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PDA in heavily masking adult women. How does this look?
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Treelines · 09/07/2022 12:33

I’m an autistic woman in my mid 40s, with a family. But I struggle to meet my own internal demands to look after myself. For example - I want to exercise. I know it makes me feel good. But I can’t. I won’t let myself. I want to go to the beach. But I won’t let myself.


It’s as if I’m always avoiding the demands I make of myself, even though they are things I want to do!


Simple things like drinking coffee even though I want water - because I have always had coffee at that particular time of day. Or sitting in my bedroom at a weekend until 10 am, even though I want to be outside.

Demands from others I have an easier time of meeting. But even then, there comes a point where I will just say no, and then hide away.



I spend a LOT of time procrastinating. On my phone. I feel frozen.


Please can anyone relate?

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ofwarren · 09/07/2022 15:46

Oh my gosh yes!
I've wanted to write a post about this for ages but couldn't work out how to word it.
I think it's called autistic inertia but I've absolutely no idea how to fix it. I feel like I'm basically wasting my life on my phone at times.

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ISaySteadyOn · 09/07/2022 18:07

Oh thank all the gods it's not just me. I relate entirely.

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RaisingAgent · 09/07/2022 23:38

Have you read up on any of the writing out there from PDA adults?

V good FB group called "Don't At Me - PDA", also Sally Cat and Julia (?Daunt?)

Some useful descriptions on the PDA Soc website too.

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Treelines · 10/07/2022 08:10

@RaisingAgent - I haven’t known where to look. Thanks - I’ll do that now.

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jennyyellowhat · 11/07/2022 16:07

I've been reading about PDA since someone mentioned it on here and it resonates so much, everything you've listed I do too!

I can remember lots of examples as a child of refusing to do things that people wanted or expected of me, like I'd stand in the bathroom with the water running and even dampen my toothbrush so my dad would think I'd brushed my teeth even though I hadn't, or my mum threatening no pocket money if I didn't do as I was told, but that would just make me even more stubborn 🙄

(I brush my teeth twice a day now and don't leave the water running!)

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Somelikeitcool · 17/07/2022 20:43

I haven't had a diagnosis but have lots of autistic traits and probably ADHD (I'm 50 and have struggled with lots of normal things since my teens). I've heard of PDA but only after reading this thread am I wondering if I have it. I've started a new job recently. It's demanding and I work on my own. I'm struggling but won't ask for help. My manager has just told me he feels that he's let me down by not offering more support and that he'll be working more closely with me. The rational part of me says this is a good thing, but the irrational part is telling me I don't need help and supervision. Is this typical of PDA? I've felt exactly the same at various times over my life to my detriment. I also avoid doing things that I know are good for me - putting off asking for help on peri menopause, general health checks like blood pressure. If someone tells me kindly that I need to lose weight I get all defensive, despite knowing that I need to and that they're coming from a place of concern.

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FloorWipes · 18/07/2022 09:36

I feel like I really identify with the PDA profile. As a child I used to refuse to do all manner of things from washing my face to going on school trips. As an adult I have trouble at work with following demands unless I can find “my own way” of doing things. These are just some examples.

But I’m not sure if I’d fit the diagnostic criteria since I didn’t end up, for example, not attending school for long periods of time. But I do love learning. It’s really my favourite thing.

But I really hide these issues from the outside world with all my might. It is exhausting.

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wheresmymojo · 18/07/2022 22:11

I have ADHD and identify with some of what you've said.

We tend to get stuck in transitions from one state to another because without external requirements of us (like 'shit, I really have to do this now because X is waiting / X needs it / I'll be late for X) we lack the dopamine to take action on what we want to do.

Basically no matter how much I wanted to get up and do things before starting work, for example, I couldn't...because I needed the stress of 'I have to get out of bed right now or I'll be late for work again' to give me the little spike of dopamine I needed to make it happen.

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Treelines · 19/07/2022 07:58

Recommended on a FB group, ‘Why hasn’t anyone told me this before?’ By Dr Julie Smith. Great section on motivation. The take home is ‘action before motivation’. Is helped me get back into running.

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SquirrelSoShiny · 20/07/2022 09:30

I have that book and completely forgot it existed / forgot to read it! But I will!

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