Explaining the difficulties of neurodivergent masking to neurotypical people can be very difficult because the majority of neurotypical people (I have come across) do not have the same understanding of the condition as neurodivergent people – if any at all.
Autistic masking refers to the process of hiding or suppressing autistic traits to fit in with a neurotypical society. This can lead to a range of issues, such as difficulty expressing feelings, difficulty understanding and communicating with others, and difficulty connecting with others. It can also lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and frustration. It can be very difficult to tell if someone is masking their autism, as autistic people can learn to conceal their autistic traits over time. I feel that this is a contributing factor to why neurotypical people struggle to understand – even when this is fully explained. It is important to explain the concept of autistic masking in a way that is both compassionate and understanding.
Autistic masking is serious and can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the intense emotional strain of constantly trying to conform to societal expectations. The fear of being judged or misunderstood can lead to anxiety and depression, which can further aggravate PTSD symptoms. Long-term masking can also lead to physical and mental health problems.
The divide between neurodivergent and neurotypical people is clear when it comes to the way they process and think about information. Neurodivergent people often process things differently from neurotypical people and may have difficulty understanding and communicating in more ‘traditional’ ways. Neurotypical people may find it difficult to understand the unique ways neurodivergent people think. This creates a divide between the two worlds, as neurodivergent people can feel misunderstood and isolated, while neurotypical people may feel frustrated and confused and can’t relate.
I want to put it out there that Mental illness and neurodivergence are two distinct concepts, and it is important to not mix them up. Mental illness refers to a variety of psychological and emotional conditions, such as depression and anxiety (brought about by stress or trauma) whereas neurodivergence is a term used to describe those who process things differently. Mixing up the two can lead to confusion, misunderstanding, and stigma. It can also cause difficulty in getting the right help and support, as mental illness and neurodivergence require different approaches and treatments.
Stereotypes of autism can harm society’s views by creating misconceptions and misunderstanding about the condition. These misconceptions can lead to discrimination and marginalization of autistic people, which can have a damaging effect on their mental health, self-esteem, and quality of life. This can lead to missed opportunities for autistic people, as well as a lack of understanding and acceptance.
The social model of disability and the medical model of disability can both harm autistic people, depending on how they are implemented. If the social model of disability is not implemented properly, it can lead to a lack of understanding and acceptance of autistic people and can result in discrimination and marginalization. Additionally, the medical model of disability can lead to a narrow focus on deficits and challenges, without recognizing the strengths and potential of autistic people, and can lead to incorrect assumptions and stigma.
To improve the impact of both models on autistic people, it is important to recognize the value of both models and to find a balance between the two. This includes focusing on the positive aspects of neurodivergence, understanding the unique needs of autistic people, and providing resources and support to help them thrive. Again, it is important to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions.
It is up to society to change to make life easier for neurodivergent people. This includes understanding and listening to needs and experiences, which will lead to greater acceptance. This can be achieved by educating society about neurodiversity and its importance, providing resources and support for those with neurodivergent conditions, and creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all.
This is why it is so important to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about neurodivergence and to listen to and empathize with those who live it. Ultimately, creating a society where neurodivergent people can feel accepted and understood is the goal.
If society does not understand the behaviour of someone who is neurodivergent, it can lead to rejection and misunderstanding. This can cause the individual to feel isolated, judged, and misunderstood. It can also lead to difficulty accessing necessary services and resources, as well as feeling excluded from social activities. Additionally, it can lead to discrimination and even more negative stereotypes about individuals with neurodivergent traits.
Research indicates that people on the neurodiversity spectrum are at an increased risk of suicide and suicidal ideation (I struggle with suicidal ideation and have for as long as I remember). Studies have found that the prevalence of suicidal ideation among neurodivergent individuals may be as high as 33% and that the suicide rate among neurodivergent individuals is two to three times higher than the general population. Additionally, research has shown that this increased risk is often linked to social stigma and lack of access to appropriate mental health care and support. It is important for society to be aware of the risk and to ensure that neurodivergent individuals have access to the necessary resources and support to help them.
To create a more inclusive and understanding society, it is important to acknowledge and recognize the diversity of the neurodiversity spectrum and to be mindful of the unique needs of each individual on it.
There have been many famous people in history who have changed the course of humanity and who have been neurodivergent. Albert Einstein revolutionized the field of physics with his theory of relativity. Alan Turing played a pivotal role in the development of computing and artificial intelligence. It is estimated that Turing’s work shortened the world war by two years and saved 14 million lives. Ludwig van Beethoven revolutionized classical music. Also, people such as Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin, and David Byrne have made major contributions to their respective fields and helped to further understand neurodiversity – artwork dedicated to you 💫