Many adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also have a condition called Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD). Unique to ADHD individuals, RSD is a quick and crippling flash of anxiety surrounding fears of rejection. However, many ADHD individuals walk around unaware that there is a name for this fear they’ve been experiencing their entire lives.
At the same time, they may hear from others that they are “too much” or “too sensitive.” In reality, an ADHD person’s emotional experience is different because it is tied to having an ADHD brain (and lived experience as an ADHD person). Think this sounds like you? Here are five things that could be signs you have RSD.
1. You avoid risk
Nothing says rejection like actually taking a risk. While you might be impulsive at times, when it comes to making a change, looking for a job, or starting a new business (just to name a few), you might find yourself spinning your wheels with worry rather than taking action.
It may seem insignificant, but there’s likely a lot going on emotionally when you avoid responding to texts. What can seem like procrastination is often a crippling worry that you’re going to say the wrong thing and get well…rejected.
3. You shut down with your romantic partners.
There are lots of things that can cause avoidance in relationships: saying how you feel, asking for what you need, and expressing frustration to a loved one. Intimacy sparks all sorts of risk-taking when it comes to open communication. When RSD is buzzing around, an ADHD person might just shut down to cope with what feels like unmanageable feelings of guilt, fear, hurt, etc.
However, what ends up happening is that the lack of communication only causes misunderstandings and tension, ultimately increasing RSD severity.
Fear is one thing, but when an ADHDer with RSD actually receives negative feedback, it can feel soul-crushing. An ADHD person usually ruminates on this for days, feeling intense guilt and shame around the belief that “I should have known better,” “I could have avoided this,” or “This is just like me.” This sort of thinking ends up eroding confidence (see 1: Avoids risk-taking).
5. You’re emotionally reactive.
One part of feeling RSD is acting on RSD. Many ADHD adults feel they have to react to perceived criticism. They may spend hours re-doing their work, talking to themselves and trying to “role play” the perfect way to respond, or even having arguments based on their fear of rejection. The emotional reactivity relative to RSD can cause disconnection in relationships and end up wasting time, which makes an ADHDer feel alone and misunderstood.
Begin Adult ADHD Testing or ADHD Treatment in Columbus, Ohio
Looking for more individualized support? You don’t have to live your life feeling intense fear of rejection. ADHD-focused therapy that focuses on rejection-sensitive dysphoria can help you change the cycle. Our counseling practice in Columbus, Ohio has caring therapists who specialize in ADHD testing and ADHD treatment To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute phone
- Meet with one of our caring therapists.
- Stop acting out of fear. Start finding your confidence and calm.
Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
Adult ADHD treatment is not the only service we offer at our Columbus, OH counseling practice. At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer a variety of mental health services, including ADHD testing. As an adult with ADHD, we know you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info!