It can be very tiring and difficult to be constantly feeling anxious; 'on the watch' for pressure created by direct or indirect demands from self and others, institutions, different cultures, situations or environments.
“There is a sense of the child being emotionally exhausted from ‘always being on the watch’ for the next demand. This can also result in exhaustion on the part of supporting adults, who feel they are also always on the watch for potential flash points.” – Understanding Pathological Demand Avoidance In Children
Growing up as a child the pressures and expectations of what I should be able to do and know grew.
As a compliant child - unexpressed and suppressed – I internalised my suffering, the pain which came from pretending I could when I could not, that I understood when I did not, that I desired what others desired when I did not. The traumatising fear of judgment and rejection, constant uncertainties from every moment or relationship presented placed my brain in a constant state of Flight, Freeze and Fawn (I wasn't much of a Fighter).
My brain was always on high alert, ‘always being on the watch’ to protect me from harm of pressure.
My brain was always under threat from demands and expectations either in the home, out and about or at school. This threat response of not feeling safe was ever present and one which participated in manufacturing OCD subtypes. I became ‘always on the watch’ for; being over weight or ugly (Disordered Eating OCD), causing harm to others and what I did wrong to hurt them (Harm and Responsibility OCD), making mistakes (perfectionism OCD). And in my child's case, on the lookout for diseases and germs that can kill them (Contamination OCD).
This is an invisible and a hidden pressuring demand from the mind itself.
When my child tells me they are worried about spewing or what if what they touched was on the ground that had germs all over it or spiders are crawling around in the dark I compassionately ask, “what part of your mind is doing this right now?” My child will respond, “my OCD”. Me: “That’s right because its job is to protect you and that’s what it’s trying to do. It means well and it has a great imagination. We love how it wants to do that”.
I might also hug my child, if they welcome it.
Or invite their assistance dog for “cuddles” or deep pressure therapy for physical reassurance that everything is safe and okay. Other times my child will talk out their brains thoughts, rather than internalise them where these thoughts can grow and feed on themselves and cause them harm rather than be actually helpful.
My child usually creates imaginative and helpful ways to move through their OCD thoughts when they won’t shake off easily.
My child never ceases to amaze me how in–tune they are with themselves when I practice compassionate Responsive Caregiving. We refrain from fight or force with our OCD brains – this only inflames our already threatened mind.
We love and embrace how our minds work instead.
We respect our brains way of trying to protect us from dangers we may not understand or know when it comes to obvious pressures but more importantly the invisible ones. The ones that we ourselves find it hard to see. Our brains are 'always being on the watch'. 'I'm always on the watch for my child's brain being 'always being on the watch' plus my own watching out for myself 'being on the watch'.
There's a lot of watching going on! LOL!
'Aways being on the watch' requires a great deal of mental and emotional availability. It is very exhausting and it's another reason to 'always be on the watch' because others and ourselves do not understand it impacts what we are capable of being and doing. Thus we are 'always being on the watch' for demands that far exceed our capabilities.
The invisible work as a parent of a PDA’er!
STRETCH _ EMBRACE _ SOAR
Whether I accept this or not, or have a diagnosis or not,
it is still true,
that I, my child and/or my family have individualised diverse needs
who require humans who are ACCEPTING of our neurodivergence
INTRAPERSONAL CREATIVE QUEST
To love, trust, revel and lead with our beautiful autistic minds
through knowing and acting on our Roarheart
the inner inexplainable knowledge and truth
~ our intuition ~
Reflect and create a picture or journal the answer to;
Have I thought, felt, done or experienced things like this?
Share with another anything discovered in the Sacred Writing/Creating.
Am I 'always being on watch' for a 'flash point' or meltdown?
I pause with quiet reflection upon how I am thinking and feeling when I am 'always being on the watch'.
TODAY’S THANK YOU
I am willing to THANK all my regretful, angry, fearful and negative thoughts I may have about 'always being on the watch'.
I will trust, even if I don’t want to, all that I am aware of now, is how it is has meant to be – to be open to something new.
I am willing to put aside everything I think I know about myself/child, my life, my past and my future, to have an open mind and a new experience with myself where I am 'always being on the watch'.
I am open to the possibility of moving from the AWARENESS of 'always being on the watch' to ACCEPTING I'm 'always being on the watch' receiving new thoughts to love, trust, revel and lead with our Roarheart [our inexplainable inner knowledge and truth – our intuition] learning how to know, direct and master our individualised lives.