Happiness is an inside job

It’s been a while since I’ve written an update on this blog, I needed to take some time away just to regather my thoughts. It’s probably similar for other families too, when we try to keep up with the daily challenges that are thrown at us, it’s almost impossible to juggle everything,

To say the pain was working it’s way inside out, I think, in this instance, would not be an exaggerated reason to explain my absence.

The older I am getting, the more I realise that the moment I become overwhelmed, then the further I shutdown. I remove myself from any form of communication because I no longer can speak or make general conversation. I desperately feel the need to run, to hide or to isolate myself away. However, when your brain aches you know you need a process of healing, often the paradox is that we need the support of others at this moment even more.

There was a time when I wrote more freely and I found expressing my thoughts had a cathartic feeling. Lately, the bombardment of information on social media has felt detrimental to my wellbeing, so for that reason I took myself away from them temporarily to recover. It’s important to make changes to our lifestyles when we need to feel better.

It’s quite a self-profiling prophecy – the moment you feel stressed, heightened or unhappy the more you seek out more of the unfulfilling input that aggravates it. But it can bring the opposite to what we need; it can create further feelings of hopelessness and isolation. I knew I needed to break the cycle and find some healing.

By cutting back from excess contact online, I have noticed that I’ve been better at managing conversations by text with friends, but also I’ve made more time to read or make phone calls. It’s not that being online is bad for anyone, but it’s important to consider what need it fills. When it is to fix the void of anger, frustration and loneliness, then it can have the opposite effect.

There is so much more to contend with in the background, as the emerging needs of my two younger girls take shape, I find it difficult to know where I am or what I should be doing next. They are both finding things difficult and school-based anxiety is causing a lot of hidden angst. In turn, home has become even more explosive trying to manage the situation.

That now makes two children at home whilst I try to navigate through assessments and push forward for what it is they both need. My third child has ploughed on, trying to fit in with attending school, but seems a throw away from crumbling. The biggest difficulty is getting their challenges seen whilst I am pushed into a corner calling out for help.

It’s exhausting repeating the process again.

It’s draining having to work at convincing those around me that I am not soft, weak or in need of parenting changes – and that the approach I use is effective because it takes time, effort and meticulous planning.

I feel worthless when I have to fight back and advocate why all of children find it hard to fit into the system.

I just want them to help. I don’t want to have to take the deepest breath and try to diplomatically explain how I do have firm boundaries for my kids.

I need them to understand that it’s more than likely they are all neurodivergent and that they are not copying their older sister because she’s autistic. And maybe the case is that my well tuned parenting has helped them to get this far because they have actually been fully supported (the last part was actually documented this week by a paediatrician who has met two of the girls in clinic).

When I first selected the name of this blog as PDA Parenting (and I wasn’t sure what was the most apt title to pen) I only ever considered that I was using the technique for my eldest demand avoidant child. Little did I ever realise that it would turn into an approach; a complete lifestyle change that would turn my thoughts and considerations on life around. I had never imagined that I was actually PDA parenting all three children and navigating more than I realised.

I have tried to consider what are the best options going forward – do I keep treading the path that I am on, using energy convincing there are needs that my children have? And then in turn, advocating ways forward so that when those needs are identified, they are then also met. My trust in others has so badly been rocked and as a parent my experiences around school has brought traumatic experiences. If I’m honest I don’t think I have the capacity to do any of this anymore.

I really don’t know if there is another option. I have considered whether I would gain a sense back of life again if I went down a path of unschooling for an interim period and then try to find a rhythm with home schooling. Is it even feasible? I’m scared that we will become even more isolated and trapped, and that I don’t know how I will manage to succeed at this with having three children at home twenty four seven, with varying needs, but as a sole parent I am so very worried that I won’t manage.

Whatever route we take, (whether that is decided for us or because life takes us on it as there are no other options), my thoughts about longterm goals have altered.

The only thing I need to be able to teach my children is to be happy.

And, happiness is an inside job.


Leave a Reply