So, it seems today, May 15th, is PDA Awareness Day. I have written about PDA before, in this post, but I want to write a little more on how it effects me.
I came across this PDA Test for Adults on Dragonriko’s fantastic blog. So, I’m going to go through the questions and expand on my answers beyond a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. There are 50 questions in total, so this could end up being a rather long post. To prevent having to keep going back to their blog post to check the questions, I’m first going to post screenshots of the questions, and then work my way through them.
Yes. I find so many simple tasks, like getting dressed or brushing my teeth, so difficult.
2: Do you dislike praise?
Yes. I never feel that it’s sincere. I feel too much pressure to live up to it.
3: Do you find it harder to do tasks you have to do, as opposed to optional tasks?
Yes. Something being optional takes the pressure off and makes me more likely to do it.
4: Do you find it more difficult to complete tasks when people are watching?
Yes. Being watched makes it impossible for me to do anything.
5: Do you feel a need to take charge but dislike being placed in charge.
Yes. I naturally seem to take charge of things, but if I feel forced into it I panic.
6: Do you dislike being rushed?
Yes. I am very likely to experience a meltdown if I feel rushed.
7: Do you feel unsure how you will react in a situation, despite previous experience?
Yes. Because every single occasion is slightly different, no matter how much experience you may think you have.
8: Do you feel like others are always wrong, even though you know logically that can’t be true?
Yes. Mostly. I would replace word ‘always’ with ‘often’, and I seem to be getting better at this.
9: Do you dislike imposed routine?
Yes. While I need and enjoy routine, it has to be something I come up with, not imposed by others or by society.
10: Do you/have you ever struggled in work/school due to the amount of work required of you?
Yes. Somehow work always seemed to pile up and I never seemed to have enough time to do it.
11: Do you tend to avoid routine tasks on a regular basis, such as washing, eating, dressing, sleeping and going out?
Yes. Especially eating, brushing my hair/teeth, showering, and leaving the house.
12: Do you find it difficult to start things you enjoy, such as hobbies or interests?
Yes. Like writing this blog!
13: Do you struggle to tell when you are feeling anxious, did/Do you believe you rarely feel anxious?
Yes. Though I’m getting better at recognising it.
14: Do you/have you ever experienced anxiety, more than the average person?
Yes. For example, the level of anxiety I feel when I need to leave the house, or to interact with others, is much more than average.
15: Do you feel anxious when pressured to do something, even if it is easy?
Yes. Being pressured to do things often leads to meltdowns, even if the thing is easy to do.
16: Do you spend more time delaying/avoiding a task than it would take to actually do it?
Yes. Something might take ten minutes but I’d spend hours delaying/avoiding it.
17: Are there days where you can do lots of tasks and days where you struggle with simple things such as dressing and eating?
Yes. And I never know from one day to the next which it will be.
18: Do you find it difficult to motivate yourself to do tasks?
Yes. I usually have to bribe myself in some way!
19: Do you/have you ever experienced panic attacks, more than the average person?
Yes. The earliest one I remember was when I was six. They are quite frequent.
20: Do you feel that everyone is equal, regardless of age/race/gender/social status?
Yes. And also regardless of disability status.
21: Do you/have you ever had obsessions around certain people? ( For example: wanting to know everything about them, be around them all the time, feel jealous when they spend time with other people)
Yes. Eventually this is what has happened with every single friendship I’ve ever had. And they understandably reach their limit and end the friendship.
22: Do you/have you ever made up new words, sometimes for things or people, or deliberately mispronounced words?
Yes. As a child I was forever inventing new languages.
23: Do you/have you ever experienced hyper/silly behaviour?
Yes. Not so much now, but a lot when I was younger.
24: Do you feel a need to get things done straight away? Are you impulsive?
Yes. I used to deny that I was, but on reflecting I realise that it is true for me.
25: Do you prefer to have options/choices in most situations?
Yes. But a limited number. Too many choices overwhelm me.
26: Does a lack of choice make you feel out of control/panicky?
Yes. I need to feel I can pick what I do.
27: Do you like to do the same thing over and over until it becomes boring, then move onto something new?
Yes. This is especially true with food. But also hobbies.
28: Do you feel anxious/panicky when someone doesn’t follow your instructions correctly or when they deviate from the plan?
Yes. This is a major problem for me.
29: Do you like making changes in certain environments, such as rearranging furniture in your home?
No. My first ‘No’! I like my environment to mostly stay the same.
30: Do you feel unable to cope with waiting for things?
Yes. I am very very impatient.
31: Do you/did you as a child dislike accommodations that make you stand out as different?
Yes. Not that I had too many visible accommodations as a child but I know if I did I’d have hated it. And now, my most visible accommodation is my cane and I really hate the attention I get when I use it.
32: Do you dislike being criticised but are critical of others?
Yes. This is still a major problem for me.
33: Do you feel everyone should follow the rules all the time but find it difficult to follow the rules yourself?
Yes. I think this was more of an issue when I was younger though.
34: Do you question rules/regulations/laws?
Yes. Especially if they make no logical sense.
35: Have you ever been described as being manipulative?
Yes. But only by those who know me well. I don’t think I am!
36: Do you cancel plans at the last minute?
Yes. I try not to, but do so more and more these days.
37: Do you/did you as a child dislike losing/coming last?
Yes. And this made School Sports Day hell for me as I was always last in everything!
38: Have you ever been described as controlling?
Yes. And again, I don’t think I am!
39: Do you daydream rich, imaginative worlds?
Yes. Not now, but when I was a child I did all the time.
40: Do you/have you ever used role play/pretend play, sometimes in order to cope with life/tasks/social situations?
Yes. Again, when I was a child.
41: Do you struggle to start tasks because you expect them to be perfect the first time round, then become disappointed when they aren’t?
Yes. Again, this is a huge problem for me.
42: Do you find yourself telling lies to delay/avoid things?
Yes. I have lied about making phone calls and saying there wasn’t any answer, because I hate making phone calls so much.
43: Do you feel constrained by social expectations, such as having to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, having to smile?
Yes. And get considered rude a lot because I avoid doing those things.
44: Do you struggle to admit when you’ve done something wrong?
Yes. This is one of the things I hate most about myself.
45: Do you feel unable to control your reaction to things, emotionally and/or physically?
Yes. Both emotionally and physically.
46: Do you change your mind often?
Yes. Especially when I am rushed or panicked.
47: Do you prefer to spend your time home alone than outside with other people?
Yes. Home alone is my default preference, always.
48: Do you struggle to know how much time to leave for tasks, do you seem to run out of time quicker than others?
No. Though I suspect that is after years of practise.
49: Do you not tell other people when starting a new project because others knowing makes it harder for you to complete it?
Yes. I didn’t tell anyone when I was starting this blog, for example.
50: Do you feel a need to control your environment, often to ensure things go the way you prefer them to?
Yes. And even though I know this is not a foolproof plan.
So, there you have it. Two “No” answers, and even one of those was more a “maybe”.
I guess I can safely say, my autism expresses more in a PDA type of way!
[image of the PDA Society logo. Which is of a cartoon image of a panda, draped around a blue circle composed of overlapping swipes in two shades of blue, with the letters PDA inside the circle in dark blue.]