I am a woman aged 58, and I live in Sweden, in a suburb close to Stockholm.
I was diagnosed with autism half a year ago. The diagnosis felt as an acknowledgement of how hard I have struggled all my life. There was also the feeling that everything was forgiven: I could forgive myself for all my shortcomings because autism had made life so much more difficult for me, and I could forgive others for not always treating me so well, because they did not know that I am autistic.
Many people have helped me during my life, but two of them were especially important.
As a young adult, I was completely lost and I found a therapist who helped me to feel what I was feeling, to see my needs, to start to understand who I am.
Twenty years later, I had a deep longing for an intimate relationship, and I met a healer who helped me work through the obstacles preventing me from opening up towards men. For more than 15 years now, I live in a happy marriage and this is the source of my greatest joy and happiness.
I would like to tell neurotypicals that autism can come in many forms. Rather than the stereotype of being overly rational and reserved, I am overly emotional and too expressive. And I would like to say to other people on the spectrum to just be kind to yourself. Being autistic is hard; don’t beat yourself up when you fail at something.