"My brain and I are always switched on." - Tamara

I am Tamara, 43 years old. I work full-time. I have been searching my whole adult life for who I am and why I can't keep up, with countless melt-downs, being unreasonable, crying fits, hiding, feeling alone, distraught and always feeling exhausted. What I heard what it could be: borderline, manic-depressive, burnout. I even started to think I was a narcissist.

Last June, I was diagnosed with ASD. I want to be in that 'box' with that 'label', because outside of a box I have always presented myself differently and adapted to my environment. Only now do I see how the environment reacts to me and what reactions I provoke with my behaviour. How others take advantage of my gullibility and can't say no. I need help for these things, this is starting to break me down. I need to learn to set limits and boundaries, instead of constantly going over them.

I am strong, smart, independent, consistent, do not give up easily and on the outside it looks like everything comes easily to me, but unfortunately this is not as it seems. My brain and I are always switched on; I look for, and see patterns everywhere. I react strongly to scents and light; I see and hear just about everything around me. I have a hard time reading people's facial expressions, but I can hear whether they are telling the truth and I can sense their emotions.

Something to be pride? I can say that I am a very good person with no malicious intentions, but often am misunderstood. Autism is not an excuse, but an explanation of why I cannot do some things very well and find them more difficult than another and where I need help. That does not matter, I have come far and intend to come even further. Right now, I have some lovely people around me who don't always understand me, but do accept the way I am. It won't always be easy and I won't always be easy, but I understand myself and those around me much more now.

My advice? At the phase I am in now, I can only say; take your time to find out what works best for you. Because tools can be handed to you, but you still have to do it yourself.

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