“The Secret Pirate and Other Stories” by David Townsend
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REJECTION SENSITIVE DYSPHORIA
FIRST, BEFORE SELF-ESTEEM: A DIFFICULT COMPONENT OF ADHD
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) [ which is also called Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation, and Emotional Impulsive: Emotional Disregulation and is connected to Reward Deficiency Syndrome] is a common experience for ADHD people.
It is the belief that you have been rejected much of your life, either actually or because of your misunderstanding of the situation. You have a sensitivity about rejection. You expect it to happen and anticipate it by avoidance of people or situations where you might be rejected.
Another aspect is a sense, a belief, that you are a disappointment and a failure.
In some people this triggers rage and violence. In others this creates depression .
Dysphoria is a Greek word used here for for a weighty feeling, an overbearing heaviness.
It is important to notice that in some of the descriptions of this problem there are descriptions of sudden mood shifts and some psychologists want to make this a part of the diagnosis. This is probably because this type of behaviour is what brings it to their attention. This is false. RSD may be a continuous state with mild variation. However, it is sometimes misdiagnosed as Bi-Polar Disorder.
Often sufferers become people pleasers to avoid rejection. Others stop trying anything so that there is no risk. Some react by becoming energised over-achievers in an effort to escape the feeling.
It is important to understand that this RSD is genetic and neuroligic. It is not your fault. Learning about it can help you manage it. Medication can help some people.
My experience of RSD is that it is an ever-present challenge. The best management I have found so far is in the work of Dr Joe Dispenza (go to Youtube).
The most important characteristic you can have is a strong sense of self-esteem.
We often have problems about this.
I have a problem calling this self-esteem. People tend to use this as how they feel about themselves at any particular time. Bu, of course, this varies a lot. It can depend on who we are withat the time, or the weather. And di you realise that you have a basic feeling about yourslf that you formed before you could speak; which therefore has no words attached to it and cannot be changed with most 'wordy' therapies?
Esteem means honour, or honor if you are American. In other words, self-esteem is about how you go about honouring yourself, how you build yourself up, how you add to your self-respect. It's time to make it work.
When we are children, we are discouraged from a strong self. Most parents are not enthusiastic about having strong willed children
When we are infants, up until the age of three, we believe everything we are told and accept whatever assumptions there are in our family. We accept that we are dependent, that other people make decisions for us, and that we are the sort of person that adults and siblings tell us we are.
If we are ADHD we can easily have a genetic tendency to feel uncomfortable with ourselves to some degree. Our sense of self-esteem doesn't seem to have a centre.
On top of this we are taught about the dreadful sin of pride. You know, 'Pride comes before a fall.' And all the other stuff that goes with it. Unfortunately this is a confusion of language. People often say pride when they mean hubris. Even authoritative books and people.
Hubris is an arrogant superiority. You don't want that. Pride is pleasure and satisfaction in achievements and qualities. Pride you really do want.
Pride has been battered by the church with, e.g., 'God first, others next, self last.'. I have heard children who have just told a parent they achieved something at school being reprimanded with, "Don't boast."
The most important characteristic you can have is a strong sense of self, self-esteem.
We can be further confused by expressions such as self-esteem. You have a self-esteem you received before you could talk (which consequently doesn't get changed by words). You have another which may be connected to that which we could call our default self-esteem. We also have others which are situational; they depend on who we are with and perhaps the feed-back we are receiving.
Do you talk to
yourself? Do you ever say to yourself, "You idiot!" or something like
Who are you talking to? You just used the word you.
You are talking to yourself, of course.
You can do that because it is as if your mind has two sides. One side is talking to the other. But the other doesn't respond. It doesn't answer back.
That's because it learned as a little child not to answer back But it needs to! It needs to stand up and say, "I am not an idiot! I might make the occasional mistake, which is really a learning experience, but I am not an idiot. I am fantastic!"
You can also change what you say to yourself. For instance, you can say, "You are a genius." And you as the other side of your mind can respond strongly, "I am a genius!" You don't say it to anyone else, just powerfully to yourself in your head.
A strong decisive "I" drives your thinking and feeling.
Try this: Say to yourself firmly in your head, "I feel healthy!"
Say to yourself in
your head, "I feel healthy."
Your brain says, healthy feelings, OK, because it can remember and imagine those, and creates them in your body. You can feel them. Then you strengthen them. "I feel really healthy!" The feelings spread through your body. Let them flow.
And you can lock them in: -
Brain researchers have discovered something powerful. If you stay in the posture and mental frame you want for two minutes plus, there is a significant rise of the hormones and chemicals that belong to that state.
If you go into a posture of dominance and think dominant thoughts, e.g. “I am OK. I’m making everything happen my way. I’ running the ship.” Or whatever, there is a measurable lift in testosterone.
If you go into the posture and thoughts of complete confidence for two minutes, you can tell the difference. Try it with health, then happiness.
So if you take your new decision to exercise, for instance, and you shifted into the posture and mental frame of, “This is what I do!”
You are there.
So, "I feel really healthy!" for two minutes made effective in you. Add whatever else you desire.
SELF IS DECISION
So you decide what feeling and activity you want, and make t happen. This is SELF. The real you is in action. There is an energy flowing from your very centre. You don't have memories from the past or people in the present telling you who you are. You are deciding who you are.
This happens with energy, with passion. ADDers need to deliberately put more energy into many activities then others. The rewards are most worthwhile. You function at a higher level. You live free.
The goal is simple. Too live in charge of your own life. To make your own decisions in the present, not be run by other people's decisions or influence from the past.
Your brain says, "Ah, healthy feelings." Drags some up from memory and you experience them in your body. Then give them more power with an enthusiastic, "I feel really healthy!" And let the feeling flow through your body fully.
You can make this more powerful.
There is a process I call Posture Plus.
You know that if you followed the previous process you will have changed the way you feel by deliberately running a thought in your mind. That though caused a change.
We also know that your posture causes thoughts and feelings. Your physical shape sends a message to your brain, "this is how I am." and creates thought patterns and feelings. Yes, it has all been scientifically measured. It takes at least two minutes of a posture to change the body.
So let's return to "I feel really healthy." You put yourself into the posture you would be in if you were really healthy. It doesn't matter whether you are sitting or standing, but it isn't so effective if you are lying. Just a relaxed posture of being healthy. You stay in this for at least two minutes - use a timer. While in this posture, run through your mind that saying and feeling, "I feel really healthy." Give it some enthusiasm!
In two minutes the
hormones in your body will have shifted into a more healthy format. You
actually will be healthier.
Some have found it beneficial to do this three times a day.
You can do the same thing for happiness etc. You can also use it for confidence, but remember that confidence is only partially feeling, it is also action. Your created or enhanced feeling of confidence has to flow into doing. Self-esteem is expressed.
Were you loved?
That isn’t the most useful question. The real one is, Did you feel deeply loved as a child?
This has nothing to do with whether you think your parents or whoever brought you up loved you or not.
If you have ADHD you may have been born feeling that you didn’t belong, and you therefore could have misinterpreted even sincere love towards you. Often when we are children (let alone when we are adults!) we put a different meaning on communications from adults around us than they intended.
Some children born in adverse circumstances develop considerable self-confidence and resilience. Others don’t and are generally on the defensive.
For those who need it, there is a way towards having a happy childhood. You create spiritual parents. It may be possible to use one or both of your own parents, though I prefer not to. (Spiritual has nothing to do with religion, it is a good state higher than our normal experience.)
You create your ideal mother and father in your mind. They are perfect parents. They deeply love you and support and encourage you all the time as you grow from conception.
Consequently, you feel strong and confident inside you. It is a really great feeling. You run this back to infancy and then forward through your life. You make changes in your memories (they were only memories) as you imagine yourself having lived as totally loved and supported.
That has given you the independent confidence and inner balance that enables you to live happily and as an achiever.
Your spiritual parents are, of course doers, and as a loving and loved child you copy them. You are an achiever.
Achieving, whether simple or at risk, is vital for growth. And it is a component of being loved and approved of, and loving.
A word of warning. Our unconscious mind wants to keep us the way we are. It has learned how you felt as a child and it tries to keep you feeling that way. If you felt unloved as a child your unconscious may react to created memories of being loved and give you a bad feeling to bring you back on track.
Look at it this way. There are three mental states here. One is desire: I am creating loved memories. Two: Your unconscious reacts against this (It does that for many things that you desire!).
The third state is a very strong good feeling. You make this very strong and go into it if you feel miserable to over-ride the negative reaction. It is a very deliberate step into a powerful inner state.
ADHD is polymorphic; that is, it comes out in
different ways in different people.
Some people with ADHD, more in the “ADD” category, suffer from Anxiety.
The sources of anxiety are complex, but the basics for many people are clear. If you are born with ADHD, the chances are you don’t feel quite right about yourself from birth. We are born with an instinctive desire to conform, to fit into the behaviour and culture of our family and community, so breaking any of that creates anxiety and in our modern society we try to break a lot of it.
As you grow, your ADHD behaviour doesn’t fit in with your parent’s expectations. You are criticised, or punished. This reinforces your inner feeling that you are a failure and you don’t belong.
Then you get to school and this is confirmed. You cannot do some things, have bad handwriting, misbehave, in the teacher’s opinion. (That’s why they call it Attention Deficit, of course. You are not attending to them!)
Your negative feelings are reinforced and so you develop anxiety about forthcoming events. You expect do poorly, to be criticised and punished.
The possibility of a lifetime of anxiety lies before you. It is a form of fear.
There are characteristics that flow from this.
SHAME: Shame is insidious. It spreads. You perform poorly at something and feel ashamed. This attitude seeps into other activities and areas of your life. Consequently, you put yourself down. You attempt less. You then have more to be ashamed about.
So you develop PESSIMISM. You expect everything to have a negative outcome. And because we experience what we expect, it will. As we grow, we learn who we are. For example, a little girl who is constantly or dramatically told that she is plain believes this. If you later go to her and say, “You are a beautiful girl.” She will deny it. “No, I’m not.”
We learn a lot of self-identity beliefs this way. They flow into negative habitual patterns of thinking.
And because we are ashamed and pessimistic we become ISOLATED. We lose contact with people and don’t make the ordinary contact that most people use with others. There is a touch of Asperger’s in this for some - we don’t feel comfortable relating because we are uncertain of the meaning of the communication. This tends to mean that they don’t call us, which proves to us that we are no good and don’t belong and are unloved. This is a devastating state because love and relationships are very important to the enjoyment of life.
As a result, we have NO EXPRESSION. I don’t mean the look on our face, though it is true for some people! I mean that we don’t say what we think, do what we want to do – or even not know what we want to do. We don’t create. We don’t put ourselves out there and engage life.
So then we miss out on the other important characteristic of life which is ACHIEVEMENT. This ranges from a sense of satisfaction that the day was complete to creating something to diving into anything that frightens us.
For many of us this means a real effort. We have to push past the ADHDish blocks that are about failing to complete, procrastination, distraction and the rest. We fly beyond fear. Life is on the other side of fear. The exhilaration of pushing the limits makes life worthwhile.
I have found no easy way of doing this, but a stronger sense of self helps.
I create the world around me that I want. I cause things to happen. I fill my cup first.
An important part of this as you prepare for action is going in your mind to the desired outcome. What do you want to have achieved? What sort of person do you want to have become? How do you want to feel then?
Imagine that you have this. You make this awareness very strong. It is a right thing to do. Successful people do it all the time. You dismiss any internal or external voices that say you shouldn’t.
Then you go not action, because you are important and you have product that is valuable to the world which you are driven to put out there because people need it. (The “product” can be saleable goods, a skill or service for free or fee.
There is more with DR Hollowell - go here
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© David Townsend 2014