a few thoughts about RSD cus i was typing out a huge thing anyway LMAO
OK SO i’ve been hoping someone would mention this bc I personally have been having a WILD TIME with this particular symptom! But knowing what it is is definitely helping me figure out how to cope with it cus it is definitely a roller coaster.
My particular experience idk how frequent it is in the ADHD community but like you, I was never told about this symptom at all. [but for me a lot of adhd symptoms im actually discovering through research and not doctors visits]
BASICALLY ok rejection sensitive dysphoria is for right now as far as we know, ADHD specific, though there have been discussions in a ton of communities over how it is possible some BPD [borderline personality disorder, not bipolar] sufferers experience it as well. But until thats really delved upon, right now, it is ADHD specific. [research changes constantly and alters all we know]
However we know ADHD sufferers are all under the same umbrella when it comes to being more sensitive to rejection, teasing, criticism, or feeling like you’ve failed. So far its believed at least 90%-100% of ADHD people experience this, as after being told what it is instantly identify it within themselves.
Rejection sensitive dysphoria feels like this ok:
Lets imagine everything’s fine in your day, but you say something to someone and you’re not expecting it, but they either make you feel slighted/insulted/rejected/youre not good enough. Even if they don’t mean to! Even if they are not trying to hurt your feelings and didn’t think about it, it just comes across that way.
What this causes you to feel is an immediate overwhelming emotional response and there are 2 ways most ADHD people react to it. The common symptom overall is just an overwhelming sense of discomfort and pain. It is so intense that you feel you may not be able to live with it.
Internalized: You feel extremely distressed and like you’ve hit a low point. From now on, nothing you do ever again will ever matter. You’ve hit the end of the road in your life. Suicide and ending it all seem like a reasonable thing to do, but you know you’re not going to do that. You become noticeably depressed and low energy. Most people who have this response believe they’ve been misdiagnosed and are actually rapid-cycling bipolar, but thats because this is a very commonly missed symptom of ADHD.
Externalized: You lash out at the person causing you pain. It seems only right, as they were the one causing you this INTENSE discomfort. It really appears like you’re having an anger meltdown of sorts. Lashing out you expect to feel some relief but may soon realize you’ve overreacted, and embarrassed yourself, which unfortunately causes more pain and embarrassment.
Anyhow, what this causes I’ve learned in a lot of ADHD sufferers is it alters their behavior so much bc they want to avoid this feeling SO MUCH that they will do one of several [or all] of these with their life:
- Become people pleasers. Forgetting their personal goals, they look into what others around them are really really into and chameleon those things, seeking praise and admiration. This is seen as a way to avoid the intense pain of RSD.
- Stop trying. If you don’t try something new, you can’t fail at it. It’s really not worth the risk of subjecting yourself repeatedly to this dysphoria. The idea of putting yourself out there provokes such an intensely deep anxiety that it stops you dead in your tracks.
- Become perfectionists. Using the sensation of RSD to overachieve, they strive to be the absolute best at what they do. They seek to be above criticism, you cannot criticize this perfection. The problem this causes, as it does seem glamorous, is that perfection is never attainable so they are constantly driven to achieve more. Overworked, stressed, never satisfied with the outcome.
Ok so there’s not a lot about coping with RSD that doesn’t deal with medication, but I’m not medicated and so I’m here to tell you what you might can do to help yourself.
First off, just knowing this thing has a name has really helped and let me step back and analyze whenever I start to feel these come on, and I know I’m not alone there. The intense pain of RSD is actually stated to as an episode, so treating these as you would a mood swing or mood episode could be a good start.
When you feel yourself being slighted over something someone has said, do not react to them right away. Give yourself a bit of space. Analyze it. Do you have the right to feel the way you’re starting to feel? You have to be honest with yourself.
If you see that no harm was intended, but feel slighted and start to feel this emotional reaction, you have to distance yourself. If internalized, maybe ask for attention but do not demand it or rely on it, maybe talk about something else and come back to this later.
If you feel like you’re about to lash out at others, definitely remove yourself from the situation until you’ve calmed down. You’ll feel a lot better about not reacting to the first thing that comes to mind later, thus saving yourself further embarrassment dysphoria.
Overall, I know its hard to be easy on yourself when the stakes are so high emotionally. But you have to try. I’m not a professional and I’m still trying to see whats beneficial to coping with this. Trying not to ignore your own emotions, but also seeing where the line should be drawn between acknowledgement and letting yourself get lost in it.
Do any followers or mods have any coping ideas?