🧠 TikTok is not your psychiatrist

Plus: 🚃 New Green Line designs are final

It’s Tuesday, Boston.

🚃 The people have spoken: The new Green Line car design is official. Option 3 won with over 50% of the vote, but we won’t see them in action until about 2027. So if you’re an option 1 girl like me, you’ll have time to adjust.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Max migrant capacity

  • Cambridge said YIMBY

  • Breaking Bad behind the bar

Up first…



Illustration: Gia Orsino.

It’s ADHD Awareness Month. And if you spend any time on ADHD TikTok, you might walk away from your scroll sesh wondering if you have it (see: the comment section on this video). Which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that one-third of Gen-Zers say they consult TikTok before their doctor.

There’s no question that TikTok and other social media apps have helped to reduce mental health stigmas and get people properly diagnosed (especially women and other marginalized groups). But some TikTokers seem to think the threshold for an ADHD diagnosis includes sitting in your car too long when you get home (spoiler: it doesn’t).

So we talked to a real ADHD expert to clear some things up:

🧠 To recap: ADHD stands for attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder. It’s a condition that’s thought to start in childhood with symptoms falling into two categories: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity, which can manifest in several ways. For an adult to be diagnosed, they must tick off five out of the nine listed symptoms in one or both categories.

📱 “I see TikTok as an [ADHD] screener,” said Dr. Timothy Wilens, head of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division at MGH, “but just because it’s positive doesn’t mean you have ADHD.” Especially when creators conflate ADHD with other disorders. For example: This video outlines five “lesser known” ADHD behaviors, including procrastinating. But Dr. Wilens notes that procrastination is more of an executive functioning disorder symptom, and the other symptoms are so non-specific that if you say yes to them, it’s likely something other than ADHD, or a combination of things.

😬 TikTokers may throw ADHD around casually, but it’s not something you want. In addition to disruptive symptoms, ADHD is “associated with high rates of co-occurring problems like anxiety, depression … suicide,” holding onto jobs, relationships and more, said Dr. Wilens.

☎️ But if a video resonates with you, call your doctor to confirm your inkling. As a TikTok user himself, Dr. Wilens has seen firsthand how social media has empowered people to take control of their mental health. “Shame is a very tough emotion to metabolize, but people don't have that anymore,” he said.

😅 Long story short: We don’t need to pathologize everything. These “symptoms” creators share could be traits of who you are as a person. “You’re entitled to have quirks and traits … Just because you’re obsessed with something doesn’t mean you have OCD,” Dr. Wilens said.


👀 Be honest … have you ever used TikTok as WebMD?

Let us know below!

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


Turn up (the volume) with the classics

🎵💃🏼 Looking to elevate your social calendar? Join H² (H-squared), the Handel and Haydn Society’s vibrant network of young music lovers in Boston. Secure your pass to four awe-inspiring concerts this season for just $30 per show, featuring masterpieces like Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Other perks include access to backstage tours and pre/post concert activities. The best part? You can bring a friend (or date) along for $25 and start a new tradition together. Join now for a symphony season you won't forget.


Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Suzanne Kreiter\Globe Staff

🏨 Mass.’ emergency shelters are about to max out on space. Over 23,000 people — many of whom are new, migrant families — are currently in the shelter system, and the state doesn’t have enough funding or resources to continue expanding. So Gov. Healey announced a capacity limit will be enforced starting in November. Officials will focus on getting sheltered people rehoused and working in the meantime, but Healey also called on Congress and President Biden to put funding and resources into helping out.

🏗️ Cambridge has spoken, and they say YIMBY. A.k.a., YES in my backyard. Cambridge’s City Council voted Monday to amend their once-controversial Affordable Housing Overlay, further relaxing zoning rules in the hopes of creating more affordable housing across the city by allowing buildings rise up to 15 stories in major squares and 12 in key corridors. That said, opponents worry the lax rules will lead to too many tall, dense buildings in the city with minimal say from the public.

💸 What’s spookier than Salem in October? Salem’s Airbnb prices in October. As the demand for an October stay in America’s spookiest town has skyrocketed, so have the prices to stay there on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo when hotels fill up. It’s now common to see a relatively average place listed for over $1,000, even $2,000 per night throughout the month, but some listings can go up to — wait for it — $5,000. Never thought I’d see the day that Boston Airbnbs seem … reasonable.

🎄 Nothing says “it’s the season of giving” like the chance to get rich. The Mass. millionaire holiday raffle started Monday, and for each $10 ticket you buy, you’re entered to win a million dollar prize, weekly drawings of $20,000, and a $100 prize for every 100 tickets sold. There are 550,000 tickets available, and they’ll be available until Dec. 31 while supplies last. Check out where you can get one here. And if you win, channel that holiday spirit and remember who told you about it. <3

— Written by Gia Orsino


Weekday checklist

Image: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

🃏 Infuse your thrifting ritual with some spirituality. Head to Vico Style in Beacon Hill on Thursday to get that vintage tee and the perfect fall boots — plus a Tarot Card reading with Selkie Tarot.

🍷 Learn more about reds and ched’s. Join curds&co in Brookline on Thursday for “Red Wine and Dine Me,” and taste a whole spectrum of red wines and perfectly paired cheeses — plus a discount for shopping after!

😂 Watch first dates unfold IRL. Boston’s favorite form of comedy: Watching couples go on first dates. On stage. In front of a live audience. Experience “It’s A Date” firsthand on Friday.

🐐 Practice yoga with goats in costume. Bedford goats are joining yogis on Friday at Chip-In Farm, all clad in their Halloween costumes. You can also hold, pet, and take pictures with them.

🕺 Dance to the beat of your own music. Night Shift’s Owloween Party on Friday is not only a Halloween costume contest, but also a silent disco. Bring your friends and dance like nobody's … listening?

— Written by Claire Nicholas

🎉 Want more things to do recommendations? Refer five friends to unlock two bonus items. For those who already have, enjoy below.

🍻 Mix it up with a weekday Oktoberfest. Woah there — a weekday Oktoberfest? Loretta’s is teaming up with Sam Adams to throw its thirsty Thursday version of the month’s signature beer fest.

💃Get your heart rate up and your dance moves down. You guessed it — Zumba! Zumba with Jess is coming to Inman Square tonight to teach an outdoor class. Wear layers!


Breaking Bad behind the bar

Image courtesy of Zozimus. Illustration by Gia Orsino.

Quick! Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad fame were in Boston this weekend because…

  1. They heard about Boston’s official giant pumpkin and needed to take a look.

  2. They were on a leaf-peeping tour and needed a place to crash.

  3. It was just a stop before they visited Salem, where they stayed in a $3,000 Airbnb.

  4. They were pouring drinks to promote their mezcal brand, Dos Hombres.

It’s 4, lol. The two took a little tour of the city on Sunday while promoting their mezcal brand, and it looked like a ball. They were spotted cooking up cocktails at Time Out Market, Trillium Fenway, and at Grace by Nia throughout the day and night.

Check out this video of them slinging shots behind the bar.

— Written by Gia Orsino

🍸 Thanks for reading! I’m waiting until Mark Wahlberg comes back, myself.

💜 Special shoutout to today's sponsor, the Handel and Haydn Society, for supporting local journalism and connecting music lovers throughout Boston.

✈️ Only 22% of readers got Monday’s pop quiz question. Which nonstop flight from Logan has the longest travel time? Correct answer: Boston to Seoul, which clocks in at 15 hours and 50 minutes.