"Completing my education means the start of something new." - Willemijn

My name is Willemijn and I’m 26 years old. I like drawing, painting and animals. I’m creative, sensitive and thoughtful.
Having autism and growing up is a difficult combination to me. I’ve almost completed my engineering studies, but I cannot yet imagine myself as a professional. The responsibilities, the workload and the interaction with colleagues scare me. I feel like I’m a child among 'grown-ups'. Completing my education means the start of something new. I’m experiencing this transition as very difficult currently. When I think about it, the world seems to break into pieces, together with me. That's why I prefer to keep everything the same. Familiar and safe. But that just happens to be impossible.
I’ve been living in the Autism Clinic in Heiloo for a few months now. Here, I hope to gradually develop more self-confidence, and to become more resilient. To discover how I can shape my life in a way that suits me.

Connecting with other people isn’t always easy for me. If someone has a communication style that differs from mine, I can shut down. I often prepare conversations in my head. I come up with answers to possible questions and then 'rewrite' those answers again. Even after conversations, I have a lot of thinking to do. Did I say 'the right thing'?!
I’m proud that, even on difficult days, I manage to get up and make something of my day, even if it’s just as small as feeling the warm sun on my face on a cold winter's day.
I would like to say to other people with autism: It's okay if you need more time than others to get used to a change. Grant yourself the time for that.

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