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Enter to win a one-year subscription to Inflow — the #1 app to help you better manage ADHD — by answering this question below: What kind of emotional dysregulation most impacts your life and how do you deal with it?
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151 Comments: July Sweepstakes: Win Access to the Inflow App!
Depression and anxiety are the worst for me. My imagination/anxiety brain is always coming up with hypothetical scenarios to work out. Then this plays along with my ADHD and I get distracted, then frustrated, then nothing is accomplished.
The emotional dysregulation that most affect my life is the fear of failure. I am a perfectionist; my fear of doing work imperfectly often prevents me from starting them at all. I deal with it by thinking about why I’m doing the task or by just starting—to break the intertia—and seeing how far I get.
I get frustrated with minor inconveniences. If I under-plan and am late on time or forget to bring something with me, I get frustrated. I try to think of the things I have remembered or done correctly. I make a to-done list in my journal to remember the things I accomplish each week. I also use my smart watch to do short 2-minute meditation sessions.
Focus and energy to stay on task.
I am a female 48yrs about to have my first evaluation for adhd in 3 days. My general practitioner agrees with a diagnosis of adhd and has referred me for assessment. My whole life, I didn’t realise adhd was most likely the cause of my anger issues. I am a very relaxed person on the whole but the slightest thing can make my anger go from 0 to 100 in a moment. RSD is big for me as well. Again, I didn’t know this was a thing until a month ago. Thanks ADDitude for providing me with resources to educate myself about my adhd, develop skills to help myself and to be kinder to myself.
I’ve only recently begun to understand how Emotional Dysregulation has affected me.
At work, a blindingly stupid change in process will be announced (or, a change in policy will occur without being announced or discussed in advance) which will trigger rage so strong I’ll be almost incapable of working on anything but processing, researching and responding to that change. I’m typically not the only person who feels the situation is stupid, but I’m the only one who feels it is ‘blindingly stupid,’ and is unable to carry on with daily tasks.
I was diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety in my 40’s but I can see instances in earlier childhood when I would become emotionally incapacitated by things which others were much less affected by: after several incidents my mother stopped letting me watch Lassie when I was 5 because I’d cry for hours after each show (many episodes ended with a cliffhanger where Lassie was stuck or lost).
I’ve done a little bit of CBT, which has helped but is difficult to maintain. I tried one other app based CBT program years ago but much of it didn’t seem to pertain to my situation. Hopefully something designed to work with ADHD will feel more relevant.
The snowball effect…
Distractions, coupled with Large tasks at work that i procrastinate on, causes stress, which I bring home to my family and unfortunately for all of us, drastically lowers my patience level and increases frustration, especially with my hyperactive 5 yo and ADHD spouse.
“What kind of emotional dysregulation most impacts your life and how do you deal with it?”
Ok, I’ll try to explain. I’ve been physically ill since a child. Strange illnesses always found me, the only one in my immediate family. Over the years I’ve gone through very serious states of mental problems and couldn’t understand why. I’ve lived on various medications for physical and mental health. I’ve suffered lots of extreme pain and disabilities but I was always able to pull myself through. I have been told numerous times in my life that I had a memory like an elephant, though I never thought that was special. UNTIL, I had to discontinue taking Xanax for severe anxiety, two years ago. I thought I was doing well until I notice something was wrong and I thought I was going crazy!! I contacted my Psychologist who diagnosed me with ADHD. She recommended I join ADDitude. My memory had declined to where I was constantly forgetting even simple things. I start having terrible times focusing, being very easily distracted, losing my concentration, staying with conversations…..etc. Later I learned four of my grandchildren, by two different mothers, had this also. I felt responsible and had to help them. I started reading ADDitude Magazine, ordered a subscription for my youngest grandchildren affected, and began to work at my own. I really thought I was emotional incapable to help them, but I kept trying to follow what I read in the magazines and the webinars and learn to help direct their handling skills, while adjusting my own. My grandchildren are the emotional stability I use to keep me available, for them. I’m 70 years and they have a long way to go!! I will always continue to improve my emotional/physical, especially for them. Thank you
My emotional dysregulation I think is anger/frustration. I am newly diagnosed and there are still a lot of new realizations. My feelings get really really hurt when someone cancels on me to hang out or has to re-schedule. I panic, I feel like no one like me and no one wants to hang out with me, I feel like I am not important to anyone. Usually it works itself out and in the end I am so relieved that it was not big deal. But I will snap at people or get passive aggressive when I sense them pulling out of plans. I feel much better if the person calls to explain and I can hear where their intent is coming from. But, if I am left to wonder in the slightest it really really gets me down and I worry and then I get mad, with people and the world. I really have to work at keeping in mind, it usually works out in the end, and people aren’t meaning to cancel and it’s not because of me. But, so many times it has been because of me – so it’s really hard to tell. I hate that people are so judgy and inconsiderate – I am the opposite and work really hard not to hurt others feelings – I expect the same treatment in return. But unfortunately as I’ve come to learn, people with ADHD are just often times mis-understood and I hate that.
Emotional Dysregulation has affected me in lots of ways- family relations, friends, work, school, and most of all with myself. I was 49 when I was diagnosed with ADHD. My emotions and how I experienced them always seemed different and therefore wrong- at least that is what my mother told me regularly. That and I should grow out of feeling passionate about causes and other strong emotions. Most of my life I would ignore or put off figuring out my emotions at a later time- usually when it was way past the moment when something could have been resolved. The biggest thing is that I don’t trust my emotions or my “gut feeling” and Intuition. I am sure that plays into my anxiety and depression too. I hope that I get picked o get the subscription- I could really use ongoing help- not just read a book or watch a video. I also have a hard time letting people in so it is hard to enlist a friend or my husband to keep me focused on changing or understanding. Especially since they don’t understand me or what it is like to be me.
Rejection Sensitivity without a doubt. I don’t remember a time when this did not affect me. Praise was few/far between as a child/teen, and even less when I entered College, and then the workforce. I still remember criticism from my mother about my physical appearance, though she died in 1987. I remember anything ever written in performance reviews at my job(s) that wasn’t the highest score. Most recently (January 2020) I had two categories at “needs improvement.” I was devastated to the point where I left my job and am still on disability. I don’t think I will ever get over it. Working in the same industry, and at my previous level is impossible.
I have also distanced myself from my family relationships. I feel like someone where their exposure to me must be limited because of my effects in a social situation. I am still at deficient/broken. Tears every time I even think about it.
Reining in responses when time management is in play or sensory input is in play is a major source of emotional dysregulation for several in our household.
RSD is my biggest emotional challenge. I am so hard on myself and take even the silliest of slights so personally. I am fairly successful at my job but always resist trying for more for fear of failure. That is my biggest challenge right now.
My emotional dysregulation is Frustration – about everything! But mostly at the fact that I CANT FINISH ANYTHING! I have a million wonderful ideas, inventions, intentions, creations, aspirations etc. I start a thousand of them and finish none! (maybe sometimes the occasional one)But mostly I FAIL TO FINNISH… It messes with my already low self-esteem. I’m surprised I actually got this comment in by the due date! I could go on and on…
Ironically, for 31 years, I was an educator teaching students from age 3 to high school seniors. Each year, whether teaching exclusively special populations or “regular” classes, I was the teacher whose class was loaded with students who had various learning disabilities. I was able to relate and assist these learners to develop strategies. Unbeknownst to me, the reason I could relate was because I, too, had learning differences and was not diagnosed until the fall of 2020—four years after retirement.
Coupled with Bipolar2 disorder (which had been identified as depression for decades) and severe anxiety disorder, Inattentive ADD is also a part of my diagnosis. Now, I am beginning to unpack events and reactions throughout my life that I can now see were not because I was incapable, stupid, or otherwise; these reactions I experienced were mostly due to Inattentive ADD.
Rejection sensitivity dysphoria affects my life more than anything else. While other obstacles like depression, racing thoughts, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed to the point of completely shutting down are all battles I seek to overcome daily, RSD is often the crippling result of those other obstacles. For example, even though I’m now on a fairly effective mix of medication from an amazing psychiatrist and talk therapy with a psychologist, things have not made a 180• turn quite yet.
When my house becomes cluttered (often), I become overwhelmed, then stricken with the “shutdown,” and, then, the crippling RSD sets in. The result—nothing is accomplished and my need for perfection whispers in my ear that I am a failure. Heaven forbid if anyone comes to visit. I cannot concentrate on conversation. All I think about is how the visitor (even close friends) are judging me. It’s a “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” situation that spirals downward.
I’m working on organization now. One area at a time. The small accomplishments feel amazing. Every little boost of confidence helps me to battle the crippling emotions of RSD. I only wish I had been diagnosed before the age of 57. While highly successful in my career, I grieve for the past me who never ever felt “good enough.”
For me the biggest challenge is frustration and anger, which I seem to have no way of stopping, even as I realise I don’t want to be snapping right now (in all sorts of situations). Anger just rises through me and bursts, often at the smallest provocation. I find that lack of sleep is a recipe for disaster in this respect, and trying to maintain a regular sleep routine has been helpful, as well as daily morning meditation.
I suppose rejection sensitive dysphoria is the one that comes to mind. This shows up in personal and professional settings. If I am triggered to believe that someone has insulted me or mischaracterized something I’ve done it said, in order to combat feelings of shame I launch into a full scale defense of myself. Often, after some time has passed and I’m able to return to my rational brain, I realize I completely skipped over or mis-read what the other person was saying. It’s like my rational brain goes away because I feel under attack and my reptilian brain, while a great protector, is not very good at attention to detail and nuance. Self awareness, self compassion, and a great therapist are helping me re-train myself in this area.
“What kind of emotional dysregulation most impacts your life and how do you deal with it?“
Overwhelm. Constant, paralyzing overwhelm. So many things I want to do, so many things I have to do (but don’t want to), busy loud household, getting pulled in every direction… My brain flits around and tries to be aware of all of it at the same time, then shuts down because of overwhelm and wants none of it.
I deal with it by being an obsessive list keeper. Categorized, prioritized, color-coded, *beautiful* lists. I force myself to focus on one item (so difficult), I check that one box, get that dopamine hit and move onto the next.
Emotional dysregulation in my mind manifests as rejection sensitivity. It impacts my life horribly to the point I don’t bother attempting things in life because of the fear of being turned down or a negative comment could ruin a whole month for me. I’m an artist but I don’t draw a-lot anymore because if I even hear a single negative comment about my work, i’ll end up wanting to quit. I hope the inflow app can help.
My biggest dysregulation is frustration and then plain grumpiness. I don’t feel angry, just shut down in communication and expression of emotions.
Tends to happen with change of plans, which happens lots with 3 young girls!
It impacts communication with my wife and she is brilliant at being patient with me helping me recognise what is happening and breaking out of that.
Thanks team, love the info I’m reading.
Not sure where to start. I suppose my most impactful emotional dysregulation is depression. I was diagnosed with Dysthymia a few years before I was diagnosed with ADHD. Growing up, I was seen as the weird misunderstood outcast and I was treated like so at home and at school. Consistent rejection pushed me into a deep depression. Although depression drove me to spend most of my time alone and in my head, I naturally have an outgoing personality and I’m very talkative (I always make new friends wherever I go). It was a really rough journey being in a constant state of emptiness and confusion from childhood up until my diagnosis with ADHD as an adult. It wasn’t until then that I finally started understanding more about myself and why I do the things I do. There were so many times where I just wanted to give up on life but then my ADHD would kick in and not let that happen, I just didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. Now that I am being treated for ADHD, my life has completely turned around and I’ve never been happier. And that is why I believe ADHD is a gift.
I just completed my research paper on the positive attributes of ADD (Thank you ADDitude Magazine for all the valuable and fantastic information published [ I cited all my sources 100%]), halfway completed I had an epiphany; I write and process information with an ADD mind. Undoubtedly, some might find this obvious; reading the science and psychology of ADD forced me to face facts straight on. My diagnosis came seven years ago, on the edge of a mental breakdown. I push through the pain(mental, physical, and emotional), chaos, and confusion even with medication. I wake up in the middle of the night or before the sun rises and cannot find the peace to fall back asleep. I interrogate myself often , and completing this research paper took its toll. I am angry that others can write effortlessly, that words flow and they make sense, while I question my intelligence and ability at every turn. I continue to dodge my required math class because of the fear of not comprehending it. Also, I cannot remember any math from high school; it stressed me out so badly I had a nosebleed. I would appreciate the Inflow app; I admit CBT is lacking in my everyday life and has for years, and having a team of experts on my side is a confidence booster. Moreover, visually monitoring my progress or having that extra help would aid in silencing the destructive internal chatter.
I just completed my research paper on the positive attributes of ADD (Thank you Additude Magazine for all the valuable and fantastic information published [ I cited all my sources 100%] ), halfway completed I had an epiphany; I write and process information with an ADD mind. Undoubtedly, some might find this obvious; reading the science and psychology of ADD forced me to face facts straight on. My diagnosis came seven years ago, on the edge of a mental breakdown. I push through pain, chaos, and confusion even with medication. I wake up in the middle of the night or before the sun rises and cannot find my peace to fall back asleep. I interrogate myself often, and completing this research paper took its toll. I am angry that others can write effortlessly, that words flow and they make sense, while I question my intelligence and ability at every turn. I continue to dodge my math class; I started thinking about it and got a nosebleed; I fear math because I cannot remember any math from high school. I would appreciate the Inflow app; I admit CBT is lacking in my everyday life and has for years, and having a team of experts on my side is a confidence booster. Moreover, visually monitoring my progress or getting that extra help would help silence the destructive internal chatter.
It’s car rage. Not road rage, no one else is threatened; but my car is where my brain rewinds to recent or long-past insults, the not-great news of the day, or anything else that triggers me and I end up doing the 70’s primal scream therapy thing. Which is why I sound like I’ve smoked 10 packs of cigarettes today, thanks to last night’s rage-out on the way home. When the insults or stressors happen in real time, my brain goes into a fog of what I now assume is cortisol overload — there’s an ocean-like roar in my head that freezes me up and makes me useless and unable to react. Was diagnosed at 59 last year, so at least now I know more why the rage and freeze-ups happen, but meds didn’t help and boy am I tired.
I think the area of emotional dysregulation that most affects my life is criticism from others and from within. I am finally seeing a counsellor and using CBT techniques. I feel some emotions as a physical sensation and all my life have felt flawed and amazed others could have calm conversations about even constructive criticism!! It makes my reaction to some situations challenging for people around me who don’t understand my hypersensitivity to almost everything!! I was diagnosed with ADHD in my 50’s and am now in my 60’s and learning to live with myself and not regret parts of my life. Can only go forward!!
I’ve come to realize recently that my biggest issues with emotional disregulation likely are connected to RSD. I am terrified of conflict, especially people I care about, and especially especially with any figure of authority. It makes personal relationships and especially working in person on any kind of office an anxiety nightmare. I also have abandonment issues, and am constantly afraid of asking people for too much or pushing them too far because so many people have simply ghosted me, even after years of friendship, when I asked for understanding and my needs to be met or at least acknowledged and understood. I am always afraid that this time is the time I will be rejected. It has made personal relationships beyond difficult for me.
When I do get rejected or get any kind or bad news, it tends to set me off in a depressive spiral that is extremely tough to break out of. My brain just starts reminding me of how I’m never good enough and the many, many other terrible things going on in that moment. Between this and the abandonment issues and fear of conflict, it has taken me such a long time to even feel a little okay about standing up for myself. It’s still an enormous, awful struggle for me.
My most difficulty is emotional dependence, from both my parents and my boyfried. Like I could not live without both, currently, dont know how to deal with it.
The emotional disregulation that I’m most affected by is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. As early as I can remember, I have felt this and it is a horrible feeling. It burns in my chest and it’s quite painful! I feel so much shame for even the smallest mistake or mis-step that I make. I will punish myself for it for years after something happens. I wish I could just let things go like this, but it’s incredibly difficult for me to do! My mom always said that she never had to punish me on the extreme rare occasions where I misbehaved because I did a good job of punishing myself!
I find that ADHD affects my emotions by leading me into panic attacks. Because of procrastination and distraction, it takes me so much longer to get my work tasks completed. When I face missing a deadline, my mood drops, my mind races, and all I can focus on is how I’m failing. It’s hard for me to remember that I am not in physical danger, especially when I’m experiencing a racing heart, hyperventilation, and a flood to tears. I just wish I could get rid of the root of the problems – the procrastination and distraction – and perhaps I wouldn’t end up in that scary, dark hole, on occasion.
This is a hard one. Some weeks I have crippling anxiety of being around people (im normally very social). I dont want to go grocery shopping or anywhere were there are crowds (especially with masks on) Its hard for me to read and hear what people are saying to me so I keep to myself put on my earphones and pretend that I am on the phone (that way if I need to talk to myself I can without looking crazy)… I have a Costco membership and have some expensive electronics I need to return but cant get myself to walk in .mt heart starts hurting and my stomach turns and I sweat profusely even if I am not even thinking out what could happen and try to put on the mask of happy but I cant tell you how many times ie spent a long time shopping for things and when I wait int he line after 10 -20 minutes I feel my self heat up and it scares me … I try to not make this upset me but when my mind is allowed to wonder I can get very dark very quickly and I just say to myself… “I dont need this so why am I here? I can do this another day” then I dont come back…my parents aren’t affectionate and dont talk about feelings or really anything of value so if I mention how I am feeling even if its something like” mom you didn’t hang up the phone after your vote message to me and I heard about 20 minutes of your denigration, disappointment and worry about all I do to my fathers wife” she acts as if it dint happen and im supposed to just forget that it didn’t happen. I know I have the right to have emotions and express them but if I try with these people I dont get anywhere. ive done it time and time before and no matter how much time I spent on getting a psychology degree and business degree… since I am an unmarried single mom of 2 small kids with chronic pain and dont have a job I am the target conversation to my family. It has me wondering how I had any relationships at all if this is the example ive had all my life..when its bad like now I dont have medication on board I can spiral for hours until 4 am looking for how to fix this or how to be better at that so I regulated myself.. no electronics after 11 and if I feel myself getting nervous over a lot of small things making me feel useless and sad I step back and I go and hug my kids and sometimes cry because they know my pain is bad and they are my biggest fans and visa versa. I will not allow negligence and selfishness impose on my relationship with my kids as far as spouses or others … well that’s another story all together.i get close enough to be happy I have a friend and then I realize they dont want me they want something from me… it has been a rough journey but I will keep pushing on and who knows I may be able to look at this as a blessing instead of as a ghost looming over me grabbing my shoulders and shaking me out of the hyper focus or Tasmania devil spiral of cleaning that ends up with more of a mess then prior.. lol… I am glad I found you I could use any help … especially one that kicks me into some sort of control over my brain and heart. thank you for your time ad aim so sorry for the ramble but this is how my mind thinks so I figured you’d want to see how it is inside a ADHD Dyslexic with PTSD and high sexual tendencies ( that edge the middle of pain and pleasure bcc otherwise why bother trying to do it a way that doesn’t allow me to be me in bed too..lol thanks gain
“What kind of emotional dysregulation most impacts your life and how do you deal with it?”
I have a daughter who struggles with anxiety and watching her suffer is what impact my emotional life the most. When we have an argument or I see her struggling I often loose all my capacity to handle things. I feel useless, inadequate and loose all my energy. Lately, I have been trying to breathe deeply and to tell myself that her anxiety doesn’t define who I am.
“What kind of emotional dysregulation most impacts your life and how do you deal with it?”
Which one doesn’t impact my life? Lately, getting frustrated easily. Overwhelmed. Angry. Imposter syndrome. Impulsive reactions. Yelling, crying, cursing, to the point where it can feel out of control.
Lately, the most impactful has been that I completely become flooded with overwhelm to the point of paralysis. My body shuts down. My throat closes. I completely dissociate. Often over small things. I’m living in a cage of fear and freeze mode.
It’s kept me from being visible and going on social media. For the past 3 years. It’s caused my business to fail and my new business not to get off the ground. I had to sell my home. I have been living with my parents and it’s the site of a lot of trauma. I am an extravert, and I have developed severe social anxiety even to go online and be on social media. My friends don’t even know what I’m doing. I am living in a shame spiral. Hiding.
I’ve tried everything to deal with it. Therapy. Medication. Breathing. Yoga. I did a yoga teacher training. I became an energy healer. I do sound meditations and yoga nidra. I have a daily fitness practice — going on 8 years. I have a daily meditation practice going on 6 years. I write a daily blog and force myself to publish to overcome the paralysis of perfectionism.
And yet there are many basic things I cannot seem to do. I simply shut down. My coach wants me to give him an “ideal week” schedule. I can’t even go there. I’m flooded with too much information and emails and inboxes. I feel like a complete failure at managing life. And yet that’s part of what I teach people. So I feel like a fraud, and then I hide so nobody will find out. And here I am in my mid-40s. I thought I had my ADHD under control. I really had just pushed it into the shadows never learned how to properly deal with it.
Nothing I’m doing is working and that makes me feel more like a fraud. It’s a spiral to nowhere.
For me, it’s definitely exhaustion and overwhelm. I have a 5 year old, a husband, and a full-time job. By the end of the day, I just don’t have anything left in the tank to notice or finish household chores or any other tasks, and then it just compounds day after day. It gets to the point where I can only function on a minimal level, and it causes a lot of friction between myself and my husband.
ironically I wrote out a longer comment about anger and frustration but it disappeared on me, causing… Anger and frustration! So yeah, those would definitely be the biggest issues for me.
Anger and frustration are the ones that impact me the most, and with both ADHD only just diagnosed at 36 and a whole host of lifelong physical disability and chronic illness issues that were misdiagnosed for years as anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms, I unfortunately have quite a lot to be angry and frustrated about. I have a hard time even reading other people’s similar stories, because while it helps me feel like I’m not alone, it always causes another wave of anger and grief for both the other person and myself. I’m not even sure what’s emotional dysregulation and what’s just a normal emotional response to a shitty situation. It definitely bleeds into everything else in my life though, like getting overly upset about hitting a small difficulty in a project, or getting angry about what are probably relatively small mistakes by bad drivers, etc. I don’t really want to be angry all the time, but I sure feel that way.
My life is most impacted upon by how easily and quickly I am to become frustrated and angered; it causes me to respond impulsively in social interactions, in both my personal and professional life, making comments that in retrospect I can identify may be perceived as rude or inappropriate.
I am currently trying to manage this by working on developing the habit of practicing ‘stop, breathe, think, do/say’.
I would say my biggest concern with emotional disregulation is the constant anxiety that I feel as a result of not living up to my potential. There’s so much I want to do and achieve, but my mind spins so fast that I can’t keep up with it and it drags my emotions along with it. It makes me feel like one of those videos where you’re sitting still, but everything else around you is moving fast. The sun comes up and goes down and you’re still sitting there. It represents both the speed of your thoughts and time passing by, along with your inability to act on even things that are important to you or would improve your life.
I was diagnosed with both depression and anxiety in my teen years, and only with adhd once I was well into my 20’s. So much of my anxiety and depression symptoms were best explained by emotional dysregulation. The type of emotional dysregulation that most impacts my life is either the sheer magnitude of my emotional reactions, or the disconnection between experiencing an emotion (usually negative ones unfortunately) and knowing that it does not define me, it is a product of my past experiences and external or internal triggers that I sometimes cannot control. Now that I know I have ADHD, and that emotional dysregulation is a big part of my life because of that, I’m kinder to myself and able to take a step back from the emotions themselves and ride the wave, knowing that all emotions are temporary. This too shall pass 🙂
My hypersensitivity, particularly to what I perceive to be criticism of my parenting, causes me to overreact inappropriately. Sometimes even just a complaint of what’s packed for lunch, whether or not homework was signed, etc. can make me explode.
As a parent, I have struggled so much with feelings of overwhelm and rage. Especially prior to my diagnosis/medication, I would wake up in the morning and feel completely overwhelmed within an hour of opening my eyes. So I would snap or yell or dissociate and just feel tons of shame and guilt. Medication has helped so much with feeling overwhelmed, but I’m also working on mindfulness, using exercise and movement to discharge some of my more difficult emotions, and building in time with just myself to decompress on a more regular basis. I’m also working on finding and building community with other parents with ADHD so we can crowdsource resources/ideas/strategies and just not feel so alone.
Rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD) and frustration are the biggest problems for me. I tend to get very defensive, even in situations where absolutely nothing is my fault, or I am not being criticized. It has caused issues between me and my partner and my family. Thankfully, my partner is willing to sit it out and help me work through the defensiveness by pointing it out, giving me a moment to reevaluate the situation, and show me how what is being discussed isn’t necessarily my fault, but may be my responsibility, and we work together to tackle the problem. Unfortunately, it will often take a hot minute to calm and reevaluate, because when I become frustrated (which comes right with the RSD), I tend to shut down because it’s either that or start bawling out of pure emotional overwhelm.
The emotional dysregulation that most affects me is fear and I mostly deal with it by imagining that there was no other way things could have turned out and resign myself into a short-lived depression. “Short-lived Drpression” because I would soon forget why I was depressed and get distracted by something else.
The fear cripples me everytime I miss a deadline, forget to listen, forget to give feedback or forget to do important or even very trivial tasks. My heart beats really fast and I start to blame myself for being irresponsible, I imagine so many kinds of consequences and start to feel like I am already suffering through them. Then this leads to frustration because I realise that’ it’s a habit and not a one-time mistake then I start to feel low self esteem because I think that since I cannot stop being forgetful and unfocused that I would always live below my potential and disappoint everyone I know. When I start to snap out of it, I think of all the people I have disappointed so far and the fear pops up even stronger for future mistakes I will make because of my habit I do not even know how to fix no matter how many times I have tried.
I find my ADHD emotional disregulation causes me to “spin” out of control. When I get upset or angry or even just a little annoyed about a situation, I tend to focus on just that and not what I want to do or even have to do. For example, there was a situation at work where I disagreed with a colleague’s approach with a patient. For the next 2 hours, I wondered who I should call, how should I approach her, who could I get on “my side” of the issue, and why the whole situation was wrong (“the Injustice!). I could have been organizing or sleeping, both needed. But this issue took up my time. Went to bed later than I would have liked, didn’t organize. My co-worker explained her rationale and that she did, in fact, medicate the patient as prescribed. So all the emotional energy for naught! This is why I need help regulating and not letting emotions run my day – or evening.
For me its perfectionism, in everything. At work so I wait to start stuff till I have all the information I think I need.Draft emails then save a draft so I can come back and check for any mistakes before I send, draft and redraft documents. As a mother judging myself too harshly for my failures (irritability and distractibility) some of which are a direct result of ADHD. In relationships, wanting an almost perfect partner…..etc.etc. All of this results in a great deal of anxiety
I was diagnosed with ADHD just a couple of weeks ago, and the thing that I experience the most is rejection sensitivity dysphoria. Trauma from my childhood and not having the chance to heal from that due to my situation at home has caused me to think that I will lose everyone I love at any moment. Some days are good and I don’t worry but there are times where I will have crying spells and spiral and have panic attacks because I’m worried something I did will drive them away or if I don’t fix things it will make them leave me or a difference in their tone of voice means that they hate me. It’s very overwhelming and makes me feel horrible. I am working on self-validation but its hard to change after almost 25 years of just knowing one thing. I hope that one day (maybe even soon) that this won’t have such a hold on me, and it won’t have such a great affect on my life.
When emotion-laden conversations are needed, emotional dysregulation sends me into a shame-frustration-anger cycle and makes effective communication nearly impossible. I have a hard time speaking in a way that reflects my values of compassion, respect, transparency and self-worth. I usually have to spend several days recovering from the emotional hangover, rebuilding my self-respect and taking lots of notes because there are so many things I wasn’t able to say or respond to completely in the moment.
My most challenging aspect of emotional dysregulation is in dating. Anything that even hints of criticism or her disagreeing with me, especially regarding my most cherished interests, makes me feel like the friendship/relationship is completely over with no hope of recovery. This also has happened if plans change or a text or phone call is not immediately responded to. The RSD really kicks into overdrive, whether or not I have actually been rejected (usually not). I’ve gotten much better at managing it but it still sucks of course. The second most challenging aspect is engaging with either entertainment or intellectual pursuits. I get very easily overwhelmed thinking about all the problems either of the characters in the show or movie or the problems of the world when reading non-fiction. Also I always find myself having so many questions when I read a book and then being in danger of falling into despair when I realize the obligations of life as well as my ADD might not let me find all the answers before I die. It takes me forever to read a book even if I’m very interested in the topic so I get a lot of anxiety about not having all my questions answered. People tell me just relax and enjoy life but I’m like “there’s too many questions” lol. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to have more anxiety about making sure the house is clean but getting better at that too. Thank God for this site and magazine and I wish you all the best in your ADHD journeys! God bless 🙏
I feel like I’m a tennis ball being smacked back and forth between the tennis rackets of RSD and sudden explosions of anger. RSD affects every decision I make and colors every outcome/result of my actions. Sudden angry outbursts typically, but not always, precede episodes of RSD, because it’s my default reaction when I feel stupid or hurt. Even when I’m intellectually aware that my reaction is not commensurate with the trigger, explosive angry rants, followed by prolonged episodes of RSD, sweep over me and I feel like I have no control over either the ranting or the heavy, depression and negative self-talk that follows. I’m trying to teach myself to take a few seconds to breathe before reacting to things, and to see myself the way I see someone I love, but it’s definitely a work in progress and I don’t always win the battle for self-compassion.
Overthinking a situation or problem impacts my life a lot. One way I deal with it is with talk therapy, whether it is with my therapist, close family member or friend. They help me to see the problem/situation differently, from a different angle and offer solutions or advise. I then use their advise and talk it out on how the situation/problem would be handled. They provide more feedback which helps reduce my overthinking, or just thinking more about the solution and outcome of the situation. I then feel less stressed and overwhelmed with these simple actions. I can go on with the other challenges in my life.
For me I most definitely deal with extreme rejection Dysphoria. It’s like my brain is just constantly searching for a tone of voice, a facial expression, specific body language that I will inevitably interpret as distaste, disapproval, disappointment. Some form of rejection. Whether it’s from someone I have known all of my life, or a stranger. It’s made me avoid any form of confrontation like the plague. Whether it’s asking a retail employee where the bathroom is, making a food order, calling a pizza place, calling my doctor, talking to my boss, and when my major depressive and anxiety symptoms really kick in, I can’t even send a text to my parents, let alone speak to them if I perceive that they have some grievance against me (which is quite often because I’m unemployed in my 20s living with them). Rejection Dysphoria just about affects every part of my life.
How I’ve learned to cope with it is definitely not healthy. It’s easier for me to avoid confrontation than give in to conversations that I’m afraid to have because I think someone is mad at me for some random thing I think they believe I did to them. I’m working with my therapist to feel safe enough to express my discomfort in social situations, at least to my parents so they can encourage me, and also with my psychiatrist whose prescription of Zoloft helps take the edge off of my social anxiety, but does not get rid of the rejection Dysphoria.