“[My ASD diagnosis] did not really come as a surprise.” - Christel

I'm Christel. In '21 I was diagnosed with ASD, something that did not really come as a surprise. Already during my PABO studies (teachers' college for primary education), I recognised myself during lectures given on children with autism. I can remember asking our group to describe a random object. The fellow students gave a general answer, while I emphasised the shape, the colour, the feeling and thus the details. Exactly what served as an example of how someone with autism thinks and perceives the world. I can also interpret the meaning of words differently. I can take a message literally. Sometimes to the great hilarity of others, and of course myself.

The reason for my research was that after several times getting stuck and receiving support, I was still not finding myself. I was looking for an instruction manual of the person I was, but didn't have enough tools to do so. I wanted to learn, improve, get to know myself better, but whatever I did, I didn't get to the core for long. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, in a beautiful world that you see and move in, but don't reach 100%. These obstacles, but also my curiosity, made me take the step, after yet another 'failed' treatment, to persevere.

If I may pass on a tip to anyone diagnosed with ASD, or perhaps in doubt about having ASD, please trust your feelings (after all, you have antennae for a reason) and above all, be kind to yourself! It is hard work and being 'different' is sometimes quite confronting. At those moments, try to see the humour in it, take your rest, stay who you are and be proud of being that different person. A Limited Edition, as I sometimes say. Know, recognise and acknowledge, the friction you sometimes feel with society, situations, the people surrounding you and their systems. Accept that imbalance and re-establish balance in your mind, for yourself. And don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, even if it sometimes seems so frightening. You can handle more than you may sometimes think.

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