“Brutally honest” diary of Churwell family’s struggle with illness

Emma Plows' new book is about living with bipolar disorder and two autistic children. (AB303b1015)

Emma Plows' new book is about living with bipolar disorder and two autistic children. (AB303b1015)

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A mother who published a “brutally honest” diary about her family’s struggle with illness and impairments has seen her book attract rave reviews.

Emma Plows, from Churwell, penned the diary over the course of 2011 after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her two sons were found to be autistic.

The book, Autistic blessings and Bipolar me, was released earlier this year on Kindle and has been widely praised on Amazon by readers, some of whom could relate to Emma’s experience.

Emma, 37, said she hoped her story would be of help to parents in a similar situation to herself. “Different people will get different things out of it but the book is about how the whole experience helped me bond with my children,” she said.

“I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I’m an expert on my own situation and I think the big message is that you are allowed to struggle as a parent. You are allowed to ask for help. There’s nowhere near enough research on autism.”

Emma says that writing the book was a therapeutic experience and helped her to deal with a trying 12 months, which also saw the family care for her father-in-law who was suffering from terminal cancer.

Her sons, Noah and Reuben who are now 14 and 13 respectively, were only recognised as autistic after an intervention by The National Autistic Society, who funded a doctor’s assessment when the NHS failed to offer a diagnosis.

But Emma says her life has been transformed dramatically since that fateful year. She has given up her job as a teaching assistant and is now focused on compiling her second book.

“Writing made me feel better because I felt suddenly that what I was saying and the emotions I was feeling no longer belonged to me, they belonged to the page,” she added.

“I can enjoy my life and enjoy my children now.”