Are you masking?

by | Feb 16, 2023

Autism Resources For Parents

This is what masking looks like.  From the outside everything looked great.  I was put together, I looked good, I sounded good, and people thought everything was amazing.  But on the inside, I was a mess.  On the inside, I wanted to shout and scream and yell.  I wanted to blame and hit and punish someone for what had happened.

This picture was snapped about 5 years ago.  I was in the midst of Autism and the diagnosis.  At this stage we’d only had the diagnosis for about 1.5 years.  I was still coming to terms with what it meant to me, to my angel boy and to our family.

I got really, really good at masking.  It was something I would say I was expert at.  Being able to go from crying in the car, to putting on a happy face and acting like nothing was wrong.

And although I was excellent at portraying everything was easy on the outside, it was most certainly taking its toll.  It was stripping away my identity, my courage and I became ashamed of the diagnosis.  Not wanting to tell anyone for fear of rejection or worse yet, blame.

I felt the only way I could stop myself from falling apart was to put that happy face on.  Dry my eyes and hope to high heavens that no one would notice my smeared mascara.  No one would see the red eyes or the lines down my checks from where my tears had fallen.

Masking is defined as a process in which an individual camouflages their feeling or personality to conform to social pressures.

Alcohol became my saviour and my enemy.  It was my saviour because it would numb the pain, numb the hurt and the heartache and the hole that was left in my heart.  However, it was also my enemy.  The alcohol that I would consume would act like a truth serum.  It would unlock my tightly clad lips, open the floodgates to the tears and allow the heartache to come out which isn’t what I wanted.  At the time, I thought the only way to move forward was to mask.

It was a survival mechanism, the only way I knew how to survive.  The only way I knew how to protect myself from the judgement I believed would ensue if I was to come clean.

The ironic thing was that when I finally did get the courage to tell people, which was after the lockdowns had finished, 3 long years later, that I would feel like a huge weight was completely and utterly lifted off of my shoulders.

It felt like for the first time in 6 years that I was finally able to breathe.  To not feel like I was lugging around this giant sack weighing me down with every step that I took.

So, I ask you – are you walking around with a giant sack that you simply cant release?  Do you feel like you’re masking?  Do these words resonate with you?  If so, please book in a free 30 minute call.  Let’s have a chat over a cuppa.  You don’t have to walk this journey alone.  Masking isn’t sustainable.  Allow me to help you help yourself.

Book in a free chat here.

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