“It was very difficult for me to accept my autism diagnosis.” - Kaylee

I’m Kaylee, I’m 28 years old and I live with my boyfriend (and my rabbit Ans). I have a degree in juvenile law (my big passion) and I love to bake and read books!

When I got diagnosed with ASD at the end of 2018, I was relieved on the one hand, because many pieces of the puzzle fell into place. On the other hand, it was very difficult for me to accept this diagnosis. I still find it hard to use the word 'autism' when talking about myself. I prefer to use the abbreviation ASD. I’ve also told few people in my environment about the diagnosis, but participating in this project is a big step in the acceptance process for me.

The first period after the diagnosis I continued as I always had: participating fully in society, where I absolutely didn’t take my limits into account. After a while, I started to feel that by living this way I would fall back into a pattern of depression and exhaustion. This time I called in appropriate (outpatient and psychological) support to help me shape my life in a way that I can sustain. Although I was too late with starting support, and I had to call in sick for a long time at work, which I find hard, I am currently happier than I have been in the past eight years!

I have now learned to recognize and respond to the tension in my body, and I’m supported in creating a healthy work-life balance. My sensitivity to stimuli, difficulty with (sudden) changes, fatigue, the tendency to lose myself in work, etc. will never disappear, but now I have the tools to deal with this. Awareness and acceptance are the most important for me. Although acceptance is still a 'work in progress', I am proud of the steps I have taken so far.

My tip which I want to pass on to other women with ASD: get help if you have trouble shaping your life in a way that is sustainable for you!

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