"I was told that I was too complex." - Mirte

My name is Mirte, and I’m 39 years old. I live with my tail-wagging buddy in Roermond. I’ve been working as a graphic designer for 15 years and for the past 3 years I was editor-in-chief of Tzitzo magazine, a periodical that I founded by myself and which provided openness about mental health.

At the age of 13 I ended up in care with an anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, I followed many therapies, was often hospitalized and I had to deal with a lot of misunderstanding from care providers. As a result, I lost the understanding of myself, showed less and less of my authentic self and I was often depressed.

I collected 9 diagnoses and only found out at the age of 37 that I have autism. When I finally thought I was getting appropriate treatment, I was told that I was too complex and that, due to my long therapy history, treatment wasn’t an option anymore.

Quite a blow, but I decided to go it alone. Because I no longer talked to care providers about problems, I started looking for solutions myself. By reading a lot from and about women with autism, I found recognition and the relief that I wasn’t the only one with this diagnosis. That gave me the permission to be myself and to show myself again.

Now I help other women with autism, giftedness and high sensitivity to follow their creative heart and earn money with their talent. In addition to my work as a graphic designer, I help them to become visible and to overcome their fear of failure, perfectionism and self-doubt. So they can do what makes them happy: use their creative talent and show it to the world!

I don't talk about problems but about solutions when coaching people, because talking about solutions creates more solutions. I’m guided by my own conviction: growth is not the reduction of issues, but the development of strengths.

My tips for women with autism: Never be ashamed or apologize for who you are and what you need. The poster of ‘Loesje’ above my desk reminds me daily: Be yourself, there are already so many others!

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