D is for Demand.
A demand is an insistent and peremptory (good word, it means insisting on immediate attention or obedience) request. Basically, anything that someone has ordered to be done right away with no choice of inaction. It seems that the word demand is synonymous to obedience (and people wonder why we resist). To demand something means you are imposing your will on another person, it doesn’t sound very nice.
Most people will be on the receiving end of various demands during their lifetime, usually with the idea that ‘it’s for their own good’. Can you tell I’m not fond of demands?
For PDA people though, everything is seen as a demand. Something we are forced to comply with ‘or else’. Even the things we ourselves want to do. Even OCD compulsions. Nothing is safe!
Imagine if every time the words ‘bed’, ‘brush’, ‘school’, ‘dinner’ and ‘coat’ were spoken you had the feeling of a large soldier standing over you shouting ‘DO IT RIGHT NOW’, you’d be pretty scared too. Everything evokes a feeling of fear. The emotions that are invoked can vary from demand to demand, day to day. Some days it’s a low level ripple that is unpleasant but not too difficult to ignore, other days it can be like a lead weight has just fallen on you so you can’t move. I can contest that some demands are akin to forcing someone who has a phobia of blood to stick their head in an open wound, the panic that encompasses me is so overwhelming that I have to react, I have to fight/flight/freeze. Yes, being made to make a phone call is THAT hard.
I can imagine that the neurotypical person will come across between 2 and 6 demands everyday, most of which they will have the skills and emotional ability to handle without having a meltdown/shutdown/panic attack. For the PDA person they will likely have between 10 and 100 (no joke) demands everyday. (Based on my estimates rather than any actual data although I think I will be looking into gathering data on this subject as the results would be interesting to see). For most NT people, a demand will be along the lines of having to cook for the family, having to do overtime or having to fill out tax return forms. For the PDA person a demand will range from having to wake up, having to say thank you, having to have a drink with breakfast to having to go to school, having to ask for help or trying to accomplish a demand.
A demand is something that a person HAS to do. If you live with a PDA person or know a PDA person then please be clear, when asking them to do something, if it is not a demand, because PDA people struggle to understand other’s points of view. If you ask us to do something then it’s perceived as a demand. If we don’t have to do it then make sure you make that explicitly clear, it’ll save you a lot of hassle in the long run 🙂
D is for Demand.