I am Gemma and age 36 I have been married to Tim for 15 years and have 5 children, 3 who have a diagnosed on the autistic spectrum and ADHD. I also have a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder which I didn’t have the diagnosis till the age of 27, and didn’t open up till recently. I was asked by Anna to join her on her radio show on the 27th May.
My anxieties were all over the place, and my head felt like i had a thousand of things going through it, I met Anna and we went through things she always has a way of making you feel calm, when we arrived at the studio we were welcomed by a lovely lady who was going to produce the show.
The show went really quick, I wanted to say a lot more in my interview but my anxieties got the best of me. Anna was amazing and could see I was struggling and took control. I opened up about my diagnosis only a few weeks ago, and only a selected few knew.
I struggled growing up trying to cope with the different hurdles and not really knowing why my body was feeling the way it was, would have meltdowns and when I came around would feel exhausted and weak. I would run away from school as I couldn’t cope with the confined space in the class room and the noise of people talking, noises, sound of the chairs moving across the floor, the work on the white board writing while the teacher was talking, my brain wanted to explode.
I struggled with my teenage years I self harmed and took a number of overdoses, at the time I was numb hated myself and felt I was making my family’s life miserable.
I had a lot of hospital stays and counselling while I was there. My early adult years was a big learning curve I met Tim at the age of 17, I struggled with our relationship, and times I would push away or shut down which could last from a day to weeks Tim always stuck by me. Mother hood was has been a roller coaster of emotions, not sleeping, not eating or wanting to keep eating, crying, not hitting there mile stones. I was upset angry and deflated with myself when my 3 were diagnosed Tim also struggled to accept, but also felt relieved to try and get the support.
Everyday is always a challenge and a learning curve from fighting for the education, coping with day to day life, puberty and coping with body changing, relationships, taking medication. I worry a lot about my children especially the older 3 when I am gone it scares me so much with how the world is and know they won’t be able to defend or speak out for themselves.
Sophia sent a video audition to Anna Kennedy Online, they were looking to give a child a scholarship at pineapple performing arts, Tim had a email a few months later to say Sophia had been chosen, we were so excited and Sophia little face lit up and she danced, jump and sang around the room. It has been a life changing experience for Sophia she loves her Sundays at pineapple, she is just in her comfort zone because she is doing what she loves and everyone has excepted her and doesn’t batter an eyelid she loves performing at her end of term shows.
We have both made wonderful friends and now life long. Autism’s Got talent, I didn’t know what to expect when I watched the first show last year. All I can say was WOW I was blown away by all the acts, I have never cried so much with happiness the courage and determination to even get up on stage and with the lights and sounds to add incredible.
Watching are scholarship winners blew me away and again this year the bond they have just makes me forget at that moment in time how the world is to see them enjoying and feeling happy and being accepted for who they are.
Thank you again Anna for inviting me.
If you missed Gemma’s interview it is available to listen to everyday at 1pm until Monday at www.womensradiostation.com