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Temeraire
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25 Jun 2020, 5:32 am

I think we are all conditioned from birth, perhaps before, and all have a mask to an extent.

The difference with being autistic is that we seem to have to camouflage more than others. Like a chameleon or a cuttlefish. We are more vulnerable than your average person. We are not at the top of the food chain when it comes to fitting into our society and time in history.

There is a trade off if you want to unmask and it is an individual choice to do so.

Can be very painful too.



Basil342
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25 Jun 2020, 2:37 pm

idntonkw wrote:
I started swearing and being abusive to family and annoying to friends in order to prove my point and express myself. Everyone hates me now. I learned that in group therapy, and coupled with being tired and lonely and my life not going according to what I had hoped, many years lost just being alone and life being not interesting anymore - I ended up lashing out at people when I was cornered and could not express my frustration any other way. It just lead to people smearing me and using my insults to shame me.

I stopped trying to get dates and have romantic or sexual experiences with women, as it was a lot of pretending to be what I thought they expected and a lot of thinking and pressure on my part, and they all were freaked out by me anyway when they discovered I was strange and immature and personally boring.


What point were you trying to prove and how did that prove it?



idntonkw
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28 Jun 2020, 2:11 am

Basil342 wrote:
idntonkw wrote:
I started swearing and being abusive to family and annoying to friends in order to prove my point and express myself. Everyone hates me now. I learned that in group therapy, and coupled with being tired and lonely and my life not going according to what I had hoped, many years lost just being alone and life being not interesting anymore - I ended up lashing out at people when I was cornered and could not express my frustration any other way. It just lead to people smearing me and using my insults to shame me.

I stopped trying to get dates and have romantic or sexual experiences with women, as it was a lot of pretending to be what I thought they expected and a lot of thinking and pressure on my part, and they all were freaked out by me anyway when they discovered I was strange and immature and personally boring.


What point were you trying to prove and how did that prove it?


I was showing them impossible difficulty and that they had me cornered. For example, mom wouldn't bring younger sibling to school for days at a time.. aunt demanded we devote our lives to our mom because she got cancer and I knew she would manipulate us to use up all our time with this.. cousin kept calling late at night to my parents aggravating them because I made a copy of his key to help him move out and he wanted it back out of principle.. stepmom telling me I have to work every day to renovate my apartment because my dad was working in it.. just being frustrated with things being not perfect.. people demanding things or suggesting I do something which I could not ration the energy for easily..



ASPartOfMe
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30 Jun 2020, 5:01 am

Women 'camouflaging' autistic traits suffer severe mental health challenges, study finds - by Christie Allen, Brigham Young University

Quote:
In the United States, girls represent only about 20% of autism diagnoses. While boys may simply be more likely to have autism than girls, mental health professionals suspect that girls are also more adroit at suppressing autistic traits, which could prevent their autism from being diagnosed, if it is diagnosed at all, until they are adults. Without an autism diagnosis, any mental health concerns these women experience may be misinterpreted.

New BYU research draws attention to the challenges such women face. The study, published in the journal Autism, showed a strong correlation between how much women with autistic traits camouflage—hide or compensate for autistic qualities to fit in—and the severity of their mental health concerns.

Of the 58 women in the study, who all had symptoms of autism, the majority reported frequently masking autistic characteristics. Troublingly, the majority also reported significant psychological distress—including depression (62%), stress (66%) and anxiety (67%)—and 62% reported past or present thoughts of suicide. More than half of the women additionally described difficulty in everyday functioning, such as maintaining friendships and successfully completing work tasks.

The findings have important implications for clinicians.

"Mental health providers face significant challenges in appropriately assessing and providing recommendations for women with autistic traits," said Dr. Jonathan Beck, who authored the paper as part of his doctoral work in psychology at BYU.

Camouflaging is one reason why these challenges arise, the research suggests.

"There are teenagers and middle-aged women who have been struggling for years and are repeatedly misdiagnosed," said Dr. Rebecca Lundwall, an associate professor of psychology at BYU and a leader of the study.

For many of the subjects, who were all between the ages of 18 and 42, participating in the study marked the first time they had shared their mental-health challenges in detail with anyone.

"They're wondering 'Why can't I fit in, why don't I understand when people are telling jokes and when they are serious, why are dating situations so difficult, what is wrong with me?'" Dr. Lundwall added. "And they are miserable."

For the study, researchers recruited women who reported finding social situations confusing or exhausting and narrowed the sample by screening volunteers for autistic traits. Just one third of the subjects had been formally diagnosed with autism.

To analyze links between camouflaging and mental health concerns, researchers surveyed and interviewed the women and administered several face-to-face assessments, including an IQ test and a structured social interaction to evaluate observable autistic traits. Most of the women who volunteered had average or above-average IQs.

Everyone camouflages, the study leaders explained, but autistic women with average and above-average IQs, who may be more cognizant of or concerned about social situations, are thought to camouflage to a more extreme degree. And autistic women may camouflage more successfully than autistic men in part because girls are typically trained to be especially socially aware.

"Part of the reason we want to get these girls and women diagnosed earlier," she emphasized, "is so that they can say, 'Okay, that's what's going on, I'm not that unusual, I can find other people like me.' They can feel like they have a tribe and are not alone."

Dr. Beck agreed, hoping that additional studies will further illuminate the unique concerns faced by these women. "At the end of the day, we want them to find inclusive communities who will help meet their social needs and support their ability to function as they'd like to day-to-day," he concluded.


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


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30 Jun 2020, 6:26 am

The problem is that when I had my last burnout I was glitching between masking and unmasking, and the problem is that when I was unmasking, I was mentally reverting back to the time before I first started masking, so I kept mentally falling back to a mental age of about five or six, as by thr time I reached seven years old, I was masking!

I remember even as a very young child thinking that some adults were thick because when they saw me with my parents they would crouch down and speak in some sort of squeeky voice and act like they were thick? Even to this day I just don't get why some people do that to young children. I guess they were rather undeveloped when they were children so they assume everyone is at that age? Who knows!
Also as a child I hated being hugged or kissed! I would have to wiggle violently as it was soo claustrophobic! Also, to avoid being kissed I would give very wet kisses, so the adults who knew me would think twice before trying it!


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Temeraire
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30 Jun 2020, 8:54 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Women 'camouflaging' autistic traits suffer severe mental health challenges, study finds - by Christie Allen, Brigham Young University
Quote:
In the United States, girls represent only about 20% of autism diagnoses. While boys may simply be more likely to have autism than girls, mental health professionals suspect that girls are also more adroit at suppressing autistic traits, which could prevent their autism from being diagnosed, if it is diagnosed at all, until they are adults. Without an autism diagnosis, any mental health concerns these women experience may be misinterpreted.

New BYU research draws attention to the challenges such women face. The study, published in the journal Autism, showed a strong correlation between how much women with autistic traits camouflage—hide or compensate for autistic qualities to fit in—and the severity of their mental health concerns.

Of the 58 women in the study, who all had symptoms of autism, the majority reported frequently masking autistic characteristics. Troublingly, the majority also reported significant psychological distress—including depression (62%), stress (66%) and anxiety (67%)—and 62% reported past or present thoughts of suicide. More than half of the women additionally described difficulty in everyday functioning, such as maintaining friendships and successfully completing work tasks.

The findings have important implications for clinicians.

"Mental health providers face significant challenges in appropriately assessing and providing recommendations for women with autistic traits," said Dr. Jonathan Beck, who authored the paper as part of his doctoral work in psychology at BYU.

Camouflaging is one reason why these challenges arise, the research suggests.

"There are teenagers and middle-aged women who have been struggling for years and are repeatedly misdiagnosed," said Dr. Rebecca Lundwall, an associate professor of psychology at BYU and a leader of the study.

For many of the subjects, who were all between the ages of 18 and 42, participating in the study marked the first time they had shared their mental-health challenges in detail with anyone.

"They're wondering 'Why can't I fit in, why don't I understand when people are telling jokes and when they are serious, why are dating situations so difficult, what is wrong with me?'" Dr. Lundwall added. "And they are miserable."

For the study, researchers recruited women who reported finding social situations confusing or exhausting and narrowed the sample by screening volunteers for autistic traits. Just one third of the subjects had been formally diagnosed with autism.

To analyze links between camouflaging and mental health concerns, researchers surveyed and interviewed the women and administered several face-to-face assessments, including an IQ test and a structured social interaction to evaluate observable autistic traits. Most of the women who volunteered had average or above-average IQs.

Everyone camouflages, the study leaders explained, but autistic women with average and above-average IQs, who may be more cognizant of or concerned about social situations, are thought to camouflage to a more extreme degree. And autistic women may camouflage more successfully than autistic men in part because girls are typically trained to be especially socially aware.

"Part of the reason we want to get these girls and women diagnosed earlier," she emphasized, "is so that they can say, 'Okay, that's what's going on, I'm not that unusual, I can find other people like me.' They can feel like they have a tribe and are not alone."

Dr. Beck agreed, hoping that additional studies will further illuminate the unique concerns faced by these women. "At the end of the day, we want them to find inclusive communities who will help meet their social needs and support their ability to function as they'd like to day-to-day," he concluded.


Yeah, it seems the severity of mental health issues is proportionate to the degree of masking.

No surprise to us but interesting for those who are not us.

So the question is to mask or not to mask?

And/or how much can we get away with either state?

There will be costs either way.



ASPartOfMe
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30 Jun 2020, 10:30 am

Temeraire wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Women 'camouflaging' autistic traits suffer severe mental health challenges, study finds - by Christie Allen, Brigham Young University
Quote:
In the United States, girls represent only about 20% of autism diagnoses. While boys may simply be more likely to have autism than girls, mental health professionals suspect that girls are also more adroit at suppressing autistic traits, which could prevent their autism from being diagnosed, if it is diagnosed at all, until they are adults. Without an autism diagnosis, any mental health concerns these women experience may be misinterpreted.

New BYU research draws attention to the challenges such women face. The study, published in the journal Autism, showed a strong correlation between how much women with autistic traits camouflage—hide or compensate for autistic qualities to fit in—and the severity of their mental health concerns.

Of the 58 women in the study, who all had symptoms of autism, the majority reported frequently masking autistic characteristics. Troublingly, the majority also reported significant psychological distress—including depression (62%), stress (66%) and anxiety (67%)—and 62% reported past or present thoughts of suicide. More than half of the women additionally described difficulty in everyday functioning, such as maintaining friendships and successfully completing work tasks.

The findings have important implications for clinicians.

"Mental health providers face significant challenges in appropriately assessing and providing recommendations for women with autistic traits," said Dr. Jonathan Beck, who authored the paper as part of his doctoral work in psychology at BYU.

Camouflaging is one reason why these challenges arise, the research suggests.

"There are teenagers and middle-aged women who have been struggling for years and are repeatedly misdiagnosed," said Dr. Rebecca Lundwall, an associate professor of psychology at BYU and a leader of the study.

For many of the subjects, who were all between the ages of 18 and 42, participating in the study marked the first time they had shared their mental-health challenges in detail with anyone.

"They're wondering 'Why can't I fit in, why don't I understand when people are telling jokes and when they are serious, why are dating situations so difficult, what is wrong with me?'" Dr. Lundwall added. "And they are miserable."

For the study, researchers recruited women who reported finding social situations confusing or exhausting and narrowed the sample by screening volunteers for autistic traits. Just one third of the subjects had been formally diagnosed with autism.

To analyze links between camouflaging and mental health concerns, researchers surveyed and interviewed the women and administered several face-to-face assessments, including an IQ test and a structured social interaction to evaluate observable autistic traits. Most of the women who volunteered had average or above-average IQs.

Everyone camouflages, the study leaders explained, but autistic women with average and above-average IQs, who may be more cognizant of or concerned about social situations, are thought to camouflage to a more extreme degree. And autistic women may camouflage more successfully than autistic men in part because girls are typically trained to be especially socially aware.

"Part of the reason we want to get these girls and women diagnosed earlier," she emphasized, "is so that they can say, 'Okay, that's what's going on, I'm not that unusual, I can find other people like me.' They can feel like they have a tribe and are not alone."

Dr. Beck agreed, hoping that additional studies will further illuminate the unique concerns faced by these women. "At the end of the day, we want them to find inclusive communities who will help meet their social needs and support their ability to function as they'd like to day-to-day," he concluded.


Yeah, it seems the severity of mental health issues is proportionate to the degree of masking.

No surprise to us but interesting for those who are not us.

So the question is to mask or not to mask?

And/or how much can we get away with either state?

There will be costs either way.

^^^^
This


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My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman


RVFlowers
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01 Jul 2020, 1:24 pm

wildeabandon wrote:
A couple of months ago I was diagnosed with Asperger's at the ripe old age of 38. I've spent most of my life learning to pass as neurotypical, and gotten really quite good at it, to the point where I'm finding it hard to pick apart "this is subconscious masking, but comes with a cost" from "this is actually who I am". I'm not necessarily going to completely stop all masking, but I'd like to make more of a conscious choice about where and whether it's worth the cost.

I'm doing quite a lot of reflection, but something I would find useful in directing that reflection is observations from other autistics on things that they do to mask, or things that they have done in the past, possibly pre-diagnosis, and have now stopped doing.

Thank you.


Ooh, welcome! I'm 36, and in the same spot as you describe. Good luck finding out who you are :D



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05 Jul 2020, 3:14 pm

I've learned masking so well that is sometimes becomes like an art-form. Periodically, I spontaneously apply light humor - which may best be described as having neutralizing influences in order to "lighten up" both a perceived and actual situations which may necessitate light-heartedness.

I have been told that I sometimes overdue humor (and special interests) as aviodance mechanisms.



starkid
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05 Jul 2020, 11:39 pm

I've stopped forcing myself to look at people as much when we are talking.

I complain about noisy neighbors rather than suffering in silence.

I allow myself to do odd, random things with my hands in public when I feel like it.

I don't make as much of an effort to seem mature (I tend to get mistaken for someone much younger).


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07 Jul 2020, 10:39 pm

starkid wrote:
I've stopped forcing myself to look at people as much when we are talking.

I complain about noisy neighbors rather than suffering in silence.

I allow myself to do odd, random things with my hands in public when I feel like it.

I don't make as much of an effort to seem mature (I tend to get mistaken for someone much younger).


Similar to me. Trying to fit in eventually became more stressful than not fitting in. Nowadays I don't care so much what others think.


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