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.
Environment is such a big topic when it comes to chronic illness, perhaps an obvious one too but I also think far too many people with chronic health problems get so wrapped up in their own situation that they fall into the trap of imagining all their problems stem from a faulty body. Even when they do realise the environment may be playing a considerable part, they don't seem to see what the issues are or they assume there is nothing that can be done about it, but that's not entirely true...awareness always leads to choices we may have overlooked.
I was at an outdoor concert in an idyllic setting listening to some of my favourite music and yet, less than 5 minutes into it, I realised some part of me was screaming an existential scream, knowing I was going to be sat there like this for the next couple of hours. Admitting I have ADHD, that I am wired to need more dopamine than most, that I am rewarded by all kinds of stims (and not all are created equal...plus some are much harder to come by when your health is compromised) is proving to be a massive step towards understanding chronic illness, how it came about and why it perpetuates.
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...
When we notice how our bodies work so closely (as does eveything in nature) with the cycles of waxing and waning, we gain the tremendous power that comes from accepting what is and ceasing to resist the natural rhythms that can also be our best source of strength when we harness them for our recovery.
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.
Illnesses stop us in our tracks and call time on the old ways of being that no longer fit who we are. Often, they are an invitation to look deep into the corners of our life and do some real work…the kind of work that brings us into love and acceptance of who we really are, beyond the stories and expectations that get overlayered by our crazy and demanding lives. Often, there is an opportunity to be found in our own disarray and, once we find it there, it doesn’t stop giving…not ever, for the rest of our lives.
Getting to know yourself is, in my opinon, the single most important thing you ever get to do in your life...and its often a golden key to all those other unfathomables that may be "going on", such as persistent health issues. Above all, depathologising the way you were made is an essential step to discovering the sense of wholeness and peace in your life that may have so far eluded you.