There is a place in our mind where we store our memories. We keep our experiences here. We store opinions here.
This is where we keep our regrets. We keep our hopes here and our dreams. We also keep our doubts here and our insecurities. We keep our emotions and feelings here too. We log them away like old files and store them for reference in case a similar situation should arise.
This is where anxiety lives. Rejection lives here. This is the internal station of the emotional brain.
This is where thoughts become irrational. Feelings and predictions become fact. Things happen here.
This is where we jump to conclusions. This is the place where worry and irrational concern comes from. This is also where we store the arrows to shoot down our dreams and sabotage ourselves when our doubts become too excessive.
There is a place in our mind, which I refer to as the thought machine. This is the home of speculation. This is why we think too much. This is why we complicates the simple and questions the unnecessary.
There is a place in our mind, which, like I said I call this place the thought machine.
This is where the impending doom lives. It is where we expect disappointment and prepare for the worst.
This is where my fears are. This is where my insecurity thrives. It’s where my recollection of trauma create inaccurate assumptions and predictions of what will come. People dislike me here. In fact, no one really likes me here.
This is an example of thinking in the thought machine:
Suddenly, one mistake means the world is against me. When the machine trips; everyone hates me.
I am alone and the entire world is looking to see me fail.
I say this to speak for me. I say this to declare and own this disorder as an honest fact. By acknowledging this; I take away the strength of something called, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)
RSD is an extreme emotional sensitivity, which is triggered by perception. This is where anticipation takes hold. This is where the mind irrationally anticipates pain and shame. However, this problem is not reality based. This is perception based.
In this case as it relates to me, everything is threatening. There is fear of abandonment and fear of being exposed or publicly shamed or left vulnerably defenseless and weak. And it hurts.
Yes, this hurts. Put in the simplest way and with no other way to say it; it hurts.
I feel everything from an emotional standpoint. I am raw and sensitive and at my worst, all I want is to fit in and feel fine, but I can’t and I don’t.
Unfortunately, people that are not familiar with RSD cannot not, will not, and do not understand.
People might say, “Just get over it,” or “Just let it go.”
But disregard them.
This is very lonely, which is painful, because as social creatures, acceptance is important; however, with Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, perception is altered and somehow, rejection is not only inevitable; it is definitely guaranteed. Although similar to feelings of social phobia, RSD is triggered differently (at least in my case.)
This is not a case of me diagnosing me or anyone else for that matter. This is something that has been discussed with me by professional help.
I expose myself here, not for sympathy or to seek advice, attention, or support. But more importantly, I expose myself here because there are others who have felt this way and walk alone.
They are unsure why they feel as they do and they find themselves wondering why they feel so different from the rest of the world.
For some reason, we take our connections very personally. If someone rejects us, we take this to heart.
Instead of realizing that not everything is a fit and instead of understanding that not everyone matches and not everyone is intended to be in our lives, we take this personally.
Even if the rejection is from someone we deem as unlikable —if they reject us, we take it personally.
This leads to people pleasing —always seeking, always looking for approval, always afraid of being left out or disliked, and always masking, always looking to cover and protect the weakness and vulnerability.
We hide behind images. We hide behind anger. Some hide behind other coping mechanisms and characteristics; such as flirting, clowning, or other attention seeking behavior but to no avail.
In my worst of times, I give in to self-destructive behavior. I quit. I give up.
Or, I destroy. I sabotage. I act out behaviorally because I lack the ability to describe, define, and express how I think and feel.
The hardest hurdle to get over was understanding that this is not a problem with my personality. No, this is a problem with my perception.
In my case, I have inaccurate and irrational fears. I see myself in an inaccurate way. At my worst, I find myself waiting for the bad news to come. I anticipate disappointment.
I assume the worst. I believe the worst and personalize everything.
In my case, I can be triggered by a mistake or an unrelated instance that might trigger my perception, which suggests to me that I am wrong and incapable.
Somehow, my interpretation takes over. The thought machine begins to miscalculate the math.
Next, I stumble. I mistake my mood swings as fact. I mistake my thoughts as fact and I lose to assumptions like water loses to a drain.
Then I spiral down. It becomes too difficult to interact properly with others. I hold myself inappropriately accountable for literally everything and everyone around me.
This is when frustration takes over. I yell and I scream.
I don’t want to be this way. I have heard of those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are similar to those with RSD. But look I am not a doctor. I am not a clinician or a therapist. Nor do I want to be. I am not a fan of labels either. I am just someone that wants to be better. I am someone that studies ways of self-improvement and empowerment. And you know what? It helps me . . .
I had to learn replacement therapies such as replacing thought with action. I learned that action creates a good distraction and therefore; by distracting the mind, this allows a break in my thought process so that my symptoms can be less challenging.
I had to seek help; however, with this being a sensitive issue, it was difficult for me to ask for help. I never wanted to feel, look, or seem weak.
I didn’t ask to think or feel the way I do.
But I do think this way. This is me but this does not have to limit or dictate the way I live my life.
Just knowing there is a reason behind this was comforting to me. Understanding my symptoms help me find a solution because when the thought machine trips, I am able to realize that my thoughts are not always accurate. I can identify the struggle now because I am aware of me and how I work.
As a kid, I was labeled. I was called emotionally disturbed and depressed. I was behaviorally defiant. I was angry. I was stressed. I was told I have PTSD which may or may not be true, depending which doctor you speak with; however, one thing I know is that without a different way of thinking and without the tools to better my life, it is very difficult for me to live happily.
The reason why I do what I do as an effort to express myself is because I do this to better me. I do this to defy the thought machine and the messages it sends out.
I do this to live out loud in spite of my counterproductive thinking. I have to do it this way, Otherwise, I just live to survive. And that’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to just survive. I want to live as best as I can, without hesitation, and without regret.
The word dysphoria means “difficult to bear.”
Sometimes, life is difficult to bear
This means it’s difficult
but it’s not impossible . . .
By defying my thoughts and insecurities, I prove that I am capable.
By doing, even if I fall short of my goals, I defy the emotional stutter that causes difficulty in my interpersonal relationships.
By replacing thought with action, I create a new pathway of thinking.
This helps me
I hope that maybe it will help you too