Authentic Autistic Self: How to find it?

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DirkGently69
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23 Nov 2023, 5:46 pm

Hi Everyone,

I wasn’t sure if this was the right forum, but here goes.

I have been doing a fair bit of research about autism over the last couple of years leading up to my official diagnosis 3-4 months ago. I’ve read about masking and being able to do just enough to kind of fit in, and to not make waves. A lot of that just involves me not going anywhere and not doing anything. A phrase I always hear is that I should find my authentic autistic self, and then I will be happier. The thing is, lots of people mention it, but not a lot of people tell you how to find it. Since I know a lot of people on here have gone on the same journey, I would appreciate any advice on how I should start the process.



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23 Nov 2023, 6:03 pm

Watch your stress levels. If you become stressed that may be a sign of masking.

If you feel great after a social activity that suggests you are finding your true self!



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23 Nov 2023, 6:28 pm

My authentic autistic self is a child as in I'm childish and a right pain in the ass if I let myself out , I have to mask for nearly everyone.


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Comet Zed
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23 Nov 2023, 6:39 pm

My 2c:

Take care how you spend and protect your energy levels.

Be unapologetic about saying no when you need to.

Be mindful of doing things to assuage others.

Embrace the things that make you unique, even the things which you might consider negative.

Easier said than done unfortunately 8)


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BugsBunnyFan
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23 Nov 2023, 10:05 pm

What’s the difference between an authentic autistic self and authentic self?



Edna3362
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24 Nov 2023, 6:25 am

How to find the Authentic Autistic Self?
Stop masking, stop pretending to be NT, stop just doing stuff for the sake of just socializing.
The quickest way? Burnout will likely force one into dropping the mask. Not recommended.


How to find the Authentic Self?
Resolve and transcend past your traumas, stop acting upon your ego's BSing.
The quickest way? Experience near death experience. May risk of developing something existential.


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DirkGently69
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24 Nov 2023, 7:30 am

Thank you for all your input. I have much to think upon.



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24 Nov 2023, 8:26 am

Last time I went to a party I wore an attention grabbing Lily Pulitzer skirt.
Something a normal person would wear on a cruise ship in the Bahamas.



CockneyRebel
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24 Nov 2023, 9:35 am

I remember dropping my mask in 2016.


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MatchboxVagabond
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24 Nov 2023, 8:04 pm

BugsBunnyFan wrote:
What’s the difference between an authentic autistic self and authentic self?

IMHO, there isn't really, it's like whether you go into your house via the front door or the backdoor. You wind up in the same place, just via different directions.

Personally, it's been a lot of watching my stress levels as was suggested as well as watching what sorts of things make it more obvious. I just recently realized that the reason that the RRBs that are more or less the only reason that I don't have a formal diagnosis really only became significant recently is because I started working retail a few years ago and have done enough repetitive actions to start to appreciate the differences.

Also, interacting with other autistic people helps a lot.



IsabellaLinton
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24 Nov 2023, 8:12 pm

I've never known how to mask. I think people who can mask are very lucky, despite the hardships that come along with it. I think overall it still gives those people an advantage when they have the skill as needed.

To be my authentic self means just what you said. I don't go anywhere or do anything. That's who I want to be. I had to admit I'd never really enjoyed any social outing or event in my entire life, despite having to do quite a few in the process of getting married, raising kids, or working full-time. My parents had dragged me around to lots of things as well, when I was growing up. I had a lot of meltdowns as a child and even in my marriage, or as a mother. I even had meltdowns at work from being pushed beyond my limits and not knowing how to be anything but myself.

My social-emotional age is about 14 but in times of stress or even great happiness I go much younger. Adulting has never been my thing despite having so many responsibilities. I think people forget that when I'm in trauma mode I'm thinking with the brain of an adolescent or even a kid.

Personally I'd find it harder to NOT be my authentic self, and I'd welcome advice on how to fake it a little if anyone knows how. I've heard some rules before but could never remember or implement them because they don't feel authentic.

As for how? I guess what I'm saying is I don't know how. Maybe start by identifying your stims and sensory likes / dislikes, and trying to make accommodations for yourself in all parts of your life.

Kick shame to the curb because you won't need it if you're yourself.


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24 Nov 2023, 9:18 pm

Recidivist wrote:
My authentic autistic self is a child as in I'm childish and a right pain in the ass if I let myself out , I have to mask for nearly everyone.


You as well?

I unmask around my Mum and family and one friend, but most psople I tend to automatically mask around. If in a group enviroment I will often manually mask on top as a means to gain attention and as a means to communicate. If I don't do this I go dead quiet and can easily get picked on.
The issue with this kind of masking is that I can only keep it up for a year or two at most (Les than that these days!) and when the masking breaks down others definately notice and feel betrayed, and that is where whatever job or group I am in I have to leave as to stay I tend to get picked on by not only others, but those in upper positions as well.


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DirkGently69
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25 Nov 2023, 3:19 pm

Thank you for all the great replies. I have been writing a lot of stuff down, but I’m making excuses to not finish the process at the moment. I’ll sort it out eventually.



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25 Nov 2023, 3:50 pm

its a lot to sort!
I began after my diagnosis of autism at age 68 by figuring out what things I was forcing myself to do to please others, and figuring out what things I "had to do" were hardest. Then I had to figure out "work arounds" or substitutes/ alternatives for the things that gave me trouble.

Example: family parties were tough, so instead of participating, I could substitute a separate quiet time with the celebrating person, or a phone call, a card, or letter and a gift if needed.

We could have a picnic or quiet take out dinner at home instead of big deal fancy restaurant in a crowded situation, etc etc when the other party agreed.

Cookout in the back yard instead of fancy dinner party, etc etc. There are probably a hundred "work arounds" for every stressor. finding help with those struggles you simply can't cope with (pay somebody else to cook, clean the stove and the toilet ) or trade services, if you are good at something barter with somebody else who has skills you need.

Change your wardrobe to simple clothing that is not difficult or uncomfortable to wear. Lots of nice clothing today has "ease of comfort" factor built in.

Instead of taking showers, take a bath in the sink, one quarter of your body at a time, many people in the world have never seen a bathtub or a shower.

Use different tools or skills to do the things that are hardest in a different way. If you hate to cook, use pre-prepared meals. No guilt!


Start with the hardest and most distressing things first, one at a time. Little by little your life will even out and every day things may become easier over time.


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28 Nov 2023, 7:43 pm

When you are completely alone, rested, and uninhibited, take note of who you are.


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28 Nov 2023, 9:07 pm

What's helped me the most is setting Others' expectations. "I take things literally, so my interpretation is..." "Oh, sorry I interrupted you (or talked for 5 min), I get very excited about this topic, you were saying?" Oh, and when we relate something to ourselves, NT like us to pass the ball back to them. Or we can explain as I did to my Allistic dad "for folks like me sharing all these details indicates that I care a lot about you and this issue." Other people may say "there, there" and pat a person on the head, but I am one to say "there! there!" and hand over my research. Before I would avoid situations or become quiet and ashamed when I was "quirky" - now I call it out with confidence (more so). This has also helped me improve my relationship with my partially estranged sister - there were so many misunderstandings and I didn't know I could or how to explain. Now I do (more so). It's a work in progress.