Hiding (or not Hiding) Autistic features/ Aspergers

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Chloe33
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07 Jan 2013, 1:17 pm

There has been talk around the web of people feeling that they want to hide their Autistic selves, likely as self preservation against bullies and those who wish us harm.

Especially among school age kids, i can sympathize, as i went through being bullied and teased all through out my school years.
I never hid who i was, i was just me. People either liked me or they didn't. Unfortunately there will always be bullies in schools, they will
look for anything they can about anyone to pick on. Whether you are gay, alternative subcultures (goth, Nerdy, punk, etc) they will smell out what is different even in elementary school prior to when one even knows of subcultures.

My question is, can we really hide who we are? I didn't realize how obviously NON-NT i appeared to NTs until only a few years back when my partner helped point it out to me when i asked her.
Anyone who talks to me for more than a brief instance evidently can tell the minute i open my mouth or if i zone out.

For a long time i actually thought i blended with NTs, however i was very wrong about that.

Yet for Auties/Aspies to feel they have to hide their true selves is so sad.
IMO, i feel that progress can't be made if we are hiding. The more NTs see of us, and the more we are aware of eachother increases awareness out there in the world.

To compare to the gay rights movement. Gay people used to have to hide back in the day, out of fears of the same reasons people want to hide now.
Yet with all the progress the gay rights movement has made (marriages, etc) and the higher level of acceptance nowadays, they could have never done it were people to keep hiding.

I don't want to speak for others. Yet i think maybe people want Acceptance.
The more aware of us people are, the more we are aware of eachother out there; there is that power in numbers.

People shouldn't have to hide who they are, it creates an unbalance in the mind for the person.
I do understand extreme cases in which someone may have to hide in order for safety.

It would be ideal if the world was accepting and not judgemental of those they consider "different".

Also if anyone is actually in "hiding" (at school) of their Autism, does it actually make a difference for you? Has the bullying ceased?
Teachers and staff need to be made aware as well, as there is no reason why anyone should have to hide who they are, especially in a school environment where they are there to learn.

Any good teacher would have a zero tolerance policy for bullies.



knifegill
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07 Jan 2013, 1:21 pm

Yes. You can force yourself to sit still, and then you'll explode. Sprinting helps, since the whole body gets a good stim and it lasts for hours (for me at least, usually. Sometimes it has the opposite effect!). But, I'm just trying to point out that there are tricks to help fit in. But it's not worth it.

You are trying to define how happy a bat should be by watching monkeys.



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07 Jan 2013, 1:36 pm

Had I been diagnosed when I was still in school, I definitely would have tried to hide it. As for how well I did hide my particular peculiarities, that all depends on what situation I was in. In a classroom I could blend in without much of an issue, but anything involving sports or socializing I imagine I was seen as being very odd. In a way I think a lot of these things were blamed simply on being a teenager, which was fortunate because i'm not sure how I would have reacted to it back then.



Jaden
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07 Jan 2013, 3:46 pm

I don't believe in hiding who I am just because other people have a problem with it. They have to deal with it and move on, and for those who would try to harm me, they'd pay the price for their ignorance and stupidity.

The second we have to go into hiding because of other people, is the second we lose our freedom as individuals, and that's not something I will ever surrender.


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07 Jan 2013, 4:01 pm

Jaden wrote:
I don't believe in hiding who I am just because other people have a problem with it. They have to deal with it and move on, and for those who would try to harm me, they'd pay the price for their ignorance and stupidity.

The second we have to go into hiding because of other people, is the second we lose our freedom as individuals, and that's not something I will ever surrender.

I could not have posted it better myself.


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Threore
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07 Jan 2013, 4:42 pm

I've always tried to hide it during my school time from the moment I discovered I was different from others, but it never worked for long because constantly acting out plays was exhausting to do. I tried less hard to adapt when I started uni, but since I discovered I had AS I quit trying to be anything different from myself. Now I'm far less stressed and many of the people around me know a 'me' that is far closer to the real me, making life much easier.



Joe90
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07 Jan 2013, 4:58 pm

I was only 8 when I was diagnosed, and so I have been observing and mimicking general NT behaviour ever since, plus I am only mild aswell. So I think I do quite a good job at hiding my AS. Friends have never suspected AS or Autism, even if they have a relative with Autism. I come across as very shy, or anxious, but that's it. All of my friends know how shy I am, and some know how anxious I can get, but there are non-Aspies out there who can have social anxiety, so I can still pass off as a shy NT with an anxiety disorder, or an anxious NT with social phobia, or however you like to put it.

I don't stim (as in flap my hands or do other stims that could be considered unusual by other people), and I don't go on non-stop about obsessions to people (except for close relatives). I try to hide my fear of noise, and bright lights don't bother me anyway. Also I can have a one-to-one conversation, and I can get on with people easily, like I don't interrupt mid-sentence or have other little habits like that when interacting with people. I can only be socially awkward when I am in a group of people, like not knowing what to say or when to speak so I stay quiet, which might appear as quite odd to others but mostly it gets perceived as shyness. At least I make eye contact and I smile when in a group, which is better than nothing. And also I'm good with picking up non-verbal cues, so I can easily hide my AS to other people. Well, for all I know nobody has suspected AS anyway.


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07 Jan 2013, 5:09 pm

In the past I have never understood why people thought I was weird. I have overheard people say there was something wrong with me. I have been told that other people think I am weird and and I have been patronized, made fun of, and treated like there was something wrong with me. I never understood this because I was just being me and I couldn't see other peoples' perception of me.

Learning about autism I now understand that it is a pervasive disorder and can affect many areas of the brain and behavior.

People can see it in your mannerisms, the way you move and walk, your timing when you talk, or are conversing with others, your voice, your posture, your eye gaze, your facial expression, the way you respond to your environment, the way you don't respond, and there is probably much more that I cannot think of right now.

It all adds up to the fact that others may perceive you as weird or different, or a bit "off" even though you may not realize just how different you seem to others.

For me, personally, I just want to continue being me, It would be too difficult to try to act in a way that others perceive as normal and I don't even think I can, and I don't know why I should act differently on the outside than I am on the inside. At least I have a better understanding of it now.



emimeni
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07 Jan 2013, 5:47 pm

I'm giving up on trying to "hide" my autism. I might not disclose it to anyone, but I'm not going to not, for example, rock and forth because it makes somebody uncomfortable.


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07 Jan 2013, 5:50 pm

I'm slowly starting to have the courage to be more myself even in public, it's because I saw how it didn't do me any good to neglect my true self.


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Chloe33
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07 Jan 2013, 6:44 pm

Jaden wrote:
I don't believe in hiding who I am just because other people have a problem with it. They have to deal with it and move on, and for those who would try to harm me, they'd pay the price for their ignorance and stupidity.

The second we have to go into hiding because of other people, is the second we lose our freedom as individuals, and that's not something I will ever surrender.


Awesomely put! I completely agree :farao: :farao: :farao:



Matt62
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07 Jan 2013, 8:00 pm

Brave words1 however, if you are high-functioning, your ability to get/hold a job may very well depend on being able to blend in a little. THAT SAID, I hate the way Wal*Mart & other large corporations try to make everyone look/act a like...
Of course, I also grew up in the Bad Old days, so it was absolutely essential to not stand out TOO much.

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08 Jan 2013, 3:10 am

Jaden wrote:
I don't believe in hiding who I am just because other people have a problem with it. They have to deal with it and move on, and for those who would try to harm me, they'd pay the price for their ignorance and stupidity.

The second we have to go into hiding because of other people, is the second we lose our freedom as individuals, and that's not something I will ever surrender.


Completely true. Though I had a period where I was hiding or at least trying to hide because it actually didn't bring any good results. I had the illusion I was acting like the others but I still had integration problems with them and couldn't really understand why. I tried oh so many things to fit but in vain. It took some years until I finally understood that whatever I could do, I would always be different and face the same issues, so better face those issues being myself. Hiding or playing a role is quite tiring and doesn't bring you anywhere, or it only creates a face of you that you will never be proud of, which is kinda frustrating because people will remember that mask, and you, you deeply know you are better than that, if only you had the courage to assume your difference !



Jaden
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08 Jan 2013, 3:38 am

LilFlo wrote:
Jaden wrote:
I don't believe in hiding who I am just because other people have a problem with it. They have to deal with it and move on, and for those who would try to harm me, they'd pay the price for their ignorance and stupidity.

The second we have to go into hiding because of other people, is the second we lose our freedom as individuals, and that's not something I will ever surrender.


Completely true. Though I had a period where I was hiding or at least trying to hide because it actually didn't bring any good results. I had the illusion I was acting like the others but I still had integration problems with them and couldn't really understand why. I tried oh so many things to fit but in vain. It took some years until I finally understood that whatever I could do, I would always be different and face the same issues, so better face those issues being myself. Hiding or playing a role is quite tiring and doesn't bring you anywhere, or it only creates a face of you that you will never be proud of, which is kinda frustrating because people will remember that mask, and you, you deeply know you are better than that, if only you had the courage to assume your difference !


I know what you mean, there was a time when I tried to fit in the same way, but ultimately I realized that any relationships that I would've got into would've been under the pretext of a lie, and I couldn't live with not knowing if the relationship was real or not, and whether they'd accept me for me, or only me for who they thought I was. In the end it was better this way because I stopped trying to please others and I started thinking for myself. I guess at that time I kind of reinvented myself in more ways than one lol.


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08 Jan 2013, 3:52 am

... f**k that.

What I do hide is my face, my eyes... anything that mundies might look to in order to get false positives. I make absolutely, totally sure that there is as little about me they can misread or misinterpret (as they so love to do) as possible... I'm capable of alternating the tone of my voice, but I generally speak in monotone by choice, as voice tone is yet another thing that mundies like to get false positives from.
In short, I try to make it as easy as possible for them to understand that I communicate verbally only... though expecting them to understand explicit literalism is perhaps a step too far. I still criticise them if they screw it up.



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08 Jan 2013, 4:59 am

When you live in Bulgaria (or the Balkans in general), you just have to hide. Otherwise you will surely be mistreated.

People are very ignorant about ASD-related topics. They think that autistic people are dangerous, that they could suddenly "freak out" and hurt people for no reason. Or that they might even "infect" other people.

Hiding may be hard, but it helps avoid a ton of trouble.


Mental disorders, as a whole, are a source of great fear in my country. When someone has mental issues, their family generally prefers to send them to an institution and then completely forget they even exist. Some people even get angry when reminded about their relatives who live in an institution - "It's your job to take care of that thing, stop bothering us."

The institutions themselves look more like Nazi concentration camps than actual hospitals. Dirty, decrepit, isolated (most of them are located far away from cities - for "security" reasons). No attempts are made to cure the inmates' conditions - they are just kept locked in there, so that they "won't hurt somebody".


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