Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria? This is what's ruining my life?

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    • #106589

      I just read the article and took the self test, I would have scored over 90% if it weren’t for the fact that a couple of situations I totally avoid so I answered “not often ” because of lack of information.
      I’m getting quite emotional right now, it’s good to know what to call what I most likely have, but very upsetting.
      Is there any way to ease the symptoms without a doctor’s visit and MORE medication I can’t afford?
      I’m basically stuck in a catch 22, I need a better job with insurance, but when I look through the job listings my anxiety shoots through the roof.
      All I can think is that all my efforts will be in vain, because no one will hire me, and if some company does they’ll just keep me till the end of some probationary period and then get rid of me and then I’ll have no income at all.
      I even thought of working for myself but I start over analyzing and obsessing over what can go wrong and failing.
      And to top things off I’m afraid to talk about it with friends and family because of past attempts at confiding in someone about my problems, and receiving an extremely negative reaction.
      There are days when it REALLY sucks to be me.

    • #106601

      I read this article yesterday too Ranma & it really hit hm. Now I’m getting teared up again reading your post. It does feel better to not feel alone. You are not alone! The funny part about this is that I am an Occupational Therapist & somehow I feel like I should be able to OT my way out of this. I know just like a MD can’t treat themselves effectively, I should know I can’t therapize myself. That doesn’t mean I can’t put tools to use. I am seen by a Psychiatrist every 3 mo.s & she always’s is available by ph. She gives me a sliding scale & let’s me pay 1/2 up front & half later since my insurance no longer cover’s her. She tried me out on Prozac-i’m off that now, Gaba-low dose to help c restless leg/anxiety/sleep, dosage of concerta, it helps, but certainly not a stand alone fix & a low dosage of clonazepam for those times I start slipping down the rabbit hole. If I get too far down the rabbit hole I want to self medicate…as many of us do. I’m working on trying to stop the neg self talk, look at the glass half full & considering speaking to my boss…again. But I too am afraid-there is clear difficulty c communication as well as a lot of negativity that’s been directed at me. I want to quit, but I’m afraid she won’t give me a good rec. I’ve been there for about 8 yrs-she is my 5th Dir of Nursing. And just like you, when I start looking at other job’s-I start freaking out about failure or hurting myself again-at 47 I have already had a back fusion. I’m a good OT & I love my pts-maybe being extra sensitive & obsessed can have benefit’s in some circumstances? Being a good OT doesn’t make me a good employee & I found out she said something neg about me yesterday to a pt’s fam member. Needless to say, I’m beyond distraught. I’m going to try & talk c my boyfriend right now about RSD. I’m scared. It sucks to hear, “Your too sensitive,” or “Get over it!” Funny, I’ve never heard of RSD before-I think I’d rather be called an unevolved Empath-not like the mind reader on Star Trek! Many times my ruminating type of worried behavior ends up being a legitimate deal-i.e., I can sense my boss dislikes me, then yesterday it was confirmed. I’m an easy scapegoat & she placed blame on me. I requested a med order for hosp bed for a pt who need’s it…3 mo’s ago! She told the pt’s fam that insurance denied it because the order was not written correctly. Meanwhile, I’m obsessively asking about where the damn bed is constantly, because my pt has aspiration precautions and he could choke and …climbing up the rabbit hole. Going to take an HTP-1, maybe a Same & reach for a sparkling water instead of a self medication beverage. I’m going to sing/try & play the guitar & thank the higher power’s that be. When I speak to my family about these things they have strong negative feelings about medications and say,”Just need to get to church!” I don’t disagree completely.
      Ranma, apologies for going on a tangential soliloquy. I didn’t mean to sound so self absorbed. How long have you been living c RSD? Are you taking medication for anxiety & ADHD? Do you live in the US? What kinds of work are you drawn too? Is your name really Ranma, I was just reading something about the name at’d take all this c a grain of salt and hope I am not out of line because honestly I don’t know a thing about Kabalarian Philosophy. I just know that I would rather focus on it than pay attention and deal c anything other than my own life situation’s. With uptmost respect, Shanleigh

      • #106610

        I’m really into Japanese manga and anime, Ranma is a character that I can identify with.
        I take genetic Concerta for A.D.D.
        I’m artistic, my botany prof suggested I look into being an illustrator because I love science. But RSD creeps in and I’m my own harshest critic, and all I can see are the flaws in anything I draw.
        I like woodworking and metal fabrication and RSD affects these also.
        It sucks, when people praise what I can do and create my mind can only see the flaws because this or that wasn’t absolutely perfect.
        There are a frightening amount of things I’ve given up on because of a tiny little detail wasn’t perfect and all I can think is everyone will see and criticize it.
        It touches every part of my life, there are so many things I want to do but this thing in my head says “it’s not going to be prefect so don’t bother trying”

      • #106613

        Hey Ranma,

        Quick question- is that Ranma as in Ranma 1/2, or a different Ranma I’m not familiar with? In the vein of Anime/Manga characters we identify with, I identify very strongly with Shirahama Kenichi from Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi (History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi or Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple).

        Kenichi is defined by a total lack of talent in any and all areas. There’s nothing he excels at, and is a relentlessly bullied kid. He is frustrated by the way power is held by the strong, and declares to himself that if he ever became strong, he would use his power to defend those who can’t defend themselves, and would take care of the bad guys who everyone pretends not to notice.

        He is defined, primarily, by his reluctance to back down or give up, even in the face of insurmountable odds, even when this results in negative consequences for himself, and sticks to his principles even when they lead to more trouble than they’re otherwise worth.

        Despite having no talent, he doesn’t give up, and eventually manages to become strong.

        I’m not saying that this is who I am, but rather who I aspire to be. He is a glorious character, flaws and all.

        There’s a philosophy I ascribe to that I call ‘The Dynamite Approach’. It is based on the wisdom of Mary Cooper in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. There is an episode where she tells Sheldon that “There’s only so long you can fish before you have to throw a stick of dynamite in the water. I’m done fishin’.”

        The way I apply this to my life is by understanding that there comes a certain point in any problem/situation where NOT acting, and remaining uncertain, becomes more painful than acting, even if acting leads to a less than optimal solution.

        The best example I have is from what I originally started doing this for- attraction to another person. There was a time when I would very carefully dance around the other person- I’d invite them here, invite them there, chat about this, chat about that, gently, ever-so-gently, trying to broach the subject of feelings, trying to coax a sign out of them that they liked me back. I would be in agony for months, both physically and mentally (I have IBS that triggers under that kind of emotional stress). Eventually I realised that being told ‘I don’t like you’ actually hurts less than not knowing whether or not they liked me. Uncertainty is more painful than a hard truth. And so, I started throwing sticks of dynamite at my problems. When I got to the point that it hurt more to wait than be told no, I outright confessed my feelings and asked if they were reciprocated. Most of the time, it was a ‘no’, but the rejection hurt less than not knowing. At least, following the rejection, I could make other plans, direct my attentions elsewhere. Also, there is an element of ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’.

        These two stories seem unrelated, but they’re really not. The key is NOT to search for and embrace the perfect solution. It is not to back down for fear of not being perfect, but rather to strive to SOLVE THE PROBLEM. Set some arbitrary limit after which you will declare something done, even if it’s less than perfect. So, for example, with art. Once you’ve done all the colouring and shading (assuming this is the last bit, I’m crap at art), give yourself a single day for corrections, then publish, release, or submit WHATEVER you’ve created, warts and all, even if you’re convinced that it’s horrible. If someone else compliments what you’ve done, but you see the flaws, endeavour to fix them next time. USE those flaws to inform what you do next. I do a lot of cooking, and I’m almost never happy with what I cook, even though other people love it. At the end of the day, though, even though I’m dissatisfied, a table full of people have full bellies. The problem is solved, even if it isn’t the best solution available. I simply use the data I gathered to improve what I make the next time. It doesn’t stop the pain, but it lets you use it. I actually have a story about this from just yesterday. I tried to make spring rolls for the first time, and just about had a panic attack when I was rolling them. I’m never going to roll them again, my other half can do that. But, when I cooked them, despite seeing everything I’d done wrong while rolling them, all but four cooked up perfectly. Four out of 20. And they were quite delicious. So now I know I can DO IT, even if I’m not PERFECT.

        Doing and failing, or doing and failing to do perfectly is BETTER than never knowing. Uncertainty is ALWAYS more painful than rejection, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Believe me, I’ve been there. But I’ve also come out the other side. If you get rejected, you pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and you move on. It hurts like nothing else does, but it also stops you hankering after something you could never obtain. Certainty, even negative certainty, always hurts more than Uncertainty, because Certainty you can do something about. Uncertainty has no fixed form, no defining characteristics, and is always based on ‘might bes’, meaning you can NEVER fix it.

        Much as it might not seem it, this advice even helps with job applications, at least in my case. I hate applying for jobs, because the mountain of rejected applications leaves me feeling like I’m not good enough, despite having ample reason to assume that it’s just computers automatically discarding applications, or someone else coming in who’s uniquely suited to the workplace. I always think that it’s some failing IN ME that’s cost me the opportunity (and now that I’m getting diagnosed for ADHD, maybe some of the issues WERE mine, at least when I got to the interview stage). It’s better to apply for any and every job, even ones you don’t think you’ll enjoy, even ones you think you’re un- or under-qualified for. As long as you go in honest, and don’t get the job under false pretenses, even jobs you lack the experience for can become jobs you can do. If you worry about applying to a certain job you want, because you’re afraid they’ll reject you, then you have exactly zero chance of ever getting that job. Even if they turn around and tell you ‘no’, they’re not telling you ‘no’ for ALL TIME. They’re telling you ‘no’ NOW. Take a career in illustration. They tell you ‘no’. Go away, continue drawing for a year, gradually improving, responding to feedback and criticism, improving your style, publishing EVERYTHING, then try to apply again. Keep going until they’re satisfied you CAN do it. No doors are permanently closed, you just have to try to get in at the right time, if you get me.

        This has gone on for a very long time, and I’m sorry about that, but I hope that something, anything I’ve written here can help. I’ve been exactly where you are, and it damn well SUCKS. I really, truly hope that some of this helps, and I wish you the very best of luck in everything you do. If you want to talk about any of this, please just feel free to message back. I’ll get back to you ASAP.

      • #106706

        Yes, it is Ranma 1/2 (I have every DVD)
        Thank you, spaceboy 99, it just REALLY sucks being my own worst enemy, literally.
        When I read your post it all seems so simple, but then my brain gets in the way.
        I’m keeping myself prisoner, and somehow it needs to stop, but there’s a problem, when I’ve tried to tough my way through, my fear and anxiety make me violently ill and I almost didn’t make it to the bathroom a few times.
        I need to talk with my doctor I guess (without getting sick in her office, yes I have anxiety when it’s not for my usual monthly visit) when I used to drink I could do things after a couple shots that would normally cause anxiety but having a family member die from alcoholism made me stop.
        I don’t like the idea of more meds but, if it’ll help me get out of the mental prison I’ve trapped myself in.
        Heh, I just had a thought on why I hate lying, it’s because I’m doing it all the time whenever my doctor or someone asks how I’m doing (good[lie] just fine[lie] no worries[huge lie] )

      • #113897

        That’s me all over. Esp. re. reading want ads with despair that anyone would even consider me!

    • #106604

      (I’m taking a deep breath because I even get rejection on forums…)
      (I never heard of RSD either until this website- SO: Thank you ADDitude!)
      If you don’t want to/can’t afford to go to a doctor about this, I don’t blame you. I’ve tried counseling many times over a 25-year span and they have been quick to jump on the depression thing, but that never felt right. More importantly, I never really felt listened to.
      If you can print the quiz results out, do… and when you are calm, I’d go through and write down examples next to each answer to review/reflect periodically. Not to beat yourself up with, but to get to an Aha! moment or at least streamline your thoughts, look for trends, connections, etc.
      I’m not a professional, but there are workbooks on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (one being Mind Over Mood) in bookstores/check out books at a library (get a handful and sit and skim through them before committing any money or possible overdue library fees), do the Amazon search… whatever works for you. Not to diagnose, but to learn and “arm” yourself with insight/tools.

      Have you considered temporary positions? Taking temp jobs could lessen the stress of $ and rejection…The jobs are temporary anyway, so if they don’t like you, the issue could be on them. Or you might not like them! Or you could mesh wonderfully. I’ve had a few jobs start out as seasonal/temp and turn into 5+++ years full-time gigs. (One lasted 18 years!)

    • #106603

      I agree with the answer above. You need to find yourself some kind of company of friends. After all, support is very important. Try to go to the zoo. It helps me a lot.

    • #106831

      Hey Ranma. I have RSD too, or so I believe taking the test but I only got a 67%, still, I think mine is worse than the test thinks because I have other issues which counter acted some of those issues. Also, I have gone through a lot of growth and healing in that area. I attribute it to reading a lot of articles about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It really has helped me to see and therefore change some of the negative cycles of thinking that I was in. I’m still working on it and I still have a long way to go. Having ADHD doesn’t make it any easier most of the time either but I hope you know that there is hope and your situation can change.

      If your insurance will cover it I suggest going to see a therapist who is trained in CBT because they can start the wheels turning and the change coming.

      It was my friend who helped me realize that my view of myself was very distorted compared to the reality of the situation. I also happened to be learning about psychology in school at the time and so gained interest in it and learned a lot about myself and how to handle those critical thoughts more clearly.
      Here’s how it happened for me in a few small steps.

      One day I was berating myself over something small and I was sitting down wanting to start something and I started to really hear some of the negative and insulting things I was saying to myself.
      Once I realized I was saying these things to myself I was able to see how different who I thought I was, was from who my roommate thought I was. I thought I was lazy and always making mistakes (aka stupid) she thought I was very hard working and would often find herself in awe of all the things I got accomplished.
      After that I took a few times to listen to and follow my train of thought when I would start berating myself. It would start out calm and small and then it would turn really ugly and horrible. That’s when I started to see what I really thought of myself. My friend helped me to see that it wasn’t true (we are very close and I trust her judgement and that she is being truthful and not going easy on me).
      So, whenever I would start doing that in the future, before I could end up in a downward spiral I would stop myself and say, no, that’s not true, this is what is true instead. Which might look like this; I did something that I think was selfish: I am a selfish person, I always hurt the people around me, I only think about myself. I’m so lazy and unmotivated, I can never get anything right, that’s why I always let people down because I’m only thinking of myself, and so on and so on (trust me, it gets much worse if I let it continue). But now I can tell myself; no, that’s not true, I’m not a selfish person. In fact, I often put others above myself and I spend a lot of time worrying about how I can help others or what I can do to not hurt other people. I enjoy being around people and I like making them happy, that’s why I’m worrying about being selfish, because I don’t want to hurt someone else. I may have said the wrong thing there or I maybe completely blowing things out of proportion because I felt like I did something for myself rather than doing something for someone else like I always do. That doesn’t make me selfish, that just makes me human and it’s ok to want things for myself and to want to be happy.

      That’s kind of how it goes. Over time you start to see how, the way that you view yourself is distorted from what is actually the reality of the situation. Because you can see it and see the truth a lot clearer, you can now guide yourself out of your negative spirals. Sometimes you need help from others, some times you just need a little self-love but it can really help a lot.

      I don’t know if I made this clear but I feel like this RSD comes from perfectionism and holding yourself to unrealistic standards (mine was that if I’m not always thinking about other people and walking on eggshells around them to make sure that they stay happy then I’m a bad person and selfish). It takes time and reflection but for me it has spread to other areas of my life because it helps me to see things in a different view than just my distorted one.

      Your mind is telling you that you will be let go at this new job (possibly because you make mistakes or don’t feel that you’re good enough?) so your anxiety comes into play and brings up all the times you failed before and reminds you that this is the inevitable outcome. But, that’s not true. I’m assuming that the job you are at is probably the same as the one you want to go into. You haven’t been fired there yet so you must be doing something right. If you can do your job where you are, why would it be any different at a new job? Now, let’s say things are different at your new job and for some reason you get let go. Chances are that you can find another job that is similar to the first job and they will probably keep you. So, even if you leave this job and end up basically right back where you started (albeit at another workplace) you haven’t really lost anything by leaving. Your just somewhere new.

      That is unless there are other factors at play, which there very well might be. So, the question is, is it worse to stay at the job where you are and being unhappy and unable to get good insurance. Or is it better to try the new job and have things work out right? Because chances are, even if you fail, you’ll only end up right back in the same place. But, if you don’t fail, your situation has much improved by you taking a risk and trying it. You could also tell yourself that it doesn’t hurt to apply. Chances are just sending them your resume and applying isn’t going to get you fired from your current work place so just applying leaves you in no worse situation than before, instead it gives you an opportunity to improve your situation.

      Confidence in your abilities is hard to come by, especially since you have a distorted view of yourself and reality. But with time it can get better. I hope that you make the choice that is right for you. Even if it’s months or years from now, working on your Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help a lot. Having access to a therapist who can provide feedback and give you some outside perspective can help.

      I also find it helpful when dealing with anxiety to realize that anxiety is perfectly normal. It’s normal to feel anxious and worried. It’s something everyone does from time to time. Our problem is that we feel it more often and more intensely but there is nothing wrong with feeling it. It helps me to remind myself of this because I feel so different from most people. I often feel like an other. But knowing that other people suffer with what I suffer from makes me feel like I’m not so different. It makes me feel like it’s ok to be me. Because it is ok. We are all just people and we are all different but we can work with what we’ve got and make the best of the situation.

      I hope that some of what I said was helpful. I might have rambled on a bit there. Anyway, I hope that you find strategies that work for you that can help you manage your condition. I hope that you get a new job with better insurance so you can take good care of yourself and maybe you can even afford to start taking anxiety medicine and that will help to take some of the load off your shoulders. Good luck.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by JadeFlores.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #107209

      RSD is real but in my experience is resolved with greater self awareness. If your boss sabotages you that’s his flaw not yours. Politely let him know that you know what he did and focus on your next goal for the day. Also, watch how your feelings develop from some really baseless thoughts. You claim he set you up because others see you as an easy target, there are atleast three things in this statement that are probably false. Just saying.

      The emotion comes really fast but it’s your choice to stay there or not. 1) assess the thoughts behind the emotion and 2) give your brain something more productive to worry about like hitting a challenging work goal within the next hour.

    • #107211

      Now you go find DBT classes and learn how to cope.

    • #107235

      Hey everyone! I just read an article about RSD. All I can say is….WOW, someone studied me! I am in tears. Where is the test? I didn’t see one, I will go back and look. Another diagnosis? Not needed here…I have more letters after my name than my doctor. That’s all the humor I have about this. I will be sure to call my psychiatrist after I take the test. That is if I find the test.

    • #107295

      And yet still no way to resolve this. Because these are very powerful & overwhelming feelings that strike in an instant so therapy doesnt help. Therapy is just another thing to fail at – or more importantly another way to hope & have those hopes dashed.

      Other ideas – make more money somehow, anyhow (walk someones dog, babysit, rent your place out on Air bnb when youre not there, sell stuff you dont need) & buy the drugs. Online if not through a doctor – guanfacine & clonidine are not controlled substances.

      Its all very well & good to try ‘traditonal’ therapeutic approaches (counselling or whatever) to try & boost your self esteem but this is pernicious & doesnt go away – the minute something happens its back. I dont think anyone who has ADHD & has this would disagree that you can try approaches to HELP this – but its ELIMINATING it that matters.

      I dont care if I can ease it using mediaton (which does help – the Vedic one) if its going to catch me out when I start a new relationship, or am tired, or have just been criticised. Because when it strikes it can ruin that budding relationship or dash the self esteem you have spent so long trying to build up. After all how can you feel good about yourself if youve got this waiting in the wings??? Seriously. Just make it stop because anything else is no use at all.

    • #107314

      RSD is also a problem for me. As a woman and a Boomer, I had ADHD and RSD symptoms before they were symptoms of a disorder and not just bad behavior. I’ve been called everything in the book – lazy, stupid, punchy, careless, underachiever – you name it, I’ve heard it!

      Because of my age and gender, I was undiagnosed until my son started studying ADHD and helped us both get a diagnosis. Most physicians, however, think it’s funny if at my age I’d like some help. So, I had to learn to help myself.

      For my ADHD symptoms, I learned to make lists of everything, use apps to help organize, and make places for important things like keys and glasses so I don’t lose them. BTW if you’re not feeling so bad about your ADHD, it is easier to work on RSD.

      I did take the self test and scored 80%. Pretty snazzy! Yes, having RSD can turn a good day into a really sucky one and that’s part of the condition. I’m not a failure because that happens, any more than someone with cerebral palsy is a failure if they have trouble going up stairs. Are you a failure because your nose runs when you have a cold? Of course not.

      So neither are you a failure because you feel gob-smacked by a careless comment or the feeling you blew yet another something that you should have done well.

      Accept yourself – it’s who you are. But it doesn’t have to immobilize you and ruin your life. Here’s what I do. It might work for you, it might not. Since it doesn’t involve spending money or taking medicine, even if it doesn’t help it probably won’t hurt.

      1. Limit the list of things you’re supposed to do to feel better to no more than 3, such as start the day with a positive thought, etc. You won’t remember them anyway, and then you’ll feel bad because you couldn’t remember the things that were supposed to make you feel good. I have a bunch of stupid cat memes on my cell phone from ICanHasCheezburger that are funny as hell. I look at those.

      2. I only have 2 things on my how to handle RSD list:

      1) Remind myself my reaction is overstated.
      2) Don’t take action until my reaction is based in reality.

      Sound impossible? It’s not.

      3. As an aside: Become organized. Organizing things is soothing to ADHD minds. Organize your desk, clean out your silverware drawer, arrange pencils in order of length, play one of those matching games like Mahjong. The activity focuses your attention and takes your mind off your feelings.

      Becoming organized is its own reward – it will help at work or school as well.

      By the way, think about reading up on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). While true therapy would require a counselor, there’s tons of stuff online that helps you reframe your reactions and inner voice to more positive input.

      Here’s a site with a decent list: Yeah, the list is 7 items, so WAY TOO LONG!! Pick one or two and see if they help.

      Also as an aside, since I don’t know any of you and so don’t know what your life is really like, my experience is that futility makes things worse. If your job is bad, get help writing a resume and go find another one. If your friends can’t hear what’s going on with you, get new friends. Pick something really easy and take action. Change your hair, get some clothes – do something you like that doesn’t involve eating 12 donuts.

      Good luck!

    • #107469

      Dear Ranma and all others who have so bravely shared here:

      I have a daughter who has RSD with her ADD – I hope you find at least one IRL person to be able to share with. Some mentioned CBD which is something that has helped my girl…here is a free website, run by a professional counselor, that has CBD info and doable work activities suggested, and all in a certain order!!! Genius! This is the website:

      I would also recommend working on developing a “growth mindset”…there is a lot of good information and worksheets here:

      and a workbook here:

      On Instagram, this artist talks candidly about her mental health challenges, and you might find this helpful:

      I think you might be able to begin to manage your RSD symptms by using some of this information. Go slowly. Be gentle with yourself. You are obviously very smart and creative, yes some days are worse than others…however, that does not mean you are defective. It means you probably have to work harder than others around you to do simple things…that doesn’t mean you are incapable…it means you are stronger that you think!

      You have a name for what is wrong…that is not who you are, it is a map to help you along on your journey…I believe in you!

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