Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is debilitating, devastating, isolating and often quite unbearable and yet nobody that has not experienced it for themselves can imagine what it truly feels like on the inside; there is no point of reference for anyone that isn't wired that way since it is the product of particular genetics plus epigenetics combined with a lifetime of trauma. As a common experience of both autism and ADHD and something I experience myself, this important topic has been on my list of most daunting things to cover for quite some time...here goes.
Nurodivergents and neurotypicals are sometimes poles apart in their communication styles but imagine if we could just try to meet on some common ground whilst accepting those differences (that last part is key…nobody should be required to change themselves). Isn’t this exactly where the best hopes of humanity lie, as in, meeting across the so-called impossible divide?
When an emotion gets buried in the body, what does it look like years later and are there links to chronic health conditions? How are unidentiified autism or ADHD linked to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, as is emerging? What is our body trying to tell us when it seems so "stuck" and is this a clue to our recovery?
Some of us have thinner boundaries, we perceive more and process far more deeply but is this a mistake, a curse or an error in our makeup...or are we simply looking at this all wrong?
When you live with EDS, MCAS, POTS or any of the several forms of neurodiversity its so important never to cease experimenting with what triggers or supports you best as your particular mix of ideal exposures and conditions is likely to be quite different to the next person's. Take, for instance, the effects of the sun...
Its just so interesting to try-on the all-too-familiar chronic health "flare-up" scenario through the eyes of Sensory Defensive Disorder rather than through the more blinkered perspectives of a particular conditions such as fibromyalgia, hypermobility or chronic fatigue sydrome. It certainly helps to explain how these flare-ups can come on in the most arbitrary manner with no obvious trigger. What if a high degree of sensory defensiveness underlies it all, in which case you can tackle the SD as a primary factor?
There's a degree of sensitivity that goes way beyond the standard definition of being highly-sensitive and turns into pathology and lost quality of life. It is as isolating as it is impossible to explain to others and can feel as though it came from nowhere, or perhaps has been there all of your life in one form or another, perhaps amping-up with the passing of time or added stresses and trauma, yet often making no sense at all in the context of how well you look after yourself, strive for a healthy life and cultivate positive attitudes and yet, all through your nervous system, there are triggers, over-reactions and pain. Its as though your nervous system is laid wide-open to the sky rather then held, or supported, by life. Exploring sensory defensiveness, where does it come from, how do we tackle it (because, apparently, we can with good results and thus I am). This will be the first of my shares on the topic as I progress through the protocol.
Perhaps more than any other aspect of chronic illness I have ever had to deal with, including chronic unrelenting pain, dysautonomia has the ability to throw your entire life into disarray, permeating every single aspect of your life in ways that can be as invisible to the casual bystander as they are devastating. Is there a bright side, things we can learn, ways of living with it better?
Twice-exceptionality is such fertile territory to explore for anyone who may have even an inkling it applies to them (assumng they can get over the sticking point of using that much stigmatised word “gifted” for long enough to even consider it). The effect of being gifted in some areas and yet held back in others can make a person seem as though they are coping when they really aren’t, and it can also deprive them of the help, understanding and accommodations they desperately need for their deficit areas, as well as the recognition they deserve for their exceptionality. The outcome can be a lifetime of lost potential, fallen through the cracks, or even total burnout...until both the giftedness and challenges can be seen side by side and looked at in a whole new way.
If you have ADHD then you don't need me to tell you what its like...but I didn't know I had so many coping methods until I started to write them down so here they are, in case they help.