Autistics call these carefully but unconsciously created behaviours ‘masking’. They are coping mechanisms that are learned early in life, so that they can be socially acceptable. They are more excessively seen in females, and are one reason why diagnoses of autism in girls, women, or female-presenting people is difficult.
I am not diagnosed. I now identify as neurodivergent, an umbrella term for minds that work differently than the “norm”. I doubt I will ever be formally diagnosed, though I strongly suspect I am autistic. I also am not sure of the value of diagnosis in my case (I would not presume to talk about anyone else’s). I don’t need a diagnosis to say I am introverted, or nerdy, and I have not yet been convinced that this would be any different.
I think we need to take a step back as a society as ask ourselves why we aren’t as aware of, or discussing, neurological diversity as we are of external, physical diversity.
It may well be, and I hope it is, one of the next Big Discussions.
There are all kinds of minds.
Originally published on ericaball.medium.com