Autistic Blessings and Bipolar me is a memoir by a mother of two sons with autism, Emma Plows. I stumbled across Emma over on twitter and eagerly anticipated reading her book. I was not disappointed, it is a gem of a book. This book is a raw, honest and bare bones account of the daily realities of living as a woman with bipolar disorder, while raising two young boys with autism, as well as running the family home and caring for a much loved father-in-law who has a terminal illness.
I’ll be honest, some parts made me laugh out loud, others I nodded at with a secret knowledge that only parents of an autistic child can have, (at this point I refer to the passage were Emma tells that she cannot hug her son as he is playing on the Wii), and through other passages of the memoir’s narrative, I cried.
The book is brutally honest, told in a diary format that covers a year in Emma’s life.
The book description reads as follows:
‘In February 2007 I was diagnosed with Bipolar type one after a long battle with post natal depression, where I was hospitalised numerous times. Throughout the period between 2004 to 2009 myself Noah and Moses were all given a diagnosis of something life changing, but as a mother I refused to be labelled and judged by a medical condition. I am Emma Plows; I am not Emma Plows with Bipolar.
It’s my understanding that when you discover your child is on the autistic spectrum you really need to accept the diagnosis. Accept it, let it grow and don’t hinder its development. Autistic people cannot understand how the world works like we can and have difficulty understanding how people think, but we can. We have that capacity to understand them, if we choose too we should take advantage of that capacity. If we don’t accept that our children are autistic, then we are only condemning ourselves and our children to a life of frustrating misery. Work with it, not against it, it doesn’t matter why they behave the way they do as we cannot change it, but we must find the beauty in the condition and all the positives it has to offer, if we try, it gets easier and can become very rewarding.’
After reading the book, I got in touch with Emma, to ask her a few questions. My interview with her can be read below.