Over the past few years, Dr. William Dobson has helped multitudes of people of all ages who have ADHD by developing the concept of “rejection sensitive dysphoria,” or RSD. The painful syndrome of feeling acute and profound dejection at even the slightest perceived insult or “dis” is common among those of us who have ADHD.
I’ve observed a sister syndrome of RSD in my 69 years of living with ADHD and my 38 years of treating the condition in children and adults. This sister syndrome is, in my experience, even more common that RSD. I call it:
“Recognition Responsive Euphoria,” or RRE.
Perhaps because people who have untreated ADHD are so accustomed to making mistakes and receiving criticism, they become positively giddy when they receive positive recognition. The best way to get them charged up and motivated is to praise—legitimately, honestly—some element of a project they’re working on. Compliment an outfit they’re wearing, or praise a proposal they’re developing or an idea they’re hatching.
My friend, John Croyle, head of the home for abandoned children in Alabama called Big Oak Ranch, told me years ago that one of the best ways to instill hope in kids who have lost hope is to “be a dream maker, not a dream breaker.” That’s all about providing recognition for whatever positive action a person might perform. It helps everyone. However, for people who have ADHD, it takes us to a whole new level.
Rife with Frustration versus Resilient and Spunky
The typical day of a person who has ADHD—of any age—if it is not treated is rife with frustration, rejection, and failure. But it is also true that people with ADHD are remarkably resilient and spunky. One of the best ways to get them going in a good direction, in spite of all the negativity they have to contend with, is to find something positive to recognize in what they are doing and notice it. Go for it. You will quickly see eyes light up, and the person swing into action like a whirling dervish of positive energy.
I’ve written a lot of books. But I couldn’t have written a single one of them without frequent doses of positive energy—recognition, encouragement, doses of keep on keepin’ on—to keep me going. Thank God my wife, Sue, seems to have an endless store.
How to Get Encouragement and Recognition
First of all, make sure you find people who have lots encouragement and recognition to give. They are precious. Some people are notoriously stingy with it, as if it were a valuable coin not to be parted with. True, it’s not to be given underserved, for then it loses all its power. But neither should it be withheld until a person produces achievement worthy of a Nobel Prize.
If you have ADHD, and you find that you are low on motivation, energy, and are not working up to your potential, a reason for that very well may be that you are not getting enough recognition. Once you find the right person or better a still, the right people to give you that recognition, then you can tap into the tremendous power of Recognition Responsive Euphoria.
Remember if you need it, it does not mean you are weak. I need it like crazy, and I am not weak. Most people who achieve in creative fields need it like crazy, and they are not weak. People with ADHD need it, and we are anything but weak. People with ADHD are some of the strongest people in the world, emotionally, constitutionally, never-give-up-wise.
So know this about yourself and others with ADHD. Then plan how to tap into and get or give Recognition Responsive Euphoria!
If you would like to learn more, sign up for my Live ADDiTude Webinar with Dr. John Ratey on November 21, 2019. We’ll discuss Recognition Responsive Euphoria (RRE), the sister syndrome of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria which is characterized by soaring peaks of positivity and euphoria. Learn more and register for FREE here!