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Shohei79
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07 Sep 2023, 3:51 pm

How did you start your unmasking process?



markitzero
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07 Sep 2023, 6:04 pm

It was a few weeks ago when I found out about masking when I found the youtube channel "Autism Family" and was watching past video and I heard from the dad talk about masking. Before that I didn't know what Masking was

I started to let my trait show one by one. Last year I moved back to my parent's house I was in a roommate situation and they were giving me a hard time about some of the things I use to do so without knowing it I started to mask for over 10 years. About 3 weeks ago I have been slowly to unmask what kicked it off was me using my old Gaming Laptop for its weight it is 9.5 pounds so I put a pillow on my stomach/chest and put the laptop on the pillow to distribute the weight, Had to use a pillow because when I first did it I had more fat on me. When I first did it after 4+ years to now I was wondering why I stop then I did a self reflection it was my roommate would give me a hard time about doing it. So now I have a 15 pound weighted blanket. I also started to fidget more and started doing some stimming again and realized when I am walking and listening to music I will finger stim to the beat and I remember the song were I realized it it was Five Finger Death Punch - Bad Company in my playlist.

The one stim that did get masked was my leg bouncing.

I realized that I need to be myself


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BTDT
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08 Sep 2023, 11:26 am

In disability circles many people accept the notion of Spoon Theory. The idea being that you start the day with a limited number of spoons. When you use them up you are pretty much done for the day. You can't get more spoons.

Masking is likely to use up spoons, according to this theory.
You might take notes of activities that make you tired. Or more tired than normal.

You may also note activities that seem to ward off getting tired.
If I want to stay up all night I might listen to the same song on a loop, over and over again.
This seems to help my energy level.



autisticelders
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08 Sep 2023, 12:14 pm

start with the most difficult challenges first. What things do you struggle to do, or do to please others at a very big cost in effort from yourself? See if you can't find "work arounds" by changing the thing you do, or the way you do them. For example if it gives you fits to go to the mall to shop, see if you can't shop instead at smaller single /stand alone shops, or shop on line instead. Instead of big noisy family gatherings or vacations in public places, how about a shared cottage rental on a lake or at a park? Instead of restaurants, how about a picnic? There are many small tweaks and changes that can be done to "every day" things as well as special days out, etc, that might help you get through them more easily. I stopped going to family weddings, parties, etc long ago and instead cooked something out back on the patio grill for the birthday person. or made them a cake or cookies (or dropped off a present) with the explanation that I would not be able to attend (if pressed, say you already have other plans) but that you will be thinking of them on their special day , etc. They are assured you care, and you are spared the struggle of dealing with mobs of people, sounds and lights, etc that are distressing, etc. You might give them a gift card for a favorite restaurant or something if even one-on-one meetups are too much. Tell them to have a good time, that you will be thinking of them.
Daily routines can be changed too, by substituting "something else" for the things you struggle most with, every single day. Hate baths? Try a shower or wash using flannels and warm water at the sink, one part of the anatomy at a time. People all over the world have lived their whole lives without ever using a bath tub... etc. Almost any dreaded daily, weekly, monthly routine can be replaced with an alternative. Things that will accomplish the
"thing" but without the distress. Start with just one thing, and when that is adjusted satisfactorily, move on to the next troubling item on your list.


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BTDT
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08 Sep 2023, 2:08 pm

I just got back from my grocery shopping trip at 3PM on a Friday afternoon.
It is time where things are less crowded which means less stress. Also got gas without having to wait.
One of the nice things about having a car is that I can just abort a shopping trip and go home!
Sometimes I've needed to do that.



MatchboxVagabond
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08 Sep 2023, 6:16 pm

Shohei79 wrote:
How did you start your unmasking process?

If I'm honest, it's because I got so burned out that it just cracked all to pieces and I didn't have much choice.

That being said, I do think that it's best to start the process either at home alone or in some part of the city/world where you're not likely to run into anybody that you know and just try things. And just start slow with something that is barely noticeable and work up to doing things that are more obvious if need be.



Weight Of Memory
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09 Sep 2023, 7:29 am

markitzero wrote:
I also started to fidget more and started doing some stimming again


Does it make you feel better when you do it?

BTDT wrote:
In disability circles many people accept the notion of Spoon Theory. The idea being that you start the day with a limited number of spoons. When you use them up you are pretty much done for the day. You can't get more spoons.


That seems to me like a lousy analogy because if you had actual spoons you could get more, or simply wash the ones you've got.



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09 Sep 2023, 8:40 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_theory
The idea was coined by Christine Miserandino in her 2003 essay "The Spoon Theory". While out at a restaurant, to eat with a friend, Miserandino's friend began watching her as she took her medication, and suddenly asked what it was like to have lupus. Miserandino grabbed spoons from around the diner where they sat and gave her friend the handful of spoons she had gathered. The spoons helped Miserandino to show the way that people with chronic illness often start their days off with limited quantities of energy. The number of spoons represented how much energy she had to spend throughout the day.[1]

As Miserandino's friend stated the different tasks she completes throughout the day, Miserandino took away a spoon for each activity. She took spoon after spoon until her friend only had one spoon left. Her friend then stated that she was hungry, to which Miserandino replied that eating would use another spoon. If she were to cook, a spoon would be needed for cooking. She would have to select her next move wisely to conserve her energy for the rest of the night.[1]

It is more than just an analogy. It is a real life example to show something that you normally can't see.
Autism is an example of something you can't see. Losing both your arms is different. People can see that.

Normal people remember stories. They have lousy memories so a good story helps them remember.
Some autistic people don't need that. Some autistic people can recall details that most normal people quickly forget.
Remembering exactly what someone said to you six months ago is not normal.



MatchboxVagabond
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09 Sep 2023, 9:14 am

Weight Of Memory wrote:
BTDT wrote:
In disability circles many people accept the notion of Spoon Theory. The idea being that you start the day with a limited number of spoons. When you use them up you are pretty much done for the day. You can't get more spoons.


That seems to me like a lousy analogy because if you had actual spoons you could get more, or simply wash the ones you've got.

It's an imperfect and incomplete metaphor. It applies less and less as somebody has more and more need for support. Personally, I wish that it would be something like coffee or gas which more directly fuel life.



markitzero
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09 Sep 2023, 9:53 am

Weight Of Memory wrote:
markitzero wrote:
I also started to fidget more and started doing some stimming again


Does it make you feel better when you do it?


Yes I feel better doing them now, when I was living with my roommate I was having to avoid stimming at all and got to the point where my brain was auto avoid doing them.


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SharonB
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12 Sep 2023, 9:36 pm

I started setting expectations, b/c you know NTs lack TOM. :wink:

Seriously, example: Many people work top-down; I work bottom-up which looks like... I feel strongly about this which looks like... I am smiling b/c this is uncomfortable... Let's allow for achievable high standards; perfectionism is not a bad word when there are thresholds, etc.



GreenVelvetWorm
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13 Sep 2023, 6:02 am

Honestly the thing that helped me most with unmasking was taking anxiety meds, because my anxiety was basically a system my brain had created to keep me from acting weird.

After starting my meds a few years ago, I started unmasking without even thinking about it, and it was very noticeable to my loved ones (who responded positively to it because they're very supportive and they could see that I was more comfortable).

Since my anxiety isn't there to "tell me" to stop, I can stim and infodump and openly enjoy my interests, and basically be myself. It's really nice