I found this YouTube video from the 'Ask Tony' series, with Tony Attwood.
Very interesting if you haven't already seen it.
What do people think about 'droppng the mask'? Coming out as an Aspie is only part of the issue. Even though I tell everyone, and many are interested enough to ask me more about it and how it affects me, I still put on the pretence of 'normality'. Thing is, if I did decide to drop the mask.... I wouldn't really know how to be the 'real' me in front of others. I'm not really sure what the 'real' me is.
The first section about coming to a false conclusion and sticking with it I can't relate to. All my conclusions are completely correct.
The second half is more interesting. I'm actually a real fan of honesty, but it's harder than you think, for everyone possibly.
The bit about sending out 'false signals' is good. Sometimes it's deceptive to make the other person like you more or make them feel better, but you don't always know how the signals will be interpreted. I'm certainly pretending to be more socially confident than I am, and probably worrying about that too much; maybe I should try to let my under-confidence show more. Pretending can put a lot of strain on a relationship.
Some people do report a strong relief in lifting the mask in the company of other Aspies. For other people, it's harder and the mask has grown into the face, as has been mentioned here before. You may not even know who you are without the mask.
Anyway, here's the video he refers to by Maja Toudal:
Definitely agree that we're far from being robots or lacking emotion. The problem is possibly greater sensitivity, and representing our emotions in ways that aren't going to be misunderstood.
Other points need more thinking through. Maja does not like this video. Is she anxious in it? Is it another mask in a different way? Can you escape masks? If you live with someone, surely they see how you are when the mask is down?
I'm certainly pretending to be more socially confident than I am, and probably worrying about that too much; maybe I should try to let my under-confidence show more...
Some people do report a strong relief in lifting the mask in the company of other Aspies.
So am I. At work, I'm extremely extrovert. Loud-voiced, singing a lot. But that's when I'm in the world of the autistic service users I work with. In the company of my colleagues only, I'm the shrinking violet in the corner whom nobody talks to or really looks at. I might as well not be there.
It was great to go to a workshop a couple of weeks ago and be with a roomful of autistic people... to be able to talk openly about how a small thing (to NTs) will affect me hugely, how suicide ideation is endemic in my head, how I live in a constant state of depression (even if low-level for the most part), how anxiety is my default condition. It was great to see all those heads nodding in agreement. It was uplifting to get that reassurance of not being alone. But if I spoke about those things to my NT colleagues, they'd probably back away.
In a TED talk, Invisible Diversity, Aspie Carrie Beckwith-Fellowes makes a lot of salient points:
"So what is autism like to live with? For me, autism is all about anxiety. It's about intense emotions. And it's about living with a brain that does everything it can to control my world around me. People assume that autistic people don't feel emotion. But the truth is, for many of us, we feel it intensely. I'm talking 200, 300, even 400% stronger than other people."
Very true, dat. Here's the full talk: