all the feelings…

My personal ADHD journey has been fraught with so many emotions; so much that is overwhelming, that often I cannot see past the pain to see the big picture. 

Since seeking treatment for myself, I’ve had a tsunami of feelings come up. I don’t know what to do with them, or how to adult through them. I end up catastrophizing the insults, and making them into the apocalypse. 

I’m realizing rejection sensitive dysphoria is ruining me. What is RSD you ask? 

From Affinty Magazine: (RSD) is an extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception – not necessarily the reality – that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in their life. RSD may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either their own high standards or others’ expectations. The term dysphoria is greek for “difficult to bear”. People with ADHD that suffer from RSD aren’t weak, it’s just that the emotional response of rejection and criticism takes a heavy toll on us, rather than someone who doesn’t have it. Also the depression and anxiety for us is 10x more, than those who don’t have this condition…. more at Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria: What They Don’t Want You To Know About ADHD

By no means am I attempting to scapegoat my behavior on the ADHD, (or RSD).  I am trying to learn all I can about it, and put forth my best efforts to avoid sinking into the despair which so often accompanies these RSD attacks. This is no easy feat. I’ve done some serious damage to my life and important relationships. 

I am starting, after 38 years, to be able to recognize these RSD moments for what they are. Doing something healthy with this perceived rejection is my goal… right now I’m finding I have to move. Physically removing myself from the situation seems to be key right now. I used to be a walker – I would walk miles per day. These days, since my back surgery, walking is not an option. 

So, instead, I find myself gravitating to my family’s beach; the one generations of my family have summered at… I park, grab my journal, headphones and pen. Settling into the pebbles, I sit and take it all in, through all my senses. I’ve found my grounding.  My spot. 

Getting up and leaving? Last Thursday morning, all of the air had been sucked out of the house. My son and husband were still sleeping. As I sat writing downstairs, I realized I couldn’t breathe. Some say panic attack, I say suffocating. This wasn’t the normal panic response I was used to. 

I saw the writing on the wall. We have been so ugly to one another, taking each other for granted. Saying hurtful things to be the one on top… even if for a brief moment in time…. we were both guilty. 

So many external, and internal things were contributing to this descent. Blame, shame, hurt, anger, you name it, we were living it. 

My heart broke. I couldn’t carry the atmosphere of our house anymore; and since that morning, I haven’t. I cannot be the doer. (I wasn’t the only one doing, but I sure felt that way). 

I always try to find the positive in the negative experiences; and learn from them. 

So much of me was left behind on Thursday June 14, on that beach in my hometown.  And that is okay. That beach took my rage, and opened my eyes to what was most important. What needed my attention. 

My home, husband, and son need me to be present. Physically and emotionally. And I’ve come home. 

Since my awakening (or whatever you’d like to call it), I feel the change in my soul. I feel as if I’ve been given new eyes to see the world with, and it sure is a beautiful place. Especially when we put our devices down long enough to drink it in. 

And my husband and I? We talked, like we haven’t talked in years. I think he gets it… how sensitive I can be, and he actually apologized the other day for potentially hurting my feelings (yes, they were).  That’s something we have never really talked about before. We are both guilty of not sharing. Now? We are taking steps to care for ourselves, and nurture our relationship. This is new, and exciting. 

And me? I get a day off from responsibilities. Weekly. 

Last week, I went for a tattoo. 

I have an ugly scar on my arm from long ago. The ER doctor at the time told me he was going to do an awful job stitching me up, so I’d not do it again; and he held true to his promise. 17 years later, I finally am okay with that scar; and wanted to add a reminder of the beauty of grace in this world, and how I’ve been saved by it countless times. 

Since my trip to Ireland last year, I’ve wanted grace in Gaelic. After much research, I found the Celtic swan symbol; and the symbolism behind it fit perfectly. I have hope to get past this ugliness, and move toward the best life we three can create. 

“Find ecstasy in life, the mere sense of living is joy enough.” – Emily Dickinson 

4 thoughts on “all the feelings…

  1. I so want to get a tattoo. When I was younger (and didn’t know what RSD was), I used to want a hurricane symbol. It was kind of an early attempt to own my intensity, you know? Now I don’t know what I want. I feel like that is too much a reminder of years of putting myself down, even if originally it wasn’t intended that way. Your swan is beautiful! I hope to find something that meaningful, eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing, particularly the RSD. I see that tendency in both my husband and my daughter (more in my husband, however, after a lifetime of battling rejection and judgement, no doubt). That will be some good information for me to keep in mind when it appears that they’re flying off the handle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That’s very cool about the swan – I knew swans had a special meaning in some Irish lore (remember Galway?) – but what a great task to set it to. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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