Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

When I first read about Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria I was like “Wow. That’s exactly what I experienced.”

There’s still a lot of research being done about RSD* and while it is not something that you can be diagnosed with, it is a way to describe symptoms and it resonates with a lot of people – specifically those with ADHD, Autism, social anxiety, and a history of trauma.

No one likes criticism or rejection but for people who experience RSD the emotional impact of rejection or criticism goes to the extreme to the point that it negatively affects your relationships, your job, or your life. It’s much like anxiety – everyone has moments of anxiety but it becomes a disorder when it interrupts your life and the symptoms are uncontrollable.

As far as treatment goes – that’s a little bit more complicated. It’s best to talk to your doctor or therapist to come up with a plan that works for you.

I think RSD played a huge part in my life in my 20s.

My 20 year-old-self had huge mood swings whenever there was criticism or perceived rejection in my job or in my relationships. One time my boss gave me a small amount of criticism and I quit my job on the spot. Thankfully she was able to coax me back but I remember thinking that small comment meant that I sucked as an employee and it wouldn’t matter if I left anyway.

I have struggled to take criticism for as long as I can remember. A huge part revolves around social anxiety because it makes me hyper-aware of how other people perceive me and my brain always tells me that the perception is bad. As I’ve grown older with a ton of coping skills (especially positive self-talk!) and therapy under my belt, I believe what used to be rejection sensitive dysphoria has mellowed into sensitivity to rejection for me. I’m still awful at taking criticism or rejection and it can sometimes cause me to spiral but I’m pretty good at regulating myself now.

I wanted to share this to let you know that if it’s something that you struggle with you are not alone!


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