“Am I Faking Being Autistic?” – How To Put These Doubts To Rest

So, you’ve just found out you’re autistic, or you’ve begun to suspect it. You’ve started to research all these autistic traits, and thought to yourself, “Oh, so that’s why I behave this way!” You start to realise that all the stuff you deemed to be “weird” in the past may not have been so weird at all.

And then, you begin to doubt yourself….

Discovering whether or not you’re autistic can be a very stressful time. Not only are you discovering a major part of yourself, you’re now wondering if you can truly call yourself autistic or not.

I’ve been through this myself, and let me be the one to say this – you are not alone!

This is amongst the most frequently asked questions I’ve received from autistics. Whether they’re undiagnosed, undecided, or even diagnosed. So I’ve decided to compile a list of the most common reasons people believe they’re faking.

1. Being aware of your traits

One of the most likely causes of this doubt is the fact that you’re now aware of the traits you have, and know it’s autism causing them. When I was first diagnosed, I began to think to myself, “Well, I know what I’m doing is because of autism. Am I faking these traits? Surely since I know I’m doing them, that means I can stop!”

Why this doesn’t mean you’re faking:

Being aware of what you’re doing doesn’t mean you’re purposely pretending to be autistic. It means that you’re now understanding what autism is, and how it affects the things you do. Just because you’re aware of your traits, doesn’t mean you can stop them.

2. Comparing to other autistics

Another common reason people believe they’re faking is because they start comparing themselves to other autistic traits, and feel the other person’s autism is more noticeable than theirs.

Some may stop believing they’re faking because they start focusing more on the traits they don’t have, rather than the ones they do have. For example, seeing others talk about the meltdowns they have, and feeling they must be faking due to never experiencing a meltdown previously.

Why this doesn’t mean you’re faking:

Sometimes, we’re not actually so aware of our own autistic traits. We see what we believe are “more obvious” autistic traits in others, and fail to see how autism affects us. This may be due to masking, or because there’s still a lot about our own autism that we need to learn, amongst other potential reasons.
When I was first diagnosed, I compared myself to others. Including autistic people I knew, characters in books, even famous autistics. I felt at the time that I’d learnt a lot of social skills and that I was “fitting in” fine. Looking back…. I was very wrong, and I just wasn’t aware of it.

Additionally, no autistic person has every single trait/symptom. It’s important to remember that just because someone experiences a trait that you don’t, it doesn’t make you any less autistic. I seldom have meltdowns, but that doesn’t make me any less autistic than those who experience them frequently.

3. Comments from others

Sometimes, people believe they’re faking their autism because someone has told them “they don’t look autistic”, or flat out denied the possibility of them being autistic. This makes them doubt themselves a lot more, especially if the comment came from a friend, parent, or even a professional.

Why this doesn’t mean you’re faking:

Despite the fact that most people these days are aware of autism, there’s still a lot of people out there that don’t truly understand it, or how it affects people. Due to how autism is often portrayed in the media, a lot of people a view that all autistic people must behave in a certain way, or that they all can’t talk etc. Some may conclude you’re not autistic because they know just one autistic person, and think they all autistic people must behave like them.

Even with professionals, there’s still a lot that don’t properly understand autism. I’ve heard from others that professionals refused to diagnose them because the person had friends, or because they could talk, or perhaps most surprisingly, because they were a girl!

Remember, almost every autistic person will have someone tell them that they can’t be autistic, and that one comment doesn’t mean they’re right!

4. Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is the belief that no matter what issues you have, you don’t deserve the help you’re entitled to (amongst other things, such as not feeling you deserve the high score you received in a test). Perhaps no matter how many symptoms you feel you relate to, you think you don’t deserve a diagnosis as you worry that others deserve help more than you do. Maybe you feel you don’t deserve a diagnosis because others went through “so much more” than you have, or because you “don’t struggle that much”.

Why this doesn’t mean you’re faking:

Lots of people will be feeling the same as you do. It’s easy to start worrying that you don’t deserve a diagnosis, or you’re taking assistance away from someone you feel “actually needs it”, but if you feel you’re autistic, you deserve the support and help you need. Remember, it’s better to go and get assistance if you’re entitled to it, than to suffer in silence.

Have you ever doubted your autism? Perhaps you’re still having difficulty knowing whether or not you’re autistic, why not talk about your experiences in the comments?:

6 thoughts on ““Am I Faking Being Autistic?” – How To Put These Doubts To Rest

  1. This is exactly what’s been going on in my mind recently. I wasn’t diagnosed so it makes the doubts worse.
    But it’s getting to the point that I can’t deny it, regardless of what anyone says. Especially when I see myself on camera. I have horrible self awareness and don’t see myself often, but when I do, my autistic traits are as clear as day.
    This was reassuring to read thank you.

    Like

  2. I loved reading this as a yet undiagnosed autistic person. Thank you very much for this.

    One thing I’d like to point out is this part,

    [ Despite the fact that most people these days are aware of autism, there’s still a lot of people out there that truly understand it, or how it affects people. ]

    You may have missed putting a “not” in front of “a lot of people out there that truly understand it”.

    Like

  3. I have this problem because I’ve just recently discovered traits in myself for Asbergers before it was made part of the autism spectrum. I can relate to it quite a bit and I’m beginning to understand myself better. I don’t know if I’ll go for a diagnosis since when I was growing up being a girl wasn’t recognized as having Asbergers and now I’m in my adult years wondering why I still find it hard to interact with people, research things to the point of insanity, and have had a special interest for almost 30 years. (And several smaller ones along the way.)
    I’ve been told several times over the course of my life to drop my interest/interests and grow up, to stop acting a certain way, or just struggling to fit in, in general. It’s been hard and I’ve also read up on masking and finding out that I do use certain words out of context, jokes, and sarcasm trying so hard to socialize. I rarely make phone calls, and when I was growing up and into my early 20’s I’d pass them off to my parents. Then, when I got married I defer them to my husband now. I just, I hate phone conversations.
    When plans change, I get upset because my routine is being broken. Even if I’m not doing much, it still feels like an intrusion. I do the same things almost daily and I have problems focusing at times. Socialization feels exhausting and sometimes no one seems to get why.
    Sometimes it is hard not being diagnosed because then no one wants to believe you even if you have the knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have trouble explaining and figuring out my traits. I’m diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety and tests revealed autism spectrum traits but not enough for diagnosis. The assessment was missing one point. However I feel like the truth didn’t come out and I suspect that my autism could be diagnosed officially, but ADHD and those acute mental health problems interfere with the assessment.
    I don’t know how to separate the symptoms of ADHD and autism or anxiety and autism. I know that the evaluation of my state will continue but I desperately need examples of autism with these other problems and especially in women with higher IQ.
    I also suspect that I have been successfully masking through out my life and I can’t put my finger on when I’m doing it. I’m soon 38 and have never been able to live independently a decent life, but no one else can see it. I appear to be more functional than I am.
    I’m still searching for people who could ask me the right questions to get me on track. I have no clue how a “normal” person function. For me the only normal thing is me, but I know that everything I do and experience is different from how other people experience life.
    My functional problems are huge to me but seem indifferent to people when I try to explain them.
    (Sorry, if this is a spam. I think my comment disappeared and I wrote it again)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve not been diagnosed yet so this was very helpful and reassuring.
    Thanks especially for including the meltdown example. I don’t really experience meltdowns – those that I’m aware of at least – which has made me feel like such an imposter, because it feels like almost every autistic person on the internet has them.

    Liked by 1 person

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