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  • Writer's pictureDee Crute

The Unexpected Journey: Starting Over

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Episode 5: Perserverance

violet and white flowers
Sweet Violet, Stanmer © Dee Crute

Eight days! Only eight days until my trek begins!

I am so very excited! And frankly, I cannot wait to be out in the wilderness to start my healing process.

But I wanted to talk about something more important than excitement.

My hiking adventure is only a tiny part of The Unexpected Journey project - a process of rebuilding and changing my life to fit it into my disabilities and living a happy, balanced and fulfilled life.

Thus, we are here for a marathon rather than sprinting 5k race.

In today's live video (here), I drew an analogy between life/our endeavours and running a race.

Whatever your goal, be it a marathon, writing and publishing a book, moving cities, or changing your life, you need to expect different stages and bumps.

several fungi
Glistening Inkcap © Dee Crute

It is not a linear process, and I would categorise it into four stages:

Making the decision

It is a challenging phase. It takes courage to make a first step. But once you make it - you break it! You run on adrenaline that galvanises you along the way. The fear of the unknown is muted by excitement about the prospects and novelty.

Slowing down...

The adrenaline and excitement wear off. Our fears, doubts and boredom try to sneak in.

We look at those few written pages or miles we ran and get overwhelmed with so many still left.

A lot of people quit at this stage.

But those who are dogged will carry on.

purple woodland flowers
Viola odorata © Dee Crute

Here most people quit.

Struggling to find a new job or place to live - They stay where they are.

Feeling breathless, fatigued, and in pain - they stop and quit the race.

Being rejected by the first few publishers - they give up their dream of being an author.

But if you keep looking for this new job/house, editing your book, trying new publishers, and knocking on more doors, you will succeed. You will finish the race if you pause running, stretch and rest but keep going.

This is where the changes are going to happen.

You will get rejected, and you will fail. Many times before you succeed.

That's why embracing every failure and rejection is necessary.

We are learning from it and teaching our bodies, brain grit, and perseverance.

To be ready for another challenge and be able to recoil quicker from another blow. To be more resilient.

Thus failure and embracing it is critical to our wellbeing to build our resilience.

bra ket fungi and moss
The bracket © Dee Crute
The last stage -> Success!

Amidst consumerism, we have forgotten what success means. So many people and organisations want to sell us this or that, brainwashing us about what success means:

Marry posh, and book a honeymoon in exotic islands. Get this newest car, or drive Jag like most successful people. Own the house if you want to be successful. Wear this watch, do this, buy that. You must have that beach body - buy our workout programme, this diet and that protein shake.

No, this is not a definition of success.

This is the definition:

The achieving of the results wanted or hoped for

The correct or desired result of an attempt

And thus, success would have different meanings to all of us.

To be successful is to achieve even the smallest goal.

But when you get there, you will look behind and see all that bumpy road you went through, and you will be damn proud of yourself!

yellow flower amidst green leaves
Lesser Celendine © Dee Crute

Why I wanted to talk about this today.

Because I saw Joe Harkness's post on Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD). Joe is a great author and naturalist - I admire his perseverance and like his conversational writing style. I have shared his book "Bird Therapy" on my Instagram stories today and really recommend reading it!

I had a really tough week, and reading his honest post, I realised that I had been experiencing RSD.

I questioned myself, why would I write books? Who would ever want to read them or care about me anyway? I lost all my confidence. But I waited until this thought process passed. And it did.

ADHD can do magic tricks to your mind, and despite my neurodiversity coach covering RSD with me and helping me find strategies to tackle it, I have forgotten about both RSD and tricks to manage it.

That's why I wanted to share with you today what RSD is, how it can affect you, and strategies to deal with it.

A lot of us struggle in silence. The help I am sharing with you can be used by anyone, not only people who are neurodivergent - we all suffer rejection.

pink woodland flower
Red Campion © Dee Crute

So what Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria actually is?

  • ADHD symptom of emotional dysregulation

  • Extremely disruptive

  • Drastic mood shift

  • Triggered by real and/or perceived rejection, criticism, teasing and even self-criticism

  • Causes severe physical and emotional unbearable pain

  • Does not stem from trauma but can be traumatic

  • Can trigger self-harm and suicidal ideation if internalised or outbursts of anger when externalised

  • One of the most crippling and debilitating symptoms of ADHD

  • Affected ability to read social cues creates a plethora of RSD triggers

plant with blue flowers
Green Alcanet, Norbury © Dee Crute

How does it feel?

  • Excruciating visceral pain

  • Can feel like a punch or wound

  • Devastating and catastrophic thoughts

  • Feeling of humiliation

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Tension headaches

  • Stabbing pain

  • Red mist/breaking things/aggression

  • Rumination over the incidents and affected sleep

yellowish woodland flowers
Primrose, Norbury © Dee Crute

How can it affect us?

  • Living with constant anxiety

  • Relationships problems

  • People-pleasing behaviours and being taken advantage of

  • Social isolation / avoiding social interactions

  • Frequent jobs quitting and changing social circles

  • Low self-esteem

  • Persistent negative self-talk and 'self-fulfilling prophecy

  • Not undertaking any endeavours out of fear of failure

  • Falling into a vicious circle of perfectionism

What can we do about it?

Not much about it for sure - you cannot change the fact you will feel emotions.

Oh, Dee - we are doomed!

No - wait - we are not!

We need to shift our thinking and our perception of RSD/emotions.

Accept it - accept who you are and your feelings. Don't fight it, don't be in denial.

Learn about your emotions/RSD - things we understand are less scary and confusing.

Bluebells, Saddlescomb © Dee Crute

My strategies:

Remember, you cannot please everybody, and whatever you do, there will always be someone who will criticise you.


Do not avoid life - learn strategies and create new patterns (brain neuroplasticity)

Trust that you will get better at coping.

meadow with yellow and purple flowers
Gorse and Bluebells © Dee Crute

Create visual aids:

  1. Circle of control (inside place what and whom you care about and outside anything that you cannot control and you don't give a monkey)

  2. Set Boundaries - depict your needs and agree with yourself where you will not budge and where you can compromise.

Accept that your reaction may upset people you care for, and do not beat yourself up but be ready for open and honest communication after the incident.


"This too shall pass" - as dismissive as it may sound, you have been there many times and yet survived. You can do it. This one helps me the most - including autistic/ADHD meltdowns. It may not change how you feel at the time, but it will stop the downward spiral.


Create a vault of victory - a journal and/or notes on your phone with a list of when you won over your feelings/situation, a proof of your courage.

Woodland violet flowers
Common Dog Violet © Dee Crute

Have a notebook with a reminder of what you love, what you are grateful for and what you are good at - an injection of positiveness.


Collect positive and motivational affirmations - I keep a special folder on my phone and read them regularly - most of them are about warriors or badass women.

Fairy realm © Dee Crute

Even if journalling is not your thing - jot down three good things that happened - each day. This helps to rewire your mindset.


Make flashcards (keep them close, in your wallet or on your phone) with acronyms: STAR -> Stop, Think, Act and Recover. If you can remove yourself from the trigger (situation), do so. It will help you to cool down and apply logic.

Embrace and own it - feeling strong has its bright side - you love more, connect better, and feel more profound happiness!

Be kind to yourself. Full Stop. Love and Like yourself - because I do like you.

The journey to success is a long and meandering one, with ups and downs. One day we feel badass, next, we cry. And it's absolutely fine.

Just carry on!


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Apr 13, 2023

This is a brilliant post! You’ve explained this really well with some helpful lists. I think you’re right about being prepared with these strategies. There is so much in life, particularly behaviour patterns, our own, other people we know well, our children etc, that we can anticipate will happen. If we can plan for it we will be more prepared hopefully. I’m definitely in a research and observation mode of my own behaviour currently. Thank you Dee 💚

Dee Crute
Dee Crute
Apr 14, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much for your kind words! Planning ahead and having learning mindset is so important. Years ago, it was a vicious circle for me - I would struggle then beat myself up about it thus not making any changes at all. Stuck in a rut. Now, I analyse and brain gets better next time - I am still working on an article you requested - explaining executive functions and spiky profile so that should put brain ways in more context - watch this space :) x

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