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What is masking like for you?

40 replies

SmallGreenStripes · 13/02/2022 12:37

I am wondering whether what I have learned to do to get me through difficult situations is ‘masking’. I started to use this strategy to get through difficult medical procedures and now use it for a lot of things - including specially my career, which involves a lot of public speaking and dealing with difficult situations.

I ‘pretend it isn’t happening’. I just think to myself ‘it’s not really happening, just put one foot in front of the other and soon it will be over’. I get through it and honestly people seem to have no idea that I am ‘dissociating in this way.

Is this masking? I quite often get a migraine after a period of stress when I have had to do this. I just thought everyone did it.

OP posts:
ofwarren · 15/02/2022 15:37

@ASDmum2 Have you tried any of the online testing to see what your score is?
I think, when it feels normal to you you don't always realise that's not how other people think or behave.

ofwarren · 15/02/2022 15:38

This is another good test too.
GPs use them sometimes, to screen people before sending them for testing.

MagratLancre · 15/02/2022 16:21

Wow I just got 41 out of 50 in the first test! Gosh. It's interesting isn't it but some of the questions are a bit 2 dimensional. Like, I find it hard to imagine being someone else so it follows that I don't like reading fiction, whereas in fact i love reading fiction because it helps me learn how other people experience the world.

ShiftingSands21 · 15/02/2022 17:06

I heavily relate a lot to the types of masking described - pretending to be someone else, mirroring, using scripts - but like others here I also thought everyone experienced this. I’m honestly finding this a bit confusing and upsetting. What is a neurotypical experience like? I have an ADHD diagnosis. Does this relate to that? Sorry I don’t think anyone can answer that but that’s the questions in my mind.

ofwarren · 15/02/2022 17:27

@shiftingsands21 My husband has ADHD and he masks too and also says its exhausting. I've watched him do it, it's very obvious when he does.

Percie · 15/02/2022 18:45

What is a neurotypical experience like?

I would love to know the answer to this!

Namechangeagain84 · 15/02/2022 18:53

I just did the raads-r test and scored 102. Over 50% of that score was not acting normally in social situations.
Explains a lot 🤦🏻‍♀️

Namechangeagain84 · 15/02/2022 18:56

@ShiftingSands21 Flowers
It is a but upsetting and confusing when you realise that others don't do these things too. I have upset myself trying to figure out what neurotypical answers would be on these quizzes and being genuinely baffled that my answers aren't the norm.

BoardLikeAMirror · 15/02/2022 19:36

I've just done the RAADS-R and scored 181. The only category I didn't have a high score in was language. The language questions seemed to be about similes and I have no issue with those; if anything I over-use them.

Some of the questions were hard to answer - particularly, the questions about sympathy and compassion. I like to think I am a sympathetic and compassionate person but sometimes I get a mental block about a situation and can only see it one way, I wind myself up more and more, and it's only much, much later - weeks, months - that I can see I was wrong and unkind.

After which I hate myself to the point of physically pinching and punching myself to distract from the mental 'aaargh' - and the memory of what I've been like will make me groan or wince visibly (which if anyone is around to notice I have to pass off as 'a trapped nerve' or 'my calf muscle just seized up' etc.)

Anyway, I answered that I was sympathetic and compassionate but I got a massive 82 on social relatedness anyway.

ShiftingSands21 · 15/02/2022 22:04

The RAADS-R was interesting. I scored 92. But then I kind of don’t trust my answers. I feel like I don’t even know who I am or what I think at the moment.

EinsteinVonBrainstorm · 16/02/2022 11:08

I haven’t seen that RAADS-R test before but I scored 173. I found some of the questions really hard too. How am I supposed to know of people think I’m compassionate? Am I compassionate? I think I try to appear so, so maybe people think I am, but am I? I don’t know!

RainbowZebraWarrior · 16/02/2022 11:14

I'd never seen the RAADS-R one before and scored 204. There are definitely a couple of weird ones. Which is probably why I prefer the AQ sort where it's Often / Occasionally / Never rather than Yes and No. Like am I compassionate? Yes but I find a lot of people very self indulgent and usually have no patience.

felulageller · 16/02/2022 18:41

So the things in that chart, do NTs never do any of that?

Nortd · 16/02/2022 19:01

I've never been able to mask successfully, I've always been the "odd one" I guess it's why I haven't had a career/made any real life friends after I left school.
I got 198 on the test, I found it a weird test though, as some answers it depends on circumstances really.

deeplyrooted · 17/02/2022 21:46

I’m another “doesn’t everyone do that” but then I’ve only realised in the last 12 months that I’m not as NT as I thought (adhd)

Ds masks - mostly at school, but occasionally if he’s very stressed or anxious he does it at home too. Even though he seems truly lovely, the hairs prickle on the back of my neck because I know there’s something bothering him.

Other than trying to create a safe home environment and sense of acceptance and the tools to de stress and chill, should I be doing more?

I don’t know if I mask - I feel like someone else when I’m in social situations and it takes time to decompress afterwards. Sometimes I have to physically shake it off. But it’s not something I choose to do. I’d rather I didn’t. But other times I do put on a game face deliberately.

When I’m with someone 1:1 I pick up their speech and mannerisms. My dm always knew which of my friends I’d been talking to by how I sounded afterwards.

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