High-Functioning Autistic Woman Fed Up with Camouflaging

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CockneyRebel
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13 Jun 2019, 11:19 pm

Welcome to WP! :D


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Nydcat
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13 Jun 2019, 11:38 pm

Adhd is not the inability to focus, it's the inability to modulate your attention; you'll either not be able to focus or focus way to much and not be able to switch tasks.



Trogluddite
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13 Jun 2019, 11:50 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Agreed that it's important to be able to be honest. Yet it is still necessary to be considerate towards other people in one's life.

Certainly. Shifting the burden of having to make adaptions so that it's more equitable, not getting it all our own way.
(I have bookmarked your thread ready for tomorrow - sleep beckons!)


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TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 10:29 am

Nydcat wrote:
TheCleverWitch wrote:
Nydcat wrote:
How did adhd helped conceal you asd? I also have a late diagnostic with adhd and I was wondering if it has something to do with me flying under the radar.


I understand. Like when I'm overwhelmed by sound, instead of melting or shutting down, I uncontrollably and intensely zone out.


Yah, I frequently do that too.



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 10:43 am

Trogluddite wrote:
Coined for me rather than my own invention. I'm not opposed to new technologies per se (I've been a coder for 35 years and I am endlessly fascinated by science), but I prefer to judge them by their potential to improve my quality of life, rather than to be forced into using them at society's convenience. My legendary resistance to carrying a mobile phone at all times combined with my youthful enthusiasm for caving/spelunking led to the epithet.


If I correctly recall my history, that rather makes you more similar to the original luddites than the current usage of the word is - they didn't actually hate technology, just that it was disrupting their livelihoods.

Trogluddite wrote:
Now there's a question! I'm very much still going through the process of sorting this one out myself. I'd had over four decades of brainwashing myself before my diagnosis a few years ago. I'm not sure that it is just a matter of discovering one's native self; I think there's also an element of developing a native self. When one's primary objective in any social situation is to avoid detection, one's behaviour becomes dictated by other people's wishes (or at least, what one believes them to be.) Since this begins in infancy, I think it leads to significant problems with self-identity and agency, especially if executive function impairments are also in the fray. Asking myself what my own goal was before deciding how to act usually seemed moot, and it still seems somewhat alien to me now. Learning to be more assertive certainly helps, but it helps a whole lot more if one actually has a position to assert!

The externally notable behaviours, such as eye-contact and stimming, have been relatively easy for me to unmask; though as you may already have found, there are people who will wonder why one has "got worse", "regressed", "stopped trying", or "uses autism as an excuse" because the mask concealed its own artifice. Learning to stop my internal censor from procrastinating about whether my perceptions or opinions are appropriate to express or act upon has been much harder, but my feeling is that this is the key to the problem. To find who I am is going to require a bit of trial and error, I think, and that won't work if I can't be honest about how those experiences make me feel.


Thank you for the feedback! It's encouraging to hear someone else describe the same sense of unfamiliarity with oneself. I've never considered the idea that immediate masking can relate to internally procrastinating evaluations of one's own perceptions/opinions; that sounds like a useful train of thought to spend a while considering. May I ask how long you've been endeavoring to develop your native self? I'm aware that I have a lengthy task ahead of me as I try to do the same, and it'd be nice to know what sort of timelines other have encountered.



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 10:43 am

CockneyRebel wrote:
Welcome to WP! :D


Thank you!



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 10:47 am

Nydcat wrote:
Adhd is not the inability to focus, it's the inability to modulate your attention; you'll either not be able to focus or focus way to much and not be able to switch tasks.


That's true! But in children, it can often present as the inability to focus because childhood ADHD frequently has the "hyperactivity" component to it.



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 11:11 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Well, I've sometimes been told that I am "hyper-intellectual," and indeed I very much enjoy philosophical conversation. I think there are some others around here like this too.


Would you be interested in PMing? I'd enjoy the opportunity to chat with another like-minded person. (I'm new here, so apologies if that's not how this works. I'm unfamiliar with the social protocol in this situation.)

Mona Pereth wrote:
A question, though: How do you manage to be "hyper-intellectualized" if you have difficulty concentrating on anything? (I don't mean to challenge your reality, I'm just curious as to how this works. I hope my question is not offensive.)

Anyhow, welcome to WP.



Good question! As Nydcat beat me to mentioning, ADHD isn't explicitly the inability to focus, difficulty focusing is one feature, and hyper-focus is another. My understanding is that some children may find focusing close to impossible due to the hyperactivity component present in some (but not all) cases of ADHD, but the hyperactivity often decreases with age, so simply making the transition to adulthood may increase the hyper-focus-to-lack of focus ratio, and that can definitely be an asset.
In addition to that, difficulty concentrating doesn't necessarily equal impossibility. Positive feedback can be one of the best motivators for children with ADHD, and growing up, while I failed to fit in with other children, I learned that I could earn acceptance with adults in my life by academically out-performing all my peers; for me, that was sufficient positive feedback to interest me in more intellectual pursuits. It's also the case that I just got lucky in that I'm fairly intelligent and therefore find less effort is required to achieve the same sort of academic success (I don't mean that as a brag, just an explanation; in fact, learning that I didn't need to work as hard as my peers ended up being pretty detrimental later in life).
But I've also learned how to make my ADHD work for me. I might have difficulty managing several hours studying one topic, but I've found that patterns of smaller tasks - like one linear algebra theorem, two paragraphs from a history textbook, 5 spanish vocab words, 1 page of comic theory a rep of exercises, 5 minutes gaming as a reward, repeat - work well for me, partly because of the smaller time requirements, and partly because knowing I move on as soon as I meet the goal helps push me through it. Other times, I notice that I'm slipping into hyperfocus, and if it's not disruptive to my day, I roll with it and get a lot done.

But I suppose one last factor specific to my own situation is that, growing up, the safest thing for me to do at home was go unnoticed, which meant curling up in a secluded spot with a book and doing my absolute best to not make noise. Because of that, intellectual pursuits became my "safety zone" of sorts. Children can learn to do a great deal more than one might expect when it's established as a survival mechanism.

I hope that wasn't too verbose! It's not something I've discussed much before, so I lack conciseness on the topic.



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 11:38 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
A question, though: How do you manage to be "hyper-intellectualized" if you have difficulty concentrating on anything? (I don't mean to challenge your reality, I'm just curious as to how this works. I hope my question is not offensive.)

Anyhow, welcome to WP.



Oh, I forgot the most obvious part! Adderall ^_^



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 11:43 am

Fnord wrote:
TheCleverWitch wrote:
... I've been wishing to find a few people that share my.... hyper-intellectualized? sort of ASD...
Oh. Another hyper-intellectualized person. Welcome aboard anyway...



I'm sorry, was I somehow rude in writing that? I'm not trying to be arrogant or condescending to anyone; I've just spent my life being ostracized for being "too nerdy," or "sounding like an encyclopedia," and I was hoping that this would be the appropriate place for finding people who could relate. Does my statement violate some sort of etiquette protocol?



TheCleverWitch
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14 Jun 2019, 11:47 am

BTDT wrote:
You need to find more time finding yourself before you can match up with other people like you.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0163187/
Premise of Runaway Bride. She spends so much time being the ideal mate for someone...
Just like camouflaging.



Thank you for the movie recommendation; I'll look into that.
I'm aware that I have a great way to go in learning about myself. But I'd like to believe that it's possible to balance personal growth and discovery with quality interpersonal connections.



Trogluddite
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14 Jun 2019, 12:04 pm

TheCleverWitch wrote:
If I correctly recall my history, that rather makes you more similar to the original luddites than the current usage of the word is - they didn't actually hate technology, just that it was disrupting their livelihoods.

Indeed; I find it apt for this very reason, and it's always a delight to meet someone who has an appreciation of the term's historical roots. In the villages in the area where I live, one can see many cottages which once had an upper-storey workshop; once the homes of manual wool-combers and weavers. Many of the industrial towns were such villages themselves prior to the the introduction of steam powered machinery. Luddism, and the later fights for better working conditions, the end of child labour, and social provision for the urban poor, are intimately woven into our local history - which as you may have guessed, is one of my "special interests" (a.k.a. "hobbies".)

TheCleverWitch wrote:
May I ask how long you've been endeavoring to develop your native self?

In the sense of looking beneath my own mask, only two or three years. I was diagnosed about three and half years ago, before which I hadn't the slightest inkling that I might be autistic, just a niggling sense that my persistent mental health problems had some underlying cause that I couldn't identify. Treatments for these had only encouraged me to believe that improving my simulation of "normality" was the only solution. Masking was touched on briefly at my diagnosis, but it was the guidance of the generous people here which really made clear to me how harmful masking can be.

I feel that there are still many vacuums to be filled, and the kind of future I'd like for myself is still very hazy. However, my mental health has improved immensely, and my social life is both far more rewarding and causes me far less anxiety. And I have done away with much guilt - being able to honestly explain why I have different social needs means that I hurt other people less by giving them the false impression that I'm rejecting them.

Finally, thankyou for your comments about AD(H)D. At my diagnosis, it was suggested that I see an Occupational Therapist due to, among other things, my difficulties with executive functioning. Unfortunately, this has never been possible; but the more that I read accounts by people who experience AD(H)D alongside autism, the more I've come to believe that the OT referral was partly intended to look into this possibility. Your account resonates with many of my own experiences and is much appreciated.


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TheCleverWitch
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15 Jun 2019, 2:30 pm

Trogluddite wrote:
Indeed; I find it apt for this very reason, and it's always a delight to meet someone who has an appreciation of the term's historical roots. In the villages in the area where I live, one can see many cottages which once had an upper-storey workshop; once the homes of manual wool-combers and weavers. Many of the industrial towns were such villages themselves prior to the the introduction of steam powered machinery. Luddism, and the later fights for better working conditions, the end of child labour, and social provision for the urban poor, are intimately woven into our local history - which as you may have guessed, is one of my "special interests" (a.k.a. "hobbies".)


How delightful to have a personal connection to that piece of history!

Trogluddite wrote:
In the sense of looking beneath my own mask, only two or three years. I was diagnosed about three and half years ago, before which I hadn't the slightest inkling that I might be autistic, just a niggling sense that my persistent mental health problems had some underlying cause that I couldn't identify. Treatments for these had only encouraged me to believe that improving my simulation of "normality" was the only solution. Masking was touched on briefly at my diagnosis, but it was the guidance of the generous people here which really made clear to me how harmful masking can be.

I feel that there are still many vacuums to be filled, and the kind of future I'd like for myself is still very hazy. However, my mental health has improved immensely, and my social life is both far more rewarding and causes me far less anxiety. And I have done away with much guilt - being able to honestly explain why I have different social needs means that I hurt other people less by giving them the false impression that I'm rejecting them.

Finally, thankyou for your comments about AD(H)D. At my diagnosis, it was suggested that I see an Occupational Therapist due to, among other things, my difficulties with executive functioning. Unfortunately, this has never been possible; but the more that I read accounts by people who experience AD(H)D alongside autism, the more I've come to believe that the OT referral was partly intended to look into this possibility. Your account resonates with many of my own experiences and is much appreciated.



Thank you for sharing!
And in regard to the ADHD, I've personally found that simply getting a trial run of medication is extremely useful in determining whether one has the condition; my adderall made huge improvements for me literally within 40 minutes of beginning the meds - a welcome change after many failed attempts to find a workable anti-depressant. If you're open to the idea of medication (and have access to a medical professional willing to give you a prescrioption), that might be the most straight-forward way to get more concrete answers).

I wish you the best as you sort it out!



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15 Jun 2019, 2:49 pm

^ Thankyou, both for the kind wishes and the practical advice!


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martianprincess
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23 Jun 2019, 8:33 pm

Oh hi, I'm 29 and recently diagnosed too, complete with ADHD too.
I don't have advice, but I just want to say you're not alone!