Conversation. in Mental Health

  • July 19, 2020, 5:50 a.m.
  • |
  • Public

I would kill for one right now. Like one of those things where you make a pot of coffee and a friend comes over and you drink coffee and smoke a bunch of cigarettes and maybe some weed, too, and just talk and talk and talk.

I haven’t had a friend like that in a long time. I don’t even have one that I could at least get on the phone with for a couple of hours anymore.

Lately I’ve been feeling really isolated and… I don’t know. Irrelevant. Serves no purpose. Like there’s no one who wants to talk to me or hear me talk. Well, other than my therapist, that is, but she’s getting paid to listen to me prattle on. I feel like I have no outlet other than this. I feel pent-up, caged, silenced.

So I saw a thing that made me do some research.

Ever heard of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria(RSD)? It’s present in like 99% of teen and adult cases of ADHD.

People with RSD may:

X-Be easily embarrassed
X-Get very angry or have an emotional outburst when they feel like someone has hurt or rejected them
X-Set high standards for themselves they often can’t meet
X-Have low self-esteem
X-Feel anxious, especially in social settings
X-Have problems with relationships
X-Stay away from social situations and withdraw from other people
X-Feel like a failure because they haven’t lived up to other people’s expectations
X-Sometimes think about hurting themselves

Apparently, it can actually be confused with bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed bipolar at around 16 years old, if I remember correctly. I was diagnosed based essentially on ALL of the symptoms of RSD.

I think I may have been misdiagnosed. I also have all of the symptoms of adult ADHD, and also had most of the symptoms of childhood ADHD - but ADHD wasn’t really a thing in 1985, you know? And it was never really a thing that was considered for girls because they don’t present with hyperactivity nearly as often as boys with ADHD do, or the hyperactivity they present doesn’t take the same form as in boys. I was called, more than once, a wonderful student but a disruption to the class. I was referred to more than once by a teacher as Chatty Cathy. I wasn’t physically fidgety, I was verbally fidgety. I still consider myself verbally fidgety. Except I’ve always called it “awkward” because that’s how it feels to be me.

There are 3 groups of symptoms in ADHD:

Inattention

X-Be disorganized
X-Lack focus
X-Have a hard time paying attention to details and a tendency to make careless mistakes. Their work might be messy and seem careless. - This one is hit or miss. Sometimes I have a tremendous attention to detail and other times I make ridiculously careless mistakes.
X-Have trouble staying on topic while talking, not listening to others, and not following social rules
X-Be forgetful about daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch) - I have alarms set for everything, different ones for every time I need to take meds, once a week when I pick up my co-op shares, my therapy appointments… without alarms, I would never remember any of it.
X-Be easily distracted by things like trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others.

Hyperactivity

X-Fidget and squirm when seated.
-Get up frequently to walk or run around.
X-Run or climb a lot when it’s not appropriate. (In teens this may seem like restlessness.) -I have an overwhelming sense of restlessness most of the time.
-Have trouble playing quietly or doing quiet hobbies
-Always be “on the go”
X-Talk excessively

Impulsivity

Symptoms of this include:
X-Impatience
X-Having a hard time waiting to talk or react
X-Have a hard time waiting for their turn.
X-Blurt out answers before someone finishes asking them a question.
X-Frequently interrupt or intrude on others. This often happens so much that it causes problems in social or work settings.
X-Start conversations at inappropriate times. - I never, ever know when an “appropriate” time is, so I bottle shit up until I explode, which is always, always inappropriate.

I’ve put Xs next to all of the symptoms I have recognized in myself. 25 years, numerous therapists, all of the medications that didn’t work or I had adverse reactions to, all the work I’ve done to try to understand myself and my bipolar disorder and PTSD and all the rest and what if everything was wrong all along?

What if me sitting here day after day just wishing for someone to call me and have a conversation with me, wishing I could just say out loud some of the things rolling around in my brain, is just rejection sensitive dysphoria? What if it’s just my brain perceiving rejection in the lack of a ringing phone and then overreacting to it? Like, there are brain scans that prove this is a thing that happens and people with ADHD have exactly zero control over it because it’s the chemical imbalance in their brain making it happen. You can’t talk yourself out of a chemical imbalance.

And maybe that’s what’s happening to me and maybe I can stop feeling like such a failure at managing my mental health better. Maybe I’m setting unrealistic expectations for myself. Maybe it doesn’t matter how hard I try to talk myself out of some of the less-positive thoughts because they are literally brain chemistry and not remembered trauma or a re-emergence of trauma. Maybe I don’t… well, I don’t want to say I don’t have PTSD, because that is documented and I can’t deny being traumatized repeatedly throughout life and the effect it has had on me. But I really do feel like I have the PTSD totally under control. Thanks, LSD! It’s the bipolar that I still struggle with - or is it ADHD? Or maybe a combination of the two.

One way or another, I intend to find out.


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