Distorted thought process or Reality?... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Distorted thought process or Reality? ADHD brain with RSD symptoms

Boogeyman profile image

When I look back into the past, I had a hard time maintaining social relationships or a constant friend circle. Only recently I came to realize that it was my brain's natural coping mechanism against RSD.

I shunned myself in the past whenever I feel that I might get avoided/rejected or uninvited in a social setting of my friends. My natural coping mechanism was to move on and look for another group of friends/social circle.

It was before I got diagnosed with ADHD, however now a similar crucial event is ongoing in my life.

Since I understand now more about ADHD brain's thought process/RSD, I keep on pushing myself this time to stay with these friends. However, they confronted me and told me what I feared the most. The late replies and no-texts which I used to overthink the reasons before....this very first time I got validation for my overthinking and they openly accepted the worst reasons I imagined.

Now I'm so confused how should i differentiate between the "imagined reality" and the "actual reality" from now on? I tried to change myself since the diagnosis by avoiding the usual RSD coping instinct of frequently changing social circles and it failed the very first time and it's HUGE.

So this incident is gonna gas light my current/future overthinking scenarios and it's reaching a tipping point that I don't understand the reality at all.

Help me out folks. And I'm tired of shunning myself and walking away which leads to social isolation , low confidence and self-esteem. I don't want to be back to square one.

How to overcome RSD when the scenarios are 1) Actually true and 2) Overthinking /Imagined ?

Thanks for hearing my rant :)

14 Replies

Hey Boogey,interesting rant my man.

So I’ve adhd abs was diagnosed 10 yrs ago at 40.

I’ve just read up what rsd is and is very interesting.

So look I was brought up by my dad saying come on you can do better than this.he was clever he never said the negetive words,this is crap do it again.

I guess some where along the line it knocked my confidence.ppl always remarked on how positive and confident I was.did I feel ? Don’t think so

So with having adhd you can be over sensitive with how ppl treat you speak to you act out to you.

Very many ppl with adhd will and can often take positive words from some one meaning the best for them.

They then over think these words like I’ve done many a time and started hyper focusing on what the words don’t actually mean and turn the words around and around until you’ve a snow ball effect in your brain.

This in turn starts to build and build out of all proportions and you have what I would call a mini melt down.

So here is the thing,even ten yes on down the line I’ve lost many a friend as in I give them 6 months to just say hi in a text or phone call even though I’ve always text them.

So you have to ask your self.the person you thought was your friend,are they just to busy like most ppl in life to contact you or is it the dreaded adhd I’m different know body knows how difficult life is for me.

I get what you mean.basically is this real or is my brain going over drive making the situation in to somet more than it actually is.

Personally if you’ve got 2-4 brilliant friends and you can get them all together and say hey look.

I don’t know if you know what adhd is ?

I just live on a different plane and im trying to help my self in every conceivable way.

Yup I’m a little.some times I take your words the wrong way or may be my texts are a little late.

Be up front be honest and say can I have your feed back.

If your a nice guy like you sound like you are then I can’t see a problem.

It’s funny before I was diagnosed and I had never heard of adhd but what was apparent which I guess can be called RSD is when I used to work with ppl.i would literally suck up all there emotions make them mine and feel bad for them having a crap day when it was nothing to do with me in the first place.

I used to work on my own a lot which was brilliant.no one to explain why I’m totally different.

Then I got a new job and with in 4-5 days if some one looked at me in a weird way I would automatically think it was my fault and take it on and own it.

It’s a horrible place to be in.

It’s mostly all to do with your own self confidence and your inner belief system as I call it lol.

If I’ve a problem with some one or something i call “facing the fear” which is basically dealing with a problem that upsets your emotions to the point Of melt down.

I like to face the fear before anything starts to snow ball in my brain.

It’s not easy to do but with practice it’s totally doable.the thing you remember is that who ever you face the fear to is to not worry about if you upset them.its there problem if it upsets them,your not in control of there emotions.

So look

Go out meet lots of ppl,dare to walk out of your comfort zone other wise you will not move forward.and yes it can be scary but also exciting.

You can’t be scared of the unknown can you.

Like riding a bike.if you fall if you know next time what it will feel like but you still have to push forwards.

So I hope that helped a little.

Sorry i jabbered on a little to long but I’m around and about today if you wanna pm me and ask as many questions as you wish my friend



Thanks for your response. I have tried the method of not keeping track of others emotions but that makes me feel like extremely narcissistic. My problem is I can’t find the right balance between being a narcissist and low on self-esteem guy who goes extreme ways to say sorry even it’s not my mistake

Hi boogey

I wonder if a course in cbt would help.

I tried it twice and no good as just couldn’t understood it.

I got on to my adhd meds 6 months later I sailed the cbt and it worked.

Yes I hear you,every one says it’s crap it doesn’t work.

It does work but you have to do the homework with.

Like life you’ve to work hard for it but come out the other side totally refreshed feeling a new man.

So I suggest you shout loudly to your mental health team.

You know I know it’s not always easy to do.but just be blatantly truthful and don’t hold anything back.

That’s how I play it.mind you make sure it’s with a psychiatrist or psychologist as I tried it with a new councillor along time ago and well you should have been there.her face looked like she had just cxxped her self.

Her words”hmmm I’m sorry but I can’t help you”I knew that,I just had to go through the motions to get to the top.

May I ask?

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve ?

When you meet new ppl do you tell them all about your self in like 5 mins lol

I was at a party last year and yes I can get quiet loud when enjoying my self and get pretty out spoken about my life and what I had accomplished.i could see this women with stupid injected plumped up lips with a face that looked like it had had a coat of plastic make up spray.she was sneering and giving me looks as if I was bull shitting.i was there with my wife.i was on the ball that night and passed the conversation over to my then wife saying loudly”hey Sarah I need some air do you fancy finishing of the story” she was totally fine.

I escaped out side.

So I made it believable as I passed the conversation over to my wife and seeing as I suffer from paranoid personality disorder I didn’t want that to cut in and my brain snow ball so went outside did 5 deep breaths and breathed the air out like I was chucking the air out of my lungs.

By the way if you practice that and get that action correct it some how removes an unwanted trauma and re balances your body and removes negative energy.

It can take a life time to be aware of how you act to ppl.

It’s even better if you can watch your self from outside of your self.

What I will say is that while many mums say adhd is a gift I wouldn’t go that far.but if you can work on your self and take adhd by the horns and own it then hey presto you’ve ended up with a damn powerful super power


I used to open up to those I think who are non- judgmental and not neurotypical. This ADHD however helped me open lot of boxes which I wouldn’t otherwise....for example, I can empathize with anyone who is not neurotypical, for those acting weird and strange in situations....I don’t blame them because i see my younger self in them. So even if someone is a psychopath as long as they understand they are not neurotypical, I can empathize with them

Hey boogey

Have a read of this.its easy to understand and not all that long


I don’t much read up on adhd as I think I’m my third year of my diagnosis I out read my self if you get me.i read the odd passage that may stand out to me lol

Hi boogeyman. I deeply understand how what happened can really trow you in a loop of scary thoughts and confuse your reality.I think all hope is not lost though.

Consider that this is your first time actually trying to connect with people beyond a superficial level, and you might find yourself inexperienced. You always counted on the fact that you would soon abandon the group, and you never learned to recognize the signs of "affinity", if and which people were showing similarities or compatibility with you.

You may have a lot to learn in terms of human relationships, give yourself time.

Not all people are suitable for connecting at a deep level with each others, usually good friends are few, and it's not so immediate to find them.

If those people didn't want a close friendship with you, it means THEY WEREN'T RIGHT FOR YOU.

It DOESN'T mean that you are wrong, ok? 🙂

What you are doing is huge and brave. Congratulations 😊

Thanks for the reply. Actually i tried to learn the “affinity” signs and this is the first time I confronted instead of walking away from “rejection”. So , I want to know how to overcome such a RSD triggering scenario.

Hi Boogeyman, have you been offered medication for your ADHD? I have ADHD-RSD, only diagnosed in the past year and all of the relationship issues ring true - I'm 49 now and have not had a large group of friends for 35 years. I have only very recently, the past two months, been taking Methylphenidate Hydrochloride (prescription amphetamine) and this has had a significant positive effect on my 'snap-back' and 'negative-thinking' symptoms. The general rules suggests that 70-80% of people with ADHD see a benefit with med's and in fact this success rate translates almost directly to those with ADHD-RSD. So if you haven't tried the Med's - I'd certainly recommend trying, you will know straight away if they work, as the fast-acting amphetamines are active in less than an hour. Also, to add to the other comments here, sometimes it's the one, two or three solid, understanding, friends that matter the most, rather than having 100 fair-weather friends. Wishing you all the best, Mark

Hello Mark,

Thanks for the reply. I have been on concerta extended release, however it significantly reduces my inattentive and lack of focus.

But, doesn’t seem much effects on RSD

Interesting. I've only been on Med's for a short time, 1 month on the fast-acting and 1 month on the XR - and I noticed that for me the fast-acting seemed to have a higher effect on the RSD and the ADHD. But, as with all these things, it's often very individual how meds work/don't work. Maybe you could try a combination of both and see what happens.

I experience EXACTLY the same- it is all consuming.


This article is spot on! Explains RSD and how I feel perfectly and mentions depression. I can also REALLY relate to the people pleasing/perfectionism mentioned in the article. I am more of the high-anxiety RSD type than high-anger RSD as mentioned here, although I have experienced occasional angry outbursts, due to perceived rejection. 1 in 3 ADHDers report RSD as having biggest effect on their lives. I am awake right now ruminating about an email work colleagues have not responded to for a second time in a week. My brain has taken it as rejection and I feel low. I recognise this as part of ADHD now and can start to get help for it. It is hard for someone who doesn't have RSD to appreciate how debilitating it is. RSD makes me feel like I am going mad sometimes and being aware of it only last month has made me recognise RSD as part of ADHD. This new awareness gives me hope wrt finding techniques/treatment, to be able to manage it. In my experience over the years, I think getting into any mindfulness therapies/books/techniques, would be great. Guided meditation helps me enormously as the RSD momentarily goes and the effects last a while. Also, I have found that painting, cooking, DIY- in fact anything creative, switches the ruminating off completely for me. Like a flick of a switch! Going for a walk on my own doesn't help me as I am alone with my thoughts, but walking and talking it through with someone who gets me (usually my mum/dad/sister-listening over and over again to the same thing), does help, (although it must be exhausting for them). Perhaps you could also research the best drugs/therapies that work on the RSD aspect of ADHD. I am... I still have no way of dustinguishong between real and imagined rejection but do believe thus info will still help you... Good luck!

Hi, the link you shared isn't complete, could you spell it out so I can read that article? My daughter is really suffering from the RSD issue combined with her severe ADHD. Thanks!

Hi, I need to work on my social skills, but I know about low self esteem from the ADHD or being non-neurotypical. I also seem to have a LOT of empathy for others. To the extent that I can't watch dramas on television or movies anymore, because of the anxiety I feel when the characters are going through something. I would like to agree with the suggestion to seek therapy from a therapist familiar with ADHD, hopefully someone who specializes in ADHD, and also to possible join a support group for people with ADHD like through ADDA or CHADD. I think ADDA only has virtual support groups, but there are local chapters of CHADD although none close to me ☹️. But in that case you would be around people who would understand at least the ADHD and accept you for who you are- maybe you could make friends at a virtual or in person support group. But that would at least give you some experience at making friends, hopefully someone you can connect with, and that, along with ADHD counseling, would help to give you the confidence and strategies to make friends elsewhere as well! I wish you well! Take care!

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