The nearest I can liken it to, is what it must be like for a woman in a relationship where she is controlled, bullied and restricted by her partner. Even though you know it’s because of a condition, PDA, it doesn’t make it any less unbearable. And there’s not just one, we have two PDAers.
In the last year I have had to buy a safe to lock all knives and scissors into. I have had to move my belongings that were placed in other parts of the house, into my bedroom and keep the door locked at all times. Call me shallow, but my possessions do matter to me. They are the only thing I can focus on, because I’m prevented from having a social life. Property destruction is par for the course with PDA, at least when control is lost in a meltdown. I’ve had to buy a lockable chest to keep all important documents in, when one of them went for the paperwork intending to trash it.
So the walls have closed in. When I go out, you would think I had committed the worst crime ever. These aren’t social events mind you, they are appointments. And I keep appointments to the minimum (which includes my healthcare) just to avoid this situation. Because when I return, I will most of the time be greeted by a duo of screaming, yelling, complaining and blaming. How dare I go out. How dare I abandon them. For some reason even though I have told them in advance, apparently I never did. Even though their dad is there, that’s not me. And it can only be me.
I am under total control. The consequences for stepping outside of what I am “allowed” to do, are verbal attack and sometimes worse. It can be endless and enduring too. So if I am tired from an appointment, I will already be not feeling strong enough to deal with this reception.
There is of course also the dumping of educational problems daily, again, it can only be on me. It’s another method of control, an attempt to push me into making everything go away.
I sometimes wonder what it’s doing to my brain. Apparently emotional trauma does change the brain. And I’m not weak. I have fire in my belly. I’d have probably crumbled quite some time ago did I not have some strength of character. But when it’s your children, where are the options? There is no-one to ‘hand this over’ to. The situation with PDA is so abominable, with a postcode lottery of recognition and shocking ignorance among clinicians, there is little hope of CAMHS stepping up any time soon.
So it’s an endless cycle of emotional overreactions and railing against the world, but directing it all at one person. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t even know if there is a therapy that works for PDA. What I do know, is that if clinicians don’t understand the driving force of PDA and how the PDA child sees the world, they will have almost zero hope of engaging them, to help them. That suits CAMHS of course, one more statistic off their list. Would be too much hard work to train clinicians. Easier to deny PDA exists at all. Easier to say “Well if the child won’t engage.”
So while I’m clawing at the walls to get out of this locked-in existence, the authorities continue their political game regarding PDA. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil eh.