THE MASK OF NORMALITY – Hiding My True Self (An Asperger’s Conundrum)

I’ve been talking a lot about passing and invisible disabilities over the past few months.

As Alyssa said – people don’t think I am Autistic because I can come off as “articulate, well adjusted, and extremely capable”.

I come off as a great problem solver, a bright woman, who is good at finding difficult solutions that others often miss. Certainly I can’t be Autistic.

All my anxiety is behind the scenes. Why? Well do you typically go around advertising all of your difficulties to the world do you (other than online)?

My disabilities and weaknesses are invisible but so are my strengths. At the same time all of my strengths and talents also remain hidden, due to self praise being interpreted as bragging.

I am a conundrum – a mix of invisible skills and invisible disabilities. Outwardly normal, trying to fill a role that I was not built for.

Acting normal is a skill. I am HIGHLY skilled at “passing” but doing so drains my batteries rapidly and requires extra recharge and recovery time. The costs on my mental health are not worth it.

It’s time to take off the mask and ask for mental health awareness centered in acceptance.

Alyssa Huber – The Life of an Aspie is an AMAZING YouTube channel. I can take NO credit for her video but PLEASE check out her channel for more great content.

#WorldMentalHealthDay #invisibledisability #Glitch #mentalhealth #iamwhole#WMHD



49 thoughts on “THE MASK OF NORMALITY – Hiding My True Self (An Asperger’s Conundrum)”

  1. My awareness of this type of Autism began a year ago when I met someone with it. I haven’t been researching but lots of info has been coming my way ever since.
    The pieces sort of fit together for me and I’m beginning to accept that perhaps this is me too. I spent my childhood being called names by my Mum who couldn’t understand the way I was, and spent my adulthood mostly anxious and not fitting in. So where do I go from here? do I go to the doctors? Or do I just decide and accept that this is me and do what I feel?
    The video you shared was very helpful but what I wonder is; while I don’t want to try and be normal I’m not sure I’d want to label myself “an Aspie” either. I find labels uncomfortable, maybe limiting and I’ve considered a few over many years. For instance I could call myself an Indigo but to what advantage? I’d like to be known as a Healer but even though I can work miracles for others I haven’t finished with myself.
    Does a label give an autistic person a break or cause trouble with people who don’t know what it is?
    Working on my gifts with whatever label seems the right way to go, is this the sort of good help an Aspie needs? Is this what you aim for with your writing? So how do we cope in society?
    Any pointers from your experience would be greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here is the thing that has been GREAT for me having the label and remember that EVERYONE is different and this is ONE perspective (my own). Having an Autism diagnosis has allowed me to KNOW finally, yes I AM Autistic. I’ve learned to accept and love myself. I have challenges now that nobody can deny that they are real (because I know they are real AND my doctor agrees) I am naming and facing these challenges head on. If I need to wear shades, a hat, earplugs, earphones or a jacket indoors it is because of my sensory processing disorder. I can explain that to most people IF they ask. I don’t care if they think I am strange but at least I can answer their questions. (I have sensitive eyes, the sounds in here are giving me a headache, etc.). If people push I can say “I have Sensory Processing Disorder. My brain wiring is different and I am more sensitive to certain things. If I am not careful they can make me sick.” This gives me confidence. If I ever am unable to communicate, I have my diagnosis in my bag. It has my doctor’s contact information. I feel a bit safer in the world because I CAN pull these things out if I need to. I don’t normally have to but it is a safety net. I didn’t want a label for years – but I got sick and had an Autistic Burnout. I was missing work. Turns out it was a new office building more lights and sitting in a busier spot in the office. Once I had a diagnosis I could ask to be moved somewhere quiet with natural light. I tell people about the parts that they need to know about in order to help me, but it is my choice what I share. Partial disclosure is great. 😉

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Thank you for your honest reply, it’s going to be amongst the things for me to think better about this.
        I know about that burnout and I’ve been going through it lately, seems to last months if I don’t pay attention to what’s needed. Thanks again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As the parent of a young person with Autism, I cannot tell you how impressive your words are. The self-knowledge, self-advocacy, and self-acceptance you describe here are exactly what I want for both of my children, Autistic or not. You have obviously done a lot of work to get to where you are. Impressive!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you for seeing that I have worked hard to become the person I am. It really has been a process. Every day you wake up and get to choose who you want to be or what bad habit you want to break or new skill you want to master. I try to have as many positive days as possible so I can keep moving in the right direction – little by little, inch by inch. The progress seems slow but eventually I look back and see how far I have come. Its work worth every hour.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, this! It takes so much just to sort of keep one’s head above water. I made a very conscious decision six years ago to expend less energy trying to keep up with the NTs … And then I promptly discovered that a lifetime of training myself to compensate was really hard to put down. I’m still working on it, and Libre accepted that there are many situations in which I’ll never feel comfortable allowing myself to put down the effortful compensatory skills.

    What’s hardest, in a way, is when someone who knows me pretty well but has only seen me in situations in which I’m working to compensate says, “You don’t seem autistic. I just don’t see it.” Meanwhile, I’m working desperately hard just to stay afloat.

    Anyway, thanks very much for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m stuck in the middle of a quandary around this kind of thing myself right now.
    I have always struggled to fit in and hide how I am, without wanting to, I would much rather avoid people. The one thing I want to do with my life, however, is write, and to make a career out of it.
    When it comes to writing, I have no problems, that’s easy, but it seems that for an indie author like me, promotion involves a lot of social networking, and the thought of it terrifies me, which brings me to the quandary. My choices seem to be

    1 – get a job in an office or similar place, surrounded by people, and noises, and everything I want to avoid.
    2 – write, and try to find ways to promote that work, don’t cost much, and involve a minimum of human contact
    3 – win the lottery.

    Obviously number 3 would be best, but it’s also the least likely, so I am desperately trying to figure out number 2; unfortunately that’s stressing me out as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have written a novel and am currently submitting it to agents. I also know that promotion will be a challenge for me. Perhaps I should hire some glamorous person — charming, with a lovely southern accent and a gift of gab — to pinch hit for me if I am ever called to appear on Oprah? (Or maybe that idea would work better in another novel!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The blog not even seeing the YouTube clip describes my life till now. However now I really don’t care if the world knows I’m Autistic or that I have ADHD. Trying to be “perfectly normal” nearly bloody killed me so from now on I’m loud and proud about my mental health issues. As Harley Quinn says “normals just a setting on a drier”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Autism Culture and commented:

    Some reflections (and a video) on others not seeing what is behind the ‘mask of normality’. A mask, that many of us are very good at wearing anywhere that we do not feel completely safe to take it off (which for many is everywhere but when they are alone at home, but for some lucky ones is also when being around special individuals who can appreaciate us the way we are).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow this post in particular speaks to me i have borderline personality disorder, ptsd, depression and anxiety. I feel i have to wear a mask at all time to avoid hurting my friends and family aswell as my reputation. Thank you for highlighting this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I pass very well most days as normal. It is very hard on me to do. I suffer from depression and anxiety with autism and wonder if passing is partly to blame for this. I don’t have much choice if I what to have a career. But there are times I want to scream and yell in utter frustration at the stress and pain it puts on me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can relate, I suffer with depression and anxiety as well, and I find it hard to spend more than an hour or two around people (depending on circumstances) before I’m left wanting to scream or break something. Either that or I want to curl up somewhere and cry.


      1. I hope my writing will mean I don’t have to look for a job again, but I reckon I’ve got a couple of years before I’m making enough money from it, if I’m lucky. Still, at least I have that option, it’s better than some people have.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely well said! This can be said for anyone living with any invisible disability. The effort it takes to “pass” as “normal” in our society is exhausting, and should not be necessary. We need more acceptance and understanding so we don’t have to feel like we need to hide our true selves. It has to start with us taking the steps to make our true selves known to the world and taking pride in who we are. We have to take off the masks and not let society tell us who we are supposed to be. It’s time to stop “passing” and start Living with Pride in who we are.

    Liked by 1 person

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