(Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I’m just speaking from my own experience)
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) isn’t a medical diagnosis, but a symptom associated with ADHD. I wouldn’t have ever found out about it, but I’ve researched more about ADHD since our oldest son’s diagnosis. I knew ADHD probably applied to my husband, but I didn’t think it applied to me until I learned about RSD. Once I read about it, a lightbulb went off and I felt understood.
Perhaps I wasn’t crazy every time I “overreacted” to rejection. I vividly remember being rejected by friends in high school. I cried and felt like an utter failure when I got a bad review for teaching a class. I panicked, fearing I’d be fired after I failed a test for a professional certification. When a friend stopped talking to me, I was convinced I had done something wrong. I often don’t start a task because I’m afraid of not doing it perfectly. It’s also probably one of the reasons I avoid crowds because I don’t want to feel rejected. Each week when I write, I worry about it not being good enough. Hence my journey of enough.
Web MD describes it as follows:
“Dysphoria” comes from a Greek word that means “hard to bear.” People who have RSD don’t handle rejection well. They get very upset if they think someone has shunned or criticized them, even if that’s not the case. Up to 99% of teens and adults with ADHD are more sensitive than usual to rejection. And nearly 1 in 3 say it’s the hardest part of living with ADHD. People who have the condition sometimes work hard to make everyone like and admire them. Or they might stop trying and stay out of any situation where they might get hurt. This social withdrawal can look like social phobia, which is a serious fear of being embarrassed in public.
Telling someone with depression to cheer up does not work. Telling someone with anxiety to calm down doesn’t work. Telling someone with RSD to get over it doesn’t work either. I don’t know much about it yet and I have not been formally diagnosed. I just know that it resonated with me so much. The feelings seem more intense for me than it does for most people. For me, awareness is a good step. Now it’s just to determine the next step. (Keep in mind that sharing this is pretty vulnerable & opening myself up for rejection)
I’m wishing you peace on your journey of enough. May 2023 be all you hoped for.