ADHD and Technophobia

Problem: I want to use “tech”, like the app shown in howtoadhd’s videos, among others. I want to try all these things but I have technophobia.

Question: Does anyone else deal with this? Can I just never use tech to help my adhd? or are there tips and tricks to dealing with the technophobia?

Also, many thanks in advance and I’m glad to be part of such a community.

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Welcome, @nomaeos!

I don’t know anything about technophobia. I work in information technology, so I’m not afraid of it (but I don’t blindly trust it, either).

There are certainly good non-tech resources to help ADHD “Brains”, including:

  • Many people credit Bullet Journalling with helping them immensely.
  • There are books that people say have helped them (the first that jumps to mind is “Driven to Distraction”, by Dr. Edward “Ned” Hallowell).
  • Professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, therapists, coaches, social workers, and teachers.
  • ADHD groups (online and offline), to meet with others, to share, support, and encourage each other.
  • Advocacy organizations, like CHADD, ADDitude Magazine
  • Podcasts like “ADHD reWired”, and YouTube channels, like “How to ADHD” of course!
  • And forums like this

… Of course, using the Web resources rely on using some technology, but there are the many people and print resources available in the top part of the list above.

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Let me expound. I’m familiar with everything you all describe but not the words and verbiage with which you use to describe. I’m new to the community, but also I am new to discussing my brain stuff with other people.

Instead of technophobia (that’s one I just related to) I should have said all phobias. I have a few. I guess my real question is “does RSD and RS make dealing/working with phobias more difficult”? and if so, “what are some ways to deal with it.”?
Also, thank you for your response.

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Okay so I’m a technophile but also phobic. I ghost around on here and I reject apps like crazy even though I used to make them (guess why).

Anyways I can only speak for my phobia around New Apps.

My big bugaboo is Notifications. If I get a million notifications that’s a guarantee I’m gonna ignore them. Switch them off immediately.

Notifications are a guilt trip that sounds too much like everyone who wanted me to remember things I didn’t remember and just become the new person I tune out BUT. They can be useful in doses.

If I don’t have any control it’s just another thing I’m going to fail at. Like the 5 billion emails I was afraid to click or the person I really liked and forgot the name of. Another big F.

So. My cure is come to the tech whatever it is on my own terms. For me, anon is better. Low notification until I get to know it is better. That’s me. I actually really love gadgets my issue is social fear. I’m not sure what part of tech is scary to you.

If your problem isn’t as social as mine I’m gonna guess it’s still overwhelm, so try to choke the firehose. Make it smaller, cut it into bites.

Tech is complicated and has a lot of pieces and also has a lot of social status all tied up in it. Lots of noise. Trying to get to know it is like trying to learn to dance at a rave. Nightmare.

I never learned to love tech watching videos or talking to people who spout acronyms.

I pushed buttons and broke stuff. Alone on my own time.

Make it safe. Pick a free thing and push buttons till it crashes. Make a garbage drawing. Do a bad video edit. Make a loop of a text rocket. Whatever.

I don’t know your specific situation but every time I got over a big icky fear or learned to like something I did it in a sandbox.

Find your sandbox mark it out no nags or bullies or critics allowed. Play. Mess it up.

Run into a problem with a specific solution and then ask someone who isn’t a jerk about it.

Prioritize Not Jerk Allies at first. Your non jerk friend that’s equal or barely better than you is better than a judgy expert. And might be able to stand the judgy expert enough to ask for you. If you find a non judgy expert treat them like gold.

No matter what people who make tech their identity say tech is not serious business. It’s not an old dad in a suit asking you why you don’t remember Nixon, it’s a stoned friend you don’t get because they keep going off on tangents. You’re not dumb for not getting it, it’s a maze and it’s not documented in an ideal way.

Half of why tech is intimidating to newbies is because making it is a team effort and none of us makers are comic book geniuses. We don’t 100% know what the hell is going on either. There’s a lot. If you don’t get specific it’ll just spray you in the face.

Hardware? Software? Mechanical? Electrical? Something I didn’t name? Pick one thing that’s relevant and scary and play around with it until it breaks, then try to figure out why.

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Since you were talking new app honestly. Honestly. Make a throwaway email and clown on it with no consequences. The worst that’ll happen is a ban. This is advice I don’t want trolls to take but I think might help someone with anxiety. A burner account can be your sandbox if you’re genuine but afraid. If you’re not making five and actively being mean the devs and mods aren’t coming for you. If you’re just being cringey… You can leave it behind in the past and improve.

Make a zero consequences account and turn off notifs and just make it your own terms your sandbox. Go to it when you feel like it. Recruit a trusted friend/family member to help you manage it if you need to.

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I probably shouldn’t call my aversion to many tech things a phobia. That would be bad for my career as a software engineer. However, I am reticent about trying a lot of tech. People like me write software and don’t explain how to use it very well. And then right after I think I’ve figured it out, someone else like me goes and rearranges everything. And since there are usually at least 384 apps that claim to do what I want, I wonder how much time I should spend learning one versus just trying another.

Yes! That is the right attitude! Or in the words of Joanna Cole, “Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy.” Tech can do some amazing things and really make life easier. But it does take some time playing with it to get comfortable.

One of the things that I initially liked about programming was that when I made a mistake, it told me and nobody else knew about it. Apps are like that as well. When something doesn’t work right, you are the only one to find out about it (Unless it is a chat app, and you cut/paste messages intended for one person into a window for someone else – Oops! They were both pretty understanding about it.)

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Me, 100%. It’s why I stopped using calendar apps. I know I can switch off the notifications but then I’d have to open the app regularly to see what I might miss. And I won’t.

The best way to get me to not do something is to keep reminding me of it.

I like apps and life hacks and all that but I’m also very quick to drop them if they don’t do exactly what I need (or I forget to use them for too long). But you know what even those apps are good for? For helping me figure out what exactly I need!

I gotta agree. Try stuff. Break stuff. Dismiss stuff when it doesn’t work for you. Take note of what works and what doesn’t. Look for the next thing that has what works and offers an alternative to what doesn’t. Make it a project. It can be fun!

Here’s my path through several organizational tools over the years:

  1. I had one of those table agendas when I was younger that show you one week at a time. I gave up on them when I noticed that I kept writing down dates but never looked back in time to be reminded of them.
    That’s how I learned that I don’t write dates down to remember them but to forget them.
  2. I had a pocket agenda. Same problem, plus I never knew where it was.
    In fact, it was a students agenda that I was somewhere in the publishers’ vicinity of, that’s why I had it. I was even supposed to layout the next one before the publisher died. That made me look into several ways to organize calendar pages and, especially, week overviews. I’ll get back to that.
  3. I had a smartphone calendar with reminders. They annoyed the heck out of me and stuff still didn’t get done, only now I felt crappy about it.
  4. I used organizer boards like Trello (but also offline, using post-its) to get some order into my to-dos. That worked great for organizing tasks but not for organizing time.
  5. I picked up some pointers from bullet journalling for my notebook that I always carry around. That worked for a while, especially after I adopted some of what I learned about agenda layouts some paragraphs above.
  6. Now I’m back to paper. Because it’s tangible and I’ve learned that I’m more likely to pick up a thing and use it, too, if it’s a pleasant thing to pick up. That’s why I never used the smartphone calendars after switching off the notifications. They just turned invisible and nothing urged me to use them.
    I chose an A6 hardcover pocket agenda with the calendar view on the left side of a page spread and room for notes on the right which is just how I need it. It’s a bit expensive because it’s hardcover and has good paper but that just makes me want to use it more so that was a good investment.

So that’s my path. Yours will be different. That’s the point.

I still think there’s an app out there that will organize tasks just the way I need it, if I have to write it myself. But for now, the agenda will do. Of course, I’m still taking notes on what it could do better. Maybe I’ll end up making my own pocket agenda rather than my own app, or maybe a bit of both. Who knows.

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Hey this is good info, thank you. I want to say this impulsively now because I’m not quite sure how to unpack my times with organizational tools without overriding the thread, but while I think about it, most of what you’re touching on here is very relatable.

The only organizational tool that works for me consistently is my whiteboard and I feel like I need an essay to express that but I also want to take a minute to be sure that’s the case.

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Oh hey just throwing in, I liked that about programming too. For once, instant feedback without judgement. The compiler knows, but does not judge. It only cares if correct answers enter the purview.

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