work 😊

  3. space cadet lmfao. thats an old joke we use for our mom, she would go into space, then we realized she had adhd most likely.

  4. HELP, HELP, HELP, I just realized how bad I got. I was diagnosed with depression/anxiety I think the medication is making me worst. I forgotten the faucet open on main floor go to the second floor to comeback to a river thank good I have tiles, I threw my dirty clothes out and bought new ones because it was easier. I am also in the military and thrived in Tactical Operation Center, feel alive when facing danger, and think better under pressure. That thing is 80% is doing things I hate and since I don't get paid by the hour I will often do things the relate to the other 20% and stay at work until 10 or 11pm when the pressure builds up to get home and wake up at 5am again to do it all over again. I tried list, notebooks, planners, now trying my smartwatch for reminders. What else can I do?

  5. The worst feeling is when you can’t tell everybody about it especially a family because your family doesn’t believe it exists. And even worse when you have to lie about taking medication because of how much paranoia they have over medications. I hate seeing my family just break down and get angry or sad when I was trying to tell them that I have it. So I keep it to myself. Luckily I do have a couple people who know my coworkers being one of them. Still I’m thankful for this channel because it helped explain a lot of thingsI’ve been going through

  6. Sometimes I feel so stupid.I’m in top classes, but I seem to have a complete inability to pay attention.The teacher calls on me and I can’t answer because I wasn’t listening.I try,but I ALWAYS constantly find my mind wandering off.I don’t even know how to stop.I don’t know what to do.Nobody would ever help me get tested for ADHD,because I’m in top classes and they see me as organised and not struggling.

  7. Omg I cry because this is so true for me and obviously many others. I felt like ok "Thank god I'm not a horrible person, I'm just certified "crazy". The diagnosis stopped most of my self loathing, however I still struggle. I absolutely love this channel. THANK YOU 💖

  8. If I had friends like you as a child and when I was your age (I think you're a lot younger than I am), I'd probably be a far more functional adult.

  9. I have literally only watched the first 40 seconds so far but holy potato fries (trying not to cus since your channel seems cusfree ;)) I never realized how stupidly logical the having difficulty switching to less interesting tasks is and it blows my mind how much of a negative effect it has on my life. Thanks for helping me understand better

  10. All these labels against me as a person with ADHD doesn’t matter to me anymore because I have grown to realize that even the so-called “normal” people have defects of their own. Sure, go ahead and brag to me how perfect you are and how you are better than me because you are normal and I am not; good luck trying to make me believe, normies……

  11. A shame i didn't know i had ADHD and see this video sooner. Then i could have come to see you when you were her in NZ… Oh well maybe next time!

  12. Jess, can we get a video of sucessful people with adhd please? Pretty please?!? My mom just gave me a pep talk about working with the doctors so I can get on social secuirty, but I don't want that. I want a career! Inspiration would be wonderful. Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

  13. Even if we do or don't have ADHD, There is an answer, even if we don't like it. Just know the answer is never that there is nothing you can do. Learn, do, grow!

  14. This is legit my life. I wasn’t diagnosed until a year and a half ago, at age 31. I’ve been told, and thus internalized, that I was lazy or not trying hard enough because I couldn’t do my homework/reading for school. I’m STILL struggling with shifting my focus from “OOH SHINY” things to “ugh boring” things. Learning about time blindness was life-changing for me. It explains so much about my approach to writing papers and studying for tests 😆

  15. SPANISH SPEAKERS can you help me to go translating this video? I've already done some of it but it will submit only if enough people checks it

  16. Interesting videos! As a boy whose school reports age 11-18 frequently contained words like "lazy", "disorganised", "late" and "daydreaming", it all comes back to me….scroll forward a mere 50 years to last week when I was ADHD (inattention) diagnosed! What a relief to get that and to know that nowadays there is far less stigma and shame attached to ADHD.

    My DW is at her wits' end coping with my self-absorption, procrastination, lack of priority and failure to put her first. Not had meds prescribed yet, but I know they are just the catalyst and I am beginning to get how much hard work I will need to do. Not just telling my DW I will do things but showing her that I have done things, on time, properly and without drama or causing chaos.

  17. Shame can be productive. It has its place and didn't evolve for no reason. It just can be maladaptive or more advantageous to shaming group than shamed individual in many cases.

  18. You make adhd not so bothersome anymore..i guess its the change in perspective..owning your shortcomings and taking a positive aporoach to tackle them. Adhd is my inner child.

  19. I’m such a procrastinatorrrrrrrr! Vyvanse helped me a lot but I hate the come down and how depressed I get. Otherwise I’d take it

  20. “What if I’m just lazy?….” – ouch, that hits close to home… it’s a relief to know it’s not just me.

  21. Good thing both my mom AND my favorite teacher ( fifth grade and I’m in fifth grade too ) have ADHD and know what it’s like. At the beginning of the school year, I held everything about myself ( and ADHD ) as close to me as I could manage ( I still do, on the bus ). I don’t know if my teacher thinks that I have ADHD, but my mom AND her PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED THERAPIST think I have ADD ( now that I think about it, I lean more towards the inattentive side ).

  22. I just had a discussion with a work colleague, where she told me I should start a task instead of waiting for the application I work with starts up (like 5-10min, happens A LOT, I'm a developer). She, literally, told me, that "normal people can [switch tasks] without a problem and I just should do it" like it would be my work ethicss. I told her, as I am having ADHD this is a VERY WEAK argument. My triggered impulsivity did the rest (shutting down the conversation). So, I'm the guy who instantly wants to start a fight (if it's something I know I struggle with and try to improve it) if somebody attacks me due to 'ADHD behaviour'. Well done, neurotypical.. 😉

  23. I recently moved to Belgium to start a Master's and I have struggle so much… I've always had problems focusing and finishing tasks but I was very used to the system in the US so I was able to manage but here everything is so different that I have not been able to manage at all. I am not diagnosed with ADHD but I have read extensively and I have a great suspicion that I might have it. I have never struggled this much and it has brought crashing to the floor. I feel like most of those adjectives mention in this video… It feels so nice to hear your accounts and also know that so many people are going through this as well.

  24. I have been wanting to watch this video for a few days and it was so much better than I thought it would be. I feel heard. Thank you.

  25. I am going for testing tomorrow for ADHD and I’m worried that I won’t be diagnosed even though I have so many of the symptoms because I have felt I might just be lazy etc. Sad to say but I hope I am diagnosed so I don’t have to feel the shame as much anymore.

  26. I'm at the lowest point of my life right now and I just found your channel and I cant tell you how much gratitude I feel for you right this second

  27. I have AD(H)D, I have missing the hyperactivity, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, I was diagnosed with it ADD 14 years ago. I never got educated about it before THIS. Thank you! And shame on the 7 Doctors who missed out on that!!!

  28. I was working my way through your videos wcouldn’t figure out what was bugging me about your face but I got it now. The way you use your face/blink/talk is extremely similar to my cousin. It’s a little weird but sort of nice.

  29. I've made the spanish subs! Can you guys help me approving the subs? I need to show this video to my people

  30. I haven't been diagnosed with adhd but for a couple years I've been coming back to the idea that I need to see some sort of professional for it.. sometimes I start to reach out.. maybe send emails or make an appointment and cancel soon after.. I constantly feel like I'm at rock bottom but I just keep sinking. I've watched some of these videos in the past but never as many as I have now.. I hope this is the time I look for help..

  31. Working with my brain – watching this video while cooking supper. Because cooking is something I despise. And watching things helps!

    I still have such a trigger around the word lazy. I can't ever say it to my kids.

  32. I am so glad I found your TEDtalk! It led me here. I am currently undiagnosed but I have an appointment set for next month! I started watching your videos and reading through the comments and I am shocked and amazed to see how much I have in common with this community! Everything I have been shamed for throughout my life might have a source. I am not lazy. I am not worthless. I am just me struggling with ADHD. It's so freeing to have an answer and possible treatment plan!

  33. I recently discovered your videos and now I actually play them in the background to help me get things done, especially when the meds wear off

  34. This is amazing. My battle is bipolar type 2, with a little ADD thrown in for fun. Thanks for the reminder I’m not lazy. 😊

  35. I'm so scared that I won't have it. If that were to happen, then that means I really am just lazy and it's all MY fault. I know that even if I dont have it at least I'll know. I guess that's better than not knowing right?? I'm still so scared probably wont go. Does anyone relate?? Has anyone experienced going and not having ADHD?? Plz let me know!!!

  36. I am crying, I ask myself every day why am I like this. Everyone tells me just to keep going and focus and I keep just not doing it, and then hating myself for it, and trying, and not making AGAIN AND AGAIN. I will go to the psychiatrist tomorrow to see, and I am SO SCARED that I’m just lazy, because everyone says it’s hard, but they manage to make it, and I CAN’T. I don’t even know if this made sense I’m crying

  37. Holy Cow, I am watching this in New Zealand!!! I got such a surprise when she said that 🤣🤣 alas being an adhder myself I am about 8 months late 🤷‍♀️

  38. First year at uni I’m SO GLAD I was diagnosed beforehand. I would have dropped out….I nearly did but I stuck with it. My mums proud cause I had bad anxiety so living on my own was a big deal. Especially with adhd. I had so much stress and doing the work a week before the deadline. I had no clue what the brief was asking me. I mean 12 page brief?! My tutors are luckily understanding [I swear one of them has it]. When I get excited in class or just moving around. They’re not that fussed. They ask me gently to calm down. Fair enough. They narrow the brief to bulletin points. Focus on the ‘learning outcomes’. Turns out I didn’t have the right supporter. Next year I will have the correct supporter to help me organise and plan, understand brief, help with my English etc.

    Even before I was diagnosed the academic side was not for me. But I didn’t do a-levels but I did a media course. It’s all practical. I wasn’t diagnose then and I was doing well. I guess I was hyperfocusing and leaving my work the day before [or 2]. I was wondering ‘why?’ ‘Why can’t I socialise fit in’ ‘why do I get in with Nero-divergent people?’ Most importantly ‘why do I have a practical brain than academic brain?’.

    I remember when I was 11 my teacher in secondary school, told my mum ‘I don’t pay attention in class’. I always remembered back then, it was normal to daydream in lessons.i done it throughout primary school. No one noticed.

  39. I took a ten-minute break in the middle of this video to go to another video to learn butterfly knife tricks so that I could play with my butterfly knife while I finished watching this video LOL

  40. My librarian recommended you after having discussion with each ther about having ADHD, thank you, thank you so much, you taught me that its not bad to have ADHD and that I'm okay. Thank you

  41. What you said in the beginning about people and their reactions is exactly why I don’t post about it in Social media. I get so torn because I know there are people who really need to see your videos, but frustrated because I would rather keep this private to just my family and my daughters teachers (she was diagnosed after me).

  42. Hmmm…so shame is what I have been going through….It's nice to have a word to describe it. Feeling like I should be able to keep organized or be on time or budget….Feeling like I shouldn't need therpay or medication….Felling like there's something wrong with me because I can't do things like everyone else. Terrible feeling :'(

  43. I went through a period of depression because I would blame myself and would be told by others I was lazy and worthless. I soon believed it. I went into a deep cycle of self harm and kept it to myself. I had even attempted suicide. When I got out of that period in my life I found this video and it helped me to understand alot. So than you for doing what you're doing and continue to do what you're doing it's amazing what you do

  44. I was living on a very dark place, hating my self for failing at everything, disappointing everyone, not being able to accomplish anything because i was lazy, because i never tried hard enough, why couldn't i just do the thing??? It wasn't that hard why would i stall so long for it? Why couldn't i just stop reading the book or stop watching the series and just start studying?? Why didn't i just do that????
    Right now, i am this close to getting expelled from my univesity, and disappointing all of my family again, i never did get good grades at school, I've always lived in the shadow of my fathers expectations of me studying, all he ever asked of me was to study, and i failed in that too…
    I felt like i was worthless, that i never did anything good,

    Now you are telling me it's not totally my fault, that there is a explanation for it, you are telling me it's ok….
    And i so desperately want to belive you….
    It took me a while but i did, and now… It's like i don't hate my self that bad anymore, i don't cry myself to sleep every night anymore because i somehow belive it's not my fault
    So thank you.

  45. I was told I was lazy by my boss in front of the employees I manage and it was so hard. The hard part about it was I was buried in tasks and super busy, but because I was having a hard time fixating on certain tasks, I was humiliated in front of people I was directly managing. It's hard because I work for family and sometimes I feel like that's the only reason I've been able to keep a job, especially in management. I have come a long way now that my family and I understand that I have ADHD and I have been sticking to some coping strategies. The sting of that word "Lazy" can hurt.

  46. Hi! I am george and this is my hyperfocused, “Thank you so much for posting your videos and for creating your channel,” message for the channel admin brain.

    Story alert!: I have the add/adhd combination brain and was first diagnosed when I was 9. Ill be 26 next week and still show many symptoms and didn’t realize how little I knew about the disorder,. I never had a clear understanding of my brain and now I get why I daydream and over analyze social situations. It’s such a relief to know I’m not simply going crazy.

    When I discovered your channel about a week ago, I was awe-struck with how much I learned so quickly about the symptoms, and how to use certain tools for different situations. I’m also learning how to talk openly about it with some of my peers and have developed some amazing support.

    Ultimately, I want to say thanks for voicing out for us brains. That takes a lot of work and a lot of bravery. Kudos

    I look forward to sharing what you taught me.

    -George’s brain

  47. I haven‘t been diagnosed, but I watched your do I have adhd video and almost all of the things you said, I do or have. I want to ask my doctor, but I don‘t know how. I‘ve been diagnosed with social anxiety and anxiety aswell as panic attacks. I see a therapist regularly, but I‘m nervous to bring it up. My main concern is, what if my parents think I‘m crazy. Sorry for this rant! I love your channel!

  48. i have dealt with those stigmata's my whole life!!! A problematic child that one is. He"ll be great in the military or end up in jail someday is what some would tell my parents!

  49. I go through this every day. Every.single.day. Except I grew out of the hyperactivity phase when I was younger, so now it's just A.D.D. But have all the same symptoms,tendencies etc. Pretty much can't stand myself most days, but watching videos like this helps.

  50. I've been taking Adderall for two weeks but I can't really take it every day. It keeps me up at night. I feel terrible.

  51. I am 47 and even though I haven't been diagnosed, I've suspected for some time that I have ADHD…. Now for a diagnosis and how to get through conventional grad school. uggh. You are brilliant by the way! Thank you so much for all you do!

  52. Holy moly, every time I watch one of these vids i tread the line of crying. I have never been so hit with why stuff happens to me.

  53. Thank you so much for this video honey I'm 33 years old and I'm just starting on the path of finding myself I have ADHD dyslexia and I am also of an INFJ personality which all this put together is REALLY horrific, I've been struggling to cope but videos like this do make it easier for me to get the help that I need without paying for a doctor thank God for the 21st century LOL

  54. Just got help for this. I’m so thankful for my wife who understood my condition and helped so much. I’m 33 and had a very bad time getting through life. Last Thursday was my first day with medication. It was the most amazing thing to see how much this really helps! Thank you for all your videos, your channel is the only ADHD safe haven I’ve found so far. It’s amazing how much anxiety disappears when you can think too.

  55. Thank you! I’m in tears because this exactly how I’ve felt! I’ve been dealing with these feelings so much lately! I feel validated ❤️

  56. "What if I'm just lazy?" ouch. it's the reason I've been putting off trying to get a proper diagnosis.. because, what if i don't have it.. what if it's just me? That would mean i wasted 33 years of my life and i'm not where I want to be because of my own laziness..

  57. Your experience with your husband pre-diagnosis is me right now and made me start sobbing. Everything I learn about adhd feels completely familiar to me and I've never seen a doctor for any mental/psychological stuff because I am terrified that there isn't anything to diagnose and it is just me being a 'bad' person

  58. I was just diagnosed a couple of months ago and had a hard time believing my doctor was correct. I was definitely NOT hyper, and I wasn't a bratty child ( I was painfully shy). WOW, was I misinformed. I have never felt more understood as I have since the diagnosis. Restless legs, not falling asleep at night, staying up until, well, last night it was 5:00 a.m., forgetful, major social anxiety and perfectionism are just a few symptoms I had that I didn't know are also related to ADHD. Currently, the most difficult problem I am having is working on my school work. I am 48 years old and decided to go to college. Crazy, I know. I typically sit in front of the computer and do a LOT of research, but when it's time to write my papers…..well, I can't! Sometimes I just sit here and cry. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR VIDEOS! I am learning a lot and feeling a bit more "normal".

  59. Could you please do more on that fear of not having adhd and it just being your fault because there isn't really anything about it anywhere thx 🙂

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