Hi everyone. I did a series of drawing on Masking and Camouflaging as an autistic person (see slideshow above!) So what actually is masking? Masking involves trying to hide being autistic so others will accept us. It’s also referred to as camouflaging. This means we act in ways that other people will think we are ‘normal’ and to try and be accepted socially.
I usually don’t include a lot of wording in my work but I had lots to say about this topic and could have made more designs! Image description is in the individual image alt text on my Instagram post here
I’d love to know what you think and if you relate to anything I mentioned, feel free to comment down below! And yes I have been in a situation before when a hospital consultant (yes really) told me I didn’t look autistic 👀 honestly baffling.
Also just want to mention I’ve got a new 21andsensory Podcast episode going live tomorrow at 1pm U.K. time with the lovely @zara.bethx who last night hit 1 million followers on her TikTok account which was a huge achievement! So make sure you tune in via Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you usually get your podcasts!
Hello! Here is drawing number six (part of a series on our 8 senses, scroll back in my feed to see my previous drawings!) ✏️ which is all about Interoception which is a lesser known sense that actually helps you understand and fell what’s going on inside your body (think of it as an inner sense)…
A sensory diet is important! It’s a way of self regulating (like using fidget and stim toys) and usually involves physical activities like rolling on a yoga ball, having time on a swing or trampoline, heavy work activities like using weights or lifting and carrying things. The idea is a sensory diet helps you to become more grounded as you are getting the regular input that your body needs. As a result you may feel calmer and more in control of your behaviour and mood. I’ve definitely seen the benefits of having a sensory diet (for example I use a therapressure brush to do body brushing which has helped me to desensitise my limbs to touch).
I never feel full…like my stomach and brain just doesn’t have that sense wired in..it’s really odd and can be annoying (comment down below with a hands-up emoji to join the club) I experience this even more in restaurants, due to the busy, noisy environment I literally cannot connect to what my stomach is feeling because I am filtering so much other information.
Visual cues – these can be super helpful, especially to remind ourselves to do daily tasks like personal hygiene, to drink and eat enough and what to expect during the day. I know a lot of people use social stories (google the term for more info, they were developed by Carol Gray in 1991) as a tool to help with self care skills, social skills, changes in routine, etc. You can make Velcro versions so you can easily change out what your day looks like.
Hypersensitivity to pain…if you’re a sensory being you may well be hypersensitive (over-sensitive) to pain…I know I am!! I am very tuned in to pain and when something hurts it REALLY HURTS even if it’s something small like a cut it’ll be super distracting to me. Equally you may be hyposensitive to pain (under-sensitive) and not realise if you are hurt/injured.
Grounding exercises – these are super useful when your mind is whirring, thoughts swirling and your heartbeat feels a bit rapid and all over the place. Most smart watches have in-built breathing exercises / apps built into them (e.g Apple Watch does, my Fitbit does too!) and these can be helpful in terms of distraction by looking at something visual and timing your breath along with an animation. Of course there are lots of different grounding exercises, another good one to use when you are overwhelmed is to sit and use your senses to ground you, name a few things you can hear, smell, touch, see, etc. This can diverts your brain and distract you.
Alexithymia is a difficulty in recognising emotions and identifying feelings. This is something my autism assessor said she think I might struggle with. I definitely find it super difficult to explain my feelings to others because I genuinely cannot recognise or process my own emotions.
Do comment down below if you can relate to anything in my drawing or anything I’ve said, I’m always keen to hear how everyone copes with these things. Two more drawings to go in this little series!
In this month’s episode I had a chance to speak to the very lovely Emily (find her @autie__eevee on Instagram). We spoke about a whole range of things such as her self diagnosis of Autism and her journey to be formally assessed, her first year studying Fine Art at university, her special interests and hobbies and about her amazing Instagram account!
Hey everyone! Last week I was interviewed by the lovely Thomas from @aspergersgrowth on his podcast ‘Thoughty Auti’.
It went live last Saturday so go check it out! It’s everywhere you’d normally listen to podcasts and also on his YouTube channel too! Was such a nice chat and we talked all things sensory and autism related. Let me know what you think 💭
Do have a listen either on her website, Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts usually 🎧
The episode is all about ‘masking’ as an autistic / sensory person. Thanks again to the lovely Nikki for having me on, and do check out her website here 🙂
Here’s what Nikki wrote in the podcast description:
Today on the podcast I’m talking all about autism masking and sensory processing disorder. I receive a lot of messages and emails from you all about masking or camouflaging. And I thought the best way to help answer your questions – was to do a podcast episode on the subject!
I love being able to share my knowledge with you all, this time I wanted personal experience. I came across Emily on Instagram when she shared a great visual image about masking. And that’s when I knew, Emily would be perfect to come on my podcast.
Emily is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and she is currently going through the diagnosis process of autism. She is the creator of 21 and Sensory. And on here, she shares her daily life and experiences to spread awareness and acceptance within the community.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
Today on the podcast, we are talking all about;
Who is Emily?
What is masking?
Why might someone mask?
What affect can masking have on an individual?
How do people mask?
What way can others in the community support you?
Emily’s personal experience
This is such an open and honest interview from Emily. I hope that you’re able to take away some ideas and knowledge from this epsiode today.
Hello everyone I’m here again to share another little doodle, this time on masking 🎭. So what actually is masking? Masking involves trying to hide being autistic so others will accept us. It’s also referred to as camouflaging. This means we act in ways that other people will think we are ‘normal’ and to try and be accepted socially. My doodle includes a few examples of trying to mask.
Over the course of my life I feel I have perfected the art of masking (which isn’t necessarily a good thing). I am extremely good at with-holding my feelings and emotions, bottling them up until I get home. I would cry when I had to go to primary school each morning. Then speed forward a bit in time and I’d come home from secondary school each day very tearful. I even used to cry up in the SENCOs (special needs support) room at break and lunch times because secondary school is quite literally THE most overwhelming place I have ever had to cope in 👀. But slowly through sixth form and university I began to build up a resilience to the world and although I still get overwhelmed I can always come home, have a bit of a sensory meltdown (and a good cry) then move on with things.
Socialising will always be hard for me and I think I will always cope with the world like this. But that’s okay. I have to actively remind myself that ‘normal’ isn’t real. And I think you should too. Masking is an autistic and sensory way of coping with the everyday and just trying to get by. Now that is brave. To go out in the world and just exist is a huge thing. Do you have any tips related to masking? Feel free to share below ☺️