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There are a lot of symptoms of ADHD that are just awful to live with, but the one that takes the cake by far is rejection sensitivity dysphoria. This fucker, THIS FUCKER will fly in on a broom and shit all over your good day. It'll take a thing you love and make you loath it.
You're out enjoying an activity with friends, something you've been looking forward to, something you're excited and passionate about. And then--someone might say or do something innocuous like "ok ok, calm down." or "wait, that's not going to work."
Or, someone will give you a side-eye and a smirk, or casually brush off a joke with "But anyways--" and suddenly, there's a familiar, awful pit in your stomach. Suddenly, for some reason, you feel stupid for having wanted to participate. You feel like a burden on the activity.
You feel like folks here are _trying_ to enjoy themselves, not _with_ you, but _despite_ you... And suddenly, the thing you're doing, that you enjoy so much--that you counted the days down to in your eagerness to partake...Suddenly, it's dreadful.
Your interest in it drops like a stone, you don't want to be a part anymore. You want to go home, by yourself and hide from the responsibility of it.
Why? What happened?
A normal human interaction happened that your brain interpreted as "they don't like what you're doing. You're doing it wrong. You're letting them down."
That's putting 'words' to it but there are no actual thought words, it's just a gut punch feeling. The same gut punch feeling you might experience when you suddenly remember that you left your phone on the train or that you dropped your wallet somewhere. Terror. Ears turn red hot
And in that terror, you cant focus on anything else except trying to figure out if these people actually wished you werent there right now. But you're too embarrassed to ask, because one half of you know's it's silly to feel that way, the other half know's they're annoyed at you.
ssSSO you get through it, quietly. And--when they invite you to do the thing again, you say "No, thanks--I'm not any good at it so I don't really enjoy it as much as I hoped I would."
Though, most of the time, you don't even try the first time because you don't want to be bad at it, you don't want people to judge you, you don't want to let them down. The thought is painful, so you just avoid putting yourself out there to be judged at all.
RSD robs the joy out of things so absolutely. Hobbies, leisurely activities, competitive games, conversations. It's the worst lmfao and I haven't come across an effective coping mechanism, yet.
Oh man, this has resonated with so many folks...there is a lot I wish I could directly respond to, but there is just so much..! On one hand, it breaks my heart to see how many people struggle with this. On the other hand, I am so happy to put a name to it for a lot of you.
You're not alone in this struggle, you're not broken nor weak. I love you and I want to you take the risks and do the things you love with the people you love! The folks who love you want you to be happy, and they will work with you to help you find understanding and enjoyment ♡
For the folks that don't understand the abnormality here, the "rejection" that triggers RSD symptoms are often perceived, exaggerated, and not based in, nor proportionate to the reality of the situation at all.
It's normal to feel hurt when someone genuinely rejects you/dislikes you. It's not normal to imagine that rejection and then react very strongly and painfully to that imagined rejection as if it was real.
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