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What is ADHD Masking?
Some steps you can take to unmask and be your authentic self
Have you ever been in a room filled with neurotypical people and felt the strong need to hide your real “personality”? Or maybe being afraid of being perceived as being “too much”, so you pull back intentionally? If this sounds eerily familiar - it’s likely that you’ve been masking.
Verywellmind.com defines masking as: “….when someone with ADHD presents in a way that makes them seem like they are not living with the disorder. It's also called "impression management." The term was coined by psychologist Russell Barkley, who said it occurs in about one-third of all people with ADHD.”
I recently polled the ADHD Community on My Lady ADHD and asked “What does ADHD Masking look like to you?” and these were a few of the (thousands of) responses:
So… what are the other options for us?
Step one: Identify your masking behaviours - spend some time paying attention to those times where you’re feeling like you’re masking. NOTICE it. Maybe even jot them down on paper - when are you doing it? Why? What is it exactly?
Step two: Make a conscious shift to ease away from masking. Maybe not all at once - OR maybe all at once? It’s all about your comfort level and how you feel in different scenarios. Maybe unmasking with friends is easier than unmasking at work.
Step three: Give the people around you some time to get used to your authentic self. Being the “real” you may scare some people away. That’s FINE. Maybe let them go if you need to? Start to surround yourself with the people who LOVE your authentic self - the people who celebrate you. This is where the magic happens.
*If you’re struggling with the IDEA of masking/unmasking - it’s always recommended to seek therapy or coaching (or both) If you are interested in coaching services, visit me HERE
If you’re interested in connecting with like-minded individuals and putting down the mask for a bit - consider signing up for the Refocus Your ADHD Cohort-based Course that begins on March 1st . This was the course that I needed when I was first diagnosed with ADHD, and it’s the reason that I continue the work that I do - connecting with other ADHDers and watching them light up in a “room” full of other ADHDers is very powerful.
Other exciting news:
In honor of Black History Month, I’m thrilled to share this week’s episode of the My Lady ADHD Podcast - featuring Abigail Agyei, an award-winning policy advisor, diversity, equity and inclusion champion and neurodiversity advocate. We talk about her personal experiences as a black woman with ADHD and she offers some great resources for others in the community. You can listen to this episode HERE
Thank you for being here. I’m so grateful.
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