"Use your interests to connect with others. " - Isabelle

My name is Isabelle Buhr, I am 33 years old. To me, to be autistic means to be passionate, sensitive and often misunderstood.

Because of autism I have strong passions, now expert knowledge. In my case, they are the latin language, translating, (geo)politics and in particular Northern Ireland. And I love rats, I think these animals are amazing. I have a strong intuitive connection with animals, and their company calms me down. Just as many people with autism I am oversensitive to stimuli (lights, sounds, smells), changes, and I feel anxiety in social contacts. A susceptibility for anxiety and depression is unfortunately also part of it. I have far less energy than most and I have difficulty with planning, and performing household tasks. On the other hand, I have a strong focus and I can more rapidly make mental connections.

I am proud that I have written a number of books and translated them, and in spite of all the pain and sorrow, I have not given up on my goals for the future. I am also proud on how I dealt with the sale of my parental house, when this needed to be done.
My mother often used to say I didn’t really have any true friends, and that people couldn’t live with me. ‘You will never get a man', she would tell me flippantly. Now I see I have friendships that have lasted over ten years. I am convinced I can hold a relationship, because I have a lot of love, humour and good advice to give, and actually I deserve it too.
My tips to people with autism: derive pleasure from your passions and turn them into your job or hobby. Your way of processing information doesn’t exist for nothing. Also, use your interests to connect with others. Commit yourself to meaningful relationships with others, because they are not guaranteed! I lost nearly al my close relatives at a young age, and one of the lessons I learned is: don’t take people for granted. In addition, listen to your body and make sensory adjustments (wearing earplugs, closed curtains, dancing and moving…). Autism is not ‘something psychological’ but neurological, so it concerns the entire body.

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