Let go of what you think "should" and do what makes you happy." - Scarlett

My name is Scarlett, I’m 44 years old, married to Raymond and mother of two boys (17 & 13). I have known that I’m autistic for 3 years now. Not knowing has led me to walk a difficult path. Recently, for the first time, I feel happy

I have had depression since adolescence, due to constant overload not knowing that I am autistic but wanting to be as 'normal' as possible. I wanted to prove to my circle that I am not stupid or different, even though I had that idea myself. The constant stress also resulted in 2 cancer diagnoses before the age of 40. Having survived this, I entered a severe depression, with an admission. I then read an article by Annelies Spek and the book 'not insensitive' of Hennie Struik; for the first time I fully recognised myself. Shortly after the diagnosis, I got a gastric bypass and, partly because of that and a lot of exercise, lost 50 kg. Stress and medication had made me become overweight.

Since my diagnosis, I have had personal counselling: 2 Boba life coaches to guide me through everything that is difficult for me. This is the best help I could get. I am finally experiencing peace in my life.

I am proud of myself. Recently, I got a tattoo of a wolf, lotus flower and full moon. The wolf symbolises my fighting spirit and found spirit of life. I can now enjoy the little things, like walking the dog, making homemade soup, being creative in the garage, painting or baking something.
I am proud of my husband. Raymond has continued to believe in me and us. We went through really deep moments, but we never gave up. We have two beautiful sons whom we are very proud of.

My tip for people with autism: Go through the WMO to find the right specialised help, such as a life coach. Together, you can find what feels right for you. Let go of what you think "should" and do what makes you happy. Be open to your circle and name what you need. Be kind and forgiving to yourself, especially at the time when you didn't know any better! Even if things look black and dark, life can become beautiful again. It is and always will be hard work, all the time!”

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