I had a big ole fat realization the other day. And it’s making me look at everything with different eyes, through a different lens, in a new light.
Firstly, I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I am a neurodivergent sweetie for the last few years. Definitely have ADHD, most likely on the autism spectrum, etc. But something I’ve only recently begun to accept about myself and examine is the fact that I have RSD. What is RSD, you ask? Let me tell you what I know.
RSD is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Common in people with ADHD, it is not a specific medical diagnosis but rather a way to describe and categorize some of the symptoms we have. These include:
- Being easily embarrassed
- Get very angry or having an emotional outburst when they feel like someone has hurt or rejected them
- Setting high standards for themselves they often can’t meet
- Having low self-esteem
- Feeling anxious, especially in social settings
- Having problems with relationships
- Staying away from social situations and withdraw from other people
- Feeling like a failure because they haven’t lived up to other people’s expectations
- Sometimes thinking about hurting themselves
According the Lord of the internet, Web MD:
“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.”
As a person who has been told their ENTIRE life that they are overly sensitive and wear their heart on their sleeve, I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to correct this in myself. I’ve tried to develop a “thicker skin”. I’ve tried to mask how I really feel so no one will see the “heart on my sleeve”. I’ve tried learning what people expect of me and then projecting that image so they will accept me and not see what’s going on under the surface. I’ve never liked being sensitive. It was one of the most common insults I endured as a child especially from my own family who constantly told me I needed to learn how to take a joke. Even after learning that RSD was a thing people had, I tried to deny I had it. I didn’t want to be that weak person. I wanted to be strong.
But over the last few months I’ve begun accepting that I do, in fact, have RSD and it does massively affect my life. When I say it took guts to admit this, you would probably have to have RSD to understand.
Now that I’m working the night shift at the hotel, I spend a lot of time *alone* with my *thoughts*. LOL. Yes, I listen to music and audiobooks while I work but that doesn’t stop my brain from interrupting the music or book with its own commentary on just about anything at all. So the other night it just sort of hit me like a ton of bricks that Nick leaving the way that he did triggered a massive RSD episode in me that may or may not have been just ongoing for the last year.
That thought sent me down a huge rabbit hole that I’ll keep to myself, thank you.
But today I was really examining it all again and realizing that I mythologize other people. I am a classic “they are good, I am bad” kinda gal and I just go around assuming that if someone rejects me it is because something is wrong with me. *Thanks RSD.* If I like you, love you, admire you in any way, then I will put you up on that pedestal so freaking fast. Even if I see your faults and issues, I just KNOW you are better and more wonderful and smarter and more beautiful and the most absolutest bestest person and so much just BETTER than I am. And I *KNOW* if you reject me in any way, it is because of something I did. You are greek god, I am mere mortal.
I mythologize other humans.
But something else I’ve been realizing: I cannot control if someone decides to reject me or not. I am actually a pretty great person. I’ve definitely got flaws and issues and *problems* but I’m not an asshole, I’m kind, I’m generous, I’m funny, I’m not even ugly. I have nice tattoos and my boobs aren’t the worst. I usually don’t smell. I’ll probably make you some kind of art at some point. And I can cook. So if someone does decide to reject me that’s ok. It doesn’t make me a piece of crap. It just means I wasn’t their particular brand of whiskey. Does my RSD cause me to be a little clingy sometimes? Guilty. Does my RSD cause me to be overly sensitive? Guilty. Am I a crazy asshole? No.
I’ve been sitting here my whole life thinking that my worst, most annoying traits totally cancel out my good ones. If I’m a little clingy or talk too much or get my knickers in a twist a little too easily then I must not be worthy of love? I call bullshit.
So now I have to work on this. I can’t make my RSD disappear. But I can call a spade a spade and recognize what’s really going on here. I can remind myself that I am doing the best I can and that I’m a pretty great human. If someone doesn’t like me or outright rejects me, that’s on them and not me. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean (and I cannot stress this enough) I CAN’T MAKE PEOPLE LIKE ME NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY. It is their choice. All I can do is be my lovely, wonderful, goofy, neurodivergent self and hope for the best.
People WILL reject me. That is a part of life. And my RSD will continually rear its ugly head to try to take me down and make me mythologize the people in my life. I’ve gotta recognize it and take it out like a freaking Ghostbuster. Ghosts will always haunt NY but the Ghostbusters will always be there to take them out and lock them away. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts. I’ve gotta live with myself for the rest of my life so I may as well start trying to tame this RSD now.
Alright, I gotta get ready for school. I could probably talk about this a lot because I’ve been thinking about it A LOT. But I gotta go make my life cooler and better now. Peace.