Pooky Ponders: How does losing your sight affect how you feel? | Kate Holden

Today’s question is “How Does Losing Your Sight Affect How You Feel?” and I’m in conversation with Kate Holden.

Kate Holden is a SENDCo who works across her local authority where she has set up nurture bases, worked across specialist provisions, pupil referral units and speech and language bases.  She lost her sight for several years in her twenties due to due to a condition called Keratoconus.  In this episode we’re going to explore the wider impact on Kate of going from sighted to blind to sighted again and how this might inform our support for children.

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Show transcript:

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Kate Holden: Hi, Kate Holden. And I’m a specialist teacher working for a charity called the together trust. And so the majority of them, my work focuses on autism consultancy training and direct work with peoples. And that’s not why I’m here today. I’m here in a non-work releasing capacity and to talk about my experiences of sight loss, um, which was about 15 years ago now.

So in my late teens, I was diagnosed with, um, a progressive eye condition called keratoconus, relatively rare. Um, and it affects the cornea. And what happens is the cornea gradually becomes thin over time, um, bald chairs, um, and becomes cone-shaped. So this distorts patient quite significantly. Um, so late twenties, I was one of the really unlucky ones really, as the disease progressed so much sad and that there was nothing that could be done anymore.

Um, so I had to have two corneal transplants to different donors to years past. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Wow. And just, you said it’s quite an unusual condition. And then even within the condition that you were, uh, kind of, uh, sort of unlucky, I guess, in its presentation, it was, it was especially severe. Did that. I mean, w how did you, were you angry?

Kate Holden: Um, upset more than anything. I just, I was very, very young. You see? And normally they’ll want to save a cornea transplant. So as late as possible, cause they predict that they’ll only last about 20 years, so they don’t really want you having to go through that more than once in a lifetime. And so it was more of a, I think, I think, I think I was a bit like a wounded animal.

You know, why me, why has that happened to me? Why did that have to happen? Um, I was more, it was more of that reaction really. And it was also a bit unexpected because I had gone on for so long where in a particular type of contact lens called a scleral lens. And if you saw it, you’d be horrified, but it’s about the size of a Tempe coy.

And, and it literally Cushings your cornea into the correct shapes. And you can see what the problem with those was and they cut oxygen off to your, I see your eyes become really sore and you can only wear them for about eight, eight hours or so. So it was getting to the point where my quality of life.

Was awful because I was going to school and teaching, taking them out at lunchtime, putting them back in, coming home and at four o’clock they were out. And then I couldn’t see them for the rest of the evening. Um, and I didn’t really think about that at the time. I just thought this is how it’s going. And so it did become, it was quite a shock when they actually said, you know, they were going to have to do something about it.

Pooky Knightsmith: And, um, you wrote a beautiful, uh, blog post about this experience, um, which was kind of what triggered us having this conversation because yeah, I was, I was really fascinated to hear what it must be like, um, kind of losing your sight, kind of going through that and then, and then sort of becoming cited again.

And I was, yeah, very intrigued by that. Um, and yeah, I’m going to read bits from your blog posts and ask you to talk a little bit more about it if that’s okay. And I get. It’s quite hard. You said you haven’t really revisited this for quite a long time until you 

Kate Holden: write the blog. I mean, I could honestly hand on heart sail until I wrote that blog post there’s only two times in a year when I think about it.

And it’s on the days that the operations have Clunes, um, part of that is just, you know, reminiscent. But part of that is because I know that there’s two people out there, you know, who died and gave me their corneas. And I just feel like I owe it to them to kind of remember that day. So there’s only those two days I ever think about it.

So. When the opportunity came up for the blog and I just thought, yeah, let’s go for it. And what I didn’t realize at the time was how much I’d been holding onto all of those things that has happened. Because when, when you go through a traumatic experience, you just have to get through it. There’s just no other way.

And in some ways you’re a bit in like survival mode. You’re not thinking about it at the time. You’re just thinking I’ve got to survive and get through this. So it was only when I started to write it down, I got really, really upset. And when I finished it. I did, I did stop a lot and body also felt really good to have got it out there.

Pooky Knightsmith: It’s it’s interesting hearing you talk about it and how you were just kind of getting through it. And it’s only, now that you almost understand the gravity of, of what you, you were going through. Just, I have this conversation with you in the context of having just yesterday recorded an interview with my very close friend, Joe, where we explored, um, a time in my life when I was actively suicidal.

And, you know, it was a really hard time. And, um, it it’s, it’s interesting hearing you talk about it because actually that conversation with him was probably the first time I’ve really unpacked that time. And again, just stops and gone. Wow. That was really hard. And somehow you’re just working on through and I get it’s a completely different situation, but I think some of those feelings are a little bit the same, maybe of just imaging.

So at the beginning of your blog post, you talked about, um, how you, I found out, um, and, and what kind of happened next. And, um, we, you, you kind of quoted here. You said, um, you were told we cannot keep treating this condition. Kate, it’s the end of the road and we’re going to have to consider transplants.

Now, these were the exact words of my own optometry consultant. 15 years ago, when I was 26 years old, he then came over and gave me the biggest hug while I broke down in tears. Maybe not so professional of him, but very human and that’s exactly what I needed right there. Right. Then it had hit me like a ton of bricks.

Um, no, I just, I, I got that far and I was, I was in pieces. I don’t know how you must’ve felt writing it, but I think, talk to me about that, you know, that connection you had with that consult, I mean, that’s horrible news to have to deliver for him and horrible news for you to have to hear. And the fact that he did that in a human way, I think is very important though.

Kate Holden: Is it really as important? And you know, I’ve known him for a long time. Um, I was diagnosed when I was at university in Manchester. So Manchester were like, I hospital was literally over the road from my university. And even when I moved back home, so Liverpool, I still kept going there. Um, I just felt like they, they knew me and I wanted it to keep that continuity.

So I did know him quite well. And by that point, um, you know, I’d been under him for about nine years. And I could see just knew, you know, when he, when he looked at my eyes that time, um, he just went really quiet and he was really hesitant when he spoke and I just knew something was coming. Um, and I think this is why I think when I was teaching, there’s always this thing, isn’t there about keeping that professional boundary and it’s so difficult sometimes because sometimes all people need is a hook and they just need a bit of a few Manistee.

Don’t they say, I I’m, I’m just so pleased that we did do that. Um, that’s what I needed at that moment. And then I was kind of, you know, once we had that talk and the other thing was he let me cry. He just let me sit there and cry until I was done. Um, and I think it’s really difficult. Isn’t it? When, when, when you.

Bold your eyes out and your face is bright red and you sniffle in and you don’t want to walk out that room into a room full of people who, you know, are just going to stare at you straight away. Um, you know, experiences like that. Make me do my job better. You know, I spend these ones, ones into the children’s sometimes, and then I, now I have to send them back into the classroom.

Um, And having gone through something like that, I never do that. I make sure if they need five minutes on their own, they get those five minutes on their own. Sometimes that’s with me in the rooms. Sometimes it’s with me, God, just so that they can get themselves together. And then, you know, following that, I was quite, quite quickly whisked away.

And because they have a site psych counselor onsite at the hospital, so anyone who’s been given some news like that gives straight away and the counselor who kind of sits you down and puts you in the direction of some health really. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And was that, you know, that, that w so that you had the two elements of that approach, then one the very human and then the, the very practical, and I guess both of those things were important.

Kate Holden: Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think really the hook was the most important. I don’t think I was quite ready to sit and. Talk to somebody because I was in shock and I can’t really remember. Well, um, the sight loss counselor was saying to me, um, I got, I got a lot of written information, which is always really important.

Isn’t it? You know, I’m all about the visuals. Um, but yeah, I just can’t remember that conversation at all. So I don’t know. I don’t know how useful that was, but at least I knew that there was support there. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And has this been a relatively sort of inevitable step in the journey or was it quite a surprise?

The point at which it 

Kate Holden: came quite a surprise? Yeah, they haven’t really mentioned hub.  at that point. Um, um, because I was managing quite well with the lenses, a heart. My appointments were only about six months apart anyway. So what was happened to us? Um, my left world I’d started to scar. And when you call on your starts to scar, there’s a risk of perforation then, which is really painful.

Um, so they wanted to intervene at that point before it got worse. So it was literally within that six month periods, everything started to deteriorate. So yeah, it wasn’t, it wasn’t expected. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Wow. So that was a lot to kind of come to terms with. And then you wrote in your blog post about, um, kind of why you were working and how it was at the time, which suggests that maybe you weren’t kind of best placed to be sort of well supported.

So you said, um, back then I worked in a really tough primary school. I was also the same code with a third of the peoples on the STMD register. It was a very busy job. The kids needed so much trauma informed care, and we were really good at that. What we were absolutely awful at was looking after ourselves and each other.

Yeah. Yeah. So you may be one in the best context for kind of, I mean, how, how did, were your colleagues supportive or did you 

Kate Holden: ask to support? Yeah, I mean, I had, I had, you know, really close friends there. Um, they were the ones that were just, you know, they just kind of surrounded me, um, you know, two or three people at harmful of people, but working in a school like that, where, you know, we have so many children with so many history of, of, of trauma, various different backgrounds and every single minute of your day, Was just a to that, you know, nobody really has a lunchtime, if not skilled, nobody really has a break time.

Uh, even more than in times, rather than children’s head and end up with no uniform, you know, they hadn’t eaten. So we were busy sort of sorting out their needs and always putting their needs before ours, which I think every educational professional does anyway. Um, but in terms of staff support and stuff well being, and that, that meant that, you know, you just, you just didn’t have that in you almost because it was so time and so drain.

And I suppose at the time we were all suffering from some kinds of the carrier’s trauma without even knowing about set, we all sort of things hang with us. Um, And, you know, it was one of those skills where you were there at seven and you didn’t leave till the caretaker was throwing him out. And there wasn’t the just wasn’t time to talk.

Um, PPA didn’t exist then either. So we didn’t, we didn’t get that time. Um, occupational health were great in getting me back at the practical side of that and what, what I was going to need. And, you know, couldn’t have done that without the RNI and access to work as well. But then once you about it stopped then.

So all the preparation was me using and the follow-up afterwards, not so 

Pooky Knightsmith: much. Did you enjoy your work? So before, you know, before you ended up kind of going and having the transplants and stuff, were you enjoying that work? Cause it sounds heavy. 

Kate Holden: Yeah. Yeah. I loved it. It was, it was so varied. Um, you know, and it was such a, that was my, that was my NQT school.

I don’t remember that very first year, my very first day. Um, a little boy in year three, set a little girl’s hair on fire was I liked too that he brought from home and that was my first day. Wow. Yeah. And I had another little boy, she would crawl around the classroom barking, like a dog. Most of the day. It was, it was, you know, just one of those classes.

And I kept thinking I to put me in here. It’s my NQT. Yeah. But apparently that was, that was pretty much the mess. It’s the best class, the worst. So it was very much from day one sink or swim and it was so wobbly, you know, you just, I just didn’t know what I was doing, but I’m so grateful to have started there because I probably learned more that.

Than I did in the rest of my career. And it gave me the chance to get into other things as well. And, and because of the nature of the school, we have to speak to the language base we had to net your base. And there was lots of opportunities to link up with all the setting. So it w it was a really good, really good job.

And I did enjoy it when I went back as well, but it was just so difficult. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. And, and, and, and that’s it, you, you, you talk about that, um, about when you, you wait. So I went back, I was determined I could do this. I’d already decided to let go of the Senco role for a while for my own wellbeing. Um, there’s no way I could manage the paperwork.

It took me two hours to type one lesson plan. Um, my PA was amazing at being my eyes, but after a good start, things seemed got harder. Um, some staff members resented the fact that I had an extra adult in class where most of them are sharing one teaching assistant between four classes. There was little awareness of sight loss.

So I was just left to get on with it. I mean, yeah, that sounds. Oh, it’s need know where to start without 

Kate Holden: running. Yeah. Um, I think, you know, that PA the PA that I have through access to act, she was to be my eyes. Um, so if I was listening to a child read, I had some magnification equipment that put their book on a big screen and I could manage to see that.

Um, but I couldn’t see the whole class. So she had to kind of assess at the front with me and watch, because I couldn’t see what men are doing was doing at the back. Um, um, things like marking and I couldn’t Mark children’s work and she had to be back to me. So I need to tell like, you know, pretty much all of, uh, of the time.

Um, but I think a lot of other stuff thought, well, it’s another adult in the room. That’s another adult who can help, you know, with group work and things like that. And it, and it really wasn’t. Um, so I did have had in the class, but didn’t have anyone else to help. So I ended up needing to use her for me, but also needs him to use her for other things as well.

Um, um, it was just, um, the paperwork. It was just, it was almost a manageable when I first went back. Um, I’d been to a visual rehabilitation center for six months. I’m on a face back with the agreement to the head teacher. I was released on a Friday to keep going there. Um, and what I used to do on a Friday was try and get the majority of my lesson planning done on that day.

Um, so that it was, it was done for the week because I don’t think I would have managed to have done it. I was still working until. Midnight most nights and you know, doing a full day at the weekend as well. So there was never, never that brief, but stay in that at the time I was 27. Um, you know, if all the life that you can’t do that, I couldn’t do it now.

No way could I do it 

Pooky Knightsmith: now? How much do you see? Like, you know, w was the, just to give people a lot because, you know, so you said you, you had the oppressions, you, you couldn’t see much, but like how much are we talking? 

Kate Holden: Just really outlined shapes and colors. Um, prior to me going back. Not really much at all.

It was just fuzzy, fuzzy shapes. Um, I never gave you a link to a site simulator and, you know, people can use that and have it, have a little look at what my site was like. That gives you more of an idea. And, but yeah, just, just really fuzzy colors, outlines of things. So I could make up somebody’s hat, but I couldn’t see their facial features.

Um, and then as time went on a little bit, by the time I went back, I was six months post surgery and I could manage, I could manage text at quite a large print level, you know, which was something else that was difficult because it was a requirement that I got a certain size taxed on a set and color, and I could see it there and it made life so much easier.

But for people to actually, I don’t think they intentionally didn’t give me a book. People have to remember to give me, you know, that size font and we’d be in meetings and these huge pucks it’d be hummed it out. Uh, mine was, you know, standard size font. So I couldn’t, I literally couldn’t see a thing. Um, so, you know, feeling, feeling quite lost a lot of the time, I’m not just in a work sense, but in an, in a life sense, because so much changes in your actual life as well.

Pooky Knightsmith: It sounds like some of those things that you needed, you know, having your notes in a larger size font, these don’t sound like the hardest of adjustments to make for someone. Do you know what I mean? Like as the same code, um, you’re used to making adjustments for peoples who need support for whatever reason.

And I’m, I’m a little bit intrigued as to just, why would, I mean, Why wouldn’t it. Why were a reasonable adjustments? Not just automatically all the time made, you know, is that, is that, is that common or 

Kate Holden: I don’t think so now. Um, but van we’re talking 15 years ago, um, the disability discrimination act identity just come into force, only been in effect for about a year.

Um, so, so yeah, people, people just didn’t and I also think time as well, because, you know, if you’ve got to copy a 50 page documents and size 24 funds on yellow paper, you’ve got to, first of all, look for the other paper. A lot of schools have a real strict military policy on photocopy and don’t me. Um, and it would take, I don’t know, it’d be maybe six times the amount of paper, um, and take twice the amount of time to get it enlarged.

Um, so I think that, you know, awareness wasn’t wasn’t like that, but I know, I know now it’s definitely a lot better. And once the disability discrimination act was in place, People could, people could use that. I mean, you shouldn’t have to use that, but you did, you would have to start saying, I am covered under the disability discrimination act and then people go, Oh, um, it’s the same now?

Um, my partner’s blind and we have a guide dog. And, you know, over the years I’ve seen, I’ve seen such a shift in that 15 years to how we were with the da, with the dog originally and how there is now. Um, you know, I know I still, I still ring got restaurants and saying, we’re going to be coming with a guide dog, but I know it’s always going to be okay.

And people will set us in a corner and they’ll take a chair away and they’ll bring a bowl of water for the dog. But 15 years ago you were looking if you could get into restaurants and, you know, there was one time we were literally physically chased out with the dog. Um, so, so I think we’ve come a long way in the short side.

Pooky Knightsmith: And talk to me about how you met your partner, because you wrote about this in your, your blog as well, but you actually met during the course of your 

Kate Holden: recovery, right? Australia. Yeah. So in Liverpool we have, um, a visual rehabilitation sound tests. So when you first lose your sight, social services become involved.

And I was sent, I was sent there and it, and it was feet rarely because he went on a Friday and I should’ve been going on a Tuesday, but I switched the day. Um, and the purpose of that place was it was to teach you how to touch type, how to use software. That was BTA, um, how to use the white cane, how to cook safely in the kitchen, lots of life skills.

And I had to get dressed in the morning. You know, when you can’t see what you put in on and how to put your make car, things like that, um, we would have a social area as well. So. I ended up in a couple of cookery sessions with them and then in the essential area too. And it was, it was strange only because most of the people there were probably over 60.

Um, there was nobody my age. Um, Danny was probably the closest, so we kind of just bought the dot rarely and he’d gone through and a really bad time. He was really unlucky and losing his sight and it just kind of started where he was almost like a mantra to make because, um, I don’t know, just such a, such a common influence such, you know, one of those people that, um, will just sit and listen.

And I think that’s sometimes all we need, we don’t need fix. Then we don’t use anyone to solve the problem for us. We just need somebody who’s going to sit in the lesson and can empathize, you know, it’s all, it’s all those counseling skills. Isn’t it? He was, he was really, really, really good at that. Um, because he’d been through it.

He boosted me or, um, in a way that nobody else really caught. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Because he understood from the inside or yeah, 

Kate Holden: yeah. Yeah. He knew what it was like. Um, and I think, I think hand on heart, if I asked him, he’d probably say it made him feel better, being able to help somebody himself and because he was going through a really, really rough time.

Um, so I think, I think that as well, and yeah, we just, we just, we just bombed it and you know, that was, that was the good thing to come out with them. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Everything should have a silver lining, but that seems like a pretty massive one I have to say. 

Kate Holden: And it was such a big, it’s such a big thing. And you know, we actually didn’t get together till after we’d left.

We were, we were just the best of friends. And then, um, I think, I think I left to go back to work at that point. And, you know, he, he asked me out then, and then it went from there, but we had our baby then together he’s nine now. So that was a big story on the artist or the artist back with the baby when he was first born and we have to take, take photos in front of the door and they were like, Oh, it’s the first Christopher Green baby.

Pooky Knightsmith: Oh, that’s so lovely. And was your husband, um, further ahead in that kind of journey than you had he lost his sight longer ago or? Yeah, yeah. 

Kate Holden: Yeah. Um, he was really unlucky. He, he, um, he got, he had to detach retina from a fall, um, pretty been a boxer in his early days. So probably a weakness there and they couldn’t do anything to fix that.

And he lost the eye. Yeah. And he was extremely lucky in the fact that he got something called sympathetically, foul Mia, which is an immune system disorder. So what happens is your immune system starts to attack you go die. I mean, at the time there were two people in the country have that. So whenever he sees a consultant now that, and they hear his story, they’re just like, Oh, he was so unlucky.

Um, and interestingly it’s what happens to Louis braille, Louis, braille austenite and put your in it with one of his dad’s tools, but then got some fat to cut polymer in the, in the, in the good day. Um, so that’s what has happened to Danny, but you know, the only thing that brought him out to that, he told me that the cause of he has his dark moments.

And, you know, you talked about genuine feelings suicides or, and he had those times as well. Um, the only thing that brought him up to that was getting the guide dog. Yeah. He said that was the only thing that works. So he would literally just sit in a room all day. Won’t go anywhere. Won’t speak to anyone.

He was, he said he was awful, you know, so left with, he was just really angry and really, really nasty. And once he got the dark, he just felt like he had that STEM glimpse of his life again. And some kinds of normality because once he got locked up, he got his independence back without having to rely on somebody else.

And that is the heart. One of the hardest things is, is your loss of your independence when you lose your sight because you totally, totally reliant on somebody else. You can’t grow up house without having somebody with you. And, you know, can’t, you can’t go to a shop and choose clothes without having somebody with you.

And sometimes you need space, but you can’t have it at the same time. So, so, so the dog, um, It’s it’s transformational. Um, you just can’t put into words. What, what a guide doc, um, can mean to somebody and give them the life box. So the dog gave him his life back. Uh, my donor corneas gave me my life back. Um, and I think at the time, as well as this, you know, I set about your life change and then not, not being independent.

You tell you lose your identity. Totally. You just don’t even know who you are. You don’t, you don’t fit. Why? Because if the friendship group that you’re in, you know, late twenties, 26, 27, all my friends are going out all the time and that’s how we socialize. We go out for meals. We have nights out. And one of the, one of the, one of the strange things that people won’t think about is that a lot of people, when they lose their sight, they will not eat in public anymore after, because you can’t see what you’re doing, you can’t see where the food is.

You lift a fork to your mouth, it’ll drop off more times than you care to imagine. You don’t realize how much you use your site to eat. So you don’t want to go out for meal anymore. Um, if you’re going out to. Uh, poke at the age of 27 and your friends have all allowed to drink and you’re just stood on your own.

It’s absolutely terrifying. You don’t know where, you know, you can’t see anybody. So, so your social life goes, it’s very difficult to go out and, and if you do go out, then you feel, you feel guilty because you feel like you’ve got to have somebody babysitting you all the time because you can’t be left on your own.

Can’t even go to the toilet on your own. You know, so it’s quite, it’s quite degree. And, um, you, you just feel like you don’t fit. There’s this reliance on of the people that you might not particularly want to accept. Um, and you know, no matter how, how good people are here and they were, you know, my family, my friends were just amazed and, and I never got through it without them, but it’s just how it changes, how it changes for you.

Um, Um, socializing is so difficult anyway, you know, I think about this one when I go and visit schools and I go and talk to, um, my autistic pupils or I’m doing training on autism. I always think of my sight loss because there’s so many experiences at that time that helped me relate to how autism may possibly feel.

So, you know, the fact that I can’t see faces. You know, when I lose my sight, I cannot read facial expressions when I can’t sit. Um, I don’t know when people are talking to me when I couldn’t, you know, and I couldn’t say because people would start to talk and because I couldn’t make eye contact and I didn’t know if they were looking in my direction and I couldn’t read their face.

I, I wouldn’t know. Um, um, until they said my name, they would say Kate, and then I’d be like, Ooh, here in, you know, I’m not exactly what I talk about with my artistic pupils. You know, they can’t read faces a lot of them and, you know, um, don’t know when don’t include themselves and instructions and things like that.

So the similarities, um, the other thing that was a massive thing to me, that we all needed actually, Danny, as well. You, you suddenly need. Um, a very structured routine and lots of predictability. And again, I know what that feels like not to have far. So again, from my pupils, the routine and that predictability, and you need to retain for everything.

When you can’t say you have to let you close out the night before, because it takes them much longer to do things like clean in the kitchen. Worktop, you have to do it in a set pattern. They teach you to go up, left down left, or yeah. So you talk the set and procedures and ways of doing things, um, because you can’t see, you also can’t remember.

So you really rely on these, these like predictable routines and structures. And then if you are going to go out somewhere, you need to know where you’re going. You know, how are you going to get there? What’s it like when you get there, where am I going to be sad? Who’s going to be with me. All of those types of things are really involved.

And, um, so, so yeah, I feel like it’s really helped me do my job so much better. It’s a totally different thing. Well, it’s just that I can, I, can I get it? I can, I can get some of it. Um, and the other thing, the other thing as well is I now know what a sensory difference is in terms of perception. Because when I couldn’t say, um, the supermarket was the absolute worst place for me to be, um, I had real problems with depth perception.

So if I reached for an object on the shelf, I’d be grabbing it, thinking it was closer to me than it actually was. Um, I mean, all the horrific thing was walking down a supermarket aisle and having people coming towards me. So, because I have this problem with the depth, it literally looked like people were swarming up me.

I couldn’t tell where exactly they were. Um, so it was real, it was real fear. I used to just freeze with much ungrip my trolley. So tight until they’d gone past me. Wow. It’s almost like the only thing I can describe as, as you know, when you go and watch a 3d film and you’ve got those it’s that kinds of feeler, you know, where my pupils talk about not being able to go in a corridor at a transition time because of the busy-ness of that corridor and the stairs, not being able to manage the stairs, I kind of get how disorientating and how it’s literally frightening, really, really frightening.

Do 

Pooky Knightsmith: you think that that experience and being able to sort of empathize with that, is that shaped kind of, because you were already working as the same code weren’t you, but has it kind of shaped what you do as well as how you do it or, 

Kate Holden: yeah, definitely. And it’s made me do this now as my job, you know, because I was teaching for teaching and San key for 15 years and I’ve been doing, um, the autism outreach and consultancy and training now for six years now.

Um, I think when I got to 15 years of teaching, I thought, Ooh, it’s like 15 years since, you know, my sys as well. And, and it almost instigated that change. What do I want to do next? And I always wanted to go into this particular line of work and, you know, I’ve always loved working with, um, autistic children and their parents absolutely loved it.

So, so I got into this year and, um, it definitely does, you know, I think. You know, we all try and empathize. Don’t we book this. There’s some situations that you can empathize more with. Um, I think it just makes you put this like really determined hat on, you know, and it makes you fight for these kids. You know, I’m going to make sure these kids are in Canada.

You know, it makes you more passionate about what you do. Um, and you’re able to connect. Then I think that connection is so important and I think Gavin, through being disabled, you don’t see yourself ever as disabled. I still don’t see Donnie as blind now he’s just Donnie. He’s just, um, and I think. When I, when I therefore meet a pupil for the first time, I don’t look at what’s on that piece of paper and I don’t look at what their diagnoses are or what condition they have.

I mean, I know I know what it is and I’ve got my, my background knowledge of that, but sometimes I meet some of the day and what, what my perception right there, because I know they’ve got the diagnosis of autism or whatever totally throws me. Cause it’s not what I thought at all. Um, so I always start with the person and I think losing my sight has really helped me with that.

I’m never say I don’t ever see somebody who’s disabled. I don’t see ever see somebody as having a certain condition. I just, I just start with the person. Is that because 

Pooky Knightsmith: of how you felt when you weren’t seeing them, was that to do with your kind of perception of self or was it still with how other people kind of treated and responded 

Kate Holden: to you?

I think how other people treat him and responded to me. Yeah. I couldn’t stand the fact that when I was in visual rehab, I knew the staff would taught me things about me. I couldn’t stand that without you. Well, they would have meetings with me, but they’d also have their team meetings, you know, like you would in a school, you’d have your Monday meeting once a week.

Um, and I didn’t like the fact that, and then I know that we’re only planning, well, what we were going to do next and things like that. And it would always be discussed with me and, and it was always involved in me, but I just didn’t like the thought that they were talking about me, you know, without me being there.

And another thing, um, that rarely affect affected me, um, I’m still affects Danny now in our life is I couldn’t there. Um, the sympathy, I couldn’t there, people looking at me like, Oh, that poor girl. I don’t remember. I wouldn’t use a white key. I was literally bullied into using a white key because the minute I held a white cane, everybody would know, I couldn’t say.

And I almost wanted to hide that. I would have much rather have been out in public with. And another person standing next to me and Lincoln, there are, I didn’t want that cane at all. Um, you know, I was offered a guide dog as well, which I didn’t want to take because I knew it was only going to be temporary.

And I didn’t want to take a dog off somebody who was gonna, you know, be blind for life. So I wouldn’t have a dog. Um, and I remember crossing the road one day and I was doing training with the white cane. Um, we crossed a, um, there was a couple of ladies that are sta and I could see them look towards me and people forget, you know, when you can’t see, you can still hear they were, they were talking.

And they said, Oh, that poor girl, Oh, look, it’s so young . And that just, that was just not nice to him. So I didn’t want anyone to think poor GAM, um, you know, poor me. I didn’t, I didn’t want that because I was trying to get through it and I was trying to survive. So when somebody saying you poor thing, But that’s not conducive, um, to try and to get through things.

And Danny will say the same now, you know, he doesn’t want, he doesn’t want sympathy. You know, he, he he’s happy. He has a good life. And, um, you know, you just don’t, you just don’t want anyone to think poor you. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Is there any place for that? I mean, you went through a really tough time, you know, was there anyone in your life that you would have accepted or wanted kind of sympathy and empathy from, or was it really just about focusing on continuing and getting through it?

Kate Holden: I think, I think part of that is a shield. Isn’t it? Because the minute you start to accept sympathy is when you start to crumble. I, um, and I felt like I was made of glass at that time and had those times on my own in private where something was happened and I would literally break. I would just break into a thousand pieces.

I’m getting upset. So I would say now, but just lift just little things. It didn’t even have to be anything big. It could be something like, I remember one night I came home from work and had to doctor’s appointment and I got home from work. And just to get to the doctors, I had to get two buses and two buses backs.

By the time I got home, it was half past saffron. Um, and it started pouring with rain and I got in the door and I just, I just collapsed inside the donor, just sat on the floor and I just cried. And, um, it was, it was only that, you know, it started to rain and when the bus, the buses took so long, but that’s what it was like.

It was just, these little things would just shutter me into a million pieces and then I’d have to pull myself together. And, um, I think, you know, we talk about resilience, didn’t we, and the things that we have in our lives to make cookies Allianz. And I just think life’s going to break everybody at some point.

Um, And it’s just where you get, where you get the strength from those times to put all those broken pieces back together. And I think, you know, we don’t have to be strong all the 

time. 

Pooky Knightsmith: No. And I think actually, you know, hearing, you kind of say how that felt at that time. And, and actually it seems like a perfectly reasonable response, um, in just the same way that I’ve got lots of people coming to me at the moment, needing support and advice with their mental health, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic and you know what people are feeling low and they’re feeling anxious and that’s a really reasonable response in a given situation.

And I think that to lose your sight like that and so young and for it to feel like it, it took away so much of who you were and what you wanted to do. The fact that maybe you feel a bit. Down about that and find it a little bit hard to manage day-to-day sometimes that seems normal. No reasonable. Was that something they prepared you, you know, you went to this site rehabilitation center, um, and as well as introducing you to the love of your life, uh, they taught you how to do many things to, to manage day to day, how to wipe surfaces in the right way.

So you didn’t miss a bit. Did they talk to you about your mental health and your emotional wellbeing as well? 

Kate Holden: Yeah. Yeah, we had, um, we had like weekly mentoring sessions, so we’d always have an hour a week, some of the day, um, who work there. Um, then there was, um, counseling on offer as well, which I did do a lit for a little bit.

I’ve got, I don’t know, I just, the counseling helped a little bit, but I couldn’t, I felt like I needed somebody who understood who had gone through it. So. You know, obviously my counselor was cited. Um, the majority of the staff was cited as well. So my comfort and my rehabilitation and my counseling came from the other clients that went to the rehabilitation center because I just felt like, well, they all know what it feels like.

They all know what it feels like. So when they give me advice, that’s genuine advice. Yeah. That’s coming from there. That’s coming from somebody that knows what, what this is like. Um, and you know, when you were saying about, you know, losing this identity, I used to, I used to, Oh, look forward to these Friday so much because it was the only place where I felt comfortable in my whole entire week.

When I went there, everybody was in the same boat. I wasn’t in a different one. Um, we were all in the same boat and it was like, the sight loss didn’t exist. It didn’t matter. It’s almost like it took it away for a dad. So I used to just wait for those dry days. Wow. 

Pooky Knightsmith: And were you unusual that in the, I guess from the beginning, you knew that this was going to be a temporary thing for you?

Um, were there other people in the same situation or were most of them losing this life for good? 

Kate Holden: No, there was nobody else who was going to get their sight back there at that time. So there was about 15, it was there on a Friday and a more sang that in itself came with an incredible amount of guilt. I used to feel so guilty that, you know, I was there and I was going to be okay.

And they went, so when some things were offered to me, like the guide dog, which would have helped me, I wouldn’t, I just felt like I wasn’t entitled. Um, Because they were in a much worse position than I was, 

Pooky Knightsmith: but does that make sense? I mean, would you, you know, if you were working with the child and maybe they’re autistic, but they’re not, you know, they are higher functioning say than the next kid, would that mean that they shouldn’t take the support that’s offered to them?

I mean, in your role working with them, would you advise that 

Kate Holden: it shouldn’t mean that they take the support, but I think you, and I know a lot of children don’t want that support and don’t want to be different. Don’t want to stand out. Um, but I always find a way to get that support and in a discreet way.

Um, so I have a few children I’m working with at the moment who will not accept anything that looks different to anybody else, particularly the teenagers, trying to put these vegetables and. Um, so we never going to have, and they weren’t accept them as far as I’m concerned. That is absolutely fine. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t carry on with that because I know how it feels to have something forced upon me, like using a white cane.

I really did not want to do that to the point of where I was defiant about that. So if I, if, if I know that somebody is going to work for people, I’ll try it, but if they don’t want it, then that has to be their decision. But then it’s about how we find ways to put that in discreetly. So. Uh, you know, an example of thing I’ve had to, uh, your mom, who I went to, the was 50.

And then we did a lot of work on anxiety and emotional regulation, and he needed to indicate when he needed to leave that room, but he just wouldn’t accept anything that was different. So we put two Bairos in his pants, the case, and if he put poles the green one out, cause that everybody used anyway for corrupting the work, if he took the green one out and it was on his desk, that meant he needed to leave the room.

So it was just finding other ways of doing that. And then, yeah. Yeah. Being discouraged about, would 

Pooky Knightsmith: you, if you could go back and, you know, mentor yourself almost, would you sort of counsel that, maybe take the dog, maybe use the stick, maybe take the help you deserve it, or do you think that the approach that you took is the one you would advocate.

Kate Holden: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve changed anything. I just think I just taught to go with what felt I, um, I’m a heart person and I do, I do go with my heart and I go with my guts a lot and maybe, you know, I’m wrong then maybe I’ll think about that later. And sometimes, yeah, that was the wrong thing to do. But in that situation, I genuinely still think that I got that got through that in the best way that I called.

Um, and I think because, because you’re so anxious all the time, you don’t have that capacity to think things through properly. Um, so I think of lot of, a lot of what you do, especially when you’re on the spot and you’re out and about it’s called say, you just go with your gut, um, and thinking doesn’t really come into it.

Pooky Knightsmith: It makes perfect sense. You just kind of trying to manage to get three minutes a minute by the 

Kate Holden: sounds of it. Really? Yeah. Um, and it just sounds a bit doom and gloom, but you know, there were so many phones I was going to 

Pooky Knightsmith: ask. Was there any darkly, humorous moments? 

Kate Holden: Um, so I remember, um, I went to Aster, um, um, you know, when I was saying about that depth perception, I ended up knocking a whole pyramid of chocolate oranges.

The security guard was amazing. And I remember starting to go as soon as I thought, see, I’m so sorry. I just run over. He was like, it’s all right, law, fix out, build it back up again. Orange.

I mean, the other thing I did one time was, um, you start the device and you put it on your clothes and it speaks to you and tells you what color. So, you know, what kind of clothes you wear and you say, but it didn’t work for me one day. I don’t know why that’s a school. And one of the kids said to me, miss, what have you got a Brown shoe on?

And a black shoe.

They were both the same shoe. I just thought they were two different colors. And I hadn’t, I hadn’t actually realized, I told them, do you know what? I’m so quick? I just said to her, Oh, I forgot to tell you. It’s not today. It’s not today.

The other thing that my mom said to me was, um, when I, when, where my left eye was, was recovered enough and it was settled enough. Cause what happens is you have to wait six months. And then over periods of another six months, they start to take stitches out. Um, what they take alternatives to, they might take top and bottom left and right.

The 16 stitches in there. So you have to keep going back every two months to get just two more up two more out. So there’s a lot of adjustments and a lot of times a week, but when it did first get my glasses, um, you know, my surgeons were incredible. And if I go to see an optometrist, now they still say to me, these are the best transplant graphs I’ve ever seen.

So I’m really looking. But when I first got my pair of glasses, I ended up with 2020 vision in my left eye, which is, I can’t even describe it. It was just incredible. Um, there, I remember putting these glasses on and I came home. It was a bit well, but let you know, cause they were all here and it’s still my family for the first time and it just went.

My mom was like, Whoa, I didn’t know you had wrinkles it beside your eyes. I can’t believe I said that. It just came up because I’ve not been able to see faces for so long. And I just thought all these features, you know, lines and all. How about yourself? Did you look different? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Definitely. Yeah. Um, but it was nice to be able to see, see things again, you know, it was nice to be able to get the hair dresses and to get my hair cut and to see what that looked like. Um, to be able to put me upon and to be able to go and choose clothes again. And, um, just, Oh, to read, you know, I really miss reading.

I tried the audible books, but every time I did, I fell asleep, um, then eventually to be able to drive, um, And, you know, most blind people who’ve driven will say, it’s the thing that they, they miss the most. It’s your independence. Isn’t there anything, yeah. And it’s time as well. Cause when you can drive over the next day, which one red Smith.

And so, yeah, the enable being able to drive was just amazing. Um, um, somebody asked me the other day, actually on Twitter when they draft the blog, is there anything you miss about not being able to set? So I had started to think about that one as well. I do miss, um, you know, that, that group, that group of people, who I was, where, you know, you knew that, that sense of community and that sense of spirit and determination and, and being with, you know, that, that particular grief, um, the other thing I mix, and it sounds, sounds so strange, but when I couldn’t say I used to get these beautiful, um, things happen in with lights, so one of them was halos.

So I would see literally at nighttime, everything was have a halo rums at street lights. It was so, so separating, um, And then I used to get these Starbursts as well. So that used to have kind of dusk rather than, rather than dark. And it dust just when, when lights started to come on and a Starburst is where you see, you’ll see that the sense of literally like a star, you see all the lines, you know, to me, it looks like it looks like fireworks.

And I suppose I missed the halos and the understudy. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Was getting your sight back. Anything like I, I’m assuming that you’ve read the rules of seeing maybe you haven’t Joe heaps, Burke. If you, if you read that, Oh, you’re going to have to read it then, and then we’ll have to talk again. So Joe heap, um, wrote a book called the rules of seeing which is fiction.

Um, but it’s about a girl who, um, has been blind, I think all of her life. And then she gains her vision in her eye. I want to say her twenties, she’s sick. You know, she’s, she’s not a child, she’s a, she’s a fully grown adult, but she’s never seen before. And, um, she, she thinks that she really, really wants to be able to see, but she actually goes through this it’s really, I mean, it’s an amazing book, but she goes through a very deep process of like reconnecting and, and she finds the world really visually overwhelming.

And I think it was very interesting in that it made you think really carefully about stuff. Like she had to work for months to learn, to catch a ball and things, because if you’ve never developed. Vision and you haven’t got that perception that like you said, I guess, and yeah, I found it very fascinating, but I think, yeah, I think it questioned that assumption that, you know, if you’re blind that you should want to be able to see and that would make everything better.

Kate Holden: Yeah. And I think talking to people as well, that there’s a huge difference between being born without sight and then losing your sight later on. Because I think, you know, if you’re born with it, you’ve given  and if you’ve had it, and then it goes, of course, you’re going to miss it on. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. And will you in a different situation because you kind of knew this was something that might happen at some point.

So are you able to kind of prepare for it in any way? Were there things you learned to do whilst you were sighted in preparation for losing your son or 

Kate Holden: no. Do you know what nothing at all? And that sounds strange, doesn’t it? Because you think if, if you knew somebody, if you know you’re going to be out, you’ll prepare with.

Um, and the only thing I can, I can think to explain that is because one, you put putting your blinkers on because you don’t want to think that’s going to happen. You don’t want to think about it, but also it’s unimaginable until it happens. You cannot imagine what it’s going to be like. Um, so you don’t exactly know what to do.

What’s going to help how to prepare. Um, I think, I think if, um, the visual rehabilitation people have become involved before the sight loss, as well as after that would have been helpful, for sure. Um, learning how to do things, it wouldn’t have taken definitely touch type. I would have done that, you know, all the way, because that took me so long, um, to learn how to do that.

I’m not something you can do anyway. So, so I, I would say the touch typing would have been the biggest prep for me in terms of work. And was 

Pooky Knightsmith: there anything about, uh, you know, when, when you kind of regained your site again, we’ll see, you took a couple of the prettiness that you missed and maybe that group, but, you know, people treated you in a certain way when you lost your sight.

And was there anything there about your kind of self identity? Cause you kind of lost yourself. You said when you lost your vision, but was there a sense of that again, almost when you gained it back? Cause it must’ve been a really big part of your life. 

Kate Holden: Yeah, it was a huge part. Um, Hm. That’s a good question.

P K I try,

I think ours, not so much in identity, but I think I was very tentative. I didn’t rush back to zoom and things. It took me a long time to socialize the gap and I think that came from. Just have fearful. I’ve been in those situations for a very, very long time, putting myself back into a social situation when I was away from home.

And I was on an, in an unfamiliar place was still really difficult, even though I could say. And I don’t know whether that was just triggering, um, you know, that fear that I’d felt back then. I don’t know. I’m not too sure, but I was genuinely fearful about going out to the point where at some times council or at voids and I have a really sociable, um, I love being with people.

I just, I just love people. I love watching them, but I just couldn’t couldn’t do that. Um, and then I think in terms of, um, family and friends, nothing really changed there at all, but yeah. Um, I think. It’s just, I think I became a little less tolerant at times as well. I think that changed once I got my sight back,

I just, I found it difficult, um, to tolerate when I know, and this is going to sound awful, but you know, when people were just really down and really, um, you know, moaning about little things, basically under there should be a good friend. And I should’ve listened to a lot on a day that I do that now, of course the day, but at the time, um, I just thought, Oh, this there’s just so many people that are so much more worse off.

Um, and I found that I wasn’t able to be very sympathetic empathetic at that time. Um, Cause I wanted, I think because I was happy and if it was okay again, once everyone else to be happy, um, and I was going to everything to be okay. Um, I’m part of that was probably, I wasn’t strong enough quite in myself to deal with other people’s problems as well.

Yeah. So it was a bit protective. 

Pooky Knightsmith: So it came from a place of I’m happy. Now everyone should be happy rather than what are you moaning about? I just spent the last X years being blind. 

Kate Holden: Yeah. And that didn’t, I didn’t want to ever use that, but it’s, I mean, never ever said it either. I didn’t say it out loud and I would never use the fuck that that had happened to me because no matter what anybody’s problem is, it’s a problem to them.

Isn’t it? No matter how small it is, it’s still, it’s still a facts. Um, and, but just at that time, I just, couldn’t quite put myself there, but now I’ve gone the opposite way too empathetic. So I feel it, you know, I feel like, um, what, what people are alike and, you know, I think in some ways it’s, it’s made me go out of my way to make, um, to try and be as empathetic as possible and to China and to STEM people and, um, to just try and be nice and be nice to people and to thank people and to be kind, you know, it goes such a long way, you know, when somebody just shows a little bit of kindness, doesn’t it.

And 

Pooky Knightsmith: how, how so, how did losing your sight make you, you know, kind of influenced that in, you

Kate Holden: just did. That’s a difficult one. 

Pooky Knightsmith: Yeah. Did you keep in touch with the people who were in your Friday group? I mean, obviously one of them, but 

Kate Holden: yeah. To keep her

the dog up at that point, it’s all about the dark really now. Um, yeah. I kept in touch with, um, a couple of people. Um, there’s a lady that we know now she’s fabulous is such an advocate for people with sight loss. Um, and we are big Liverpool supporters. And the advantage of having a blind partner is that he gets two season tickets.

Yeah, for the price of long. So he gets to take somebody with them all the time. I, you may, and I’m this particularly to goes to the much as well. So I always go and see her every time. They’re all, 

Pooky Knightsmith: they’re all the old pugs on there. When I was using a wheelchair, then I could go and see shows in the West end really cheaply and get amazing seats and take my husband with me.

Um, so, you know, you take, you take the little parks, uh, 

Kate Holden: done. He always says to me, you don’t have any way for me to use me on. Yeah, that’s it. I just get you the free festival ticket and the free concert ticket.

Pooky Knightsmith: I’m interested to know, like when you and Danny were first together and you were newer to kind of not having your site and kind of working your way through that time, do you think it was more helpful that you were together in your model and your way through? Or was it just like. Double jeopardy. 

Kate Holden: No, it was definitely more helpful.

Yeah. Because, um, it was quite, it was quite cute mainly because we couldn’t, we couldn’t see each other as often as, as we would have liked to, because transport was so difficult, you could just jump in a car and, and we couldn’t, we couldn’t go to places that we wanted to go to. We always had to check is the dark.

Okay. There, can we get there? And what’s it like, you know, what, how, how is it in terms of light. You got to think about lights in as well. We don’t go to dark places. So we used to do things like plan where you’re going to meet. And sometimes we were much faster being outdoors somewhere because we didn’t have to deal with buildings and navigate and stairs and walkways and steps, all that kind of thing.

So we’d have to go to the park and we used to just get a boss and he got a boss. I got a boss. We knew a certain place where we could meet and then we’d go and get a picnic and get into the park. So we did a lot of things like that, but that was great because it was almost like having that crutch to lean on and.

I hate to go in any way around my own. So if we were together, you know, in a bad situation, at least we were in it together, 

Pooky Knightsmith: I guess that there’s always something isn’t there. And I tell people this all the time in my, in my work, I’ve never thought about it in the sense of, of site. Also, I have to say, but there’s something about you can’t necessarily fix a situation for someone, but if you can make them feel less alone in that, in that pain and their worry and their experience, then I think that goes quite a long way actually, doesn’t it?

Kate Holden: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, tell him stories like this, as hard as they may be. Um, you’re not a victim when you share, you know, a bad story, you’re actually, you have a survivor and that’s how I see it. You know, sharing your story makes you a survivor and you never know who’s listening. No, he may need to hear that story to just get a little bit of courage themselves.

It’s so true. 

Pooky Knightsmith: I have to ask, this is a really sort of shallow and superficial question, but you met Danny when you couldn’t see, did you kind of have, like, you know, did you have in your mind what you was gonna look like and did he, yeah. How was it when

Kate Holden: I could sit? Cause I could see the outline and you kind of the shape, but I didn’t quite know the face. Um, and I asked him to sing cause he, he couldn’t, he has very little sight and I said to him, could you see me at all? And he said, no, now, so, so what was it anyways? I knew from day one with you. And I, I know I’m going to say two.

How did you know from day one? And he said it was just the energy and the voice and the bubbliness. And I think that’s a really nice thing about all this because. When people meet and start a relationship, no matter how much we say it doesn’t matter. Looks do matter. Don’t mate, you know, people, people look at each other.

Um, and the fact that I always felt great and it always made me feel great that somebody wanted to be with me because of my personality. And they didn’t know what I looked like. So I’m the same, you know, the same, the other way around. I couldn’t see him, but it was, it was him as a person. Um, you know, I found them off with not, not him and what he looked like.

So strong foundations there from the, from the off. Yeah. 

Pooky Knightsmith: I’m not, I’m not. And I think that, yeah, it must bring a real depth. Yeah. A real depth. But what was it like when you felt like, you know, when you, when you then could see him, was that strange or? 

Kate Holden: No, not really, because I just, I just felt like I knew him already.

I knew him so well and it didn’t really, it didn’t even come into it then that’s all. No, not so. And there was a revelation, you know, where I saw me saw his face and thought, Whoa. Um, it was just, you know, I could see that was that. And I didn’t, it didn’t even cross my mind what you look like. Um, really, well, it was six months on, you know?

Yeah. I’d already laughed. I’d left the visual rehabilitation center. Um, haven’t got my glasses at that point. So probably we were probably in a relationship three or four months before I actually got glasses and could see him properly. So yet it’s just, it didn’t even cross my mind at all. Just like how it doesn’t cross my mind now that he can’t see and reset in situations, you know, when it comes up because the dogs, everything, you know, the dog, it makes him seven dependents.

And when I went, when I had Sam and our son, I had to go back to work straight away. Um, you know, he was only five months old, so. You know, Donnie was looking after the baby. And as long as he’s got the dark, they went everywhere. Some got strapped on the back pack and often once what’s the dark names and roots, we’re really lucky, but we’re on the second guide dog now.

And we’ve been really looking at the dogs we’ve had. Um, most of the time they only need to learn a route one. Wow. And they know it. And 

Pooky Knightsmith: so I wish y’all, he was like that dude with that in my gosh, I’m terrible. Like, yeah. I take many, many times to learn a REIT. So yeah, maybe that the dog is 

Kate Holden: I’m exactly the same, you know, I can’t remember.

I’m so bad. It’s direct. I get lost. I would get lost in a square room. Um, and they, when we’ve been to hotels, I’m terrible at remembering my, the review this, and when I couldn’t say I couldn’t see on the rooms. So finding the door in the dark would literally just walk down the corridor and he would just stop outside the door.

And it was always the right one also. Great. If you lose your car in the car park as well, 

Pooky Knightsmith: Oh, don’t I th this is an actual, like, proper problem for me. Um, I, I do like really lose my car and I have a blue badge actually, to help because I struggled so much for my anxiety and stuff to do with autism. Um, and I’m not always able to keep myself safe, but the main thing that it gives me is the ability to always find my way back because.

Why not. If I’ve spent all day kind of doing kind of out there stuff, being with people, it takes every single bit of me. And I literally have lost all capacity to problem solve and I have before now it sounds so ridiculous. I have before now I spent like over half an hour looking for my car and the long car park.

It’s yeah. Anyhow. Um, so, um, as we kind of draw to do also play, thank you so much for your honesty and your openness and for exploring this. And I think as you said, it, it might be what somebody somewhere needs to hear. Um, right now, if that somebody is listening, who finds themselves in an even vaguely similar situation, what would you want them to know 

Kate Holden: that they’re going to get through it?

That they’re just going to find a new way and they’re going to find a new way of life that they’re going to find a way to adapt it. It’s not always going to feel that art, um, And to know that there are people around, you are going to pull you through it. So when you are Thursdays, when you just feel like you are never going to get through this, and that’s the end of that, there’s always going to be somebody who you can tell to who will drag you through it.

If needs be .