Please be aware people of any gender identity might mask
1. Understanding Autistic Masking
Autistic Masking is when Autistics mimic and use social scripts, learnt from others, in order to fit in and to go unnoticed in the neurotypical world. Masking is not gender specific. Masking often becomes a way to cope in situations that are hard for Autistics to understand.
2. What does it look like?
Autistics might look to peers, for instance the way they dress, talk, play or communicate, and replicate this.
Autistics can use naturalised scripting methods and integrate this into everyday discussions. Autistics might hold back and observe situations and context, then try to copy it either through imitative play or in direct social situations.
Autistics that are struggling might not want to be noticed, so will hide and blend in. This will lead to some Autistics not contributing much to the conversation and allow others to lead conversations.
This can be misunderstood and Autistics might then be considered shy or reclusive, rather than the truth, which is that some Autistics are struggling to fully understand certain situations and are having difficulties expressing emotions.
Some Autistics will take on the persona of other people, like You Tubers or screen/book characters. Some Autistics are like a chameleon blending into many situations the struggles going unseen.
3. What happens after long term masking?
Masking is a suppression of the true feelings that Autistics experience in life situations. Masking can lead to Autistics being wrongly diagnosed with mental health difficulties because Autism is not considered.
Autistics become exhausted from masking, which can lead to small episodes of burnout. This then leads to Autistics having long term intense burnout, which can result in self harm and at worst suicidal ideation and attempted suicide (this might not apply to all).
Adulthood might lead to Autistics feeling a sense of losing one’s self, feeling more socially isolated, like no one knows the Autistics real self. This can lead to Autistics feeling that further masking is the only way and the disconnection from themselves continues.
Suppression for some Autistics can be felt as though nothing in life sits right or not having a sense of belonging anywhere.
This can lead to self medication, self harm, heightened anxiety, depression, confusion, anger and mental exhaustion (this might not apply to all Autistics).
Girls Autistic Journey~