There has been a few defining dates in my adult life, usual stuff like getting married, having kids, moving house.
Then there are the not so normal ones. The day we got a diagnosis. The day we found help. And for me, the day the A Word aired.
From the moment we realised that there was something seriously different with H (I think in Sept 2012) to the date that program aired was a whirlwind of emotions, an awful lot of hard work. Lots of tears, of joy, of sadness and of anger. I gave it my all and it nearly broke me.
Then I saw myself on TV. I haven’t helped with any research with the A Word but it was like they had taken my diaries and written them into a script. No, I don’t have boy, we don’t live in the Lakes, I discovered H’s autism a lot later on in her life. But that mum, played by Morvern Christie, was me. The bitchiness, the bullying, the control freak. And seeing someone portray that side of things was extremely tough to watch .
Seeing it made me realise that I needed to do something. We were in a much better place with H, so I didn’t need to be letting it rule my life anymore. I didn’t need to spend hours every night scouring Pinterest, I didn’t need to be on parents’ forums anymore, because it was consuming me and I didn’t like what I saw on the screen.
So that’s when I decided to break free and do something for myself. I needed a project that wasn’t autism to focus on, so I started my business. I am in full on control of that, I am my own boss. It gives me things to focus my mind on after a bad day. It has helped with my self esteem after it took a severe battering in those dark days. It validates me, as a person. Not an autie mum (which I will always be), but as Kimberley, making her own way in the world again. My friend Louise and I coined the phrase #autiemumbitchandproud. That still stands and will forever be that person when my daughter needs me to be. But now I am more.
If that series hadn’t aired I dread to think where I’d be now. I would probably have isolated my friends, my marriage may have suffered, my relationship with my children most definitely would have.
So, Morvern, thank you. Thank you for bringing my demons to life, for showing the world what it is like to live this like and thank you for forcing me to change. I owe my new venture to you, I owe my sanity to you. I am forever grateful.