"I have always felt different and misunderstood." - Sylvana

Hi! My name is Sylvana, I’m 33 years old, and I live together with my dog. I am a nurse by profession (not currently employed). One of my big passions is dancing salsa and bachata! I find relaxation in this. I have a huge heart for animals and I like to be creative.

This year I founded @Wereld van Autisme [World of Autism], where I share about (my) autism. I write poems and create Survival Guides for other people with autism.

I was diagnosed with autism when I was 31 years old. The ‘not knowing about my autism’ has had a major impact on my life. I have always felt different and misunderstood. I could never explain why. This has resulted in low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. I have masked (unconsciously) for years in the hope of being able to be a part of something. It’s very confrontational and sad when you suddenly realize that all those years you 'haven’t been or couldn’t be yourself completely'. I have lost myself, and my identity, because of this. I am very happy that I now do know about my autism and that I can really get to know and understand myself.

I am proud of my perseverance. Despite the many setbacks and low points in my life, I never gave up. I am a fighter and I have always managed to pick myself up again. In addition, I am proud of World of Autism and my creativity that I (also) express there. I receive so many positive and sweet messages from followers. They find recognition and comfort in my posts. It gives a fulfilling feeling to be able to help others this way!

My tip to people with autism: What has helped me enormously after my diagnosis is contact with other autistics, both on social media and through my peer group. It gives such a nice feeling when you find that recognition you've been looking for after years of searching and to find out that you're not alone!

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