After Diagnosis: Dropping a Mask or Seeking Excuses?

I didn’t end up writing anything for the second and third prompt in the 10-day writing challenge. I also skipped the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day yesterday. It wasn’t really that I felt unmotivated or uninspired, but I was busy doing other things.

For example, I read a post on Facebook by a Mom of a neurodivergent child asking the autistic community whether it was possible that the child could be faking autism. That had me thinking. The short answer is that it’s highly unlikely. It is much more likely that, upon learning you are or may be autistic, you drop the mask.

I was self-identified as autistic for some years before I was formally diagnosed. However, my parents and high school tutor shamed me out of seeking an official diagnosis, claiming I was a hypochondriac for believing I’m autistic. Never mind that hypochondriasis is as much a mental condition as is autism.

At the time of my official diagnosis, I was resisting it a bit. I was in college with a psychology major and I didn’t want a diagnosis to stand in the way of my completing the program. Never mind that I was already failing and a diagnosis in fact helped me get some accommodations.

Then after I was diagnosed with autism, I started dropping the mask. Some people, including my parents and staff at the time, thought I was using my diagnosis as an excuse. Well, I wasn’t. I was experiencing what eventually turned out to be extreme burnout.

To get back to the topic of “faking” autism, I won’t deny that a small percentage of people may want to fake a disability to get services or financial help they don’t need. Others might be encouraged by family or friends to “just” go on disability. At least, I know some people who say they experience this. However, with how strict the social security and care systems are here, it is highly unlikely that someone would be granted benefits or care based on just a diagnosis. After all, a diagnosis is just a label.

Besides, said child had already been diagnosed with a neurodivergent condition. More labels doesn’t necessarily mean more care. It can mean more self-knowledge. It did in my case at least.

For example, I’ve over the years been given at least ten different diagnoses. Some may be correct while others most likely aren’t. Exploring these conditions did give me more understanding of myself. Especially with autism, there is a very positive community surrounding it. That definitely helps me finally find my tribe.

Today’s prompt in the 10-day writing challenge was “After”. The idea of the challenge is to write for five minutes. This post took me much longer, but that’s okay too.

4 thoughts on “After Diagnosis: Dropping a Mask or Seeking Excuses?

  1. I jumped through so many flaming hoops for so many years to get a disability claim approved. It’s not as easy as people think.
    And I don’t often drop my mask-nor do I had my conditions. But people have a way of shaming you so you build walls around yourself and appear ‘okay’.
    One more reason for my extensive blogging. It’s a day to day record of how altered my thoughts can be at times, how chaotic my thought processes are, and how easily panicked I am. 9 years of consistent posts kind of rules out some conspiracy theory of trying to get disability for no reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, agree. It’s so hard to get on disability especially these days that it really isn’t worth fighting for unless you reeally need it. Like, in the 1990s, people could get disability benefits relatively easily here and I do think there are some people who can work who got on disability back then and are still on it now. Then again, these people have aged 20+ years not working, so even if they aren’t genuinely disabled, they are most likely unfit for work.

      Liked by 1 person

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