"I can really enjoy the small things in life." - Marjanne

I’m Marjanne, I’m 41 years old and I live on my own (with 2 rabbits) in Veenendaal. I volunteer at a shelter/pet hotel (mainly cats) and at a hospice. I was diagnosed with ASD almost a year ago, after years of having a different diagnosis, which was a relief for me.

Autism to me means that I think a lot about everything and I am usually very tired. Social occassions can be very nice, but they take a lot of energy, both during, before, and after, because of a lot of deep thinking ('preparation' and ‘evaluation'). I can also be affected by noises or scents. What’s quite beautiful is that I can really enjoy the small things in life, especially nature or music, and that I can sometimes express my feelings well in (abstract) painting and in poems.

I'm happy that I'm getting better and better at shaping my life in a way that suits me; at doing what I find valuable, and finding where I can use my qualities. For instance, at my volunteer jobs (where I can talk about more profound subjects, my interest in people in the hospice, and feeling a special bond with animals in the shelter/pet hotel); that I can do things that I enjoy; allow myself more rest and space, which makes life much more pleasant than it was before.

Of course, I haven't lived that long with the knowledge of my own autism, but what has helped me a lot so far, is getting in touch with fellow autistics; people who truly recognise and/or acknowledge things, and who may already have more experience, so they can give tips as well, can help you recognise things in yourself, etc. And if necessary, seek and ask for appropriate help. I have a very nice personal counselor who has proper knowledge of autism too.

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