The struggles of women who mask their autism
Many described experiences of sexual abuse. They also said that, had their condition been known, they would have been less misunderstood and alienated at school. They might have also received much-needed support sooner.
She has to spend so much effort to fit in, she says, that she has little physical energy for tasks such as housework, little mental energy for processing her thoughts and interactions, and poor control over her emotions.
Others might have benefited from knowing themselves better. Swearman completed a master’s degree to be a physician assistant, but ultimately stopped because of issues related to her autism.
“I was actually very good at what I did,” she says. But “it was too much social pressure, too much sensory stimulation, a lot of miscommunication and misinterpretation between myself and supervisors, due to thinking differences.”
It was only after she stopped working that her counselor suggested she might have autism. She read up on it and discovered, “Oh, my gosh, that’s me!” she recalls. It was a major turning point: Everything started to make sense.