RSD – my profound discovery

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    • #188098


      I’m 45 years old (M) and was recently diagnosed with ADHD. As profound an effect the diagnosis had in terms of self-realisation, nothing was more profound than my recent introduction to one of ADHD’s most potent bed-fellows, RSD (Rejection Sensitive Dysorphia).

      The more i read up on it the more i realised that RSD has without question been the single most influential factor in how i’ve lived and experienced life and who i’ve become.

      In summary…

      RSD has made me a people pleaser, it’s stopped me from forming and expressing my own opinions for fear of being rejected. I am forever mirroring other peoples opinions, values and beliefs in social situations as a means to be accepted.

      RSD has robbed me of the professional life i wanted so badly by making social interactions and public speaking impossible to face. This was wrongly diagnosed (with meds wrongly prescribed) 5 years ago as Social and Performance Related Anxiety.

      RSD has led to experiences of both perceived and real rejection in my life having such profoundly detrimental and long lasting effects on my mental health that i still feel to this day the effects from events that happened over 20 years ago.

      RSD has impacted my relationships immensely.

      But… on the flip side of all of this, RSD has given me an unrelenting drive to achieve the best that i can (within the limits of its negative effects listed above), a drive that i might not have otherwise had. I always knew i had ’something’ that other people didn’t, a super-charged desperation to produce the best results possible. When I was diagnosed with ADHD i concluded that it was the ‘hyper-focus’ that allowed me to reach the heights of my own high standards, but now i realise that hyper-focus was just a facilitator. I am in fact striving for my own levels of perfection in a desperate bid to avoid rejection and to be accepted. It is the RSD that is responsible.

      I guess the burning question i’m left with now is do i look to cure the RSD (through coaching or medication) at the expense of losing the drive it has given me to (over) achieve and deliver beyond people’s expectations… my USP, my superpower.

      If you’ve not heard of RSD, look into it. It certainly answered a lot of life’s questions for me.

      • This topic was modified 11 months ago by BK101.
      • This topic was modified 11 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #188349

      So true. Unfortnately, I can relate to how you feel and the struggles and unbearable pain of RSD. Prepare yourself for what’s to come.🤦‍♀️ All my life others always considered me that “Happy go Lucky”,FuNNy AND..
      “Life of the party” friend. THEN..Shortly after turning 50 (& AFTER more than 10 yrs of being treated for anxiety and depression) with NO positive results, my doctor referred me to a Board Certified Psychiatrist who provided indepth evaluations, before he officially diagnosed me with adult ADD. I was diagnosed with “Combined ADD” which clearly explained the “emotional issues” Id been struggling with. Once he started treating me for ADD it was then discovered I also had every trait of RSD which explained my NO SELF ESTEEM (much of that relates to my childhood) RSD is one of the biggest struggles I deal with that relate to my Emotional issues. (In fact, it was the ANGER responsible for my 6 wk inpatient hospitalization) Bottom line? That person people once viewed me as, is now history and no longer exist. THE reason for that is due to the STIGMA society places on us who DO STRUGGLE DAILY with adult ADD! SO..Naturally I discovered the only way (for me) to AVOID being hurt by ignorant remarks from others is to shut down physically and emotional! Clearly for’s easier to categorize us with the “STIGMA” society places with us who struggle daily with a invisible disability. Good Luck and more importantly..
      Keep on being YOU..( can do like me and hide in your own box)🤦‍♀️
      StaYSafE 😷

    • #188355

      BK101 and susunq we three seem to be a similar age and diagnosed late in life. Let’s form a club.

      Hey BK101 so sorry you’re struggling with RSD, I have this although mine doesn’t sound as bad. Mine has eased through therapy, even though the therapy wasn’t directly focusing on RSD. I wouldn’t worry about losing your drive, we ADHD pips have hyperfocus that helps in that respect, also there are many other motivators such as money, status etc… you can focus on. We have active brains, you’ll always need to be doing something. I’m starting to consider taking medication, have you tried ?

      SUSUNQ Your point about low self esteem is interesting, because I’ve achieved highly before ADD symptoms started to overpower me, and yet since being too ill to work this last year, those past achievements don’t seem to help self esteem. I was also know as happy go lucky, but as with you, that seems a distant memory. But I do note that others seem to have a much more positive view of me than I do myself, I guess that’s the RSD in part.

      Things that have helped:
      Walks in nature & exercise.
      I often assume I’ve upset someone when I’ve not – so having a sounding board to point that out is helpful.
      I found the following suggestions a bit corny, but they do help:
      I was told to look at myself in the mirror every morning and compliment myself.
      Count your blessings each day (my Amazon echo reminds me to do this each day)
      Write down a list of achievements and read them back

      Any other suggestions ? But in answer to your question BK101 I would consider therapy, it’s helped me. Also having friends to rationalist, because ADD can make a small problem very big- my friends point out it’s not so bit really.

    • #188377

      TESTING TESTING (BEFORE I spend nearly an hour like I just did on that TRAMADOL post)..🙄Only to receive a ..Error that it didnt POST!..😖🤫

    • #188378

      Thanks for your reply Kerplunk! I think ThaT👆is a FABULOUS IDEA! WE SHOULD form that..
      LiVinG LiFe LaTe with ADD.🤗 Awesome idea! ..
      I have alot to say with these issues YeT..I just spent or rather WASTED close to an hour on another forum and ..just MY luck🙄it didnt post..BUT..I would love to further discuss some ideas with you. I did want to thank you for your feedback..oh and also let you know I agree with the nature walks. I take my dog on hikes. Although he pulled me down on Saturday after another dog. Making me fall! Lol I’m sure I got a big dose of SEROTONIN from ThaT! Lol..
      So I will get back with you ASAP..
      Its pushing 3am and I’ve been TRYING to get more sleep and NoT stay up til SunRise! Have a great day! Yakatcha sooner than Later!🙋‍♀️

    • #188382

      Maybe we can warm this forum up and get it busy again Susunq ? Do you know of any busier ADHD forums ? btw what does Susunq stand for ?

    • #188503

      Super painful subject. I have high hopes that the book by Dr. Brene’ Brown , Daring Greatly , can change your outlook and life as much as it has impacted mine . She is a shame / vulnerability researcher & her TED talk is one of the most viewed in the history of TED talks .
      It’s right up our alley of all that we suffer with with being so sensitive. I hope you’ll at least listen to her Ted talk and attempt the book , it’s available on audible. Please let me know if it frees you from this emotional bondage. It had strong healing powers for me . I hope it can do the same for you all , so we can get back to changing the world like only gifted ADD& ADHD people can do ! Multitasking/ multitalented risk taking amazing inventors and forward thinkers . You struggle bc you’re BRILLIANT, not WRONGLY wired!
      This is some great mind work and healing stuff . Especially to the woman who said she’s now shut down .
      I beg you to read it and share if it’s rekindled your fire !
      We take risks to be impulsive and genius… turn your thinking around if you can , this is a GIFT !
      We can heal the younger generations if we spread the message and learn to Dare Greatly !
      Good luck & hope you find your fire again soon! This is a tragedy!

    • #188511

      GrammaGidgie thanks for the tip. Love her TED talk “It’s all about connecting”. Shame being the fear of not connecting, good stuff.

    • #192464

      Hello all,

      I’m just over 40 years old and formally received my formal diagnosis on all days, Inauguration Day (01/20). Long and short, I always felt that something was off. For awhile, I was able to mostly handle my life, but there were some questionable decisions not limited to taking training to be a car salesman (which I think was fraudulent) and ended up getting in trouble with a credit card, which I am currently paying off. I feel that the COVID situation exacerbated my symptoms. My wife and I are working from home and my son has alternated between hybrid school/staying completely at home.

      The very first step started in early September culminating in the above appointment. When I spoke with the specialist, who made my diagnoses, she said something about my “affect,” which caught my attention. So she suspected and confirmed with some additional assessments that I’m, also, on the autism spectrum (everything is rolled into Autism Spectrum Disorder: where I fall would have formerly been called Asperger’s or High-Functioning Autism). In hindsight, neither diagnosis is surprising, when adding up my various traits. The thing is that there was never anything extremely obvious, so neither me nor anybody around me would have suspected either ADHD or ASD. When I divulged my diagnoses to both my wife and immediate family, nobody was surprised.

      I guess now I’m just figuring out how to proceed. I have some books that I’ve purchased that are starting to prove useful in helping me to better function: harnessing the good and mitigating the “bad.” I am fortunate that I have supportive people around me, which I know that not everyone is so fortunate.

      I just joined the forums today. I guess that I’m just looking to share and learn. This is all new to me.

    • #192617

      I’m 63 but was only diagnosed about 2 years ago. RSD explains so much for me!

      About 30 years ago, I was talking with a friend outside a post office and asked her if she wanted to get together sometime that week. She replied, “this week won’t work since it’s pretty full”. I don’t know how I looked from the outside but I was devastated. I must have held it together to say our goodbyes and she went on her way. As soon as she was out of sight, I went weak and basically fell against the outside of the building. I felt completely humiliated and spent a lot of years feeling shame about over-reacting then and similarly at other times in my life.

      No matter how often my head told me that my friend’s response was perfectly reasonable, I still feel the emotional echoes of what felt like massive rejection. Having the ADHD diagnosis and learning about RSD has helped me understand myself enough to cut myself some slack.

      I’m hoping to get into an ADHD 8-week program that begins next month and work through some of the issues that have plagued me for so long. I spent years telling counsellors that I always felt like I was barely keeping my head above water – well, no wonder since I’ve been trying to “fix myself” without all the information I needed.


    • #192760

      Oh. My that is exactly how I would have reacted if I’d even been brave enough to ask to get together.
      I’m new to the adhd world as my daughter just got diagnosed last summer, which led to the realization that my husband and son are also adhd, testing confirmed. I am getting tested next month. After reading your post ( I’m 48) I realized I have RSD.
      It was the real life scenario that you posted that woke me up. I’ve been reading about it and it sometimes sounds familiar but I wasn’t convinced.
      So thank you for sharing your story.
      I just found this forum part on this website and will be doin a lot more reading
      Thanks again, good luck on your journey

    • #193554

      I completely understand where all of you are coming from!

    • #193556

      My mother and ex partner both have RSD and I think I may have it but in a milder form. My first question is I notice they both use attack as the best form of defence. In that if you get anywhere close to criticing them, they’ll project blame onto you. Also, when stressed they both tend to criticing everything as if to say “don’t start on me”. Can anyone relate to that ? Ironically that has helped me deal with my RSD, as I have had no option but to find ways to deal with such comments. So I discount those from my mum, but get deeply cut by ones from anyone else.

      Also what things help ? What should we all be doing to cope with it better ?

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