PDA: Demands and avoidance

People with PDA avoid all types of demands due to a high level of anxiety.

By Ida Anderson

There are many different types of demands that can be placed on someone. Demands can either be made by other people or by yourself. Demands can be very direct like “Come and help me.” Or they can be indirect such as “Why don’t we do this together.” All through the day there will be many demands which will cause a lot of stress to someone with PDA. Some days are better than others; on a calm day when you feel less anxious you may be able to cope better with a few more demands. However, on a very stressful day even the smallest demands may tip you over the edge.

Demands that you place on yourself are expectations that you feel that you should do. It could be anything from brushing your teeth to studying for an exam. On one of my bad days, even brushing teeth can be too much of a demand. However, I find it more calming to brush my teeth in the shower and then I have gotten rid of two jobs in one go.

Demands from other people make me even more stressed, even if they’re fun demands. For example, my dad told me to listen to a new album he brought for my record player. But because he told me to do it, I felt very pressured and avoided it. And my boyfriend suggested I help my mum cut the pumpkin for Halloween, but again I felt pressured and stressed and didn’t want to do it.

If something is going to make me feel very anxious but I really need to do it, I get more worked up and it can lead to a meltdown. For example, if I have to do a blood test, I know I have to do it. And not only will I feel the pressure given by myself, but I also feel the pressure from my mum and the doctors. Instead of saying no to the blood test, I would delay it for at least 2 weeks so I can be fully prepared. Sometimes I even have to cancel things in the morning, because I just can’t bring myself to go through with it on the day.

Feel free to let me know what you think!

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