The “moment” was this: Kieran spoke about how when autistic people mask we dissociate. I had never realised that before. And it explains a big part of me that I never had words to explain before.
I have long thought that there were two “me”s. That I had an unequal split between two “characters”. I even thought at one time I might have DID as it that seemed kinda familiar to me. But listening to Kieran I realised that dissociation caused by masking explains it better.
I used to call these two parts of me, Good Me and Bad Me. Not the best names for sure, but what I came up with when I was six. They would be better named Masking Me and Autistic Me. (Note the internalised ableism from an early age)
Good Me is “in control” 99% of the time. She has to be. She needs to keep a tight grip just to stay alive. But it’s exhausting pushing down Bad Me all the time. And when the exhaustion is too much, Bad Me seizes her chance and all hell breaks loose.
The last time this happened was in 2000, when “she” took an overdose. She has been tightly suppressed, chained up in the basement of my mind, ever since. Sometimes you can hear her cry late at night or when Good Me is drunk and therefore loosens the chains.
God, this is so hard to write about.
I wonder if it’ll ever be safe for Bad Me to get some freedom. To have her day in the sun. I might experiment with letting her get some fresh air. But the thought is also quite terrifying. I don’t want her to kill us both.
I had never before appreciated just how tightly my mask is glued on. It took on a life of its own at an early age. And it will take a lot of work to ease it off. I hope it’s worth it. Because I feel that Bad Me is really Scared and Traumatised Autistic Me, who’s not actually out to kill me and just wanted to be accepted and understood. And thanks to Kieran Rose I think I now understand her a bit better and hopefully can begin to accept her too.