Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who has read, shared and joined my blog. The last post received epic numbers 4,000 and rising, just on 3 days, wow! This is great news for us because it means that PDA is being spoken about and learned about in the outer circles, not just our PDA community. So today I want to follow up with a piece to anyone who is linked to a PDA family but not actually living the day to day stuff. It’s an invitation to offer help to those who need it and ideas for what you could do to help.
You might be Grandma, or a neighbor. You might be a teacher or a friend. In any case, if you care about someone who has a PDA child, this post is for you.
When my daughter fell ill in a very short space of time, we didn’t know what had hit us. It was impossible for us to know just how long her breakdown would last and we had to take each minute as it came. This meant that not only were we, as a family, thrown into shock and trauma, but we did not know how to ask for help, or what sort of help we even needed. I remember thinking at the time how hurt I was that people, community didn’t come to offer help. Even my daughters school said not a word, no card from her classmates to say she wasn’t forgotten. It made our isolation even worse and depression soon took hold. I could not even make food for family at that time because we were in such distress and I longed for someone to come to the door with a dinner for us. I thought, if someone was physically ill, people would know what to do, they would come. But mental health is still such a shady subject and I learned the hard way that others are scared of mental un wellness. They fear what they don’t understand. So here are some ideas to offer those who might want to help but are not sure how.
Ask the person you care about what they need. There is a big difference between saying ‘let me know of there is anything I can do‘ verses ‘What can I do?/ What do you need?’ The first is a closed statement, it’s saying I feel better that I’ve offered but I don’t necessarily mean it. The second is an open question, it is an authentic offering of whatever you need. You are more likely to be able to help someone if you use this question. The person you are offering help to will be more able to accept help if they do not feel they are putting on you. That you genuinely want to help.
The person most probably needs someone to just be kind to them. To not feel judged or have advice and opinions. They will just need to be heard and accepted for where they are now. To know that they have a friend.
You might come up with some practical ideas for helping. This could include a schedule to bring a meal or help with some housework. It might be an offer to take care of the child whilst Mum gets some rest or takes a nice bath.
Some of us have trouble in meetings when we are nervous or not so confident in speaking up. Could you offer to go to the meeting or type up a letter for your friend?
Are you someone who could help raise awareness for PDA?
Learning about PDA is probably the best thing any friend could ever do in my opinion. It’s a selfless and truly genuine gesture to go the extra mile and walk in the shoes of the other person. Also really necessary for being able to offer help to take the PDA child.
Can you make a special bond with the PDA child? Are you a possible mentor for this child? As parents we can’t wear every hat or be every person that the child needs, but often we find we have to be. PDA children can often be very different with other, trusted adults and there is great potential for bringing out the child’s gifts and purpose. You might be a family friend who shares their special interest in gardening for example. Could you take them on a Saturday to garden together? Are you a cousin who loves to play the same video games?
Are you someone who can message in with your friend regularly to just see if they are OK? You might find you show your love by sending little surprise gifts. Maybe you are long distance and you can send a voucher for a massage?
Are you a guy who can call up your man friend and take him up the pub for a beer? Often the Dad’s get overlooked in hard times and they often feel powerless and in need to offload but cannot always do this with their wives who are under a lot of pressure too.
Maybe your friend is separated and is feeling really lonely. Turn up with a chick flick and a bottle of wine.
Just ‘being there’ is all we need sometimes.
So, overall, we all need to feel heard and accepted. Families with PDA, from my experience of being one, and talking for hours every day for the past 3 years to thousands of parents online, need support. A lot are too tired, too shy or too unsure to ask for help. This does not mean they don’t need it. They do. We can go through really good, calm spells. These are the times when you might be able to get a night out, or go on a course or something. Don’t wait for a crisis to offer friendship. Then there are times when the child is going through a really bad patch and everyone is at rock bottom. These are the times when you might not hear from the PDA family. Again, being quiet does not mean they don’t need help. A phone call or a meal left on the doorstep might be all they need to get back on track. It does not need to be difficult to be a helping hand. Yet it can make the world of difference in lifting someone up from depression.
You cannot always see below the surface of someone with an invisible difference of mind. They can and do hide what’s really going on. Be the friend that goes the extra mile. Please reach out to those who might not be able to reach out themselves. The rewards for helping others, in my opinion, far out way the material rewards that so many people seek in this day and age in order to feel better.
Thank you again for reading and supporting PDA through my blog. Please share from the main page and join the followers. Join the revolution in change. x