Adulting, Independence

Adulting: Masking Autistically

I had always practiced what is known today as masking for autistic individuals before the term was coined in modern years.  Bringing the term to light ensures that the reality of the issue as it relates to the day to day operations of an autistic person.

I have been practicing masking as a child for the majority of my school career. As often realized, the majority of the educational systems in the world are just not made for many neurodiverse people. The same can be said for when we are asked to follow expectations that we may struggle with adhering to. Noncompliance of expectations was and can still be related as being a “bad” person. Therefore, not wanting to be punished for not following expectations, I would often go through the motions just because it was easier to just go with something.

Then was the moment when I felt a sense of freedom and could be my genuine self. I often had a desire to express what I was feeling and many times it was overwhelming to my loved ones because it was often and sometimes explosive in nature. However, there were times it couldn’t be masked until it was safe to unmask. This often was a result of having to excessively mask because things were just too overwhelming for me. It was no one’s fault and I eventually accepted that. 

Nonetheless, there are times that expectations have to be met. I There is a big difference in knowing you can’t  do something versus that you won’t do something. I am slowly learning that I need to be aware to the best of my ability of what something that requires my presence requires of me. I understand that not everything can go according to plan, but building an additional buffer of recovery time for me so I do not become too overwhelmed and react negatively to others.

Although many autistic people mask to withstand what they must, some however do not have the ability to do so. Autism is often stereotyped as being someone that is unable to autistically mask. Like any invisible disability, just because you can be seen as autistically masking does not necessarily mean that state of being can be withstood for an extended period of time. Therefore, when being seen in a state of masking when an accommodation is requested, not being able to see what we need can cause challenges for autistics because the why is not able to be displayed. 

Knowing ways that an autistic person needs to cope in challenging situations is key in making sure that adequate accommodations can be made to a situation if it needs to be done. It takes like anything that we have to do when things are unaware to us by knowing what accommodations can be made to best reduce the need to excessively mask or be too overwhelmed.

It takes time to know yourself as an autistic person. As surroundings change, you have to learn how to best blend in the way you can without burning yourself out too much. There is nothing wrong with masking, but accepting that doing it too much can lead to autistic burnout, resulting in further dangers to yourself and those around you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s