"At last the search is over, and there is peace and reconciliation"

My name is Virginie, I’m 53 years old. A Sunday child, because I was born on a Sunday and everything seemed to go very smoothly. I was a happy child, I liked going to school, had many friends and was always on the tennis court. I was born quite a few years later than my siblings. It was tranquil at home, perhaps that's why there were no visible signs of autism. When I started studying, I immediately experienced more difficulties. I graduated on willpower, hard work and perseverance. I didn't follow the usual career path, devised all kinds of loopholes, because I instinctively felt that I wouldn't make it otherwise.
When I was 28 years old I got burned out. Many professionals bit off more than they could chew on my case. The fatigue was linked to mononucleosis and Lyme. From 2018 on, my life turned into a rollercoaster. Due to multiple experiences of loss in quick succession, my world was turned upside down. My training as a yoga teacher became my grip. I learned to know myself better, and I met the right people.

At the end of 2021 I was diagnosed with autism. It was a great relief, but I was also mourning. My struggle, and especially all the comments that I had got before which had touched me deeply, passed by like a movie. I had practiced top sport, and it was remarkable that I had kept it up for so long.

At last the search is over, and there is peace and reconciliation. I feel at home with this diagnosis. I now know that I don't have to fix anything anymore, this is who I am. I can take the pressure off, now. I no longer hide from my overstimulation. I am structuring my life in a more organized way, for example by decluttering.

My tips for others: (1) Have a few basic ingredients at home to quickly prepare a nutritious meal. (2) For me, yoga, breathing techniques and meditation are helpful. (3) I wish everyone to have one or more people who are there for you unconditionally when you need it.

This poem by Marianne Pepels accurately describes my feeling:

I am I
and that has its reason
I was born that way, made that way
wouldn't trade with anyone
because I'm quite satisfied

so i stay who i am
I just decided that
wouldn't trade with anyone
because my skin fits like a glove

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