Deciphering human madness Bombarded with psychology Interrogated by droid vermin Scrutinised by vacant ghouls I'm burnt out from masking You're burnt out from masking They're burnt out from masking We're all burnt out from masking Enduring chaos rites by force Lost in a maze of shifting size Phasing out of time constantly I can't speak in this dimension Cataclysmic thoughts trapping me Crushed under a world of nonsense Decimated by intrusion Spellbound by the death of a dream --Burnt Out From Masking by Tommy Concrete
And this is at the core of the problem of masking. The perpetual acting, the perpetual stress levels on a par with what most folk would feel when at a job interview, the huge physical effort of sitting still and coping with sensory overload, and the conscious process of trying to work out how to interact with other human beings eventually takes its toll. In the short term it can lead to a meltdown (as it did with me in the supermarket the other day). In the long term it can destroy mental health and lead to autistic burnout.
Many autistics mask for years, putting in huge amounts of work to try to fit in to the world. Those of us who were diagnosed very late avoided some of the therapies that essentially force autistics to mask by using punishment when they exhibit autistic behaviours, although we were often taught to “behave properly” and the cane in the corner of the headmaster’s study was a constant threat throughout our childhoods. Some autistics become so good at masking that when they present for diagnosis they are turned away or misdiagnosed and when they tell people they are autistic they are met with disbelief and invalidation.Wasting Energy – Finally Knowing Me: An Autistic Life
Those of us that are perceived as high-functioning are just very good at masking. Masking is a skill we learned in childhood and usually is the result of going through treatments that taught us social skills or parenting, and socialization that taught us any time we did anything that made us happy or comfortable is wrong. We were taught to mask by growing up in a world in general that has sent us the message that all our natural behaviors are aversive.Why Many People With Autism Dislike Functioning Labels | Psychology Today
I’ve been thinking a lot about how my ability to mask and camouflage has really taken a nose-dive in the past years. I used to be better at this — or so I tend to think. Surely, there must be a reason — other than rank ignorance and denial — for why I’ve been under the autistic radar for so long… and why when I was younger and thought about “acting out” to get attention, my efforts were usually immediately curtailed by something inside me that says, “No – wait – don’t do that.”
I’ve had a sort of internal thermostat that’s regulated the “temperature” of my autistic tendencies, which modulated them in public.
But in the past years, I’ve noticed a sharp decline in my ability to mask and camouflage my markedly autistic behavior (in public, not privately). And I realize I’m acting a helluva lot more autistic now, than I did in my earlier adulthood.
So, we pull inward more and more… and more and more… try to reach out more and more … more and more… and while the rest of the world is overlooking ignoring our pain and stress (because we’re so social), inside, we feel like we’re dying. Suffering, struggling… unable to escape that vicious cycle.Who has the energy? Of #autism and masking and failing to fit in – Aspie Under Your Radar
I’m really autistic now. But thanks to a lifetime of being told that I must disguise the pain, at all costs, I learned to mask. To put on a false front, be the person that others wanted me to be. Smile when in pain. Be really nice when in pain. Cope when in pain. Not Be Me. Never, ever be me. Never. If I was the real me, I would experience hatred from others, more isolation, more loneliness, more condemnation, more false accusation (because of ignorance of autistic culture and communication).
And, do you know what happened? It broke me.
There is a myth that if we disguise being autistic, it’ll all go away. The future will be lovely. All will be well. A myth that autism was some sort of behavioural choice by us to annoy people around us. Rhubarb, to use an apt word.
I’m OK being autistic.Ann’s Autism Blog: What do I mean by “We’re OK being Autistic” ? #TakeTheMaskOff
They tell us from the time we're young To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves Inside ourselves I know I'm not the only one Who spent so long attempting to be someone else Well, I'm over it --Secrets by Mary Lambert