As of this moment, we are now more than halfway through with the #TakeTheMaskOff Challenge as we are now in Week 4. So far, we have talked about masking, stimming, and how these affect one’s mental health. For this week’s post, we will take an even deeper dive and talk about burnout, how it is related to masking, and my own experiences of this.
As of the moment, we are currently in the third week of the #TakeTheMaskOff Challenge, and the experience of writing about masking and stimming has been quite liberating for me, and it is also interesting to see how far I’ve come from when I myself didn’t understand my own diagnosis and myself, and I hope that these posts, which talk about masking from my own personal point of view, will allow the readers to understand what we go through, and at the same time, I hope that others like me are encouraged to speak out and make their own voices heard. So far we have talked about masking and stimming. So, for the third week of the challenge, let’s take a look at the physical and mental cost that masking has on individuals with autism, my own personal experience of how exhausting it can be, and what coping strategies I use now in order to lessen the physical and mental exhaustion and stress.
This week’s blog posts are a little bit different, as I posted twice for this week. However, that was only because I had a little “social report” that went hand in hand with a very recent event, and you might see “social reports” like that every once in a while, but, as a rule, I’m sticking to the current schedule of having one blog post per week.
Last time, I kicked off the #TakeTheMaskOff Challenge here on my blog, and talked a little bit about masking and my own experience of masking. This week (Week 2 of the challenge), we’ll be talking about stimming, how it’s related to masking, and my own experience of stimming.
Every year, I try to attend some fan pop-culture conventions and events during the year. As of this moment, the only one I have attended so far is this year’s Asia Pop Comic Con, which I do attend every year. However, this time, my experience was very different, especially as my social anxiety was almost non-existent as I experienced all the sights and sounds that the con had to offer, cosplaying as Ruby Rose from “RWBY”.
Interestingly enough, even before this challenge started, I had already written about masking and my own experience of it in a previous post. However, I couldn’t help but be excited to join this campaign as things like this aren’t that common to come by. So, from now until the week of September 3, 2018, every Wednesday, I will be putting up a blog post about masking. To either join us in the campaign, or to follow it to see what other content creators who specialize in this topic have to say about it, please follow the #TakeTheMaskOff on social media.
In the past few years, and especially in the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about mental health and wellness, and many have become a little bit more open to talk about it. In the Philippines, it has only been in the past few months in which I have really been hearing more people talk about it, and because of that, and the recently passed Mental Health Law in the local government, more and more organizations and groups have been creating discussions about mental health and wellness through events and talks in order to educate others, to spread awareness, and to create a safe space for people to be open about it. One such event that did this was the recently concluded “Head On: Let’s Talk About Mental Wellness” talk that happened on July 14, 2018, Saturday, at The Learning Child School in Ayala Alabang, and which was hosted by MAGIS Creative Spaces.
No matter what age you are, most people inherently feel the need to belong to something and to be accepted by society, and the same goes for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, in our case, this tends to be a little bit harder, so we tend to rely on a coping mechanism called “social masking” or camouflaging in order to keep up appearances. This can be emotionally and mentally exhausting for us, but more often than not, we feel that it is necessary in order to blend in with our colleagues and friends. Another coping mechanism that we also use is imitation, and I believe that this one is more prevalent in the teenage and young adult years, especially if you are still figuring out and finding your true self. In this post, I hope to explain both what camouflaging or social masking and what imitation is when it comes to being on the spectrum, and I hope that you will be able to glean some insight as I also reflect on my own experiences with it.