RSD, it is really a crippling disadva... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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RSD, it is really a crippling disadvantage! Do you have stories and comments on how you deal with it?

Daniel_1976 profile image

Since I was a kid, I was always labelled as someone really passionate, kind, a gentleman, but after the initial impression, I was found as someone not worth of confidence, lazy, not steady in my choices.

Now, I am 45 years old and looking back, I can see a bunch of cycles in my life, where I ended up in existential crisis, not being able to thrive on anything (dating, courses, degree, etc.). In my mind, suddenly I had the feeling that I'd chosen the wrong path, so I started a new one, over and over... You can imagine how a neurotypical person judges me.

So I'd struggled all my life, doing anything to be accepted, then, after sometime, feeling used, stupid and very often ashamed of my choices. So the cycle resets...

But I am tired of not finding my place, of people labelling me as a loose cannon, as a Jack of all trades with no persistence. A wasted promise. Too much potential with too little achievement.

Right now, after many exhaustive attempts in life, I am in a management position in my job, and I fight everyday against the demons of impostor syndrome and difficulties to carry out boring tasks. I am always depleting my energy level, trying to hide those “character failures” from my peers and my team.

I have a degree in Engineering, two post-degree courses and I'm finishing an MBA, but I am really pondering on the idea of joining a psychological degree, as it will enable me in my dream of helping adults with ADHD/ADD.

I feel like as if all that I've studied or learned until now is lost, wasted. Deep down I known this is not true! But, it is difficult to deal with this, as I have the same level of intensity on both feelings: 1 – rejection and impostor syndrome and 2 – eagerness to help people.

I don't have friends; It is just my wife and I. She really tries hard to keep the pace up with me and to not let me make more stupid choices. So, I am praying and pondering over this new plan of mine. I cannot waste my life and my marriage.

To end this text (sorry for some English mistakes): I have faith, and I think that when we unite and really care for each other, we can thrive to a better tomorrow.

I will be glad to hear about your story and thoughts.

18 Replies

hi Daniel, I've had a very similar career path. I've left jobs for stupid reasons many times. I hold a management job as well currently but managed to keep steady at it. Here's what I've learnt so far:

1. I bring unique strengths to the table - I usually solve problems that other people can't figure out....hyperfocus is a superpower. ..that alone is enough for people to keep me on the job. That gives me basic job security, and I remind myself of it each time I feel vulnerable.

2.. I delegate routine tasks, its not my strength. There's no point trying to address it.

3. I rely on my wife to understand how bad a situation actually is, because my mind tends to make a big deal of even minor issues. Bouncing it off her helps me understand how serious the situation actually is. Based on that I ignore my emotions when my mind is being a drama queen.

4. I'm trying really hard not to make a big deal of things....knowing that my mind overreacts is a great help. I can then decide to either underplay it and deal with it, or walk away from the situation for a while to calm myself down.

5. For me, RSD eased with age. The first time I felt it, I remember asking the cab driver to take me to the hospital. I thought I was having a heart attack. But over the years, it has gotten milder.

6. One thing I"m training myself to do is to avoid confronting anyone when I'm angry. I've lost a whole lot of connections because of this. Its hard but its working.

7. I'm not sure if this is ADHD related but I had the mistaken belief that when someone criticized me, they were thinking less of me. That was not true at all, and I remind myself about this everytime I face criticism.

Hope these pointers help. I need to start reconnecting with my older friends, I owe them an explanation for why I was the way I was. Hopefully that helps to reconnect with them.

Daniel_1976 profile image
Daniel_1976 in reply to pragman

Wow! What an excellent response! Thank you for your time!

Great coping tips! I realize that the solution is always related to delaying the reaction and process events in a healthier scope.

I totally can relate to your post. I’m a healthcare provider that has also earned a PhD, working both in academia with a foot in the door at the clinic and I deal with imposter syndrome. Had a major set back this January due to some unfairness in the office that made me feel worthless. Counseling really helped me build my confidence and realize what all I do offer. It sometimes requires an external advocate and a good counselor to remind you of how to assess your own worth. Also, finding ways to organize my daily tasks and big picture tasks have helped with those critiques because rather than seeing the background chaos, others who don’t know my struggles see the final product (if that makes sense).

Very true! We need to unveil the good side of our "way of functioning". Instead of trying to level down our perception and passion over life, we can develop coping strategies with the norm (the neurotypical society) and go beyond that. As I heard before, our Ferrari with bike brakes, needs to have close attention, so we don't fall out of the road. lol...

oh neat, now I learnt something new, thanks! Didn't see the pattern in the points!

Hi Daniel, You have described my life perfectly. I was diagnosed very recently after splitting up with my girlfriend. She said it was life 'walking on eggshells around me' . Ive suffered from depression my whole life and its taken me all this time to understand that the depression is a result of my ADHD. The emotional aspect of my life has hampered every decision I have made....often for the better but more for the worst. I am now on a journey of self-discovery, as its only now I realise i never had a conversation with myself or my emotions, I was too busy trying to please others. It all comes down to self-esteem and living consciously. I now practice mindfulness every day, work on self-esteem strategies (read - the seven pillars to self-esteem by Nathaniel Branden), plus I have CBT once a week. I understand is going to be a very long journey, but you need to start why not start today! Good luck

Thank you Ritters. I can imagine myself in your shoes and I totally agree with your choices.

Now that you are becoming aware of your complete emotional self, you are able to take better choices, and to meet a significant other that will love you as a whole person, with all your blessings and failures.

Stopping to take a breath and taking mindful steps forward is what keeps us winning our battles. Evaluating and adjusting our directions, now and then, may help us to find our place (at all and even sooner).


Hi Daniel,

Story of my life... and you described it better than I would!

Just a thought:

Rather than a whole new degree, perhaps a certificate or some courses related to coaching, some of them are part-time or even better through intensive weekend seminars etc.? That could help you combine the best of both worlds: you could leverage your educational and business experience, with your will to help others. For example you could start a side-activity coaching business people / entrepreneurs who have ADD or who just need some coaching. Your experience and education would make you even more relevant to some people. For example, my CBT therapist is of great help but both he and I realize that there's only so much he can help with regarding business-related discussions (although most of those have a deeper root that go beyond just business.)

Daniel_1976 profile image
Daniel_1976 in reply to Credit

Hi, Credit! Thank you for your thoughts.

What you suggested is more logical than restarting a completely new career path... lol... I am finishing a “career focused” MBA now (with all the whistles and bells that my ADD provides me: like the difficulty to finish my course final paper) and I am feeling that it may not help me on this goal.

I'm thinking of continuing to build my knowledge on English sources, groups and courses, with certifications that can be recognized in my country, so I can work as a counsellor or therapist.

Thank you!


Credit profile image
Credit in reply to Daniel_1976

Sounds like you could use a "get-papers-finished" Coach! I could definitely use a "get-papers-graded" Coach! :))) (by the way, I am responding here instead of working on an urgent to-do list :))) :(((( :)))

Daniel_1976 profile image
Daniel_1976 in reply to Credit

😅 a practical example of the challenges we face with our high-developed skills on prioritizing tasks.... 😂😂😂


Hi Daniel,

I have a lot of RSD

I have started CBT

Two weeks in. Seems to be going well.

I found the statement that you have no friends sad. It’s good to have them. Hopefully your partner isn’t blocking you from starting friendships (that would be a worry) if it’s just “us (you two) against the world” that’s a bit restrictive.

I would try a course of CBT

Thank you for your response, Stonesfan. Very true what you said.

My wife and I have acquaintances at the church. But, apart from the church activities, we are not very fond of going out. Moreover, I suspect that this is the main reason people tend to give up on us, after a few "I am not in the mood to go out." answers.

I know that this entirely our fault. The bad thing is that I don’t have the energy to get us out of this reclusion choice, to drive us out of it.

It takes me a lot of energy to keep small talks flowing. It is like my brain is not interested and does not want to take part on it. Although, if you start talking about yours or people’s deep feelings and motivations. Wow, my brain instantly laser-target the conversation! I can take miles talking about it.

Your testimonials that CBT shall help are compelling. 😀

Wow Daniel I really hear you. I really hear that worry over how others see us and our starting over, but our own crippled confidence underneath the endeavours. I also relate to wanting a psych degree - we have a lot of life experience that could be of use!Would you be open to trying something?

I think its great that you are holding a management position. I know it takes a different set of skills ~ and organization, delegating, knowing how to talk to others, appreciating their strengths, having good boundaries, etc. What could help with that imposter syndrome so that you dont quit this one could be 12-step meetings. Is there any affliction you feel you could identify with? Where I usually see my fellow ADHDs are: Clutterers Anonymous, AA, Marijuana Anonymous, Underearners Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous..... if any of these resonate, I feel like there is some secret sauce in those rooms that are teaching me how to hold things in the context of Service, how to commit to things and how to step into my natural Leadership such that I am honored, respected, heard, seen and also humbled enough to know when to step back and let others do and contribute and be acknowledged. Its also free. :-) The steps are beautiful and life changing and work very well for those of us on these forums to help us deal w the gaffes of our lives. They will strengthen that faith I am so happy to hear you have. And gosh, like Russell Brand keeps alluding, sure would be nice if more of the world, politics and corporations were run like that. Best of luck to you!!!

Hi, ServiceSloth. Thank you for your kind response.

I will research more about the 12 Steps, as it combines faith to cognitive therapy. I had a pre-concept that those groups are only for people that are stuck on their struggles. Can we, that are kind of moving ahead (when compared to someone that cannot handle his own life anymore) join those groups and interact?

I am sure that, we can learn a lot and acquire a plenty of different views for the same problem we think to have.

My major affliction is related to rejection management.

Yes, its hard to know what the rooms offer until we've been in them a few times. Then, the affliction/addiction and recovery from patterns of thinking and behaviors of acting start to become clear. I have seen people share and focus on both the problem and the solution. Could you tell me a bit more about where the rejection comes from that you feel, as that may help me to identify the best sounding environment and group. At first glance, I would say Co-Dependents Anonymous, because we learn how much we har placed value in other people's opinions of us, and how much approval seeking has shaped and destroyed us... no matter the type of relationship. Let me know if that rings as relatable. Happy to keep this thread going.

I think you had nailed it: codependency (boosted with ADHD ). 😫

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