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christophergug
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 17 Sep 2021
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Posts: 4
Location: United States

19 Sep 2021, 3:21 am

i was recently diagnosed with ASD lvl 1, adhd, and dyscalculia. i work with kids at an afterschool program and often find my personality changes at work. i know everyone changes a little at work, but its super drastic for me. i distance myself from my coworkers, only saying hi and answering/asking questions- my coworkers tend to talk to eachother while i sit or stand alone (which im totally fine with even though i crave social interaction). at work, im very quiet, distant, and seemingly introverted. when i come home, i am mentally drained and return to my usual loud, joke-cracking, weird, gremlin self.

im not sure if this is masking, but if it is, it makes sense to me. the only thing is that i'd assume "masking" at work would be i would become more extroverted, not the other way around :?

if anyone also has any articles or resources on masking and how to cope or "come out of my shell" (so that, if this is masking, i can figure out how to come home w/o being mentally drained), that would be very helpful!!



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,282
Location: New York City (Queens)

19 Sep 2021, 6:16 pm

Based on your description, what you currently do is a form of masking, but is NOT the really heavy-duty, really exhausting kind of masking that many autistic people do. The latter -- which is so notoriously bad for autistic people's mental health -- involves things like:

- Forcing oneself to be social when one doesn't feel like being social.
- Forcing oneself to make facial expressions that don't come naturally.
- Forcing oneself to make eye contact, in a rhythm intended to look as "normal" as possible, if one doesn't do this naturally, or even if one has an aversion to eye contact.
- Pretending to like foods or drinks that one hates.
- Pretending not to notice sounds that are causing actual distress.
- Pretending to enjoy activities that one really hates, or pretending to be interested in topics that one finds utterly boring.
- Following social scripts that don't make any sense to the person using them, but are based on imitation of what most other people do.

In contrast, it sounds like what you're doing is a more healthy kind of masking -- simply playing it safe, by maintaining a strictly professional demeanor and avoiding more informal, intimate, and/or "loud, joke-cracking, weird" kinds of interaction that could possibly get you in trouble if you do them in an inappropriate situation, or with the wrong person.


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christophergug
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 17 Sep 2021
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Posts: 4
Location: United States

19 Sep 2021, 6:29 pm

thats good to know! thank you for the information :)