Pathological Demand Avoidance

Having some tough times this week but feeling a bit better today. My research into autism and trauma has taken round to the subject of this blog post.

This is definitely something that affects me to a degree and I’m thinking about what it means.

Identifying myself as avoidant and have done for a while, certainly there is a struggle with meeting demands. Tying in to social anxiety very much, it’s about being put in a position where you don’t feel confident or comfortable. Taken to it’s furthest degree, perhaps not even feeling safe.

It harks back to what I’ve said before about not being in control. You might ask yourself “how does this benefit me to meet a demand?”, particular if it’s from someone else and it’s to benefit someone else.

There is an inherent good in doing unselfish acts to benefit someone else but at what cost to yourself?

I can and do demand things of myself and for myself. Probably too much at times. There’s also a lot of stuff I don’t demand of myself where I perhaps should.

It all comes under the same umbrella as pressure, expectations and such. I think the real crux of the issue is whether the person who makes demands of you actually understands you and if you trust them.

We all had the ultimate test forced on us back in March 2020. The demands were utterly unhuman but no one understood just how abhorrent it is to demand people quarantine themselves and treat themselves and each other as lepers.

And I sure as hell didn’t trust anyone who insisted they were trying to protect me from something I don’t believe in at the expense of everything that makes life worth living.

The trauma of the last 2 and a half years remains stubborn and hard to get over because I just lost trust in everyone and don’t feel like it’s worth trying to restart my life.

We in the UK haven’t had covid restrictions for quite a while now but the world just seems a total void empty of humanity. The memory remains but it feels somewhat like it is in the past now but the world was changed not for the better.

Got the house to myself for a few days again but this time I didn’t feel any sort of anticipation towards it. I am struggling by myself again and probably need to get out once more.

Yesterday after work was a dark time, ruminating over all the darkness. Reliving the pain of the past as I try to find the words to make amends. It hit me like a brick that I can’t move on until I’ve made peace with those I cared about and loved the most. Those who I stopped caring about when I was so deeply lost in the darkness and miss them dearly now I feel like I’ve lost them forever.

I can’t make peace until I can finally say that I’m free of all the deep fears I’ve developed over that time and exorcised a few demons. I know that I want to have friends again and I don’t want to live the rest of my life on my own, yet I also know that I need time alone away from the world to recover from the demands of life.

Yesterday I needed badly to shut myself off to rest and heal. I’m experimenting with Night Nurse and having took a couple to help me sleep early, I feel a lot better today because of it.

Also I came across another youtube vid helping to heal from trauma. The motto is “Be Kind, Rewind” which some may have heard before. The practise is to reverse the process of processing traumatic memories. Traumatic memories are the ones that leap into your conscious mind and take control of you as if you’re literally reliving the past.

Processing them properly so they stay in the past is what it’s all about. The idea is that memories are stored in the hippocampus rather than the amygdala, the fear centre of the brain.

It seems like an easy concept to grasp but it’s strange to think about in practise. Whether you’re actively travelling further back in time past the traumatic event to a happier place, or whether you just choose to look at the past in a backward way, I don’t know. It seems like zipping up a bag to close it rather than unzipping it open.

What I’m talking about it is trying to put the past behind me and close it off but I still wish things could back to they were before the trauma. Back to a time when we did what we wanted to without any fear or pressure of demand.

I think I know myself so much better than I used to and can defend myself better and I’m slowly learning the value of being kind to myself which will make me kinder to others again.

It’s got to be damn impossible for me not to have learned any lessons from all the pain I’ve experienced. Though truth is I like to push myself when it comes to something I really want, I’m not ever going to want to throw myself way over the limit again.

Feeling calm and safe is an oasis in a desert of pain but I’ll get bored of being calm and safe. Not going to give up looking for happiness and excitement.

They say that PDA is a form of control for those of us struggle to control ourselves. The burnouts and meltdowns are a reminder of what happens when we do lose control. Also I heard another motto. “Depressed => Deep Rest”. It’s hard for others to understand how often and how much we are harmed by the world and need time to heal.

I should have given myself more time to heal instead of aggressively pursuing something to escape the pain.

What I can say now is that I lost interest in everything and found joy in nothing for so long, all because I was constantly on a knife-edge, always seeking some sort of fix. My brain was crying out for a break and I just couldn’t listen. The blackness of trauma was spilling over everything I did because of the pressure I put myself under to keep fighting.

My obsessive, overthinking nature has seldom served me well and I think I’ll get mentally healthy when I can reign it in. It feels like I’ve had to stop caring and stop worrying to be able to deal with things. There are only a few people I care about enough to put myself out for and I always would do anything for them, only because I want, and in some cases need them to be happy.

The most hurtful time was when I felt my friends didn’t care about me enough to try to keep me in their lives yet, at that time I was becoming more demanding of them so I can’t blame them for giving up on me. In the end I didn’t have much choice but stop caring about them and shut myself away.

Ultimately I need them to understand that it’s taken so much time for me to come to terms with who I was and to build myself up again. I want to be friends again but I need them to be able to trust me and be comfortable around me and I can’t demand it from them. And I can’t be friends again if they don’t understand why I couldn’t stay friends at the time because I was so badly hurt.

It’s completely up to them if want to be friends again but I’m not going to pour my heart and soul into winning them back. No matter how badly I might want them back.

So here’s another reason why I don’t want to meet new people and make new friends. I’m just unwilling to care about anyone else, don’t think I have it in me anymore. It’s just too much to care about someone when they’ve got others in their lives who they care about more.

Caring is demanding. Except when it isn’t.

You can show you care for someone by doing things for them, if you understand someone so that you just do things without them needing to demand it. Is this really the key to it? I think it might just be.

Everything is a demand when no one understands.

Thanks for reading as ever

Kindest regards

Jamie

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