my autistic unmasking journey is confusing... here's why. | Summary and Q&A

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January 26, 2023
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charlierewilding
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my autistic unmasking journey is confusing... here's why.

TL;DR

The journey of unmasking in autism can be confusing and challenging, as individuals navigate which parts of themselves are their true selves versus their masked personas.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why is unmasking in autism a confusing process?

Unmasking in autism can be confusing because individuals may struggle to determine which parts of themselves are their true selves and which parts are their masked personas that they have developed over time. This realization can be mind-blowing and take a lot of time to unravel.

Q: What are some challenges of unmasking for individuals with autism?

Unmasking in autism comes with the challenge of carrying the weight of one's mask and feeling its intrinsic presence at all times. It can be exhausting to constantly be aware of one's masked identity and can also lead to burnout and mental health struggles.

Q: Why is it difficult to unmask and be one's authentic self?

For individuals with autism, unmasking is not as simple as deciding to remove the mask and move on. The masked persona has become ingrained in their identity, and the desire to keep the mask on is often rooted in a perceived sense of protection. Removing the mask requires time, therapy, and a slow process of unraveling.

Q: What are some anxieties associated with unmasking in autism?

One anxiety of unmasking in autism is the fear of losing friends and relationships. The masked self has played a role in maintaining these connections, and revealing one's true self may come with the risk of others not accepting or understanding the individual. Additionally, there may be anxieties about the potential negative consequences of sharing one's diagnosis with others.

Q: How does the struggle to unmask affect new situations and new relationships?

For individuals with autism, judging when it is safe to unmask and be oneself can be difficult, especially in new situations and with new people. As individuals on the autistic spectrum tend to be trusting and take people at face value, they must navigate when to unmask in order to avoid potential harm but also to be their authentic selves.

Q: Why is unmasking in autism mentally exhausting?

Unmasking in autism requires a great deal of mental energy and can be mentally exhausting. Constantly thinking about and navigating between the masked and authentic self, as well as processing the anxieties and fears associated with unmasking, can contribute to feelings of exhaustion and the need to take breaks and practice self-care.

Q: How does the knowledge of not being alone impact the unmasking journey in autism?

The realization that there is a community of individuals going through similar experiences with masking and unmasking can be both comforting and inspiring. It provides a sense of solidarity and support, knowing that one is not alone in navigating the confusion and challenges of unmasking.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Unmasking in autism is a difficult process, as individuals try to differentiate between their true selves and their masked personas that they have developed over time.

  • It can be overwhelming to realize that unmasking is a never-ending process and that one's mask may always be a part of them.

  • The privilege of masking also comes with challenges, such as the experience of burnout and mental health issues.

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