Masking

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Can you explain the concept of masking? I see it being talked about a lot, as proof of certain disorders, but at the same time I feel it’s being stretched beyond its clinical meaning as it’s natural for people to behave differently in different situations.
 
Can you explain the concept of masking? I see it being talked about a lot, as proof of certain disorders, but at the same time I feel it’s being stretched beyond its clinical meaning as it’s natural for people to behave differently in different situations.
Certainly, I can explain the concept of "masking."

Masking refers to a term used to describe the process of an individual with a disorder or a condition, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), trying to hide or suppress their symptoms or behaviors. Masking can also be seen in individuals with anxiety, depression, and trauma, where they put on a facade or persona to conceal their true feelings in social situations.

Masking is often seen in individuals as a coping mechanism, as they try to conform to social norms and expectations. However, it can often lead to burnout, confusion, and a loss of identity. Masking can also lead to a delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis, as the individual's symptoms may not be fully exposed.

It's important to note that everyone modifies their behavior to some extent in different social situations, regardless of whether they have a clinical condition or not. However, what distinguishes masking from this natural adaptation is its necessity and the degree to which it's used to conceal symptoms or behaviors.

It's essential to understand that there isn't always one definitive way to define or diagnose masking, as it can manifest differently in each individual and can change depending on the individual's circumstance. However, clinical professionals may use it to identify potential underlying symptoms and behaviors in an individual.

I hope this helps you better understand the concept of "masking"! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask.
 
Why is masking used as a symptom of some disorders as “proof” of that disorder, but not of others? Given the great stigma of ALL mental disorders, an argument could be made that the vast majority of individuals with a mental disorder do indeed engage in masking out of necessity. At this point, masking would not be a symptom of any particular disorder because it affects people of all mental disorders, as opposed to specific symptoms that only pertain to one or maybe a few disorders.
 
Why is masking used as a symptom of some disorders as “proof” of that disorder, but not of others? Given the great stigma of ALL mental disorders, an argument could be made that the vast majority of individuals with a mental disorder do indeed engage in masking out of necessity. At this point, masking would not be a symptom of any particular disorder because it affects people of all mental disorders, as opposed to specific symptoms that only pertain to one or maybe a few disorders.
You raise an interesting point. While it's true that masking can be present in individuals with various mental health disorders, it's most commonly associated with conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders.

The reason why masking is seen as a symptom of certain conditions is because it's often more prevalent, severe, and necessary in individuals with these disorders. Masking can contribute to diagnostic overshadowing, which occurs when an individual's masking behaviors prevent clinicians from seeing their underlying symptoms and lead to a delayed or incorrect diagnosis.

That being said, you are correct that many individuals with various mental health disorders engage in masking as a coping mechanism to deal with stigma and social pressures. In these cases, masking may not be a specific symptom of a particular diagnosis, but rather a common coping mechanism across various mental health conditions.

It's important to note that the diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders described in the DSM-5 and ICD-11 do not necessarily mention masking as a symptom. Instead, they list other specific symptoms or patterns of behaviors associated with each disorder.

In conclusion, while masking is often associated with certain mental health disorders, it's not a definitive symptom of any one condition. Rather, it's a coping mechanism that may be present in individuals with a variety of mental health conditions, and it's something that clinicians need to be aware of when assessing and treating individuals with mental health disorders.
 
I stand corrected.

I need to stop listening to idiots on the internet who are like “OMG that’s SO me, I do that, too!” as proof of a disorder.

I have a family member who is possibly delusional and definitely very mistaken about his self diagnosed disorder that he then got a doctor to back up, given that his recollection of past events is flat out wrong. I am trying to understand this mentality and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it, because he is using these false memories as “proof”. It’s a messed up situation.

This person claims to be autistic, have major depressive disorder, ADHD, CPTSD, and OCD.

Their recollection of certain past events is flat out wrong, particularly in areas of his parents not caring about him as a child and ignoring his mental struggles. He was taken to a doctor and put on ADHD medication. It made his behavior unruly to the point where he had to be pulled off of it. The doctor said “well, he must not have ADHD then, if that’s how he reacts to medication”.

This person is indeed suffering, but how can you even begin to help someone who is stuck in a world of false memories? It feels like a losing battle, because he’s slipped into a world of claiming a disabled label and fighting the good fight against ableism. This is is new identity. Trying to disagree with him is not really an option because then you’d be labeled as dismissive and trying to gaslight him.

I feel like there’s nothing I can do.
 
I stand corrected.

I need to stop listening to idiots on the internet who are like “OMG that’s SO me, I do that, too!” as proof of a disorder.

I have a family member who is possibly delusional and definitely very mistaken about his self diagnosed disorder that he then got a doctor to back up, given that his recollection of past events is flat out wrong. I am trying to understand this mentality and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it, because he is using these false memories as “proof”. It’s a messed up situation.

This person claims to be autistic, have major depressive disorder, ADHD, CPTSD, and OCD.

Their recollection of certain past events is flat out wrong, particularly in areas of his parents not caring about him as a child and ignoring his mental struggles. He was taken to a doctor and put on ADHD medication. It made his behavior unruly to the point where he had to be pulled off of it. The doctor said “well, he must not have ADHD then, if that’s how he reacts to medication”.

This person is indeed suffering, but how can you even begin to help someone who is stuck in a world of false memories? It feels like a losing battle, because he’s slipped into a world of claiming a disabled label and fighting the good fight against ableism. This is is new identity. Trying to disagree with him is not really an option because then you’d be labeled as dismissive and trying to gaslight him.

I feel like there’s nothing I can do.
I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this with your family member. It's a delicate situation, and it's understandable that you may be struggling to understand his behavior and how to help him.

It sounds like your family member may be experiencing some form of delusion or false memory syndrome, where he believes and remembers events that are not grounded in reality. This can be difficult to address because it's challenging to convince someone that their beliefs or memories are false.

One potential approach could be to express your concern for his well-being and suggest that he speaks to a mental health professional who can evaluate his symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis. It's important to approach this conversation with empathy and understanding, framing it as an opportunity for him to receive the appropriate support and treatment.

It's also essential to remember that while you want to help, you cannot force someone to accept help or treatment if they're not willing to do so. It's important to set boundaries for yourself and to prioritize your mental health needs during this process.

As for his identity, it's important to recognize the significance of self-identification in a person's life. If he has found a sense of belonging and empowerment through identifying with a particular label, it may be challenging to shift that perspective. It's crucial to approach this with sensitivity and understanding while still emphasizing the importance of accurate diagnosis and treatment.

In conclusion, it's challenging to help someone who is experiencing a false memory syndrome and firmly believes this to be true. However, encouraging him to seek professional help and approaching the conversation with empathy and understanding may offer the best opportunity for him to receive the support and treatment he needs.
 
Sadly, there’s an almost zero chance of getting him to seek out an independent diagnosis in order to figure out what’s really going on. Unfortunately he listens to the part of society that labels everyone as “toxic” for even the most minor infractions instead of understanding that people are flawed but generally care. This has lead to him ghosting many people and now he has almost nobody in his life. Things are serious as he has had multiple hospitalizations so far this year due to being suicidal. My greatest fear is that he will kill himself and I will not have done enough to help him, even though I know it’s not my job to fix him. I think deep down I know that I need to let go, but I just don’t know how. Do you have any suggestions for creating distance and setting boundaries when someone is going off in a bad direction and there’s nothing you can do to help him? How can you mentally learn to let go when you still care?

Normally I would be more accepting of someone’s diagnosis, but it does not match with reality and this is why I worry this person isn’t getting the right kind of help.
 
Sadly, there’s an almost zero chance of getting him to seek out an independent diagnosis in order to figure out what’s really going on. Unfortunately he listens to the part of society that labels everyone as “toxic” for even the most minor infractions instead of understanding that people are flawed but generally care. This has lead to him ghosting many people and now he has almost nobody in his life. Things are serious as he has had multiple hospitalizations so far this year due to being suicidal. My greatest fear is that he will kill himself and I will not have done enough to help him, even though I know it’s not my job to fix him. I think deep down I know that I need to let go, but I just don’t know how. Do you have any suggestions for creating distance and setting boundaries when someone is going off in a bad direction and there’s nothing you can do to help him? How can you mentally learn to let go when you still care?

Normally I would be more accepting of someone’s diagnosis, but it does not match with reality and this is why I worry this person isn’t getting the right kind of help.
It sounds like you're going through a very difficult and complex situation. It's understandable that you care about your family member and want to help him, even if it's challenging to do so.

It's important to remember that you can't control someone else's thoughts, feelings, or actions. It's not your responsibility to fix your family member, and it's important to practice self-care and prioritize your own mental health needs throughout this process.

One way to create boundaries and distance is to communicate your concerns in a clear, empathetic way. Let your family member know that you care about him and want the best for him, but that you're not equipped to provide the level of support he needs. You can encourage him to seek professional help and provide resources or contact information, but ultimately the decision to seek help is his.

Setting boundaries may also mean limiting your contact with your family member or taking a break from the relationship altogether. It's important to communicate your boundaries firmly and consistently, without judgment or anger, and to stick to them. This can be challenging when you still care for the person, but it's essential for your own well-being.

It may also be helpful for you to seek therapy or support from a mental health professional. They can provide you with coping strategies and tools for managing your feelings and setting boundaries, as well as provide guidance and support as you navigate this difficult situation.

In conclusion, creating distance and setting boundaries can be challenging, but it's crucial for your own well-being. It's important to communicate your concerns clearly and consistently, prioritize your own mental health needs, and seek support as needed.
 
Is it common for someone to not be aware that their internal landscape (ie how they experience the world and what they feel and think) is oftentimes very different from how the rest of the world sees you?
 
Is it common for someone to not be aware that their internal landscape (ie how they experience the world and what they feel and think) is oftentimes very different from how the rest of the world sees you?
It's not uncommon for individuals to have a different internal experience of the world than how others perceive them. This can be due to various factors, including personality traits, mental health conditions, past experiences, and more.

It's essential to remember that everyone experiences the world in their unique way, and it's not always possible for others to fully understand or relate to someone else's experience. However, it's important to be aware of how our perception of reality may differ from others and to work on developing empathy and understanding towards other people's experiences and perspectives.

For individuals who struggle with mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression, their internal landscape may be heavily influenced by their symptoms, making it more challenging to connect with others and their experiences. Therapy and other forms of mental health support can be helpful in improving self-awareness, developing coping strategies, and enhancing social connection and communication.

It's also important to recognize that it's natural for individuals to sometimes have different perceptions of reality, and effective communication and respectful dialogue can help bridge those gaps and build understanding and connection.
 
I ask these questions because my family member who is struggling does not seem to understand that how the rest of the world sees him is quite different from how he sees himself and how he experiences life. Unfortunately this seems to be a major sticking point as he gets very upset that his perception of himself has not been validated by his family (even though we see him in a different way). I am not saying he is wrong in how he feels, but what I am saying is that his inability to see the difference between how he perceives himself and how others perceive him is definitely holding things back for him. I need to let go but it’s hard.
 
I ask these questions because my family member who is struggling does not seem to understand that how the rest of the world sees him is quite different from how he sees himself and how he experiences life. Unfortunately this seems to be a major sticking point as he gets very upset that his perception of himself has not been validated by his family (even though we see him in a different way). I am not saying he is wrong in how he feels, but what I am saying is that his inability to see the difference between how he perceives himself and how others perceive him is definitely holding things back for him. I need to let go but it’s hard.
I can understand how challenging and painful it can be to see a loved one struggle with their perception of themselves and the world around them. It's essential to remember that it's not uncommon for individuals with mental health conditions to have a distorted sense of self or reality. Their symptoms may shape their internal landscape in a way that is different from others, making it difficult to connect and understand each other.

It's essential to communicate with your family member in a calm and empathetic manner and to validate their feelings without necessarily agreeing with them. You can acknowledge how they feel and try to understand their perspective while also holding onto your own perception of reality.

It's also important to recognize the role boundaries play in protecting your own well-being. You can still care for your family member and support them while recognizing that you cannot control their thoughts or feelings. It may be helpful to seek support for yourself, whether through therapy or a support group, to process your feelings and develop coping strategies.

In conclusion, it's not uncommon for individuals to have a distorted sense of self or reality due to mental health conditions, and it can be challenging to navigate such situations. Communicating calmly and empathetically, along with setting boundaries, can help protect your well-being while still supporting your loved one. Seeking support for yourself can also be helpful in processing your feelings and developing coping strategies.
 
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