More and more families are discovering PDA as an explanation to their loved ones behaviors. Our Global support page members count now sits at over 3,000 and there are many other groups such as individual countries or specific sectors like education, self healing, or peaceful parenting. There are adult groups and regional groups. All tied together with a common thread, the need to educate and support PDA.
If you have just found us, then welcome, we are a family, we are connected.
There are blogs, such as my own, websites, seminars and societies, there are parenting courses and petitions, social media platforms, YouTube vloggers and authors of books, all working together to raise awareness, join struggling or lonely parents and give hope for a brighter, more understanding future for those who live with PDA. Current official positions on PDA remain slow and skeptical. Diagnosis is possible but many families are being turned away, put down or disbelieved by professionals, most saying that PDA is not recognized in their area. Education is the biggest issue that comes up due to the children’s needs not being believed met or respected. We have a long way to go, but compared to 30 years ago, things are moving a lot faster. I believe, with the increased awareness of autism in general, comparisons within the indicators of autistic spectrum are allowing parents to separate the very clear markers of PDA.
So, today’s post was inspired by a noticeable increase in new members discovering PDA, reaching out for support and learning. Our small page for New Zealand has had about 50 new members over the past year (hopefully Graeme will correct me if I’m wrong on those numbers) and Australia, our sister country had also seen a significant increase in new members. It is very clear that most have had what we describe as ‘the light bulb moment’, when they discover this set of traits which so accurately describe their child.
It’s not hard to google Pathological demand avoidance syndrome and gain a good idea of the diagnostic criteria or to find resources for further help, as I have mentioned above. When I reflect back to my light bulb moment, it really was like a light just went ‘Ping’ I actually ‘felt’ the moment and I’m sure many others who say the same will never forget that feeling either. But just over 3 years ago, when I googled PDA, I struggled to find that much to really delve into the depths of PDA. Jane Sherwins blog, which is now PDA guidance (see blog roll) was the only personal account of PDA that I could find and I rushed to buy her book and just a handful of others, I was desperate to learn all I could about this most fascinating condition of mind. I have learnt so much since then and I have to say, although our journey has been a huge roller coaster, and still is, if I could, I would not change anything. For it is the journey that takes us to who we are today. I needed to learn from the experiences we had. From a huge breakdown, to starting a new school. To several times in and out of the mental health services, to discovering myself and many natural alternative ways of health improvement. To the loss of friendships, to finding new friends. It’s the journey of life that is important, not the destination.
Looking back, self care is the most important piece of advise I can give. One just simply cannot do the hard yards if they are under cared for, too stressed or unable to cope with the isolation that comes hand in hand with PDA. Self care includes educating oneself, finding ones tribe, being kind and self loving, acknowledging emotions and improving all aspects of ones personal life. Up skilling on being self aware, body aware and limits aware. By this I mean, fining ways to honor yourself enough to eat well, knowing when you need to stop putting in bad stuff and start adding good stuff. Making time for doing nothing and realizing the importance of acceptance, no matter what stage you are at, whether you are feeling down as well as up.
The eyes in which I view others not are not the eyes I viewed from before my awareness and journey of PDA. I am accepting of all people, my judging of others has stopped. I better understand those who might be judged as criminals or those who have sensory issues that are the reason for strange behaviors. I have a different view on transgender people or people who have anger issues. I see children as much more precious cargo than I ever did before. I am able to look in the mirror and be totally honest with myself. I am able to fully love me and not see that as selfish or strange. I am able to give more of myself to those in my life. I see things on a much bigger scale than I did before this journey through PDA. Some might say these things come with age, and at 45, it’s true that my life experiences will have brought me to this place. But I am grateful that the intensity of the last few years have without doubt, made me a better person. Not just because I have to be or seek external approval for myself, but because that’s the truth of who I am.
So, to those who are setting out on their PDA journey, or who have just had the light bulb moment, embrace it, settle in for the ride, look forward to the wonderful changes you will encounter and the positive things you will gain from your individual experiences. Have hope that no matter how hard things are, there is always love and light right there inside you and your beautiful kids.
Welcome to the family. x