Posted in Autsim

PDA’ers & Relationships..

Hola (take ??) Amigos,

Guess what? I’m sorry. But, no, wait, I really am. It’s almost been 2 years..what?? Where has time gone?? Massive life update *pending*. It’s been a hell of a long while so for that I can only apologise. This blog is constantly in my mind and I know I need to get back to it but the demands of uni seem to be winning the battle so far. Lots of new things are going on with me, as I’m sure they are with all of you. However, I’ll touch base on that soon (I promise).

This blog post particularly is actually one that I think about writing a lot. However, tonight seems to be the night to do it. I’m currently sat in my bed, crying at 1am wondering if I’m just cursed when it comes to a romantic relationship or if PDA plays a massive part in it?

So, I’ve had 2 previous relationships – both of which went sour from 8 months and completely ended at 13 months. I’m not sure if it’s because I pick the bad ones, because I’m too young, because I get bored easily (which I do) or if the demands simply get too much.

I’m now just past 8 months with my partner, and as per previous experiences, the arguing has increased..a lot. We’ve gone from never arguing to it happening fairly often. It’s normally me egging it on over something very small but still something that’s really affected me (regardless of the fact that it wasn’t intended to and to be honest it shouldn’t make me annoyed.) I get to this point and I just can’t help but see the benefits of being single. It’s not to do with how I’ve fallen out of love or anything remotely to do with him. Just, that it’s getting too much. I find myself crying more easily and struggling with communication (especially over text whilst I’m at uni.) I just come to a sort of block where 2 days are fine and then the next, anything and everything seems to irritate the hell out of me. I’m fighting a constant battle with my own head which seems to tell me to abort all missions and run miles.

I know I normally try to help with my blogs (albeit, it’s been a while) but this time I’m begging for advice..is it normal? Is this just young adult life? Is it to do with PDA? If anyone has any advice, it’d be much appreciated as it feels like I’m at a dead end. Again.

As always my email is abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com and although I don’t post that much, that email is always open to anyone who needs the help.

Thank you,

ABIGAIL J

X X X

Posted in Autsim

Autism Awareness Month..

Hola (take thirty-seven) Amigos!

April is autism awareness month and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we all place emphasis on the many diagnosis that come under autism. Most people have heard about it and everyone has definitely held an interaction with someone that’s autistic – the majority of the time though you wouldn’t even notice. Those with autism struggle on a daily basis and most of them go unnoticed. Please pay extra attention to those who need it and make sure they know you’re around for them. Some will never feel comfortable telling others they have autism and that’s the horrid stigma of the world we live in.

Most importantly though, DON’T ‘light it up blue’ – this phrase comes from autism speaks – a charity which the majority of those with autism and carers of autistic people despise. First of all, they place emphasis on it being blue because they see the majority of those with autism as ‘boys’ this really isn’t true. They may have a higher percentage of those diagnosed but this generally is more down to the fact girls are better at ‘hiding’ and ‘masking’ it. Their logo is a puzzle piece and this is because they see those with autism as people who have something missing and are therefore not completed people. The aim of this charity is to find a cure for autism – a cure that will never be found and a cure that definitely doesn’t need to be found. Those with autism generally have higher IQ’s than those without. Some of the most famous and highly respected people are autistic – take Tom Hanks, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Susan Boyle for just a tiny handful of examples. Those with autism do not need a cure, they need someone to understand and help when times get tough. They need the stigma of this world to go away, yes we’ve come a long way but we’re no way near close enough. The majority of Autism Speaks funds go to looking for a cure and a test for pregnant women to test if they’re child will have autism and then make the decision of aborting it if they choose to. This shouldn’t be allowed under any circumstances. Autism doesn’t ruin someone’s life, it enhances it. So please, take April as a time to think and look out for those with autism but don’t light it up blue before you’re educated on the charity who promotes this (autism speaks). We’re a world that needs educating and understanding on a disability that has so many beautiful aspects, even if it means they struggle more than others.

As always, email if you need anything or want to ask anything – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you.

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in anxiety, Autsim, Daily update, Uncategorized

Easter and a very low gal..

Hola (take thirty-six) Amigos!

As usual, I’m going to start this blog how I start every other – sorry for the lack of updates! Life’s really getting on top of me at the moment, and I’m at a proper low point. So here’s a nice rant for you all to enjoy!

So 3 weeks ago me and my boyfriend broke up after over a year together, it’s been really tough on me. Originally, it was my idea but as usual it was a rash decision and when I went to see if we could work out he didn’t want me anymore. It’s been so horrible as my self confidence is always low but when someone you really want looks you in the eyes and says they don’t want you anymore it really bloody hurts. I’ve been struggling with the change of routine more than most people would, I’m trying to readjust to being at home most nights or making plans with others. It’s weird not to be round his every weekend and most weekdays but it always takes getting used to no matter what and I understand that. However, the worst thing about it all is that it’s turned my mental health into complete chaos and if I’m truly honest I haven’t felt this down in a very long time.

There’s been nights I’ve cried myself to sleep, nights I’ve drove and drove and drove. I’ve been in such a low place that at times I’ve considered if the world would be a better place without me. My whole happiness has been snatched away and it’s left me with a very dark cloud hovering above me and I’m losing the will to try and get it to go away. I’ve lost most of my motivation for school work and found myself not going in much at all. I’ve lost the excitement of going to university and I’m starting to think maybe it’s best I stay at home. In all honesty, it’s just been an awful couple of weeks and I’m trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes though you have to shine your own light and I guess this is one of those times.

I have every hope I’ll find my own happiness again soon enough but I hope it comes in the next week or so as I’m struggling with this weight on my shoulders. It’s all too much stress. The problem with PDA is that you get obsessions with things or people, mine just so happens to be people and my boyfriends end up being the obsession. They don’t know this of course, when we’re going out I’m no different in that aspect to anyone else. However, it’s the aftermath that hits me harder than most. I find myself struggling to find a reason to live and with a new goal to find my happiness in someone else. But I did that last time and I’ve ended up even worse than I was after my last break up so I’m not doing that this time. This is the first time I’ve been on my own for a long period of time (for about 2.5 years) and I’m fully aware it’s now time to find the happiness in myself, no matter how hard it seems.

So for anyone else in a really dark place, struggling to find the positives, I promise you you’re not alone. There’s much better times coming, make sure you’re around to see them. You’ve impacted more lives than you’ll ever know. When you’re in such a down phase it’s easy to dismiss the people that love you, to feel like the world would be a much better place without you around but I can assure you that’s not the case. Everyday you make an impact on people’s lives that you wouldn’t even know; the people at home who are comforted just by your presence, your close friends that do nothing but laugh with you when you’re around, your pet who runs up to you as soon as they sense your sad, the distant family members who’ve recently liked your facebook posts, the bus driver who sees you every morning on your way to school, the local shop worker who always scans through your favourite chocolate bar, even the person you walked past in the street last night. ALL these people have been impacted by your presence and would feel deep sadness if they didn’t see you most days. Your life is worth living, the future brings so much happiness so please make sure you’re around to see it happen.

As always, I’m an email away and I reply much faster on there than I’m active on here! – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com

Thank you so much for reading if you do get the far – it’s been very ramble-y!

Also, Happy Easter – eat all your chocolate and worry about the weight after, you’re all beautiful!

Much love to you all

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in anxiety, Autsim, Daily update

PDA V Relationships&General Chitchat..

Hola (take thirty-three) Amigos!
Again, in true me style, I’m sorry for lack of update but I found myself just laying on my bed crying and the first place I thought to turn was here, so imma get straight to it.

Does anyone else with PDA struggle with relationships? As in romantic relationships?
Because, oh heck, I do. I did before in my previous relationship and I never knew if it was just because we didn’t work out, but it’s becoming the same in my relationship now. And to tell you the honest truth..it sucks so bad. I hate it. I have a couple of months where everything’s perfect – the obsession that comes with PDA suddenly clings onto my boyfriend, it’s him I want to be with 24/7, and then suddenly, literally out of nowhere it just takes a massive U turn. I find myself questioning the relationship altogether, questions like – ‘is it worth the stress?’ ‘will we even last?’ ‘are we meant to be?’ and statements like – ‘this is pointless’ ‘I want to be single’ and emotions including isolation, negativity and feeling trapped all go whirling round my head and I just can’t get out of it. I try to stop and see the positive sides but this negativity hangs over me like a storm cloud ready to burst.
Today is one of them days, I want out of the relationship but I also know I’d regret that fully. It’s one of the worst things that affect me with PDA, I go from obsessing over this one guy, from him being my everything to wanting to leave him and escape. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive to the fact that a phase like this goes on in ‘normal’ relationships but I’m also not stupid enough to think it goes to the same extent. I’ve come to the conclusion that the demands of a relationship sometimes do just get waaaayyy too much, and I need to realise that’s okay. Before doing something I would regret in the nearby future, I’ve asked my boyfriend for just some space, some space for me to just regain that self esteem and to have a blank slate on demands of relationships. To which, I think he understands, only time will tell.
The down phases always come, still today, it’s part of my depression, PDA and anxiety so I know they’ll be around forever, but in the winter it gets so much worse when my SAD kicks in, the initial changing over from seasons is a real struggle and I guess this is what this all is about really, which is what I have to remember before making any rash decisions that just suit me now, rather than in the very near future. However, it’s really, bloody hard. I find myself battling my brain for a week or more just trying to do daily actions. I come home from school, get straight in my PJS and sleep. The demands are like hot water boiling over a pan on the hob, and I have to find a relief, which normally would be spending time with my boyfriend…but not right now eh haha.

So, instead, I’ve got to find my own way and maybe that’s writing. (I’ve recently started writing notes down to a plot of a book I wanna write one day)
So I was just wondering if anyone else with PDA has them down phases with relationships while they struggle with the demands faced to them? If so, please get in touch – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com – knowing people have the same problems would give me a heck of reassurance.

Sometimes we all have down phases..and thats okay..it’s the coming back out of it that’s important.

In other news, my Mum knows about my blog! It’s something I’ve always kept completely secret from everyone except for one very close friend and a councillor that once saw me and came up with the idea of starting a blog. I wish I could say I’d got the guts and told her but that’d be a lie, I have no idea how she knows! Mother, if you’re reading this now, I know it’s not just Mother instincts that made you find out I had a blog 😉 It actually is a funny story on how I found out she knew; I was at a University open day and we’d just come out of a Creative&Professional writing talk, and the lecturer had just mentioned that blogs were an important running system throughout. Afterwards, when sat in the canteen, Mum mentioned how a blog would be a good idea and I sneaked in ‘I’ve got a blog you know’ (so give me some credit, I mean I did think I was telling her!) to which she went ‘I know’, I’m still waiting to know how mind. But she’s taken it really well and there’s no pressure from her which I appreciate, if anything she reminds me to keep on top of it, although I’m still useless at it!<<

so, on the being 17 front – I’ve started driving! Is anyone else with PDA going to admit how hard that is? The demands are sending me crazzzaaayy! But, I’ve got my own little car – a Hyundai i10, which I love! – and my Dads taking me out at the moment, and he has been since the last weekend in August. The actual driving, I think I’ve got now, same with clutch control, but no chance on the manoeuvres! I was waiting to hear back from a guy that did driving lessons for those with special needs and I’d heard great reviews but he never got back to me after a month of voicemails being left by both me and my Mum, so I had to give up on him, which is a shame, as he himself had Asperges so he could’ve understood that bit more than most. However, I’ve recently messaged a ‘normal’ instructor and am now waiting to hear back what day he can do, I’ll let you know how it goes! I’m very nervous though, it’s one thing Dad shouting at me to ‘TURN SHARPER’ ‘SLOW DOWN’ but I don’t know how I’ll deal with a complete stranger. I guess the main benefit is atleast I can actually drive, but now I just want to pass!<<

School, so far so…okay?, Lessons are going fine and I’m in full prep to sit my A levels in June but crikey it’s a lot of work and revision between now and then and I need BBC to get to my dream University so got to keep my head down. I also got my English Literature AS remarked and went up to a C – going up by 7 marks! I’ve just finished off my UCAS, which was crazy! I’m too young for this, what happened to little Abbi who stayed hidden under school tables in nursery and cried, begging my Mum to take me home?! Personal Statements are truly the hardest things to write, I’m sure J.K Rowling had it easier writing Harry Potter. I’ve not got enough confidence as it is, let alone when you’ve got to big yourself up on a bit of paper, I think I’ve finally finished it now though which is a relief. On the friend front, not so good, don’t trust any of them and can’t imagine I’ll be talking to them when I leave school but for now they’ll do.<<
So to anyone else with PDA struggling in education or to any parents forcing their children to get into school – YOU CAN DO IT!

My Mum never thought she’d see the day where I was in main stream school, let alone now applying to Universities. We’ve come a long, long way and I couldn’t have done it without her pushing me to it. (Promise I’m not just saying that now she knows my blog exists. I’d be more than lost without my dearest Motherbear<3)

Anywayyyy, enough rambling for one day – feel free to email me as always, I love to help!<3<
Thank you<
Abigail J

x x x

Posted in Autsim, Daily update

Moany update..

Hola (take thirty-two) Amigos!

Been a bit of a tough week – so many friends have turned out to be very sly and yet again my ex has sent nasty messages to which I’ve ignored. My sister sent a few fb messages in retaliation though, can’t say I blame her, I’m fed up of being treated like crap by him when I haven’t even done anything wrong. All my ‘friends’ seem to have sided with him too which makes it all 100x worse.

I’ve got a few hard things coming up, first off results day on Thursday – however, I’m not nervous for..as of yet anyway. If you get below DDD you don’t make it into next year. You’d think I’d be nervous, I need to get into next year to get good A levels and then eventually to go on my own adventure at University. However, these arguments with my friends have made me secretly hope I don’t get in if it means I don’t have to face all the drama they bring me. It’s disgusting how they’ve isolated me when none of them can even justify one thing I’ve actually done wrong to deserve it. I’ve got plenty of friends, from year 8 onwards I never did struggle with my friendship group that much. But now I am, I really am – atleast in school anyway. I’ve got plenty of friends but they’re all elsewhere now. Some have just gone off to uni this year while others just happen to go to seperate schools which really does suck. It’s gunna be a struggle to go back to a place which always seems like hell due to the crazy amount of demands but now it’s going to be even worse – I’ve got to face it with very few friends by my side. But it does mean I can fully focus on my A levels which only can turn out in my favour right?!

Second of all – I’ve got Reading festival. Thursday until Monday of next week – yano what that means? Busy and new places, very loud music and a whole lot of camping. I was excited for the social aspect of it but as previously explained those friends I am not so close with now. I’ve still got my boyfriend and some other friendship group whom I’m going to be with but it’s so crap how it’s all been ruined for no actual reason on my behalf. There’s also a party this Saturday coming which of course all my friends have been invited to, except me so that feels a bit crap. But onwards and upwards? I’ll let you know how Reading goes – it’s a massive step for me and my independence.

On the good side – I’ve just booked a holiday in Spain for October with my boyfriend as his dad lives out there so we’ll stay with him. Should be amazing! I’m very excited to get some sun.

As always email me on abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com for any advice or just a chat etc.

Hopefully my next blog will be more positive or atleast something useful for you lovely readers and not just moaning. But you have to know the goods and the bads right?!

Thank you!

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in Autsim, Daily update

Failing relationships… 

Hola (take thirty-one) Amigos!

Don’t worry!! Me and my boyfriend are okay!!

After a load of crap I’ve been dealing with by friends I felt it was only right to post a blog on it. Writing helps me relieve the stress so yous lot just have to put up with it! Would you prefer a spam or no post at all?

It’s a tough one. A really tough one. Being friends while struggling with PDA. Or any type of autism for that matter. Friendship isn’t easy, not at the best of times for the most ‘normal’ people. It means constantly compromising, it means making other people happy and sometimes it even means arguing. However, arguing shows you care – it’s horrible, excruciating and aggravating but it’s a normal aspect of life. It’s important, it’s necessary to fight for those you love. As clichè as it is and as much as you hear it, people argue because they’re fighting for each other, not against each other. Sometimes those arguments seem the worst ever but forgiveness is always an option.

I’ve been distancing myself from friends for what seems like forever, it’s those times when bad things happen elsewhere and you feel the need to be alone. It’s been like that a while for me. I’ve been struggling with other things on my mind so I’ve been separating myself from friends and the drama that comes with most girls at the age of 17. However, it all came backfiring to me last week, when my ex sent a horrid text saying how I was losing everyone. I knew what he was saying was right but I wasn’t going to admit that, he was only saying it out of spite anyway. Truth be told, the only reason I’ve been drifting from them is down to him. Being in the same friendship group as your ex is not enjoyable, let me tell you. The demands of trying to stay civil while not being too friendly is not nice. My friends seem to be getting off with him left, right and centre and it’s not nice to see whether or not you’re fully over them, especially when they’re your so called ‘friends’. So, my ex put me into WW3 as I asked all my friends what was up and if we were okay (to which I learned only 2 were annoyed) and then he decided not to message me back, to say to other mutual friends of mine and his that he wasn’t getting involved. Nothing like dropping your ex into arguments and then pi**ing off elsewhere is there!

However, today brought forgiveness. It brought me a new frame of mine. I apologised to one of my friends for my actions and explained I was only isolating myself (Whether I think she did wrong or not I didn’t mention). Sometimes I think forgiving and forgetting is the best possible option. I know if I stick to my usual stubborn self I’m only going to regret my decisions in the long run..when I go to Reading festival with both my ex and our friendship group and when we go back to school. It’s something I need to do so it’s not playing on the back of my mind all summer.

I can’t stress enough how tricky any relationships are to keep when you have PDA. The demands are tough and never ending but sometimes tricky friendships make everything so much worse. Being demanded to be friendly non stop at school is another barrier for us – one that many don’t even spare a second thought to. I just need to stress that it’s okay to find them difficult, it’s completely normal to everyone, even more so to those with autism. Sometimes it seems the best option to keep to your stubborn guts during the argument but it’s also important to remember the benefits forgiving and forgetting will give you in the long run. I’m not saying don’t stick up for yourself because that’s vitally important and a trait that’ll be so useful over time. However, sometimes you have to prioritise your battles and when you’re battling against the demands everyday, you can’t afford a separate fight.

Please remember – relationships and friendships that are supposed to be…will be.

Sorry about the rambling post. I needed it off my chest.

Thank you – email me abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com for absolutely anything!

Abigail J

X X X

Posted in anxiety, Autsim, Daily update

The PIP fight..

Hola (take twenty – nine) Amigos! 

It’s PIP time in my household, about a month ago me and mum fought for some money to keep us going. So mum can stay at home and not have to work because she’s my backbone. There’s not much I ask for in this life but we really could do with a bit more money as mum doesn’t get an income. And like most PIPs, we’ve been rejected…

My mums started the process now to challenge it, but of course it’s a battle that we could’ve done without. For those who aren’t familiar with it, you need 8 points for minimum money and 16 for maximum. I got 2. None for medication, even though I don’t know half the names of the ones I take and my mum is the one who provides me with them downstairs every morning next to a drink. We had no points for money even though it literally burns a hole through my pocket and I really struggle to sort it. In the letter we also had the phrase ‘with Abigail doing a levels it’s unlikely she’s reaching maximum struggles’ 1) I have to stay in education until I’m 18, unfortunately it’s illegal for me not to 2) The reason I’m at a levels is because I couldn’t deal with the transition to a different and new college. 

Again, it’s a fight we really don’t want to have. With mum always at home because I need her here for me there should be some money coming in for our household. Something’s got to give. Not only does it mean Mum’s going through the stress of writing a challenging letter, we all have to go through her anger and upset from it.

 Today on the way back from hospital she went ‘abs I’d have been better leaving you under the table all them years ago because you’d be in a better financial state just now’ she then went on to cry. It’s horrible seeing her like that and she knows deep down that she did the right thing by moving me on to school and now I have the skills to get a job easily whereas I wouldn’t have. But, god it hurts. In the meeting you have to look like a complete moron to even be in with the slightest chance of acceptance, it’s dehumanising and disgusting that if someone knows what time of day they have their tablets and they’re wearing jeans then they’re fine. What type of logic are they working off? It’s something that I can’t really sort but I do have to be here while my mum, for the second time, reports on all the worst things about me and when I walk past the computer screen and read a sentence it really isn’t a nice one. It hurts to fight for some money that we really need to keep me sorted. If my mum hadn’t have been at home all this time for pick ups and to catch my tears, I’d definitely not be the person I am today, but instead they continue to stay so tight on the money they have which leaves the rest of us struggling. 

It’s hard on all of us but it’s a battle we’re gunna have to take on head first.. 

Thank you. 

Abigail J 

                                  X  X  X 

Posted in anxiety, Autsim

Down days..

Hola (take twenty – eight) Amigos! 

It’s been a weird several days. I remain in this kind of fake bubble of no emotions. I’m not talking to people, I’m just shutting everyone else out. My mum said today ‘abs I wish sometimes you’d cry when you were upset rather than just being quiet for days’ and she’s got a point. At the moment it very much seems like I’ll be stuck like this forever but I know I won’t. It’ll pass just like every other one has. It’s been stressful – emotions are all over the place and I’m lucky if I get my head to stop whizzing around for 10 minutes. I need a break from it all but it just isn’t possible. That’s the thing with PDA; usually later on in school terms, after the demands pile and pile up,  everything just reaches maximum anxiety level and there just isn’t anywhere else it can go. There’s down days for everyone but we seem to go to a really low couple of weeks until we drag ourselves back out of it. But getting yourself out of a dark phase is a demand so it’s all one vicious and f**ked up cycle. 

I very rarely notice how much my PDA affects me…I guess this is one of them… 

Thank you 

Abigail J 

                              X X X

Posted in anxiety, Autsim

PDA’ers Anxiety..

Hola (take twenty – six) Amigos!

I’ve had a lot of blog posts whirling round my mind recently and I’m not too sure why..so far these resolutions are working perfectly though as I’m sticking with my blog and even if I’m not posting everyday I’m replying to individual emails and thinking of new ideas. Another new years resolution was for me to not bite my nails and I also haven’t done that since last year (although only 16 days ago this is still a very proud time for me) So as I’m typing this up I’ve got freshly painted nails and I’m feeling on top of my life, for now, atleast.

I guess one thing I wanted to touch upon was the idea of teachers and their perspectives of PDA. Many believe that there’s an extreme avoidance of demands due to the desire to be in control of a situation, don’t get me wrong all PDA’ers beg to be in control of anything they’re put into but it’s not quite as simple as that. My teachers in primary school were always made aware of my PDA and because of this they’d but me as ‘team leader’ in group tasks thinking they were helping me out but infact it turned out quite the opposite for me – I hated it. As much as we want to be in control of our own situation it doesn’t mean that we all want to control everyone else around us. I know the severity of controlling others comes across differently in each different case – as does everything else – but it’s not always as common as one might seize to believe.

Since I remember I’ve craved to be ‘normal’ to be hidden at the back of the room when everyone else desires to be in the centre. I’ve kept the anxiety building up all day just to come home and cry myself to sleep – my best way of relief. I’ve never made a show of myself anywhere but inside my home because judgement is my biggest worry. The thing with PDA is it very much goes one of two ways – you either crave to be the centre of attention or to be in the back where no one notices you; it’s always black or white, it’s never grey for us. It’s always an obsession or we’re not interested.

On that note, so many times parents have got in touch with me and we’ve spoken about how their child fought with their life for something to then get it and not seem the least bit bothered. It’s so easy for us to get an obsession, to want a certain something with all we’ve got to then get it and be bored. I think for PDA’ers it’s the determinism that keeps us fighting everyday, it’s the battle that goes on between our minds and our hearts. We don’t want to face any demand yet we do, every single day because what other choice do we have? I think it’s vitally important that we fight for whatever we want, even if we give it all up after.

The determinism inside us gives us the strength that others don’t necessarily have because when you’re battling and fighting with the brain that controls you everyday why do you want to be in control? why do you not want to be in control? That’s where we differ; some of us want to get rid of this sudden possession of control when it’s given to us because we’ve never had it and some of us want it so bad just to get a taste of what it’s like to have that control placed in our hands.

And I really do believe at the end of the day that is where every single person with PDA mostly differs, it’s the complete ignorance of power or it’s the everlasting wanting for it. Is it the anxiety that makes us want to be able to control the PDA or is it the PDA that begs for us to control our anxiety. Either way we are all fighting for a release from a brain which constantly argues with simple everyday tasks. Many teachers, social workers, psychiatrists etc all believe that our want for controlling demands is because we like the feeling of being in charge, but perhaps we just like the idea of the anxiety leaving us for a while we focus on other tasks.

Because does anxiety trigger the worse days of our demand avoidance or does demand avoidance down days trigger the worst anxiety?

Thankyou – abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com (you know the drill by now)

Abigail J

 X X X

Posted in anxiety, Autsim

PDA traditions (for me anyway)..

Hola (take twenty – six) Amigos!

I seem to be endlessly drafting blogs at 1am because that’s when my writing mind seems most alive, draft after draft I delete trying to use the perfect words to sum it all up. The conclusion is though how do you sum up things you don’t fully understand. Does anybody fully understand PDA? Or is it an ongoing battle between the mind and the demands that are faced to us everyday? Is there anything that eases it? If only time could help it fade. It’s hard to sit down and condense all your thoughts into one post when there’s so many questions whirling round your mind on a daily basis. I guess for the last couple of days though I’ve been trying to piece together my personal childhood experience with PDA.

This all started when reminiscing and looking through all the old family photos with my boyfriend (although half the time he got bored and paid no attention to me aww’ing and coo’ing over memories that were so long ago yet so distinctive in my mind) thing is, I’ve always had good memory, there’s moments I can remember from long long ago, but some bits in particular stay most prominent. It’s almost embarrassing to admit this but by now what have I really got to lose?

My childhood started off on a whirlwind of adventures for both my mum and dad who’d parented my 2 older siblings before getting to me and thinking where the hell have we gone wrong? Thing is I created challenges for them that they never expected, made them develop in ways that cannot be imagined and made them make decisions that weren’t easy..but did I know it then? Nope, of course I didn’t. Every parent or guardian knows the weird and judgemental looks your child (especially those with autism) can get; kids walk past glaring because they’re doing something different and even fully grown adults think they have the right to question your parenting style when they just don’t get it. This happened to my mum with these few things in particular…

I had my ‘ninny’ aka dummy aka pacifier aka I don’t know just that thing babies suck from when I was born until my 7th birthday. Yep, it’s true, until I was seven. I know this seems insane and I can imagine the thought process going through your mind right now but for me? It stopped a crazy amount of anxiety. Mum tried on numerous occasions to help me get rid of them, one Christmas Eve when I was 4 I gave them all up ready for the elves to take away with them..only problem is I was so scared of Santa and my anxiety was so high I needed the ninny back that could calm my deepest of nerves. (Me being scared of santa is a different story for a different day – I cannot stress enough how badly I dealt with dressed up people and to this day that phobia remains) after this mum tried and tried to help me get rid of this little sucking thing that was starting to get embarrassing for her and I. But it was just hopeless. I needed it, as much as my mum needed me to calm down, as much as the night needs the moon, I needed that ninny to stop all those anxieties creating a tornado in my head. It was at 7, when I finally gave it up, one day I walked downstairs with all of them in my hands and handed them over..needless to say I don’t think my parents quite believed the sight they were seeing in front of them. Not only was I giving the one thing they thought I never would give up without argument (finally!) I was carrying about 30 dummy’s in my hand, considering I slept with 4 every night, which I physically still don’t understand how is possible.

Another thing I held onto, until an ‘abnormal’ age was my pram. It was an older kids version obviously but within that little seat I could hide away. It was a major deal for me and at the age of 2 I knew how to pull the prams hood right down and hide from the world, which is what I did until I was 7. The thing is with PDA, if the demand is to stop doing something it makes you reluctant to give this one thing up. I always hear mum say now ‘it just wasn’t worth the fight with you’ which makes so much sense I guess, I would fight all day with her about important stuff, at the end of the day what’s the problem with a pram and a dummy as long as you can deal with the judgement. Luckily I didn’t see the beady eyes of judgmental a**holes as I had the hood pulled so far down all I could see was the navy blue chequered pattern it held above my eyes. It’s so weird to think that the prams seat was also like my cave; my hideaway from the rest of the world. Sometimes I would do anything to be pushed around in that again without any eye contact to the rest of the world but reality hits and at 16 I really can’t afford to be in a pram and I most definitely wouldn’t even want a dummy now.

Did anyone else have little things like this that elongated more than ‘usual’ children?

Another thing which is slightly different but also common in many autistic children was my inability to smile. Back then all my school photos are of me screaming and crying my eyes out which even breaks my heart to look at. But when I was genuinely happy you cannot tell by the awkward emotion shown on my face. I struggled so much to smile and that clear distinctive smile didn’t really come on until I was 8 if not older. I realise how unusual this must seem to people who caught on how to smile since they were 6 months old and laughing with their parents as they repeat the sounds ‘mama’ ‘dada’ while pride bursts out of the parents eyes all condensed into laughs at the precious little bundle of joy that lay before them. But for me? It was virtually impossible.

I guess looking back through old photos has made me realise the different things I did to the usual life of children the same age as me. With a pram and a dummy still  attached to me when I was well into my seventh year it makes you wonder why I had such a connection? Why did them two things bring me such a relief? It was also nice to see my boyfriend not question it – although knowing my anxiety is bad which was my excuse for my ninny he doesn’t know the rest. I imagine at the time I had countless weird looks and many times my mums parenting was scowled upon, but perhaps it is worth noticing that ‘some battles just aren’t worth fighting’ (especially when a child with PDA is involved).

I guess what I’m trying to say is pick your battles correctly, sometimes it’s easier to lose and have your peace of mind rather than making it harder for the one on the autistic spectrum. Especially those with PDA who suffer terribly from all the demands given in a usual everyday setting.

Thank you – email me abigailbrookshalling@gmail.com for any advice, tips or just a friendly ear to listen.

Abigail J

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The learning of the smile.
The dummy and pram (the worst part is I still nap like this now)