Post Traumatic Growth

When we got a PDA diagnosis for our daughter there wasn’t too much shock involved for us personally to be totally honest.  

We knew in our hearts already and had read the info on the PDA Society Website, read the books and blogs we could find on PDA, & chatted in all the Fb groups (as you) do before the moment we formally had it confirmed we have a fabulous PDAer. 

There also wasn’t much too much adjustment as parents as we had always parented gently & autonomously, we had chosen to Home Educate following a child led learning model based on natural curiosity and freedom over her own time, preferences, interests, relationships etc so we already parented in a pretty PDA accommodating fashion – built on trust, respect, empathy, freedom (where we knew how.)

Trauma based PDA Parenting

A diagnosis and the support of a specialist did give us great reassurance and lots of guidance. We had much more clarity about how to support our child to feel their best in their home environment from understanding their particular sensory needs, to understanding their learning style, to appreciating more about their demand avoidance triggers. 

We now had a platform to explain to others in our support circle how they can best support our child when it was not intuitive for them. It gave our kiddo an understanding of themselves which has always been something they use to confidently explain their needs to friends and family.  

There were some things that I felt the impact of in less positive ways upon discovering PDA – from digesting the medical model of understanding PDA, to dealing with some professionals (we have some wonderful exceptions to that in our life’s fortunately) who don’t understand PDA and yet appear to hold some power over our life situation, to reading many Fb posts and info on other parents experience of PDA which was far from positive.

Pathological Demand Avoidance / PDA

At times it felt terrifying and overwhelming looking into the future. 

It’s that final point that really led me to put together a Fb group where parents could gather who although may need a place to be understood and supported, to have questions answered and information shared AND yet – Like me saw the total joy in having a child with PDA and wanted to not just unfold the blessings of their child’s life but their own life too.

The blessings of becoming more mindful, more questioning, more conscious, connected, more wide awake, expansive, & present in their life.

At this point I must share my love and appreciation for a blog which helped me so very much at this point starting out on my own journey written by my now darling friend Mel @lovepda www.lovepda.com

So that’s a bit about our journey, but everyone’s journey is different.

For some families getting a diagnosis (or settling into a self diagnosis) and receiving appropriate support is the most enormous breakthrough point from pain and struggle to relief. 

Some families are left with guilt, shame, and regret for what they didn’t know before, and the struggles that brought for everyone.

Some families feel stuck and stunned with a feeling of ‘now what?’ as they discover little help is available and they wonder how to navigate from where through the healing they all need.

There may have been significant trauma with the PDAer or other family members  – bullying, self harm, families torn apart, financial strain, illness & pain, depression…

Maybe you are reading this feeling you are still in or have been through trauma – as a parent, as a family, or more generally because of your connection to someone with PDA.

Even ‘smaller’ feelings of hurt, anger & fear can keep us stuck in patterns that keep us apart from all that we really are and in continuous fight, fight, freeze, or fawn mode. 

That’s OK!

With all the love and wishing in the world we can’t undo what we chose when we didn’t know better. 

I speak to many parents who feel stuck in their anxiety, in their grief, in their sadness, in their anger, in their overwhelm, in their hopelessness. 

Owning up to experiencing trauma through your parenting experience so far is no reflection on your child, nor your feelings towards them, anymore than birth trauma is a reflection on a new mother’s baby!

The ripple effects of a PDA child living in anxiety & distress because of being misunderstood and unsupported are enormous for the whole family. 

When people read anything written in support of parents they are quick to point out the experiences have been worse for the the child.

Indeed, & no one is doubting the needs of the child but we are here together @peacewithpda right now to support the parents. 

Parents who are forgotten, parents who are not heard, not believed, not nurtured, supported, soothed and uplifted & ultimately we are all on the same side here.

Healing the parent is the beginning of healing and bringing peace to the whole family. All the studies lead to a clear and obvious correlation from happy parent to happy child but I guess that’s pretty obvious to us really. 

I really wanted to take this time to talk about the trauma we can be stuck in as parents. The feeling of ‘I wish I knew’ ‘I wish I’d spoken up’ ‘I blame myself’ ‘I should have followed my gut’ ‘Why did I listen to them’ ‘Why did no one help us?’ ‘Why didn’t I try that for so long?’

Is your nervous system ‘stuck’ on high alert?

Maybe you’ve been experiencing:

  • Nightmares
  • Stress related illness & pain 
  • Addictions or substance abuse
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Feeling burnt out
  • Withdrawn and ovoiding social situations
  • Grief 
  • Despair
  • Unable to trust people
  • Lashing out in anger and frustration

In these times we need support. Sometimes professional support from a GP or a Counsellor.

Sometimes we need our friends and our community to wrap their arms around us and let us cry and share and speak the truth to release the pain without being judged or judging ourselves. 

Peace With PDA

In our Peace With PDA online Fb community we can do that. We can listen and we can hold space and of course I share the self help technique EFT Tapping to help you heal in your own time & space, amongst friends. 

EFT Tapping supports directly with both anxiety and traumatic memories:

  • Stimulation of acu-points such as the ones we tap with fingertips in EFT Tapping produces serotonin (the happy chemical) & regulates cortisol (the stress hormone)
  • Changes in the brain can reduce the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response, & create a sense of calm.
  • EFT Tapping is used with great success with war veterans for PTSD can quickly desensitise from traumatic stimulus. 
  • EFT Tapping helps facilitate the release of oxytocin, a hormone (the love hormone) that promotes relaxation. 

Together I believe we can create a new story – moving from trauma into the transformative and expansive space of ‘Post Traumatic Personal Growth’

Then, we can share our voices and experiences, and one by one we change the script on what it means to be a parent to a child or young person with PDA within our community. 

Thankyou for being a part of that ♥️

Join Peace With PDA on Fb:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/PDAParentsEFT/?ref=share

PeaceWithPDA Website – Links and resources on PDA:

Book Lindsay’s EFT Tapping Services (Profits will go to the PDA Society)

More on EFT Tapping for parents: