Too sensitive

Today, I got really upset over the way a couple of people spoke to me in a business and programming related discord text chat. They were being critical of choices I had said I made. It was something trivial but still upset me.

And it upset me so much I was on and off crying the whole day, unable to get control of my emotions.

I decided to stick up for myself and state in the chat that the things that were said made me feel stupid and unwelcome. And I asked that people try to be a little kinder. My hope in advocating for myself would be that I might be able to sway this particular chat vibe to being more supportive and hopefully make it more welcoming for others.

And not surprisingly someone basically said I was being too sensitive and the fact I took it the way I did was my problem.

My rejection sensitive disphoria was already triggered before that comment but to not be seen and be shamed for being hurt, felt like being kicked while I was down. It brought back memories of being bullied as a child, crying, then being bullied some more for being a cry baby.

Thankfully someone jumped into the chat and said they could see how what was said could cause me to feel attacked. I felt seen. And it diffused the conversation.

But the damage was still done and my emotions continued to take me on a rollercoaster, a passenger watching it unfold. Knowing that my reaction was not rational didn’t help me.

I lost precious hours of what was supposed to be a productive day working on my business.

I tried many tricks to try and snap myself out of it. I went for walks. I tried to work. I tried eating. I used the usual CBT strategies to put the situation in perspective. I talked to myself the way a wise friend would. “You are sensitive because you had a traumatic childhood. And this person doesn’t know or understand that context.” ” You are hurting and that’s ok. Don’t fight it and let it out. This too shall pass.” “They didn’t mean to be hurtful. They’re trying to be constructive.”

The final thing that seemed to work was curl up on my bed in the fetal position and meditate for 45 minutes.

I wish I didn’t have RSD. The tough thing about it is not only does it cause me to overreact, but then I feel bad for overreacting. I understand that having it is just a result of ADHD and childhood trauma. But when I get upset over something someone says to me, and advocate for myself to say, hey that could have been said nicer, I’m inevitably going to be told or treated like I’m being too sensitive.

A good friend of mine often spoke critically of me and my business choices even after I would tell him in the moment how hurtful it was. Yet he continued to do it. And told me I was too sensitive and have poor self esteem and had no reason to feel so badly about myself. I made the tough decision to cut that person out of my life because it was clear they weren’t willing to meet me part way or be considerate of my feelings.

I have accomplished much in my life. I have had my art viewed by millions of people on the internet’s most popular web page, the Google homepage. I’ve successfully lead a team of engineers having a great tech career. And now I run a business where I get to make a difference helping neurodivergent teens and adults find belonging and confidence.

And those things help build my confidence and give me purpose and meaning in my life. But they don’t erase the childhood trauma.

I’d love to be able to say to myself, this discord conversation is trivial and doesn’t matter, so this pain shouldn’t be here. But all the same the pain is there. Like a reopening of an old wound. And I bear the pain once more for the whole day. Completely knowing the pain I feel is irrational. But not having much ability to stop it.

I understand that I must accept that this is part of who I am. And that there’s little I can do to change it. But I also have hope that some day I won’t be so sensitive and not be bothered by the words of others.

Update Nov 2, 2021:

After some reflection, I now suspect the reason I reacted as strongly as I did may have been caused by good ol’ pregnancy hormones. I am sensitive but to have reacted this strongly for this long still feels out of character for me.

On the bright side, having a poor experience in that server motivated me to find something better. I ended up finding two really great business discord servers with really nice and knowledgeable business people and am loving it so far.

One door closes, another one opens.

I’m pregnant!

My life is about to change.

I’m currently 25 weeks pregnant. Baby is due at end of January. I’m very excited to become a mama!

My husband, Mike, hasn’t quite wrapped his head around it yet. But I know once he holds his little boy he’ll go into full on dad mode.

Yes we’re having a boy!

What was finding out like?

Finding out I was pregnant was a shock. We started trying in January but given my age and my anxiety, I was pessimistic and expected it to take a long while before I’d get pregnant. A few months later, my period was a week late so I took a pregnancy test. I was fully expecting that the test would be negative and I’d just get my period late, which happens quite a bit for me.

But there was a big fat “pregnant” reading on the digital display staring right back in my face. I screamed! Mike ran into the bathroom to see if I was ok and see what was wrong. I jumped for joy and showed him the positive test!

His reaction? “Oh boy!” like in a nervous sort of way. He wants to become a dad but at the same time, change is really hard for him and he especially has a hard time visualizing what change is like. Once change is thrust upon him, he adapts.

What has the pregnancy been like so far?

First trimester I was super tired all the time. I had like 2 weeks straight where I couldn’t work. I was lucky to make it out of bed and to the couch. I was quite surprised by this and didn’t realize first trimester was so tiring. I don’t know how other pregnant moms can work in that first trimester and how they keep it a secret from their co-workers and manager. Thankfully I am my own boss so I didn’t have to tell anyone I didn’t want to.

I did have morning sickness but it wasn’t bad enough to cause me to vomit, thankfully. But I definitely was nauseous a lot and ended up losing 5 pounds.

Thankfully my energy returned in the second trimester and I’ve been able to get a lot of work done preparing for baby. We’ve got the nursery painted and starting putting together the nursery furniture (Mike did most of the work).

Tiredness is starting to return again. I have a day here and there where I just take long naps and get almost nothing done. Sometimes when this happens I freak out and have a meltdown. I think this is happening because I know I only have so many weeks left to get work done on the business. I have a lot of goals I’m trying to tackle before I take my leave.

Heartburn has also started becoming a daily thing.

I ended up going off of my anxiety medication early in the pregnancy because the meds have a negative impact on the baby that I didn’t want to risk. I had a couple weeks of anxiety after going off of it but somehow recovered. I’m very thankful that my anxiety hasn’t been that bad. I know a lot of expectant moms have anxiety over the baby and whether it’s ok and developing well. But all my tests have gone well, no sign of issues. Baby is healthy! Yay!

My mood was kind of all over the place in first trimester but has leveled off in second. I still have my meltdowns but they aren’t frequent.

I suspect the reason I’m feeling so good is because my lovely kitty, Diamond, keeps me company and brings me a lot of happiness. And because I’m just really excited to be a mother. Especially when I feel my little guy kick or move around, I just smile and feel so happy.

My most recent symptom has been hunger. I eat two breakfasts now and have to snack a lot. I get really strong urges to eat big meals and I get cravings for random things. Usually carb heavy stuff. Earlier in the pregnancy I was craving cheeseburgers.

I feel a little weird being older and just starting my family now. There’s lots of people my age with kids in their teens. I got a late start. But hopefully our choice to delay having children will allow us to provide better for our children and for ourselves financially.

Balancing work?

I plan to take 3 months off from PaperDemon while caring for baby but I wont be able to take a complete break. I’ll likely still need to do checkins with my team to make sure things are still moving, as well as handling financial matters like processing orders and paying bills and payroll.

But I will take a complete break from website development. This makes sense because if I deploy new code while having limited availability, I might trigger instability on the site that wont get fixed for a long while. So it’s safer to just have a code freeze by December and have it last until I get back to full time.

After three months of baby leave, the plan is to get child care. But that plan may have to change if the pandemic is still ongoing. It also just might be hard to leave my little guy with a stranger at that young of an age so we’ll see. I may be able to get some help from family.

It’s going to be hard because I really want to keep working. I love working on my business. But I also really want to focus on baby. We’ll see how it goes!