Growth & Resilience
7 min readJun 24, 2023

High Masking

“You don’t look autistic.” Just because I’m able to maintain normal conversation and get on with my day to day life does not imply anything. I’m tired of the assumptions that society perceives as someone not being autistic just because they’re able to maintain themselves in public.

I am that person.

I do hide a lot. I mask my inner emotions and feelings to a point where, yes, I have lost a few people in my life. I’m learning that this mask has to somewhat come off and people are there to support us as much as we self isolate and hide who we are.

With a borderline personality disorder diagnosis, I often second this because I see more autistic traits in myself than anything. I do, however, see the borderline traits from attachment, suicidal ideation, self esteem issues, substance use, dissociation, and impulsiveness. These traits can also intermingle with similar disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The majority of individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder likely have autism and medical professionals are quick to diagnose without obtaining a full assessment. If anything, medical professionals need to be looking at the whole picture.

I was in my early 20’s when I was firstly diagnosed with BPD on top of the major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. The complex post traumatic stress disorder and the ADHD came along later throughout the years as I developed a better rapport, somewhat, with my ex-psychiatrist. I no longer see that psychiatrist anymore due to not feeling thoroughly supported and abandoned by her. She had ghosted me on many occasions — We had phone appointments in which she never showed up to, and this made me feel more abandoned if anything. I asked for specific documentation for my arbitration hearing at my full time job and she included literally everything in the letter to supply to my employers and union representatives. I was angry at the letter and the information supplied inside. I’m not angry anymore and I am appreciative of her support throughout the years. I am still advocating for a better psychiatrist to perform a thorough assessment because I know that there are learning and processing issues at play. I do have a psychiatrist referral appointment on July 5th of this year in which I am looking forward to. I’m small small progress with a few changes as it is needed.

These issues have detrimentally impacted my interpersonal relationships and I do not know what more to say. As one of my favorite persons had recommended and he was about to support me to get assessed for autism in person — Our friendship ended as a result of my own substance use and unhealed trauma. He kept encouraging me that I needed to get assessed as he saw so much more that I did not even see. As a result of that friendship, I value him so much because his words and just being there has made such a beneficial impact on my life. With my 29th birthday coming up and knowing that he will not be there again, it breaks my heart.

He was there cheering me on during karaoke night for my 28th birthday. We were just friends, both equally screwed up with our own unhealed trauma’s. However, he has healed from his trauma’s and I was not.

I’ve been tempted to write my favorite person a letter but I am not too sure how to word it especially given the no contact order set in place. This was from months ago and I am not too sure if the no contact order is effective or not, but I do not want to risk anything for my professional career. I do know that my favorite person wants me to do better. He came across my alternate handle one day — He used to be a former police officer and in the army, and he would tell me stories of his experiences and the trauma/flashbacks that he had endured from his line of work. His stories are inspirational and I still look up to him today. When he came across my alternate handle, I was venting and a literal mess. I remember he mentioned, “red flag, red flag, red flag,” upon reading my messed up and depressive tweets. I’ve been struggling for some time and he is in my heart right now because I know I screwed up that friendship and I would do anything to get that friendship back but I know I cannot. It is what it is.

With that being said though, I wanted to incorporate a image outlining the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder for added awareness and education. We may be broken with our own issues but we can heal ourselves. With the appropriate supports and resources, we can stem back from who we used to be. We can heal and become better individual’s, and make amends to everyone we have possibly hurt.

I’ve had many close encounters tell me how they suspect that I am autistic and how I portray autistic traits. I’ll be honest with you guys, I used to be embarrassed to speak about this. When my mother transitioned jobs from being a Realtor to working with children who have disabilities — This here changed her mindset and the way she would look at me. It gave her insight as I had prevalent behavioral and learning concerns growing up. This showed a lot in my school work and I was your average C’s student. I put twice the amount of effort into my school work than my sister and other people did. I was always envious of my sister as she did not have to study at all. I had to study twice as hard and I barely passed my classes. Whenever I asked my Mom for help, she was either too busy or would get frustrated after losing patience with me. I asked my father for help with my mathematics homework and he would call me stupid many times which probably is the main cause for my self esteem issues on top of the bullying not only from him but from my peers. I eventually stopped asking for help altogether.

When high school came about, I was your average 50’s to 60’s student. My grades were not the best and my teachers assumed I was doing terrible on purpose. I was never placed in those special education classrooms. I did, however, grow up with tutors and then high school came about. I had one tutor in elementary school and I remember her getting annoyed with me many times. She kept telling me how I refused to listen and I remember walking out of her classroom upon being so angry because she wasn’t listening to me.

I dropped from academic to applied because the content for English, for example, was incredibly challenging to pick up on. As much as I loved some of the readings that were taught to us such as How To Kill A Mockingbird and Romeo & Juliet, I was still unable to understand the contents of those books. My mother suspected some type of behavioral or learning disability, and I remember going through countless assessments with no luck. I’ve had medical professionals suspect Central Auditory Processing Disorder which actually suits who I am and how I learn and further process bits of information. These assessments were costly and were never completed. Medical professionals and my mother suspected this disorder but nothing really got finalized. I struggled for many years and I am still struggling to pick up on the basic social cues, maintain myself, interact with others, and how to live in a neurotypical world. I’ve had a recent ex-friend tell me one day — He mentioned, “you really do suck at social cues, don’t you?” I wanted to say so much to that but what am I supposed to say? I do suck at social cues and I do not know how to do better or how to overcome that because I have never received the proper treatment to learn how to better manage all of this.

I think, at this very moment, I am utterly burnt out. This isn’t only from my profession but from misunderstanding even myself and how others misunderstand me. I sit here in tears. My writing understands me which is pretty sad.

I wanted to incorporate images below about these types of disorders. Do know that Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is pretty much the same as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

I need society to stop judging and forming biased assumptions over those who may appear normal — But what is normal in your eyes? For myself, normal does not exist. I’ve always been socially awkward and I own that.

I need to add that a part of my own healing and recovery is talking about it — These are the missing pieces of my life and this forms my identity to this day.

My neurodivergence is my identity but it does not define me.

People may not understand who I am and that is okay. I understand me. I live with myself and I get frustrated a lot because I cannot communicate my needs and what I want. I am working on that while struggling to navigate a neurotypical world where I clearly do not fit in.

There are only a few people that can see those autistic traits — They have been there. They have shown me the way and now I must do the work and try to get thoroughly assessed myself. I am grateful for those people. They will forever be in my heart and memory.


Growth & Resilience

If life were easy, we would not be living life correctly. Life is about constant growth & overcoming challenges and obstacles along the way.