Until I discovered that I am likely autistic and understood what that means I was constantly wearing masks. I felt absolutely exhausted and miserable after them. I spent huge amount of time trying to be ''normal'' and failing.
In my case those mostly were/are, job interviews, meetings with other people, phone calls, using the public transport, trying to fit in, handshakes, social interactions, small talks, trying to cope with noises and smells and clocks on the walls making noises.
I have went to some social gatherings only to discover that whenever I am in a loud or crowded place with lots of people talking at once I have trouble focusing on one person or source. I could barely make out anything the person standing only a few feet in front of me is saying.
Obviously, the effort to keep the masks on has taken its toll on my mental and physical health. I had no support whatsoever. I was so unhappy and I felt absolutely miserable. For a long time, the only thing that made me happy was eating. So, I was eating too much and very unhealthy food.
I am still wearing some masks at work. For example, try to do handshakes to be polite and not rude, suppress my stimming, something that really comes me down when I am anxious and also makes me happy. Also, not fighting for the adjustments that would really help me to do the work much better and feel much better.
Since I try to do exactly what feels right for me, not what the society expects me to mo, I feel much happier. Like huge weight off my shoulders. However, it is difficult as I sometimes feel the others expectations, pressure to behave like a ''normal'' person.
Do you (still) wear masks?
I think, in some senses, everyone wears masks. Everyone tries to project a certain image: of confidence, competence, coolness, etc.
Yes, I still wear masks. People have told me at work that I have a constant aura of happiness, extroversion and confidence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Generally speaking, my mood is mildly low at best. I'm shy and insecure. I find it difficult to express an opinion face-to-face in case someone takes me to pieces... so I tend to make light of things, or ignore them (which could, of course, give the appearance that I know nothing about the matter in hand, so have nothing to say). As soon as I step foot inside the door at work in the morning, I feel a switch going on. I'm leaving my world behind. Now I have this to deal with. I have this part to play.
Yes, it's exhausting, too. It's great when I can get in the car to drive home and finally 'be me'. And then get home and become the quiet, low-mood, sociophobe that is my more natural state. It must be like an actor feels at the end of the day, when coming off set. It's probably difficult for all people. I think, though, it's especially difficult for us because we have more work to do.
I am wearing coolness and smile at work but my mood most of the time is very low. I am unhappy most of the time.
I find it extremely difficult to express an opinion face-to-face.
Most of the time, I try to keep low profile, stay in the background and just survive the day. I do not try anymore to go ''extra mile'' as I feel that it is not worth it. I simply damage my health. I do the minimum.
Yes, I often feel like an actor at work.
With the right support, I would so motivated and happy.