ADHD – What Is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?


100 comments

  1. Oh my gosh the physical pain! Even though I've heard of rejection sensitivity before, never realised that was what it was feeling.

  2. I’d like to know more about what the difference between this and social anxiety is. Because that sounds a lot like how my anxiety disorder is. Like almost exactly like my experience of anxiety… the main addition being that, despite having been able to manage the unreasonable thoughts to a degree, when I’m in situations now, I get anxious because I know that I don’t know what is expected of me in the social situation and I become terrified to be in it bc of fears that people will reject me/think that I’m weird.

    It’d be neat to know if there are other symptoms of ADHD that are more common in afab folks. I really enjoyed this video and in the past when you’ve talked about the ones for autism that related more to afab folks. Obviously you can make whatever you want (is still watch your stuff), but if you made more on topics like that, I’d be stoked about it.

  3. Many emotional, mental health and physical symptoms present differently depending if someone is male or female. With that being said, if someone was (just as an example) FTM and presented with a typical symptom that usually applies to those who were assigned female at birth, then how does that relate to the FTM person? Can you trust the diagnosis or will the FTM person present with symptoms that are typically belonging to a male? Also on another topic, if a female (as example) has all her female organs removed as in a hysterectomy and ovaries are removed (this could be either pre or post menopause) will that female still be charactorized as DNA XX or does that get diminished or somewhat altered if estrogen is depleted? This could be without taking either HRT estrogen or testosterone. Thanks!

  4. I've never heard of this, but everything you said fits me to a scary tee. I would be very interested in hearing more about this topic if you do end up making another video on it.

  5. Hey Aaron, I think I've asked you this before but how do you keep rats and a cat in the same home? How do you handle having the rats free roalm with the cat in the room?

  6. This is literally the first time i've heard somebody else describe what i struggle so much with. Thanks for the info.

  7. Hey Aaron, I really find these ADHD videos really helpful, I would be really interested in hearing you talk about having ADHD and being trans and how ADHD affects dysphoria.

  8. On my computer screen at work I have selected a photograph of a tent lit up under a vast night sky. It makes me feel so calm; more so than any of the really beautiful day time photographs I have selected before. Thank you so much for explaining RSD Aaron. It is complex so I have saved it to watch again. You explain things so well 🙂

  9. To the tune of Taxman by the Beatles

    One two three four

    Let me tell you how it will be

    Money for Big Pharma, money for me,

    Cause I'm the Psych man, yeah I'm the Psych man

    Should one dose of a drug appear too small

    Be grateful I don't give you it all

    Cause I'm the Psychman, yeah I'm the Psychman

    If you are active I'll say you've got ADHD

    If you are rebellious you've got ODD

    If you have daydreams you've got SCT

    If you are depressed you will get ECT

    Don't ask me what you want those drugs for

    Ha Ha Mr Shire

    If you do I'll give you some more

    Ha Ha Mr Eli Lilly

    Cause I'm the Psychman, Yeah I'm the Psychman

    If you are three years old I will give you Ritalin

    Psychman

    If you are four I will give you Lithium

    Psychman

    'Cause I'm the Psychman, yeah I'm the Psychman

    And I'm working for no one but Big Pharma and Me!!!!

    (C) Alan Berkeley July 2019.

  10. Did you mean: my life?

    I said this on Twitter already but I finally got around to watching the video and RSD sounds so much like me.

    I was diagnosed with ADHD around 8y/o, and BPD around 15y/o and BPD never ever felt like it was the right diagnosis for me. I know I have ADHD I see it daily, but I'm so glad to hear that there is a term for this thing that I struggle with as often as I do.

    Thank you so much for talking about this and introducing a new term to me. 💖

  11. A very insightful and clear explanation of frequently misunderstood topics which will hopefully foster and encourage a more empathetic and compassionate response towards those who experience the world differently. Even if you are a person who does not live with these disorders or experience these issues to such an acute level it still provides some valuable information that can help us evaluate our own behaviours and responses. Thanks

  12. Oh my god. Thank you for this video, so much stuff makes sense now. I had no idea this was my ADHD. You have helped me so much by bringing it to my attention, I can actually work on this now and also I would totally be up for hearing more about this, I found it invaluable and informative.

  13. Can you pls answer me?i still can’t completely understand the abandonment issue I don’t really fear it I live alone but need much help—- my dysphoria is instant fast and lasts no more than a few hours and also mins?

  14. Wow, I didn't even realize that this is what's happening with me so often when I'm unable to respond to messages. I'm diagnosed with ADHD and for a long time I knew of certain ways it affected me, but somehow I hadn't even realized overstimulation was part of what has been making me "shut down" and not reply to online messages, emails, or texts for days, sometimes weeks, at a time. And then I feel like it's this task looming over me on a mental "to-do list" that I dread. I often feel really anxious about it and like I'm not a great friend. I want to be able to open the message without hesitation, and easily correspond regularly– I want to be able to do these things that seem to come naturally to others, but I feel like I need to "prepare" for the conversation, and then I have to keep refocusing my attention so I can make sure the conversation is meeting a certain expectation (from myself and others).

    This video made a lot of sense to me. Thank you for talking about this.

  15. When I was growing up, my back would ache really intensely whenever I went out with just my dad; it was part of anxiety that something would go wrong (because it usually did and he'd always get really upset and I always thought it was my fault) but now I wonder if it also had to do with my executive dysfunction

  16. 🤯. Wow. You just described my mom, me, and my daughter. … Thanks for enlightening me. This makes so much sense to me.

  17. I loved this video it was really well presented, Id never heard of rsd before and im glad I know it now
    also all that geometric stuff behind you is so pleasing to look at

  18. So well done Aron! You really helped me get it in a very short video. Also thanks for the links you provided. ✌️💙

  19. Why did I go to 5 therapists for my adhd and never hear the words 'rejection sensitive dysphoria' or 'executive dysfunction' even once? I got diagnosed in 7th grade and they just immediately put me on zombie drugs and I'm slowly realizing no one ever actually explained to me what adhd even is.

  20. Aaron, I relate a lot and also learn a lot from your videos. Thank you for making them! But could you please make a video talking about self-diagnosis? As a psych major I worry about people relating to what you say (like "…and THAT is rejection sensitive disorder") and then just diagnosing themselves, not realizing that symptoms are usually very similar to the regular human experience – but differs by the unhealthy frequency or degree. Not to mention that one or two symptoms aren't enough to make a diagnosis and I think some people are not aware of that. I do know, however, that we (afab) can have trouble with doctors and getting the correct diagnosis, so I completely encourage you and everyone else to talk about mental health! We need awareness about disorders, diagnosis, risks, treatments, prevention… everything. Once again, thank you for the videos – I feel less alone.

  21. Well, now I have something to talk to my shrink about. I've been diagnosed w/BPD but not displayed typical symptoms of BPD, and also the anxiety/distress and fear of rejection instead of fear of abandonment aspects you mentioned.

  22. I'm so angry right now. This all makes so much sense. This is exactly what I went through in high school, and my mom refused to get me tested for ADHD because "it's not like you need meds or anything".
    YES BUT I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO KNOW WHY I JUST /CANT/ sometimes.

  23. I relate to that bullying & when my parents would yell at me it phisically hurt. It's nice not necessary good that I'm not alone. I was diagnosed with bpd as a 18 year old & I'm a ftm trans guy who's over a year on T. Your awesome dude.

  24. Sorry, this is not to do with the video, but where did you get your Megaminx + how much if you remember? Sorry I know that's random lol. (Great explanation by the way 👍)

  25. fairly certain i struggle with this and it causes me a lot of worry and stress because i fear ill never be good enough to make new friends and find a girl. For others who struggle with this, can you relate and have you found an good ways of dealing with it?

  26. I know about that aching pain that reaches the fingertips. I’ve experienced that for sure. One of the worst feelings. It’s like getting hit with a warhammer of disappointment.

  27. Oh my god, the chest pain. I don't know what my "problem" is (half joke, half literal) but when I get unexpectedly confronted with something I have to do or deal with, it's an immediate panic reaction accompanied by the sensation of having just been punched in the chest.

  28. Thank you, that was interesting and you were very articulate in how you explained it. I was diagnosed with ADHD earlier this year, so I'm still searching for understanding.

  29. I think this "especially people who are assigned female at birth" thing might just be a failure by society to except mens emotions properly and the failure of said men to actually reach out and get help.

  30. Wow I had no idea this was a symptom of ADHD! My mum passed away when I was a teenager and I always thought that my fear of abandonment was because I lost my mum, and it felt weird coz she didn’t abandon me, so it was weird trying to reconcile with it. I also have an issue with binge drinking to the point where I’ve had to give drinking up completely and that’s adhd related too apparently.

  31. for the longest time I thought I didn’t have rsd bc I thought it was difficulty taking correction or critique, but it turns out I’m actually the poster child for it, lol. thanks for explaining the nuance, this explains so much

  32. as someone who is afab, im lucky i was diagnosed with adhd really young. that being said though, it wasnt until the last couple years i really understood what that even meant or how it affected me other than the fact that in school i could take tests in separate rooms and i took meds to help me focus. its kind of bizarre realizing how many symptoms there are but it's also nice in a way. like, being able to put a name to what ive been experiencing and knowing why its happening is nice. rsd is such a huge thing for me and i didnt even know it existed. thank you for this video aaron. i would love to hear more about this from you tbh. videos like this are so important and can help so many people.

  33. I've been dealing with this for so much and I didn't even know it is diagnostic. Thank you so much for giving me this oppurtonity, I'll be speaking about it with my therapist on our next seasion, I'm sure.

  34. I’d never heard of this before and I didn’t know there was anything so similar to parts of BPD (besides bipolar disorder). Thank you for educating the public. I love how much you openly talk about mental health and disabilities. I got a diagnosis of BPD about 9 months ago and was so afraid of the stigma (still struggle with it sometimes). I’m currently in DBT group. I’m so happy that I decided to figure out what was going on!

  35. I was diagnosed with bpd & ADHD and this has given me a lot to think about. Thanks for the video (also you're very calming to watch as well as informative!)

  36. THANK YOU for this thoughtful and personal explanation. I’m crying because you described what I experience so perfectly and no one understands that it is physical pain.
    Now I’m going to go research more about the nervous system. Thank you!

  37. I have to say I've heard the line that RSD has nothing to do with trauma. This doesn't feel true, since rejection and alienation are inherent experiences to most ADHD people.

  38. And in today’s episode: How the heck do I get my family to watch this?

    I also want to know who those 8 dislikes are?

  39. My bf has untreated ADHD and RSD…when he goes into an RSD tailspin, there is no way I can convince him that I love him, or that he's good enough. I've told him about RSD and how I see it in him, but I don't think he truly understands what it is because he says he doesn't have it….which is so sad. If he only stepped out of denial and into acknowledgment and acceptance, he'd be so much happier. But, instead, ADHD and RSD are complicating his life beyond what he can handle, and it wrecks me. I don't know how to make him see that he has RSD.

  40. I have to do a presentation for at least 15 minutes for my college class and I’m freaking out, it’s almost to the point where I’d rather get a 0 because I’m so scared to talk in front of people

  41. I know by now that I have ADHD (due to an ADHD test) but I didn't know these terms for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria or Executive Dysfunction exist. But I've known those things very long and still have both really bad! Thanks for making people aware of that 🙂 Guess I can specify some of my struggles a little better know

  42. I remember in high school I fell for this guy and he really fell for me but at my school I couldn’t be near him for long periods of time because I was so scared he would see me in a way that wasn’t good enough and I felt he would not want me anymore. I made so many excuses. I couldn’t even talk to him in public. It always had to be private.
    He was so sweet loving and totally showed me how much he was into me but keeping him at a distance was the only way I knew how to be with him and he would get so frustrated. I remember instead of eating lunch with him I would just leave the cafeteria early and wave to him. I preferred talking over text and over the phone and it was so safe for me. The point of this the feeling of this is it’s like 8,000 pounds of dread comes Over you and makes you paranoid of everything. I couldn’t eat in front of people I would hide my feet (I didn’t like my toes they’re long) I would check my appearance constantly and I would literally avoid certain people who teased me jokingly as they do in high school which is normal but since I wanted him to want me so bad I would avoid going near certain people cause I was so scared they’d do it in front of the guy I liked in the cafeteria. Strange behavior but it makes sense. I’m doing better but I still deal with forms and episodes of this in entirely different ways. Looking forward to getting more help with it.

  43. I have been medicated for ADHD since elementary school and was never told what it really meant. I'm know in my second year of college and just realizing all of these things.

  44. thank you so much oh my god i couldnt remember what this was called but i remember associating with it so strongly omg thank you your videos really are the best

  45. holy fuck my rsd DOES immensely affect my executive dysfunction. like i love roleplayimg but i take so long to reply bc i get so horribly anxious

  46. rejection sensitivity is a sympton of ADHD right? didn't mean that someone who feel fear of being rejected or have a sympton of rejection sesnsitivity is also ADHD? sorry i still bit confused

  47. Pretty sure I have this. Literally everything I say or do, I worry about whether it's normal or acceptable. I had to film a video presentation for college and I couldn't do it because I kept messing up and I had a total breakdown over it. I worry about making phonecalls and I recite what I'm going to say before I make them. I delete half the comments and posts I make on social media because I worry about what people might think of them and how they might view me afterwards and I withdraw socially because it's easier to just not have friends. I go over future and past conversations in my head all the time and worry about what I will say or what I should have said. I get that feeling in my chest but it's more of a tightness than pain, sort of like heaviness or pressure and I get totally overstimulated by loud noises or crowds. There's so much more I could say about this but now it all makes sense to me. I've never had an ADHD diagnosis but pretty sure I have it

  48. I have a relative who I think has this. I have ADHD, but I don't have this issue (I felt it mildly when younger). I'd like to be liked–I'm human–, but I have learned to be my own best friend and as an autistic person, I'm used to people finding me weird and not liking me. Not my problem. Some people like me and I'm just going to assume when I go into a new situation that people will like me. If they don't, they don't. (Perhaps I've prepared my nervous system to not be on alert in these situations; perhaps it's because self esteem was hard won and no one gets to take that from me.) I still hate the phone though like most people with autism. I need to see people's mouths when they're talking. It's where autistic people look when speaking with someone (unlike allistic people). Missing so many cues, being on the phone just makes it worse.

  49. Omg I am actually crying right now. I always just thought I was an introvert with social anxiety but now everything makes sense. I used to act out as a kid towards my peers constantly due to having undiagnosed adhd, and I had no friends. Then I learned to just be quiet and isolate myself for fear of rejection. This makes so much more sense now. Thank you for making this video.

  50. I felt that pain when I was very low in depression and was rejected by a friend who I cared a lot about the approval of. It is still one of the worst pains I ever felt, because I was so sad and in so much pain but knew no pain medication would fix it.

  51. I get a lot of these things (especially the pain thing) but I don't have ADHD as far as know. I only just got diagnosed with autism a few months ago and I got depression and some form of anxiety.

    Maybe I should go to a doctor about it but I dont trust my doctor for many reasons, plus he was against referring me for autism as he was like it's a childhood illness, you can't be diagnosed as an adult (obvious lie as most of the other autistic people I know were diagnosed late).

  52. the texting anecdote hit. i sometimes find myself spending 10-15 minutes or more thinking of what to text someone back. sometimes, i just close my messages without responding and then go back a bit later and repeat the lengthy process of thinking of how to respond. when i talk to people in person, this concept manifests itself as me overthinking responses which of course takes time… leaving me silent which makes things awkward and then i get very anxious

  53. I was diagnosed with adhd in grade 1 when they do testing for it typically. There's a line in which if you're below the line you'll get a personal support worker, and if you're above the line you don't get a PSW. I was right on the line and they ultimately decided that I didn't need a PSW.

    Grade 1-5 Was my foot tapping knee hitting the bottom of the desk pencil chewing pen clicking era. I still to this day uncontrollably shake my feet if they're not firmly planted on the floor (I.E. laying in bed). During this time of my life I was put on ritaline, and had to take 3 pills daily, morning noon and night.

    Grade 6-8 Was my sleeping through every other class and being anti social era. I was heavily bullied during this time in my life, the medication was causing drowsiness and resulted in me sleeping a LOT. I just kinda sat alone by myself at recess drawing. Halfway through grade 6 i changed to biphenton from ritiline.

    Grade 9-12 Was my extremely happy overly energetic era. I stopped taking my adhd medicine in highschool because I wanted to have fun and not be sleeping through classes all the time. This was a horrible Idea. I was having fun and made friends, but certain effects from adhd that were suppressed by my meds came flooding back with vengeance. I couldn't focus for more than 5 seconds at a time, constantly disassociating (day dreaming), my artistic ability plummeted, and my mind reeled. I became a hugely impulsive person ruled by my emotional state. This still rings true to today 8 years after graduating.

    I am now 25 and am very much depressed. I've grown to hate all the artwork that I do because I'm incapable of holding an image in my mind for more than a second. Picturing things is impossible for me now and all I've become able to do is copy reference images to the line, and I don't want to be a human photo copier, I want to be an artist.

    My RSD stops me from going to the doctors to ask for a prescription / rediagnosis as a 25 year old because it scares me to think I could have gotted worse over the 10 or 11 years I've been of my meds. My rsd also prevented me from applying for college for obvious reasons. Being off my meds in highschool made me average 50% on every subject, including art and music.

    I want to go back on my meds, but that's a terrifying phone call to make to a hospital. Anywho, this is my personal experience with adhd.

  54. Great video. Curious to hear your or anyone’s comments about RSD and exposure to individuals versus groups. I currently run talking groups and may find myself experiencing a lot of doubts about my abilities, which I think are a combination of real and imagined. I think groups have a lot more stimulation which you mentioned could trigger a reaction. So my question is does dealing individually with people typically trigger as much rejection sensitivity as when in groups?

  55. Thank you for posting this.
    My son has had this but was only diagnosed with ADHD with RSD last year at 15
    Only got him tested him because I was diagnosed the year before at 52!!
    I always thought he ‘just’ had social anxiety.
    He got more and more withdrawn and isolatedhimself from his friends.
    Would NEVER text his small loyal group of friends.
    Last Easter break (3 weeks) and Summer Hols (9 weeks!!) he refused to call or text them ar ALL and ended up not seeing any of them, just happy to stay in the house.

    One thing you did NOT cover is potential treatment!!!
    GUANFACINE is literally a miracle med for RSD and my ADHD hyper-arousal/emotiinal dysregulation!

    ANYONE with RSD, PLEASE print the attached out and show it to your doctor, and ask to try it.
    We managed to get my son on it the week before his GCSEs started last year (he had shut diwn with anxiety and overwhelm whilst revising. Came out of nowhere.
    Took to his bed and refused to come down for 3-4 days!
    Decided he was going to ‘fail himself’ (classic RSD)

    Within 2 days on 1mg he told me how he felt a huge pressure was off his 100mph brain, inside his 5000 psi head!
    That is EXACTLY the effect it has on me.
    Just don’t feel that
    – Anxiety
    – Paranoia
    – Self loathing

    And there are almost ZERO fights in our house or ‘red mist’ rages!

    He used to go from nought to APOPLEPTIC RAGE in a second!
    I was on eggshells for YEARS, trying not to set him off, trying to watch what I said. Nerve wracking!!

    But as I said, MY ADHD meant that although I could usually keep a lid on it, when I blew I blew NUCLEAR!
    Our house was like living in the Hadron Collider!!😱😂

    Guanfacine has COMPLETELY changed that!
    He is a new boy!
    SO much more confident (stil not one for socialising, but he just started 6th form college and there are GIRLS there, one of whom appears to be in contention as his first girlfriend!
    I may have to pull her aside and tell her she has to ask HIM out, cos no way would he risk it!
    (- I know, I won’t really, I’m not that awful a mum 🤪)

    Big hug to anyone suffering from this condition.
    PLEASE talk to your doctor and demand to be out on Guanfacine!

    There are two possible medication solutions for RSD.

    “The simplest solution is to prescribe an alpha agonist like guanfacine or clonidine.
    These were originally designed as blood pressure medications.

    The optimal dose varies from half a milligram up to seven milligrams for guanfacine,
    and from a tenth of a milligram to five tenths of a milligram for clonidine.

    Within that dosage range, about one in three people feel relief from RSD.

    When that happens, the change is life altering. (ABSOLUTELY the case for us!!)
    The treatment can make an even greater difference than a stimulant does to treat ADHD.”

    https://www.additudemag.com/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria-and-adhd/

  56. I’m 27 and my brothers have ADHD but I’m starting to think I do too. I tick so many boxes but this one resonates so much in my life right now. What I thought was just social anxiety might be rejection sensitivity as well. I physically can’t get help because I can’t bring myself to talk to anyone or do anything. Sometimes even thinking about it is too much of a task. It’s awful.

  57. I didn't vote up or down, but I have to tell you, you lost me at "trigger warning" and "assigned at birth". I see that you're young, I'm guessing under 25, so I'm sure you're inundated with those concepts at school. Just know that basically no one over 30 uses those words, and beyond that, they will sour toward you immediately when they hear you use them. I offer this as an olive branch, not a condemnation, so please don't take it as an insult. I appreciate what you're doing here, I just found out that RSD is a thing yesterday, and I'm already connecting dots that are blowing my mind. I just needed to reach out and let you know that I found it noticably more difficult to take you seriously after those two things, and you're probably hindering the impact of an otherwise good video with things like that.
    Take that how you will. For the record, I'm 37. People older than that would have even less patience for those kinds of things.

  58. I don't have any diagnosed mental illnesses (I haven't been able to afford health insurance for most of my life, so I haven't had a chance to go a phsyciatrist or therapist or anything) I'm working on getting help now that I can, and I think I'm going to bring this up at some point. I've heard a lot of other explanations for what's going on here and this is the first one that ticks all the boxes

  59. Finally I have found what I’ve looking for I actually thought I had Aspergers since at first I like to people too many people then I just shut myself away since I thought I will not be good enough for people and the fear of rejection

  60. I came here for this topic and appreciate your posting it. But honestly, people need a trigger warning when discussing mental health? Wtf? This is what’s wrong with our generation.

    Also, BPD often has biological and/or genetic underpinnings, as well.

  61. Do autistic people get this too? I really think i have it (i'm diagnosed with autism) but i don't want to bring it up to my doctor if i can't have it. I can't embarrass myself.

  62. BPD isn't spontaneously generated out of traumatic experiences. To develop it one must have a predisposition for it first, and that's passed on genetically too.

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