We took the decision to home-educate Little Miss M when she was three years old, long before her diagnosis of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).
We knew that doing so would mean only one full-time income into our little household, but also that it would benefit her hugely.
So I – her dad – am the ‘bread-winner’, working six days a week.
For the last week I have been on holiday – I cherish these days with my family as we are able to spend valuable time together.
Little Miss M is most comfortable at home. It’s her ‘safe place’. The routine we have established allows her to be as calm as is possible there, with the front room set up as she wants, her toys are easily accessible and she has access to the sofa (her go-to place).
Our last time off together was a trip to Disneyland Paris two months ago and whilst it was a fantastic experience in more ways than one for all of us, I can honestly say that all three of us are still recovering from the emotional ups and downs that it brought.
This holiday period has also in some ways been a rollercoaster – especially for Little Miss M, who was particularly anxious about an update that was scheduled for Minecraft along with a puzzle game that she became impatient with.
I know also that the change for her of me being home all week has contributed to her increased anxiety. She’s directed a large proportion of her frustration towards me but I know that I can’t take it personally, as doing so would be counter-productive, and that it is basically her communicating to me the struggles that she’s going through.
I personally struggle most seeing her so distressed – I feel helpless that she takes anything we suggest to try and assist her when she is highly anxious as a demand, only making her more worried.
My wife and I are precisely on the same PDA page: we have developed techniques and strategies and I am in utter admiration at my wife’s 24-7 patience and understanding.
My job is extremely physical however the mental tiredness I have experienced this week trumps by a long way the physical fatigue I encounter during a normal working week.
The most amazing person though is Little Miss M. She’s loving, resourceful, creative and so very enthusiastic about life, always keeping us on our toes with her curious nature. She’s becoming more inquisitive about what her future may hold and the uncertainty of this and anticipation of the changes that are to come are causing her a great deal of anxiety right now but what she does know is that we’ll be with her every step of the way.
It’s back to work for me on Monday and it’ll be a challenge for us three individually and collectively to readjust to our normal pattern but I can’t wait until my next week off.