I’m appreciative of being accepted and acknowledged. I do interviews, speak in podcasts and livestreams. And I have been asked to be a leader many times. But the shadow of imposter syndrome haunts me every day in these moments. It haunts me from the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed.
Imposter syndrome has an actual definition, but for me it is simply defined as a paralyzing feeling that I will be found out as a fraud, and I have simply gotten lucky so far. It haunts my every accomplishment and action, and this has been a staple of my existence ever since I was a child. As I accept that this is something that I go through, I realize that it’s something that is just a part of life for me.
I notice among late diagnosed autistics like myself that they, too, deal with some degree of imposter syndrome. I know that can, for me at least, partially stem from the fact that I mask. I live with a continuous feeling that this mask of neurotypicality will smother me. I have always felt like I was an actor playing the role of the perfect person– the one my family and society could accept.
So I discuss it. I speak on it. I write about it. I find comfort in knowing that others understand where I’m coming from. So I say to others who feel the same way I do: speak on it so you can help others as well. Know that you are not alone. Know that your negative feelings about yourself are natural byproduct of having to perform as “normal” and must be constantly checked.
I find that solidarity among other autistics can be a healing balm when we can speak unmasked and have our truth heard and validated.