Every now and then, the idea put forth by that picture you see up above pops into my head. And, it’s true. I’m a great co-worker. I can think outside the box, which means I have excellent problem-solving skills. I am a fucking blast to be around as my friends can attest. And, I care about the people I work with. If you don’t believe me, ask the students I work with, both in the classroom and the writing center. But, almost immediately after thinking that shit, Richard, the asshole who lives in my brain (aka my Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria or RSD) will pipe up with some bullshit like, “I call that bold talk for someone who gets distracted by fucking squirrels.” I’ve written about this before but dealing with RSD is a constant struggle. It’s also one of the truly negative aspects of being neurodivergent. So, let’s revisit this fucktacular mess because I’ve got some new shit air out.
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria: A Primer
Okay, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written about RDS, so let’s start with a definition. Psychology Today says rejection sensitive dysphoria is “a strong emotional reaction to negative judgments, exclusion, or criticism from others that it sends them into a mental tailspin, leading to rumination and the pit-of-the-stomach malaise that won’t let them move forward with their day.” Which is a lot of words to say that anything negative, either actual or imagined, can fuck me up severely. For goddamn days, too. Which is kind of weird given the fucked up way my brain processes emotions. Sometimes, it seems like I don’t have any emotions at all, and then, BAM! I get hit with a shit ton of anxiety, pain, and sadness because, in my mind, I didn’t measure up to some standard that I didn’t even know existed a few seconds ago. And, that’s if the standard exists at all.
Didn’t We Already Cover This?
So, why am I bringing this shit up again? I mean, didn’t we cover it well enough the first time? No, Kyle, we did not fucking cover it well enough the first time. I mean, what part of “a constant struggle” is un-fucking-clear, you panty-sniffing fuckwit? Jesus, some of you neurotypicals. . . but I digress. I’m bringing this shit up again because I’ve decided I need to do something I hate: promote this blog. Why do I hate promoting it, you ask? I mean, if I’m proud of it, shouldn’t I want to share this thing I’ve created? There are multiple reasons, some cultural (promoting=bragging and good southerners do not brag) and some neurological ( Autism and ADHD, aka AuDHD).
The Cultural Shit
When I said that “good southerners do not brag” you may have said, “Um, don’t you guys talk a ton of shit about how the South is the best region in the U. S.?” To that, I say it’s not really bragging if it’s true, now is it? Really, though, what I should have said was good southerners don’t brag about themselves. You can talk up your friends, your hometown, or your church (if you’re so inclined. And, most Southerners are) and that’s fine. But, say something even remotely complimentary about yourself and you’re being crass. And, people of quality are never crass. Yeah, that’s not good. But the thing is, it gets worse when you have rejection sensitive dysphoria.
The Neurological Shit
As I said in that earlier post, we don’t know a whole fucking lot about RSD. According to the Cleveland Clinic, researchers believe rejection sensitive dysphoria has to do with “the structure of your brain and that it happens for similar reasons as ADHD.” I would add autism to that since RSD’s fuckery tends not to respect the (possibly) imaginary boundaries between ADHD and ASD. They go on to say that, in any brain, rejection causes brain activity that looks a lot like that brought on by pain. And, considering that people with ADHD and ASD have issues with emotional regulation, it makes sense that rejection hits us particularly hard. So, take a brain that does this shit and combine it with the reluctance to brag brought on by my southern upbringing and you have an almost crippling mix of negativity that, at fucking best, makes it hard to even think good shit about myself, much less say that good shit out loud.
It’s a Process. A Goddamn Long Process
So, the last time I wrote about this, I said “the whole ‘just knowing’ thing isn’t really cutting it.” It appears that I may have been premature with that assessment. Because “just knowing” has led to some good things. Like, allowing myself to believe that most people don’t think I’m an absolute piece of shit, that I have valuable things to contribute, and, most importantly, not buying into Richard’s bullshit and telling him to fuck off when he starts up with it. Of course, like everything else about being neurodivergent, it’s a fucking process. But I’m okay with that. I do wish, however, that this “process” didn’t take so goddamn long. I am more than ready to be done with this shit.