She’s Not Just A Pretty Face

Thanks for the inspiration, Shania! And for just being an amazing person in general <3

After I figured out that I have Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria I really started to question all of my motives. Am I doing this because I am scared of rejection and the pain associated with it?

Let me just give you a little background of what Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) is. During the Women’s Palooza last week I listened to an AMAZING webinar called “Shame and Fear of Rejection” with Bill Dodson.

The key points from the webinar as to what Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is:

  • Dysphoria means unbearable. People with RSD perceive or anticipate that they have disappointed someone. We feel intense pain; intense, unbearable pain.
    –> This leads to shame and bad self-esteem
  • Shame. This is “the master emotion”. Shame is what holds you back and isolates you. It prevents you from getting help.
  • We see ourselves in the reactions of other people.
  • People are constantly telling you who you are, what you are & what you do are wrong.
  • They are wrong, broken, flawed. It becomes who they are. Which results in hopelessness, despair, never feeling like they fit in.
  • We will always be able to tell you what we did wrong, where we went wrong.
    –> We will not be able to think about or do anything else. It is all that we can think about.
  • We think that everyone feels this way. It is exhausting.
  • Huge resentment when they get older because they feel like they are always doing everything for everyone else. They feel like “when is it their turn to get what they want”. They feel extorted.

** Side note: did you know that an average person with ADHD hears 20,000 additional corrective talk messages?! THAT in itself can account for low self-esteem. 

To cope with RSD, people end up using the following (harmful) coping strategies:

      1. Try to be perfectionists

2. People pleasers. Especially girls; they are socialized to think that they need to keep everyone else happy. They are constantly making sure that everybody is happy with them. Males don’t typically get that message.

3. Some people give up and stop trying anything new because failing is terrifying, we take it very personally.

4. We end up isolating and removing ourselves to avoid rejection.

You could read all of these bullet points as a timeline of my life. Escalating in the recent years because I needed to make my own decisions and I have never really learnt how. I also worked a job that was very demanding and my people pleasing combined with adhd self went into overdrive and overdid it.


The most interesting bit for me in this current part of my life is the “we see ourselves in the reactions of other people“. Since learning this I have been teaching myself to look away when I am telling a personal story or something that would make me feel shamed/embarrassed to see the person’s reaction. This allows me to feel good about myself. Because honestly, I do feel good about myself. I love my core values and who I am. I just need to avoid other people’s reactions or how i perceive them; their reactions end up influencing my life and how I feel about myself. The key part of this is to still make the person that you are conversing with feel as though you are interested in speaking with them. If you are looking elsewhere, they might get the wrong message. I know I would! If someone is talking to me and glancing everywhere it leads me to believe that they aren’t actually interested in our conversation. It will be fun to try and find the balance between making the person feel like they are interesting to speak with while maintaining my distance and avoid reacting to their reactions.

For those of you that don’t know, I am at a serious crossroads in my life! I quit that crazy job that I mentioned back in August. It has now been 6 months since I have worked a full time job. I went into a little depression, worked for my dad to pay the bills and then BAM I was diagnosed with adhd(what a relief).  I feel like I have worked so many jobs, in so many different fields that it is absolutely terrifying to choose another job. How do I know that I wont fail? How do I know that I will be good enough? How do I know that I shouldn’t go to school and get a degree?

I almost forgot to mention the biggest piece of this whole thing. I have always been seen as “pretty” and “cute”. I am known to always have a smile on my face. This is the reaction that I have become. I am trying really hard not to continue to simply be this person. It is really difficult, but I have been trying to leave the house without putting makeup on and to let myself know that I am good enough and I do not have to be cute and pretty. ALSO, I do not need to put makeup and have my hair done to be cute or pretty.

For now, I am riding this adhd diagnosis and healing myself before jumping into anything. Lets face it, I don’t fully know who I am right now or what I want. I have inadvertently been moulded by my family, friends, coworkers and boyfriends. Just an example: the classes that I took in Cegep were based on the classes that I could take with friends. As I am writing this blog right now, I am thinking about all the things that I have thought of pursuing and then right after those thoughts, the negative reactions of people in my life popped up beside it (along with my own negative reactions and thoughts). It’s like a huge blocker towards reaching my goals.

All that said, don’t worry!! There is hope for those of us with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria!

The solutions:

1. There are medications called “alpha agonists”. They work in 65% of people. One of Dr. Dodson’s patients described them to make him feel like he was wearing emotional armour.

2. Work with someone that you trust, that could be a psychiatrist, psychologist or an adhd coach.

      – You will learn how to be successful in the world with your adhd nervous system.

      – This person will be your “cheerleader”. Make sure that it is someone that mirrors you.

Neuro-typical people aren’t going to get you.

      – This person will understand you and that you are a good human. They will recognize that there             is something invisible that is getting in your way.

The results:

  • They will not look to other people to tell them what is good about them. We will decide for ourselves.
  • If you choose to go the medication route and it works for you, the neurological playing field will be level.
  • You will be able to review your life & make the decision of who you are and what you want.  It sounds very silly, but my planner has already helped me to take a huge leap in that direction.
  • The outcome is that the person will be able to make a personal, permanent, positive decision about their own self-worth!  – Dr. Bill Dodson

I am so excited about all this information that I received from the webinar and it helps me to understand SO MUCH about myself! I cannot wait to put all the solutions into action to receive these results! If I look at my ADHD as a whole, I truly think that RSD is my biggest barrier.

** please note that I have paraphrased most, if not all of this information from Dr. Bill Dodson!

 Originally published on 11/02/2018

One thought on “She’s Not Just A Pretty Face

Leave a Reply