Pea friend Tanya – “We’re always walking up something”

Trigger Warning: Suicide

Mighty Brisvegan pea Tanya has three boys – her first son is neurotypical, her second is on the autism spectrum and her youngest is also on the autism spectrum with an additional diagnosis of ADHD.


Her youngest son has had a challenging journey living with a brain that he struggles to control, a ‘Ferrari with bicycle breaks’, leading to plenty of frustration and exhaustion. When he’s having a meltdown, Tanya knows however that no one is more scared than he is.


Tanya has been through the traumatic experience of having to call the police and paramedics to help restrain her son during a meltdown, resulting in a long hospital stay. Fortunately, she’s found emergency services to be very kind and supportive, and she’s glad that her child and her family are now known to them if they need support in the future. 


School has been tough, and Tanya has learned that the best approach is to advocate for people to help her son meet their expectations, or to lower their expectations if that will help him achieve them. She’s also experienced the heartache of seeing her son being excluded and uninvited, and reflects on the fact that parents are often the ones that treat peashoots cruelly, not the children.


Tanya’s developed a thick skin, particularly with people who comment on the fact that ‘she’s always on holidays’ – which she isn’t! She can’t work full-time because of her son’s care needs and she needs to get them out and about as much as possible, often up to the mountains, so ‘they’re always walking up something!’ (Kate said, “That’ll be the title!”


Tanya has found that Too Peas In A Podcast has helped her to better love and accept her family and be proud of them, and feel far less alone. She looks after herself by carving out time in the day for getting out to go cycling or exercising. Tanya honestly addresses the fact that she’s had difficult moments where she’s wondered whether to carry on living. This is exactly why Peas need all the help and support and community possible because there’s so often nowhere to turn and definitely no easy solutions. 


Tanya has read Lou Brown’s research on ADHD and works hard on building connection with her son, and keeps ‘looking for the gold’ - the funny things, the hopeful things that can help build that connection. Despite all the challenges, Tanya’s son has come a long way and she’s seeing changes and improvements as he grows.


Permissions: Tanya’s son has given his permission for his story to be shared in this episode.

Check out the ADDitude podcast


Shout out to the lovely Glennis for offering Mandy’s family her home in Sydney for a holiday, and leaving them soup and cookies.


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