About autisticaplanet

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Welcome to a blog written by an autistic adult woman in her late 30's using words and images to advocate acceptance as well as awareness of those with life-limiting sensory processing disorder and resulting social and behavioral challenges.Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Masking- Why I can't do it

Woman peeling away layers to show true self

I follow a few blogs written by autistic women in their 30's on up. They frequently speak of masking, which is a coping tool to get through their day without anyone else knowing there is anything wrong. They often say it is a characteristic developed in childhood or adolescence.
Due to my extreme auditory sensitivity, I have never been able to hide behind a mask. I also came to be told in my teens that I had an anxious and angry look on my face. This came about when I asked my mother why store clerks stared angrily at me. She confirmed that they indeed were staring at me and told me about my face.
Shopping centers are loud and chaotic places. By age 16, my autistic regression made shopping malls and restaurants unbearable. I firmly believe this is the result of brain growth. Brain growth continues until one's early 20's.
I wish I could hide behind a mask and alter my often monotone voice (especially under stress). It would be a good coping tool in an apathetic and judgemental culture dominated by people with a pseudo perfectionist psyche.
I don't have any more coping tools left in my war chest for fighting auditory sensitivity. TRT and AIT have done all the good they can do. Medications will improve my coping skills some, but I will never achieve a perfect balance due to my neuro makeup. A former psychiatrist explained this to me. Passive sound blocking earmuffs help me when I do go out in public (always with a help/safe person).
High anxiety is a constant. Dealing with others when they are are acting negatively is dangerous for me. I immediately panic inwardly and take on their emotion (fear, anger) like a chameleon without a choice. If the negative emotion is aimed at me, I feel violence toward them and fantasize about hurting them. I have to remove myself and breathe. This is a perfect reason why I need to work from home and have limited contact with the outside world. I will always need a place free of traffic, kids and dogs to keep me calm and them safe.
My mother used to register my facial expressions and tone of voice so well that I needed to hide in order to go undetected. I usually took a nap and feigned sleep. My mom was a nurse who scored highest on psych boards in nursing school. I told her the psychiatric community really missed out when she decided to go into orthopedic care, but I respected her choice. 
If I tell the few people who are around me that I'm okay when I'm not, they usually buy it. I don't mean to be a pathological liar, I just don't know how to deal with people who don't have the insight both a professional and compassionate mother had. 
I tell God my problems. I know he hears me, but this doesn't erase the difficulty. I know God doesn't remove all our problems. They are supposed to make us stronger people. 
I feel like anxiety is the albatross around my neck pulling me into the deep water and anger gets tacked onto anxiety. It is a good thing I know how to swim, but I do need to rest from battling the choppy waves.
I spent most of 2016 in bed. I had been feeling in need of a rest since summer, 2015. I still need that rest. 
There has been a huge change in my life in the past (almost) 3 years. I am having to learn whom I can trust, how much I can trust and when not to speak. I have learned that giving away information to the wrong sources leads to judgment and punishment.
Therapy has been of benefit to me over the years, but now I can't afford it-the result of trusting the government for help.
I firmly believe in Big Brother. I don't think they will punish me for saying that here. The conspiracy theorists and terrorists keep them busy enough.
I trust in God, who will avenge my enemies and see me through to the end of this age.