Living with Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria

Being an adult and living with what my doctor says is a “severe case of ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria” is not easy. While I was diagnosed as an adult the diagnosis answered a LOT of questions I have had about myself all of my life. Per my doctor this is exaggerated by the abuse and rejection I suffered as a child at the hands of my parents.

You may be wondering, what is Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria? It is an extreme emotional sensitivity and pain that is triggered by the perception that a person is going to be rejected, or criticized by important people in their life. It is also trigged by the sense of falling short, not meeting the expectations of others or even our own high standards. Symptoms are caused by the sudden emotional changes in an individual brought on by ADHD.

Living with Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is not easy and anyone that suffers from this experiences it in different ways. For me, it can be debilitating causing issues with relationships, especially friendships. I have withdrawn from people in my life because I feel as though I’m not really wanted, am being lied to about them wanting me in their life and how much I mean to them. If I feel like someone I’m close to is not engaging with me like they normally do, it can manifest in my mind that they are upset with me about something I said or did, I have disappointed them or they simply do not want me around and don’t care about me like they say they do. It causes me to question them and how genuine they really are. It doesn’t mean I’m clingy because I am not a clingy person. As a matter of fact, I am very picky about who I let get close to me which leaves me with a small handful of friends. My heart is always very guarded. There are only two people outside of my family that I have allowed into my life and heart and my heart is even guarded with them at times. Most people walk away, they have not and have stayed by my side.

At times, voices get into my head convincing me I am not worth being loved and not worth being wanted. I feel like if my parents didn’t want me and couldn’t love me then how can anyone else. It’s the worst feeling in the world! The past several months, I have been conscientiously trying to work on this. I literally have conversations with myself. Some things I tell myself is I’m not being realistic and tell myself to point out situations where an individual has said or done something to make me think they are rejecting me. It can take a little bit to work through it and when I cannot tell myself why I should think I’m being rejected, it’s like I’ve reasoned with myself. You know, talked some sense into myself. But, on days when I’m not able to talk myself through that feeling, it’s tough! That’s when I pull away from that individual and/or everyone at the same time. I manage to pull myself into a ball because I feel like I’m not loved or wanted even though in reality that is not true.

Once there was such a situation that somehow, in my mind clashed with the fact I was finally dealing with mental and emotional abuse by my mother. My doctor said I had a perfect storm going on in my head. I became suicidal and it was bad. My husband recognized what was happening and managed to get me to talk it out. I sunk into such a dark place for two days that my husband refused to let me out of his sight. I felt rejected, unloved and lied to. All three of those things came together at one time in my head. I couldn’t reconcile it all. I didn’t know what to do. I felt alone. I felt used. I felt like a failure for believing what I was told. It was horrific! I would not wish Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria on anyone! Not everyone around me understands it. They either walk away or tell me I’m being ridiculous. Neither of those things helps and makes the emotions I’m already feeling even more intense. Now, when my Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria kicks in, it is not always as bad as I mentioned above. That is a very rare occurrence, thank goodness. I tend to experience more anxiety, crying, loneliness and depression. It all culminates into one huge emotional rollercoaster that can last an hour or two or days. It’s not fun!

Hope you have learned a little about Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. Remember, it can be a part of ADHD. You may or may not know someone who suffers from this or you may not know they suffer from it. If you do, please try to be a little understanding, compassionate and reassuring. Believe me, the person does not want to feel the way they feel! They need to know they are wanted, loved and cared about just a bit more in that moment.

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