Today I would like to see if I can put into words, just how difficult it is to ‘Just do it’ when your brain is wired as Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome.
If you are well read or educated on what PDA means, you will have learned that people with PDA avoid or refuse every day demands and are obsessive in their drive to control their environments and those around them in order to relinquish some of the painful anxiety that plagues them all day, every day as a result of not being able to ‘Just do it’.
I think that the inability of being able to ‘just do it’ is the most misunderstood trait of PDA. I think anyone non PDA can take for granted the ability to ‘just do something’ and therefore cannot fully comprehend or appreciate just how hard it is to pick up the phone, or walk the dog. To be spontaneous or happy at a birthday party. To start a project or finish reading a book. All of these things are just ordinary parts of life. But for someone with PDA, there are barriers, doing things are paralyzing and encompassed in fear. The demands of every day life are out of proportion with what the person with PDA can naturally accomplish on many (but not all) occasions.
Imagine yourself not being able to wake up, to be motivated to agree to join the day. You just can’t.
Imagine yourself not being able to decide what to eat for breakfast. You just can’t.
Imagine having a wonderful idea, an original idea, but you can’t get it out of your head or share it with anyone else.
Imagine wanting to eat your favorite meal, that the plate is right in front of you, but something in your mind says no and paralyzes you to be able to eat it. You just can’t.
Imagine wanting desperately to join a class, a subject that you really like, but the people in the class are major triggers for you, and so you turn away. You just can’t.
Imagine having a talent in the arts, that you desperately want to share with others. But anxiety is so overriding that you just can’t.
Imagine seeing the housework piling up around you. You know it needs to be done. You want it to be done. But you just can’t.
Imagine that someone else is asking something of you and it feels as though you are being forced against your will into a dangerous situation.
Imagine that you have had so many traumatizing memories from past attempts to do things and so many really bad days, that your brain automatically shuts down to protect you from what feels like a real threat.
Imagine that the thought of a task is so frightening and overwhelming and yet logically you know its stupid to think this way, yet you cant help it.
Imagine that all you find yourself doing is putting it off, and putting it off, and putting it off.
Imagine if you also had repetitive and obsessive thoughts that wont go away, but you are too embarrassed to tell anyone and too scared to deal with them or seek help, how alone and exhausted and depressed would you feel?
Can you imagine these things? I could give examples of many, many more ‘things’ that makes up what we call life, in fact most ‘things’ that we take for granted are potentially, really, really difficult and sometimes impossible for a PDA person to do. It’s so hard to imagine isn’t it. It feels so unbelievable. If you have seen this person doing some of these things before, you could be tricked into thinking that they can do them and If they can do these things some of the time, why can’t they do them all of the time? It’s not hard to see why those who do not live with PDA, do not believe PDA. I mean, even those of us that do live with someone who is PDA question our sanity and whether PDA is really real.. Who wouldn’t?
But I do live with PDA, I have done all my life, and I can tell you hand on heart, it doesn’t matter to me whether the big wigs have proof or not, whether they have followed this study and that, whether its ‘ recognized’ or not. Not being able to just do things is a real condition and can be the crux of major depression for the person with PDA, who are generally very bright and charming people. It is exhausting being in the mind of PDA and it is exhausting being a witness or carer to PDA, especially when so many people from family to professionals do not see or believe what goes on behind the scenes.
Many of us share similar stories of having to hear our children tell us they wish they had a different brain, or that someone would give them sympathy. They wish they could die or ‘just do’ the normal things that other kids could do. No parent should have to hear their children say these things, but they do. On a daily basis. And as parents, all we wish for is to be seen and heard. To be recognized for the difficulties we have or the tireless work we put in to making each day as good as we can.
Please watch your child with PDA. They do not deliberately tell you they cant do something. Remember that the next time you expect them to “just wake up” or just do it’ Sometimes, ‘They just can’t.’
I still make mistakes with my girl. I default back to old programmed ways all the time and I try really, really hard! I know how difficult it is to find true patience, when your cup is completely empty and you feel like nothing you do is making a difference. But every time I default and see the result in my child’s behavior, I try and rectify my attitude and my reactions and every time I do, she transforms again for the better. I am in no doubt what so ever, that it is us that need to change, not the PDA child.
We can help the child to overcome some of the things they are stuck with. We can use the PDA strategies to avoid extra upsets and overloads. We can learn to accept our children as they are, where they are on their individual journeys. We can search for better ways to be. We can understand the deep reasons why the person with PDA is saying no and we can help them to say yes. We can surround them with the things that light them up and follow the sparks of joy as they unfold. We can find gratitude in all of the tiny things that make up the big picture and we can focus our energy on what we want more of, not what we lack in. We can see the growth as we become the people that the world needs to see, the change makers. We can see things differently in order to find a way out of old fashioned values that are not serving people any more. We can teach through love and we can stand up to those who do not share our values. We can listen to our intuition and learn to trust it. We can find depth and reason in our own childhood memories to better understand why some things upset us more than others. And we can change those beliefs. It starts with us, the parents of PDA. And we can ‘Just do it’. We can.
Please have a good read through my blog to find ways that help people with PDA overcome some of the intricate and invisible difficulties they have on an hour to hour basis, and help us to raise awareness by sharing this post from the main page and by clicking follow if you like my stuff. I get amazing read stats on here, thousands, but could do with more followers to give some weight. You can join as an email follower if you do not have a blog.
Thanks for reading. x LOVEPDA xxx