Most people with ADHD will know this one.
That feeling, when, someone says the tiniest and ever-so-slightly negative thing about something relating to you...
...and you feel like they just told you you're the worst person on the planet.
(And all they said was "Oh...you're still working on that? It takes you so long to do that! Ah well.")
It manifests in different ways for different people. For some it turns into blinding, white-hot rage. For others it can result in floods of tears and shame. A few people might experience Selective Mutism.
For me personally? I always immediately recognise it as feelings of shame and embarrassment, but more than anything, it's a deep, sharp pain in my chest.
And it's AWFUL.
At its worst, the pain is like I've been punched, directly in the centre of my chest, and left in agony and severely winded. I struggle to breathe, and the pain radiates through me into my back.
At its worst...I feel like I might actually be dying from some weird kind of heart attack.
(As a kid, before I knew what this was, I often DID think I was having a heart attack. Urgh.)
For a while, I also struggled with the mindset which often comes with an attack of RSD. My mind would tell me I'm the worst, and I'd spiral into something hideous.
Just grow up already!
If you just calmed down, you'd be fine.
Geeze are you crying AGAIN?
You should just get over this.
You're waaaaaaay too sensitive.
Stop overthinking this! It's no biggie.
These, and more, would swim to the front of my mind, and sit there, making me feel even worse; making it harder to get through whatever the heck I was going through. It's taken a LOT of supportive work with a coach and a therapist to make it more bearable over the last year.
There are lots of different therapies available, and I've had to find what works best for me. I know I'm fortunate in that I had worked through some of these unknown feelings previously with a therapist and counsellor.
Frustratingly, it often means I end up second guessing what is "safe" for me, and what isn't. Whether I get "too close" to a person, whether I get "over excited" about something, whether I should just keep everything toned down a notch.
Truth be told...I do. I do keep everything toned down a notch, because that pain can be unbearable, crippling, and destructive.
The hardest part for me now, is coping with it until it passes. Even as I'm writing this post, I'm experiencing a particularly painful bout of RSD, and I'm exercising my self care strategies to help it pass.
But man alive, it hurts!!!
It really, really freaking hurts. And importantly, I accept that it hurts, because it's real and true emotions.
I feel what I feel! Not everyone will feel like me, feeling what I feel.
But that doesn't make my feelings (and this pain) any less valid.