"I just want to fit in with everyone else." - Julia

I am Julia and I am 21 years old. I have had my diagnosis since I was 8 years old and have had therapy all my life. I am incredibly eager to learn and love to develop myself. I can be extremely perfectionistic in this, which is often very challenging for me. I also find it hard to say no, because I am afraid I will disappoint people or they will get angry with me. I give myself peace and space by reading, travelling, seeing beautiful things in the world and by painting and drawing as a hobby.

The impact autism has on my life is that I sometimes find it harder to understand other people in their communication. As a result, I never got along well with classmates at school and there was always conflict. This has been very difficult for me because I couldn't always do anything about it and sometimes people just don't understand you because of autism.

This can be very frustrating. I also notice that I cannot do things like everyone else. I get fatigued faster, have to take more rest periods and take good care of myself. I often find this difficult, because I just want to fit in with everyone else and not be "different". But autism also has its advantages. You are just very unique and different. For me, this manifests itself in my honesty, my trust in people, my patience and my perseverance.

I am proud of all the things I have learned in the many years of therapy. I have become more confident and I have been able to stand up for myself. I have learnt a lot about myself. I am far from where I need to be, but every day I learn more about myself and my autism and how I can learn to cope with it and that is very valuable to me.

The advice I would like to give to people with autism is: Don't worry if people have prejudices about people with autism, but always stay focused on yourself. About what makes you special and what positive characteristics your autism has and don't let anyone put you off. Even though this can sometimes be very difficult and tough.

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