“While autism is usually diagnosed in childhood, some people remain “off the radar” for a long time and only receive a diagnosis much later. One possible reason is that they have learned socially appropriate behaviors, effectively camouflaging their social difficulties, including maintaining eye contact during conversations, memorizing jokes or imitating facial expressions.
This pattern of behavior could have serious consequences for the lives of some people with autism. It is easy to imagine that camouflaging demands significant cognitive effort, leading to mental exhaustion over time, and in extreme cases perhaps also contributing to anxiety and depression.”
Why do we mask? The answer is simple. We do it at a young age to avoid getting yelled at or grounded by our parents. We do it to make friends. We do it to get a job. We do it to find a spouse. Because of the way awareness was back then and still is to a certain extent, it was the only way to belong.
“To be honest, 9 times out of 10 when I walk into a room full of people. To me a room full of people could be just one person part from me. Usually what I do is I put on a mask, I climb into a skin, and I pretend to be human. Because it’s easy to do that than to show people…myself.”
‘With Asperger’s you put on a mask to pretend you’re normal. I ate lunch by myself to avoid people talking about things that were not work-related. The more I did stuff like that the more people rejected me” Daniel Lightwing
“My fear is that if I don’t mask, push through & show how capable I am, I won’t be offered opportunities in the future or be valued the same.” – Emily Swiatek