"I enjoy social things and I need them, it just drains my energy." - Sarah

What a beautiful photo project!

There is so much recognition in each piece I have read. I am Sarah, I have two children and a sweet husband.

It’s very important for me to plan and keep controle:  the housekeeping, my job, what I eat, appointments, working out and personal finances, and the most important thing… my moments of rest. And I need clarity. This is how I have less stress, I’m better able to set boundaries, and I don’t get overwhelmed. If all of this goes well, I can be super flexible.

I am grateful for the help I get from my therapist, and for my husband who supports me and who is learning about autism. He won’t try to surprise me again at work with a bunch of roses, which was well intended, and fourteen years later we can actually laugh about my reaction.

I enjoy social things and I need them, it just drains my energy. To correctly interpret nonverbal communication, to keep apart main and subsidiary issues, and analysing conversations afterwards… I laugh off a lot, but for others the processing afterwards is often invisible. It is difficult to explain all the ups and downs you can experience with the littlest things.

I can get overstimulated, but also understimulated which can make me quite somber. I need to be mentally and creatively challenged.

Luckily I can express myself through learning, reading and listening to the Arab languange. I work at an elementary school which has many children with a background in other languates. I work very hard, but I can express my creativity.

I experience many advantages of ASD, such as rapid association, and great enthusiasm about something or someone. I can enjoy pretty colours and prints, ideally purple, picking out dresses, reading books about the Middle East, and Arab pop music. I can also revel in the ideas of my children or students.

I am still in the process of learning to understanding myself better. My tip to others: grant yourself the time to walk this road, it’s a personal process for everyone. Keep looking at yourself and try not to care too much about others.

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