What PDA feels like to me

It can be difficult to put into words something that you can only feel and not actually see. I’ve spent a while thinking about what Pathological Demand Avoidance feels like for me. This is the best way I can describe it, bearing in mind I have other conditions as well as PDA and that my experience may be different to other PDAers. 

PDA feels like I live in a giant robot. This robot resembles a person in that it has arms and legs and moves and speaks exactly the same as any other human. Inside the robot where I sit are thousands and thousand of buttons, levers, dials and motors, all which can be used to make the robot do anything and everything that a human can do. These cover the inside of the robot except for a long slit which allows me to see out.

Now, for anyone else, they would learn what button or dial does what. You’d have one that makes the legs move and another which makes you talk. But for me, there is a bit of faulty wiring, at any given time, on any given day, the buttons/dials/levers etc can and do all change. So one minute a red button may kick and the next minute the same red button makes me spit. There’s no warning when the changes occur, I don’t know what will happen when I push a button or pull a lever. It’s a case of try it and see and hope for the best. Sometimes the buttons do nothing at all and other times they over act, so I may shout instead of whispering.

As well as the faulty mechanics, there’s this weird, dense fog which frequently permeates the air where ever I am. Sometimes it’s so bad I can’t see the buttons and levers and I end up waving my hands around hoping I somehow hit the right thing. This fog also makes it very difficult to see out of the slit in the robot, so often I cannot see outside and other times I can make out just enough to get by.

What’s worse, is that most robots have a memory centre and components which transfer outside information such as sound, light, heat, etc, but in my robot, the memory is extremely leaky in that it can barely hold any information for any length of time. Sometimes information can be lost on the way in, never to be recovered. Information that should get to me often never does or is so distorted that I can’t make sense of it. It can be confusing though as sometimes the robot works almost fine, so it lures me and others into a false sense of security and frequently misconstrues my overall ability to function.

Many people have run diagnostic checks on my robot and have assessed that the robot is working ‘fine’, or at an acceptable enough level that no repair is warranted. This doesn’t help since the malfunctioning can only be seen from the inside. Somehow, everyday I manage to push enough ‘correct’ buttons and pull enough ‘working’ levers that people think the robot is working, when in reality it’s working at less than 30% capacity. I suppose if people were to ‘fix’ the broken parts of the robot, they would encounter the most advanced and capable robot in history. But they will never see that, because the minimum the robot can manage is actually enough for other people to be seen as ‘fine’, just not enough to be great.

Basically, I’m stuck inside something that doesn’t work. No one can see that it doesn’t work and no one is willing to help because they can’t see the problem that I’m facing. I get by, because that’s all I can do. It’s all I have and the best I can give. It will never be enough for me because I know I’m capable of so much more. If only I could get this stupid robot to work properly for long enough to prove that.

What does everyone else think? Does this sound like you/.your PDAer? Does my account resonate with anyone? 

6 thoughts on “What PDA feels like to me”

  1. Interesting. My son is only 4 so I don’t know if this is accurate for him. He has said on occasion things that give me a glimpse into his struggles. The other day we were talking about a time when he took something from his auntie when he shouldn’t have. He told me he’s worried he might do it again, that he didn’t want to but sometimes he can’t help doing it.

  2. This has made me cry and is exactly how I see my daughter. She is only 13 and I know she will have and does have a wonderful life but I do know that inside there is a genius that is behind a barrier of difficulties that hide so many things. I will never give up in searching for ways to get through those barriers.

  3. That´s exactly how I experience this like a unsatisfactory eternal struggle and so very much unpredictable, scary and very demarnding to live like. It make sence that we are demarnd avoidant. Who would not be , when struggle just by living and so far from potential. It is humiliating , and in a way like living in an everlasting fearful captive , that no one can see or understand and therefore unbelievably hard to remedy from outside and take seriously. In fact, what have in vain in this school year have struggled to explain to both my chikdrens teacher stab. . But they need to understand , if my children are to succed in getting the rigth support and understanding, enough to succed and develop more positively They really try to understand what i am trying to explain but without luck. I knowhow much my children need their help, and understanding so i have to continue to find better ways to explain them , and
    also why this is important to know. Maybe i can show them your amazing description 🙂 Don´t you think that regardless of how we work or not, we will come closer to a much positive view of ourselves , the more understandable and rewarding strategies we manage to build and succed and it is worth seeking ways to achieve these in spite of ?

    1. Feel free to show the teachers the stuff in this blog and any other information you can get, if it helps then it’s worth it. Yes I agree, I’ve found the more I understand why I am the way I am then the more positive and accepting of myself I am and I’ve been able to find better ways of dealing with my difficulties because I know why I struggle.

  4. My partner probably has PDA. This post reads so much like a collage of things he has said at various times. And of course, the slightest suggestion is a demand to him and he can resist the most absurd things till I feel lost sometimes. Finding your blog helped me understand his world much better. He finds it very difficult to explain and I never even realized his feeling pressured by “demands” was a separate thing in itself (he has AvPD as well among other issues – I guess these things usually happen in clusters). I have lost track the number of times I’ve gone “For god’s sake, you can just say NO – it was just a suggestion, not an order”. He often speaks of being in a fog. Speaks of himself as a robot or inanimate object, inherently defective. Reading your blog has left me shocked. He is very special and better than “fine” and I very much love him, even if not easy. Thank you so much for writing this.

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