The Wall of Awful

Hello friends,

I think one of the best things for better understanding your brain is learning or creating labels and models to describe certain behavior.

For example, I always knew that I had this extreme negative reaction to the feeling of rejection, but before I heard the label Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, it always felt like something out of my control that I would never have any control over.

Once it had a label, I was able to start to recognize it while it was happening, which gave me better control over the situation. It didn't stop the extreme feelings that come with RSD, but giving it a label helped me recognize it and remind myself of strategies to help overcome it.

(I've written a bit about coping with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria in the past.)

Another set of labels that have helped me out is learning about The Wall of Awful, a concept created by Brendan Mahan.

When you're hitting resistance trying to get something done, it's because we have this giant wall of awful that's in the way—built up over years by bricks of failure, disappointment, fear, doubt, rejection, shame, etc.

It can feel impossible to get past the wall, so often we end up using a "Hulk smash" to get through it. We explode in anger, yell "fine, I'll do the $#@% thing!", and stomp through the wall. It technically works to get us through the wall, but isn't the healthiest approach.

Jessica McCabe has a great video with Brendan Mahan talking about this which is essential viewing: Why Is It So Hard to Do Something That Should Be Easy?​

What labels or models have helped you better understand your ADHD? Reply to this email and let me know!

Stay focused,

Jesse J. Anderson

P.S. a new episode of ADHD Nerds is out! I talked with my friend Marie Ng (creator of Llama Life) about ADHD Time Management, life as a developer, and what often attracts ADHDers to the entrepreneurial lifestyle. It's a super fun episode—don't miss it!



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