Put a smile on

My favourite thing that my dad taught growing up is to go about your day with a smile on your face. Whether that be while getting groceries or waiting in line at the bank. When you are in a room with him it is like he is giving you this big ginormous hug of happy. I guess it is because he raised me but his happiness is almost contagious; when I’m unhappy and he walks into the room it makes me realize how stuck in my head I am.

The other day we went for a walk together and this older woman’s dog came running onto her driveway and then when it saw us it ran over to us. My natural thought and instinct was to nod a hello and keep on walking because I did not want to disturb her. My dad’s natural instinct was to ask her if she wanted help. He picked up the dog, walked over to the woman and began talking to her. The bit of this interaction that was like a punch to my gut was when I realized how lonely this woman is. She told us about how her husband and daughter passed away and how this dog is such great company for her. The reason why this hit me so hard was because my gut instinct is “keep to yourself, people don’t want to be bothered”. When in reality, she welcomed the interaction.

This is making me so emotional because somewhere along the way I lost my natural instincts to do what my dad did. I used to be the person that would pick up the woman’s dog and bring it to her. I like to think that I used to be the same person that brought happiness into a room. When I was younger I used to walk down the street and this funny thing would happen. The person would be approaching me with a frown on their face and as they got closer to me their frown would change into a wild grin. I used to be incredibly self conscious so I would wonder what they were smiling at – did I have something on my face? In reality, it was just that my smile was contagious. I now have this perma-frown on; my brows are furrowed and my mouth is slanted downwards rather than my old, natural grin.

What happened?

Life happened. Responsibilities happened. Worry happened. Did i mention responsibilities? It’s like since I now want to be independent and take care of myself, I am filled with worry. How will I do it? How will I live up to my expectations (oh, hello perfectionism).

In life, we can tend to get wrapped up in our responsibilities and where we want to be. What about where we are? What about the happiness and ease that currently exists in our lives? We can make our lives as easy or as complicated as we want; it’s all about our perspective.

I invite you to join me in this challenge for the next month. I am encouraging myself and you to see what you can do to go about your day with a relaxed smile on. Unfortunately this is not natural to me anymore so I have set a reminder on my phone. The reminder will go off once a day and it says “Put a smile on, it’s contagious!”

Remember, put a smile on. It could not only change your day but you could change someone else’s day too!

Desire smuggling; RSD’s cousin!

I have talked about RSD (rejection sensitive dysphoria) a few times now! Just in case you missed my blog posts (How To Explain Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria & Why rejection sensitivity dysphoria makes relationships so hard) here is a quick definition:

RSD is when you feel both physical and emotional pain because you experience real or perceived rejection.

Now that we have RSD covered, here is a new one: desire smuggling! I first heard the term yesterday from my friend, Sam, who is a fellow ADHD coach! When Sam told me about desire smuggling I could not believe that I had never heard of it before. My wheels kept on spinning because I was floored by all of the places that desire smuggling can show up in our lives. Naturally, I had to share it with you all!!

Desire smuggling: What is it?!

Essentially, desire smuggling is when we don’t ask for what we want. To elaborate it’s “hiding what you really want from yourself and/or a loved one, then, finding covert strategies to get (at least pieces of) what you want.”

the main reason we don’t ask for what we want is fear.

Fear of rejection, humiliation, and judgment.

Fear of disappointment, shame, loss, or guilt.

Fear of repeating the past, missing out, hurting your partner, or feeling like a failure.

Fear of “what they will think,” not getting what you want, or putting too much at stake.

Red flags that you are desire smuggling:

– Expect telepathy– Get drunk/high to remove inhibitions
– Makes wishes
– Ask if the other person wants the
thing you want
– Fake spontaneity– Rationalize cost/benefit
– Hint– Send articles about the thing
– Emotional withdrawal– Give statistics about the thing
– Make unspoken deals– Tack on obligation to a “gift”
– Issue ultimatums– Minimize by saying “just” or “only”
– Emotional blackmail– Say “people like…” (instead of owning it
– Be passive-aggressive– Look for other, less-scary places to get it
– Non-consensual taking– Punish your partner for not giving it to you
– Bully– Attack/judge someone asking for what you
– Get needs met without owning them– Attack/judge someone getting what you
– Tell a story about the
thing desired
– Shame yourself for having that
– Force– Shame others with the same desire
– Wait for a sign– Want the other person to guess
– Withhold– Wait for the right time
– Try to convince– Try to get the other person to say it
– Blame– Complain that you don’t get it
– Guilt-trip– Be “nice” and hope to be rewarded
– Be macho– Buy into a romance myth (“If you really
loved me…”)
– Avoid it altogether– Assume they should “just know”
– Settle– “Purchase” it by doing other things
– Compromise– Be loud and bombastic
– Criticize after the fact– Make sugar-coated demands
– Substitute something else– Martyr yourself in hopes of getting it
– Spiritually bypass– Don’t explore internal dissonance
– Play options roulette (where
one option is the one you want)

(list taken from https://www.askingforwhatyouwant.com/desire-smuggler)

An example of desire smuggling from my life

I first noticed this through journaling. I spent a really nice day with my boyfriend last Saturday and I wanted to know how he felt about it. Rather than simply asking him how he felt I went fishing aka desire smuggling. I said to him “It was so nice spending the day with you”. He responded “yaaaaaaa”. My immediate thought was “what the heck, I give you that and you give me yaaaaaa…”. I felt a little bit hurt and my brain leaped to “uh oh, he didn’t have fun and he thought today was boring”. When I was journaling this I realized how ridiculous I was being; I was making total assumptions and ruining the day for myself. Before I even told him that I enjoyed our day I was expecting him to say something back. I am now laughing at myself at how silly it all was. Thanks to journaling, I also realized that the reason I wanted to know what he thought of our day was out of fear. I was scared that he was starting to think that our relationship is getting boring. We are coming up on 6 months of knowing each other and have gotten into this routine of asking each other what we want to do, coming up empty and then hanging out watching Netflix & chilling type thing. We then joke that “we are so boring”. This is perfectly okay with me but I actually don’t really know if it is with him.. It’s worth a discussion plus I want to explain to him that I have this tendency to desire smuggle.

How perfection gets tied up in all this

Sam and I were also discussing perfectionism a while ago and I shared with her that I don’t think I struggle with perfectionism. Boy was I ever wrong… the reason why I felt that way was because I struggle with perfectionism on so many levels. It was hard for me to see perfectionism in my life because it is so normal to me.

What does perfectionism have to do with desire smuggling? I have perfectionism around expectations of the way a situation should (there’s that pesky word!) turn out. I often expect the situation to go the way I thought about it/planned it in my head. So, not only does the situation have to be perfect but the way people respond also has to be perfect. If it doesn’t match my expectation, then it’s a problem.

Reasons why people may resort to desire smuggling

  • People who ask for what they want may be labeled as demanding and/or bitchy.
  • It is a way of avoiding rejection (not really, but our brains think so!)
  • Indirect way of saying what you want (you aren’t putting your feelings on the line as much).

What I’m going to do about desire smuggling

It’s so nice to have a term to label my thoughts with! As soon as I catch myself asking things in such a way out of fear, I can catch myself and label it “desire smuggling”. I have done this with my RSD and I can’t even explain the difference that it has made in my relationships & life.

I’m going to explain this all to my boyfriend/friends/family and ask them to help me come up with a way to realize if I am asking someone out of fear. I have nooo idea what this would be but already today I have caught myself asking what someone else wants at least 5 times! Just thinking about putting this into place feels like a huge weight off of my chest. Think about it: we are not responsible for the reactions of others.

Why RSD + desire smuggling go hand in hand

Desire smuggling stems from the fear or rejection and RSD is the pain from perceived or real rejection. In case you haven’t caught on.. they are both related to rejection! It could be said that desire smuggling is a coping mechanism of RSD; we have a fear of being rejected so rather than asking for what we want, we ask for it in a roundabout way.

If you would like to read up a bit more on desire smuggling, here are a few articles that I found:

So friends, remember: Ask for what you want!! But first, figure out what you want 😉

Procrastivity and what it means for us with ADHD

Procrastivity! It’s the idea that we procrastinate by doing something else that is productive, like tasks around the house.
Example: doing laundry when the high priority is writing your paper due tomorrow.

I first heard this term while listening to the talk from J. Russell Ramsay in the ADHD Women’s Palooza.

Here are some of my takeaways from the talk on procrastivity:

  • Procrastivity allows us to get the dopamine from finishing a task, we feel like “I’m getting something done”.
  • The interesting thing about procrastivity is that the task that we are now doing (like laundry) was something that we were procrastinating on before. So: what is it about the procrastivity task (the laundry) that now makes it easier to do?
  • Procrastivity tasks tend to be more manual, physical and hands-on.
  • We underestimate the positive feelings of getting things done
    • We ignore our successes (as my clients already know, I encourage everyone to have a success journal! These can remind us of our accomplishments which we can use as motivation to start & finish our future tasks).
    • We also do this because in general we are conditioned to believe that we will fail; unfortunately we have a lot of past failure and others telling us that we are not living up to our potential. **The success journal can be our light at the end of the tunnel reminding (and proving to) us that we can do it!

Let’s use a table to highlight the differences:

Procrastinating on (writing paper due tomorrow):Procrastivity (doing laundry):
Broad, vague & non-specificManual, physical, hands-on
Uncertainty More actionable/doable
High cognitive demandLower cognitive load
Steps are unclearIdentifiable sequence of steps
– Grab laundry
– Throw laundry in machine
– Put soap in machine
– Press start
Unclear endpoint
(which makes it hard to
get engaged)
Clear & achievable outcome
– Clear sense of making progress
-Clear endpoint (this is why I like focusmate so much!!
See below

How I have noticed procrastivity pop up in my life:

Since hearing the term I realized just how much I procrastinate by doing tasks!! For example, this afternoon I wanted to do some work for my group coaching (that launched yesterday!) and since I cannot make a decision on how exactly I want to present the work.. I am finding myself stuck and procrastinating!

I am procrastinating by:
– Doing the laundry
– Tidying up the kitchen
– Writing this blog post
– I foresee myself making my Instagram posts for the week

The interesting part is that I almost want to knock out the things that I do know how to do and can race through. That way I can just sit with the momentum of having accomplished tasks PLUS all of my attention can now focus on making the decision because I knocked all the other “to-do’s” out of the way.

I have been thinking and saying this a lot lately but my nemesis is decisions. Decisions are really what kills my momentum and pulls me down.

Here are a few tips to beat the procrastination & also skip the procrastivity:

  1. I like to use focusmate! If I take a step back and analyze the days where I am the most productive, those are the days when I use focusmate! So what is focusmate? It’s an online tool where you match with someone and for 50 minutes you focus on one task. The reason why it works so well is because the other person is on the other end “watching you” (not really .. but they are there and you know that they are there!). There is the accountability that you have to the other person to complete your task! Also, you choose one task to work on for 50 minutes and it works wonders! The website can tell you more!
  2. Ask yourself: “What is the most actionable step that I can take?” –> We have learnt from the table above that we like action (that’s what we base our procrastivity on). So, when we find that we are procrastinating, take a look at the task you are procrastinating on and find the actions in the task. Example: if you are trying to write a paper, the action could be to open the word document and save it on your computer. (I used to make a template of the points that I needed to hit in my essay as per my teachers instructions). The action usually gets the ball rolling and builds up some momentum so you can dive into your task!
  3. Make yourself a menu of steps!
    • Mail a letter:
      • Write the letter
      • Find an envelope
      • Write the address on the envelope (maybe you need to find the address)
      • Find a stamp (maybe you need to buy it)
      • (put the stamp on the envelope)
      • Put the letter in a place where you’ll remember to mail it
      • Mail the letter (put it in the mailbox or bring to post office)
    • It seems silly to write the menu of steps just to mail a letter but once you do it, you can see there really are a lot of steps!! Hello, executive functions!
  4. Be careful and set yourself some end points! An end point can be in terms of time or task.
    • Task: I will move onto something else once I finish ________ in my project.
    • Time: I will set a timer for _____ min and once the timer goes off, I will move onto something else
    • The reason why it’s so important to set yourself an end point is because we have the wondrous gift of hyperfocus! If we aren’t careful, we can fall into the hyperfocus hole and give ourselves a hyperfocus hangover!
      • Don’t sacrifice your self-care and well-being just to finish a project.

Sometimes it’s hard to see how we may be getting in our own way. If you are continuously avoiding tasks and want to start knocking projects out of the park, consider working with me as your coach! I offer free “get to know you sessions” so that you can get an idea of what coaching is like!

Outward appearance of success

Do you appear put together and successful?

I was having a conversation the other day and I was explaining that I have ADHD and what it is like working with my clients. She was so surprised that I have ADHD because you “cannot tell” since I appear so put-together. Everything about my ADHD is internalized unless you know me well enough or read my blog. The reality is I am in pain. I struggle every.single.day. You don’t know how hard it is for me to do the simple task of showering, drying my hair, straightening my hair, putting makeup on and deciding what it is that I want to wear. Not to mention deciding what it is that I want to eat all day!

Sorry, that all sounds so depressing but it is true! I was joking the other night that my boyfriend puts a lot more attention and care into his appearance than I do. The whole reason why I bring this up is because he doesn’t actually care more about what he looks like. It just appears that he does! All of this is not to say that I don’t enjoy looking good. I always feel better when my hair and makeup is done and I am wearing comfy clothes that make me look and feel good! The whole process of getting myself ready to appear “put together” and successful is what is so painfully hard!

Why did I want to blog about this? I am listening to the ADHD Women’s Palooza and while listening to the session “The Mysterious Paradox of Being a High Achiever With ADHD” with Linda Roggli and Casey Dixon I was inspired to pause and write this post!

There is an illusion that if you look put together you ARE put together and the kicker… everything is easy for you!! What I am trying to say that it is grossly unfair to women and anyone with ADHD who has to try extra hard to do anything and everything to look at them and think that being put-together and outwardly successful means that everything comes easy to them.

Women are just EXPECTED to know what the hell is going on and organize everything “just so”.

The reality is we have trouble with our executive functions (activation, focus, effort, emotion, memory, action) so we end up overcompensating and burning ourselves out trying to keep it all together. It is EXHAUSTING.

As women, there is an internal and external pressure to meet a certain standard all the time throughout every aspect of our lives (work, home, children, spouse/partner, friends, etc.).

I am almost always on time but what you don’t see is what it takes and all the effort that I have to put in so that I am on time.

Anyways, I feel a bit like this has become a b!t#$ fest but if you are a women with ADHD, let me tell you… I get how hard it is to stay afloat!

My biggest advice to you is to be true to who you are and embrace your unique self. This means respecting who you are, your wants, your needs and at the end of the day, fully charge your battery by putting yourself first! I’m just going to repeat that: PUT YOURSELF FIRST… you deserve it! <3

Why it’s important to re-sparkalize when you have ADHD!

Re-sparkalize! You know when you are in your space and you just aren’t digging it anymore… Your productivity is lacking and you just don’t want to do the work. I just went through this today! My office is situated at the back of the house and does not get the beautiful sun throughout the day nor the interesting street traffic. I was cold and under-stimulated in that back office and knew that I needed a change!

I decided that I could sacrifice one hour of my day to do the old switcheroo and move my desk to my bedroom (yes, I know. Not ideal for work to be in the bedroom) in the front of the house.

Check out my new beautiful office view! Could you blame me for wanting to re-sparkalize?!

So… What in the world is re-sparkalizing?! My teacher at the ADD Coach Academy, Barbara Luther, uses this term. Re-sparkalizing is when you make your environment (the things around you) more interesting and exciting so that you can in turn be more excited and motivated to be your most productive self! This also applies to re-sparkalizing tasks or processes. Let’s say that you aren’t getting into that morning routine that used to get you jumping out of bed. Maybe it’s time to take a second look at your routine and figure out what needs to be adapted (re-sparkalized).

Reasons why it may be time to re-sparkalize

  1. Your productivity just isn’t where you want it to be.
  2. You find another room or space calling at you.
  3. You skip over or forget tasks that used to come so easily to you.
  4. You are in a never-ending frustration loop!
    • The situation may need some re-sparkalizing! It’s important to dive in and take a look at what might be getting you frustrated to begin with. That way you can better see where you may need to re-sparkalize.
  5. Creativity!
    • Sometimes when our creativity isn’t where we want it to be, it may be because we are in a cycle of automation (get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, repeat). If this sounds familiar, it may be time to add some sparkle to your life!
  6. You feel like you are juggling too much.
    • If you are feeling this way, take set an hour aside and do the following:
      • Dump (write) all of the things/tasks that you are doing onto a paper
      • Next, take a step back and recognize all that you are doing!
      • Once you have realized all that you are doing, ask yourself these questions:
        1. What can I delegate?
        2. What can I hire someone else to do for me? Example: clean the house, a nanny to pick up kids from school and start dinner, laundry service. Obviously this is something that you need to be able to afford but it’s worth thinking about!
        3. What can I completely remove from my task list that isn’t actually as important as it seems?
        4. Where can I get some help? Yes, these seems like delegating but it’s different because this could be something like asking a friend to do your grocery shopping together to make it more exciting.
        5. What am I doing for other people? Yes, it’s nice to be there for other people but does a boundary maybe need to be implemented? Are you doing too much for others? Can you say “no”?

How to re-sparkalize

  • Re-organize your furniture
  • Beautify your stuff!
    • You don’t necessarily have to spend money to do this!
    • This is an opportunity to get creative!
  • Check out second hand stores for new furniture/decorations. I personally like to use an app called Varagesale to find second hand furniture or anything really!
  • Create a home for your things
  • Start planning!
    • …wait. Plan to re-sparkalize?! Definitely! If you want things to be new and exciting in your life you’re going to have to actively plan! My last blog post can help you out with that!
    • This could mean planning an exciting trip or planning to spend time with friends and family.
  • Journal. Journaling really helps to figure out what you want and need. The reason why this is so important is because if you don’t know what you want or need how can you figure out where you may need to re-sparkalize?
  • Start a new hobby or activity

Looking to throw some sparkle into your life and not sure how to make that happen? Do you feel stuck? It may be worth considering working with an ADHD coach! Follow this link to schedule a free, 30 min, get to know you session with yours truly! No strings, no commitments!

Gain back your control; plan away!

It’s been a little over a year now since I decided to dive in headfirst and “get my shit together”.

Let me just start this off by saying it is not easy! I didn’t just flick a magical wand and tada my life is now magically planned! I need to actively plan every.single.day. and update my plan multiple times a day. The beginning of this week did not go according to plan and is what inspired me to write this post.

Here is what happened…

I dropped the ball this week.

Tuesday (two days ago) was an absolute, complete disaster! Yes, I’m exaggerating but that is what it felt like! I was running around consistently behind; I showed up to my last appointment 1 hour late (luckily this was not with a client)! Guess what I realized: I forgot to plan!!

When something “goes wrong” in my life I think it’s a good idea to analyze what happened so that I can learn from my mistake(s) and hopefully correct it so that it does not happen again (one can always dream!).

My analysis:

I can rewind all the way to Sunday to see where I didn’t set myself up super well. I had the opportunity to lie around and do nothing at my boyfriend’s and I took it! I reasoned with myself that I had been working hard and I deserved a day of nothingness and relaxation! (This is true and I still believe that I needed it). I had originally planned to do a bit of work on Sunday (including setting my week up). In hindsight it would have been a good idea to break up my day into “lie around and do nothing” AND “get some planning done”.

Not one, but two online summits came out on Monday morning and just so you know I ADORE these! I’m not sure what you know about these but they are extremely informative and amazing. Here’s the kicker… each day in the summit is only available for 24 hours. This means that you need to be able to devote large chunks of your day to watching them! So naturally, Monday morning rolls around and I was pumped to dig into and learn as much as I could from the summits! The mistake: I got carried away by the summits and spent the time that I was meant to be organizing myself and planning watching the summit videos!

The Bright & Quirky Summit

The Motivated Child summit

I wasn’t sitting at my desk. This is a humongous deal for me. It was sunny out and I wanted to take advantage of it so I moved myself to a room with lots of sun! The result: I did not keep myself on track with my planner etc. My setup was different and I lacked some serious structure.

I got my period yesterday (sorry guys for TMI!). I’m bringing this up because it explains A LOT. I’m not a doctor or anything but from what I understand, when our estrogen levels start to drop (the week before our periods) our ADHD symptoms are magnified! I have also spoken about this with my friends who have ADHD and they all notice the same things.

Here’s an example of how much of a space cadet I can be! It was the morning, I was starting my day and going through the motions of my routine; applying face cream! I have a morning face cream and a “night repair” face cream. I ended up taking a blob of the “night repair” cream by accident. I wiped it off because I really wanted the morning cream…. then what did I do?! I took another friggen blob of the “night repair” cream!!! I decided I wasn’t going to waste any more face cream so I dubbed Wednesday as “night repair” cream day! …I want to note that this is a small example. My days consist of silly mistakes like this! I need to be fair with myself. I am juggling a lot of new and exciting things and I haven’t quite figured it all out yet!!

I’m starting a women’s ADHD podcast with a friend and fellow ADDCA graduate.

In March I’m launching online group coaching so I’m spending quite a bit of my time preparing that.

I am still organizing/co-running an adult ADHD support group.

Building my business with the help of a coach.

I have my amazing clients!

Working on “add-on” worksheets for my existing and future clients.

I make daily posts for my Missleadingly ADHD Instagram account

I write these weekly blog posts to try and spread awareness/educate as much as I can!

Plus, as I am writing this I’m realizing how I would love to start a Pinterest account AND be more active on my LinkedIn. Unfortunately, I’m only one person and can only do so much (this is what planning helps us to realize!).

…umm this is a lot of stuff to do!! No wonder I need some planning!

How I’ll get myself back in control

  • Schedule!
    • Google Calendar
      • Go back to starting my day and sitting down to transfer what is in my Google Calendar to my physical planner
  • Physical planner (because I’m visual)
    • Once I transfer everything from my google calendar into my planner I can now insert things like:
      • shower
      • eat breakfast/lunch/dinner
      • travel time
      • whatever else is in my “to-do’s” or “top 3” for the day

** It’s important to point out that the reason why my day was so berserk on Tuesday is because I didn’t sit down and take note of everything that I had going on.

  • TimeTimer
    • The TimeTimer is my buddy! I would be in La La Land without it! For those of you that know me, you already know how I feel about it. But really, it is my lifesaver! The TimeTimer allows me to stay on track with what I am doing and when that timer goes off I know that it is time to move onto the next thing. The reason why I like it so much compared to a regular phone timer is because I can see the time winding down out of the corner of my eye. It is like a constant reminder. With the phone timers I literally get upset when they go off because I feel as though it came out of nowhere and it is interrupting me (can you guess I usually ignore them?!)
    • p.s. I have had mine for almost a year and I still use it everyday! I haven’t gotten bored of it yet haha.
  • Plan ahead
    • For some people this is oh-so-very borrrrringggg! I used to feel that way at least. Now I have come to realize how much control I have when I plan and it is super exciting!! Imagine actually doing what you want to do with your days?! That’s the gift that planning can give you.
    • I was recently told about the app/website Every Dollar. It is a huge game changer for me and the only financial planner that truly gets me excited to plan my finances!

** Please note that just because you plan it doesn’t mean that everything will fall into place. It takes time and patience to find out what works for you. Also, working with an ADHD coach can drastically improve your success rate because they help you to break everything down and plan according to your unique brain wiring 🙂

Interested? I am an ADHD coach and offer free 30 minute sessions to give you an idea if coaching would be a good fit!

Check out my other posts on planning and building habits to get yourself going:

Why being part of an ADHD support group is so AWESOME!

Wooohooo! As of today, January 25th 2019, it has officially been one year since our first in-person adult ADHD support group meeting. How did it all start? Let me give you a bit of a back story…

Why I wanted to start a support group

In October of 2017 I came across a video “Failing at Normal” by Jessica McCabe. I immediately saw myself in her and got myself diagnosed with ADHD. After my diagnosis I still felt like something was missing; I felt alone. Great, I have an explanation but I still feel like nobody “gets me” (and to be honest, I didn’t “get” myself). I figured out that I needed other people so I searched for an ADHD support group in Montreal. To my disappointment, my search came up empty! I decided to take matters into my own hands and start my own group! Luckily, my therapist pointed me in the direction of her friend, Nathalie Pedicelli, who wanted to do the same!

What value I get from the support group

  1. Friends – I met one of my best friends at support group!

  2. Knowledge – Our particular support group brings in experts so that our members can get the knowledge that they deserve. Our doctors and psychologist/psychiatrists have no or a limited amount of time to inform us on ADHD so it’s important to get informed somehow.

  3. Someone to turn to – When you are having a bad day and you need someone who understands, you now have some options of people you can contact! The worst is when you try to share how you are feeling and the person on the other end says something like “you’ll be okay” or “try harder”. When you turn to someone who has ADHD they get it; you have a judgment-free zone to share how you are feeling!

  4. Tips & tricks  Our support group promotes and welcomes sharing! We love when our members share their input because they have often gone through the same thing and may or may not have found themselves a solution! There’s always another option and it’s nice to hear different ideas from people who get it.

  5. Awareness – One of the members of our support group shared “It makes me more aware of where exactly my ADHD impacts my life (fucking everywhere lol) and gives me a more structured approach to getting better.”

  6. A community (being a part of something) – yes, this sounds cheesy!! But it is so nice to be a part of a community of people that are trying to better and help themselves. On some days, just knowing that I am not alone and there’s someone else going through the same thing as me is all the motivation that I need!

  7. Feeling understood – I’m not sure that there is any greater feeling than being heard and understood! It is so powerful to share a story and most of the room has gone through the same thing as you.

  8. Action – One member shared “Even the action of going to group makes me work on personal issues like getting out of the house, looking presentable (self care), meeting new people and making like-minded friends, learning how to communicate in a safe environment (instead of my usual clam up), slowly working on my anxiety, etc.”

  9. Growth for relationships – We have at least five couples that come to our meetings. It has been said that our support group brings them closer because they are able to understand each other better.

How can you be a part of a support group?

You can look for one in your community or start one on your own! Need some help? Send me a message!

In-person support group doesn’t float your boat?

Nothing beats the energy of being in a room full of fellow ADHD-ers who are nodding along in understanding to your experiences and gasping at your amazing tips and tricks! But hey – we are in the age of technology so why not put it to good use!

Coming in March 2019 I will be launching Coach Alyssa Shaw Online Coaching Groups! This will be a monthly or weekly charge depending on what floats your boat! Classically, you will save by opting in on the monthly subscription.

Interested? Sign up now and decide (pay) later! I will be e-mailing you the details as they come!

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Why rejection sensitivity dysphoria makes relationships so hard

Earlier this week (only a few days late), I posted “How to explain rejection sensitivity dysphoria“. I mentioned in brief how it affects me in my relationships so I wanted to dive a bit deeper into it and clarify where RSD shows up and what to do about it.

Why is RSD such a big deal in my relationships?

Now, I feel it is important to mention that this doesn’t just mean relationships with a significant other. This includes relationships with friends, family and coworkers as well. 

RSD makes me doubt that others are interested in me (when in reality I know that they are).

Anndddd… because of the pain of the rejection or perceived rejection, I shut myself off or equally as bad.. I’ll push them away. This is not healthy for any relationship!!

The process I experience:

ENTER PERCEIVED OR ACTUAL REJECTION (In my mind, it’s always actual rejection).

  • Enter ANGER
  • Enter TEARS.

(this process usually takes about 30 seconds)

I am hurt and disappointed and completely flooded with emotions so I can’t say anything. All I say is “okay”. When I hang up I can’t help but think “why does this always happen to me”? Then those words came out stronger


I catch myself asking: 

  • “Why do I ruin and overthink things for myself?!”
  • “Why is this happening to me again?!”

–> I usually hear these questions with tears streaming down my face and they stop me in my tracks. Why is this happening to me again means that there’s something that I have been consistently doing so I asked myself some more questions (basically coached myself):

  • If this is happening to me again, what am I doing? 

What I’m doing:

  • People pleaser – 
    • I don’t know about you, but I often hear “she’s so nice” when someone describes me. Well, I would say that I am too nice. Yes, there is such a thing! I tend to put others needs before mine because I am scared of their reaction to me saying “no”. I am really working on this!! Being too nice makes me feel like a doormat because I will drop everything for someone and have a million “incompletes” on my table. Also, when I do drop everything for someone else I feel a twinge of annoyance with the person that I am helping because I really should have said “no”. (this isn’t their fault!!).
      • I’m currently in a relationship where I am often asked what I want to do. This is soooo new for me. My automatic response is “whatever, I don’t mind!”. I’m really trying to challenge myself and actually take a second to pause and figure out what I want. Honestly, sometimes it’s that I want to do all of the options and I can’t decide ahha.. but at least I have the opportunity to make the decision! 

  • Analyzing everything (I wish that I am exaggerating); looking for signs that I will be rejected.
    • What others say
    • What others do
    • Facial expressions
    • What others don’t do or don’t say
      ….see what I mean by everything?!

  • Push others away and get them to reject me earlier rather than later. 
    • There are days where I do not feel “on point”. I am sooo stuck in my head and I cannot stand being around myself. Rather than subject others to my mood, I tend to stay in my room and Netflix binge and feel even worse about myself.
      • Rather than tell myself “I’m not feeling “perfect” today and that’s okay”. I shut myself off from the world when I want nothing more than to be with someone else. In my case, this isn’t healthy and I’m going to try to let others see “all of me”; the good, the bad and the ugly!

  • Make excuses for the person’s behaviour to make myself feel better (and end up putting myself down in the process).
    • Example: If someone doesn’t make time for you, you may end up telling yourself something like “they are really busy with work, they have a new significant other, etc.” I end up putting myself down because I tell myself that their work/significant other is more important than me. If you have a need to see them more and feel “rejected” then it’s worth having a conversation to express how you are feeling.

  • Have high expectations and become upset when my expectations are not met.
    • I am a dreamer and I would never change that about myself. Here’s where being a dreamer can be a problem… I like to visualize what a planned event will be like. This sets really high standards for the planned event and when things don’t go as I imagined (they never do), I get really discouraged and my RSD sets in.
      • I now ask myself “what/when is enough?” to make sure that I get what I want and need while being realistic in my dreams + expectations of myself & others! 

What can you do?

  1. Figure out where and how RSD affects you and your relationships (it helps me to keep a journal!)

  2. Tell your partner/friend/family member! Yep, that’s what i said! TELL THEM! Get it off your chest! Being vulnerable is extremely hard but it was well worth the payoff.

What happened when I started to share how RSD was effecting me:

  1. I felt like a weight was lifted off my chest – I threw the shame that I felt about being “overly sensitive” into the air and

  2. We set “ground rules” to limit the RSD popping up (we looked at where the miscommunication happened and implemented a rule)

Why RSD is so confusing

The feelings (crying, anger) that accompany RSD are super intense and come on so suddenly but they don’t last long. The last time I experienced it, I was waiting for someone so I went to my car and cried it all out while coaching myself through it. I realized that I put expectations on the certain someone that we didn’t even discuss and then felt rejected when they didn’t follow through with my expectations. How ridiculous, Alyssa! By the time I ended up meeting them (45 minutes later), I had completely calmed down and I felt perfectly normal as soon as I saw them and honestly, wasn’t ruminating anymore!

Get a trained ADHD coach!

I am completely, 100% biased because I am a coach but, in my experience, the best way to tackle RSD is to work with a coach. A coach is an objective person in your life that is on your team! They want what is best for you and will help you to figure out how RSD is effecting you and what, as a team, can be done to keep RSD at bay! 

Here are some other articles if you want to keep reading! 


How To Explain Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria

Do you experience rejection sensitivity dysphoria but aren’t sure how to explain it? Don’t worry, you are not alone! It’s tough to understand what is going on when you are “in it” so I can sympathize as to how hard it is to explain it!

Here’s how!

Rejection sensitivity dysphoria is when you feel both physical and emotional pain because you experience real or perceived rejection.

Hold up, perceived rejection?! We experience emotional and physical pain when we think that someone is rejecting us. The truth is, they may not even be “rejecting” us! Quite often there is a gap in communication; a lot like playing broken telephone!

So, what exactly qualifies as rejection?

I reached out to my Instagram community and here are the responses people shared with me:
RSD Quote.2
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RSD Quote.6.pngRSD Quote .7.png

As you can tell, rejection comes in different forms. The key, is to figure out where rejection pops up for you!

Let’s break down what rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD) is:

  1. Both physical and emotional pain (intense pain).

  2. Flood of emotions because of actual or perceived rejection.

What it looks like

We, as human beings, are extremely adaptable! We don’t want to experience the intense pain that accompanies RSD so we adapt and come up with coping skills. Here is what RSD can look like with or without the coping skills:

  1. Easily embarrassed (in my opinion, this is from the perceived rejection)

  2. Emotional outbursts, such as anger or crying.

  3. Low self-esteem
    When you are living your life based on the reactions of others, how can you expect to have high self-esteem? If you are acting on what you think others want from you, you will never know for sure that you are “right” and will continuously be looking for approval (which will almost certainly be accompanied by “rejection” or disapproval).

  4. Anxious (especially in social situations). This includes withdrawing from social situations entirely.

  5. Problems in relationships

    My personal interpretation of this is that in some cases people with RSD develop the coping skill of becoming a people pleaser. They develop this coping skill to avoid the emotional and physical pain of rejection. Their mentality is “if I am constantly being and doing what the other person wants, how can they reject me?”
    The key: own your decisions!! Working with an ADHD coach really helped me to even decide what my decisions are!
    People pleasers tend not to get their needs met and then have outbursts and feel rejected/hurt because they do not voice their opinions and what they need. I noticed this pattern in myself and am so, so glad that I finally realized how important it is.  (Don’t miss my blog post next Friday “Why Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria makes relationships so hard”.

  6. Feel like a failure because they haven’t lived up to other people’s expectations.
    Whew. This one is ginormous for me. I used to do A LOT of comparing and would feverishly try to live up to perceived (there’s that word again) expectations that I imagined others wanted of me. I did not know what I wanted for myself because I had never truly respected who I was and what I wanted; I was going with the flow of what I was “expected” to do.

  7. Sometimes think about hurting themselves
    I’ve never told anyone this but I’ve been there. That said, I never actually went through with anything. What got me through it was the phrase “If things are SO BAD that I want to die, why not do…” (it was usually something that scared me like completely move myself across the country to a new experience). That phrase really got me through because it was kinda like “if things are already at their worse then what do I have to lose by doing _____”. Plus, the thoughts terrified me and I did whatever I could to get them out of my head.

  8. Perfectionism; set high standards that they often cannot meet 
(information courtesy of WebMD)

Here’s the hitch

Everyone is different! That was a lengthly list of where and when RSD could pop up. Please keep in mind that some of the points may affect some people and others not at all. The idea is to figure out which points affect you so that you can be mindful of them and hopefully manage your emotions and then effectively communicate what you’re experiencing (including what support you need).

An example from my life

I am currently in RSD mode! I’m feeling very “low” and am catching myself saying and acting based on RSD. I have been with my boyfriend for 3 months now and we are about to spend a full week together! (His parents are going away and we are “house sitting” and watching his dog). Ahhhh, isn’t that exciting! Well, it should be! I am fucking terrified. In reality I really am excited; it’ll be so nice to spend a full week together without time constraints on the time that we are together. Here is how RSD is kicking my ass:

  • I am scared that he doesn’t actually want to spend the time with me and I have somehow talked him into having me over for a full week. Wrong!

  • Yesterday I heard myself saying to him “You still okay with spending the full week together?”
    See what I was doing there… I was getting him to reject me so that I could just “get it over with”. When in reality it is the last thing that I would ever want. Stop it, brain!

  • I am also thinking that after spending a FULL WEEK with me he will get super bored or find me annoying and not want to be with me anymore. Well… can’t answer that yet! 😉

It is soooooo exhausting to be constantly talking myself out of this shit storm that my RSD creates for me. It’s like I am in a never-ending battle with myself. Butttt guess what! I have the power because I know what my brain is doing; it’s trying to protect me. But guess what brain! I know what you are doing and am going to continue to be mindful and challenge you every.single.day.

The key to unlocking rejection sensitivity dysphoria is communication!

If you happen to be experiencing all the strong feelings of rejection then take a look inside yourself. Figure out what is going on:

  • How are you feeling without the fear of being rejected?
    • I like to journal or verbally process (talk it out with a friend) to really understand what is going on.

  • Was there miscommunication along the way?
    • Can this miscommunication be fixed?
    • Were you and the other party involved on the same page?

It may not be easy for you to take a step back so ask a friend and talk it out. Please make sure to choose your friends wisely. If you hear them saying you are overreacting or something along the lines of that.. they may not be the best person to help. What you need is a sounding board to get your feelings out, sort through them and see if there was possibly some miscommunication.

When you figure out where rejection is popping up for you then you can:

  1. Figure out what support you need from others.
  2. Learn how to catch yourself when you are telling yourself stories like “they don’t like me”.

All that said, here’s how you can explain how RSD affects you as an individual:

  1. You now know what RSD is and how to explain it as a whole. Try writing down how you would explain it to someone.

  2. You are aware of the ways that RSD pop up in people’s lives.

  3. Figure out how RSD affects you and where it pops up in your life.
  4. Girls, keep in mind that it often shows up during PMS! (As if we don’t already have enough to deal with…).

  5. Decide what support you need from those around you.

  6. Try your best to overcome any fears you may have and explain to your loved ones and those who matter what you are going through!

Remember, I’m always a short e-mail or message away! If you are stuck, don’t go through this alone!

I found out about RSD back in Feb 2018. Here is the post I wrote about it: “She’s not just a pretty face” 

**I found a great article on WebMD of all places… It helped me to explain a few pieces of this article! https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/rejection-sensitive-dysphoria#1

Next Friday: Why Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria makes relationships so hard