UNMASKED: Snippets & notes from a lifetime collection of journals  (pre-diagnosis).
Advocating for autistic acceptance.

















April 10, 1994  


Although I understand that it is true, I still can’t believe that Kurt Cobain committed suicide. Why? Why? WHY? And why has this upset me so? I mean, on an intimate, personal level. He was someone I let into my life … I listen to his music and cry silent tears …



April 11, 1994


OK. I have some vague semblance of understanding in the Kurt issue. In my little world, nobody is supposed to die, let alone by a self-inflicted gunshot wound! Of course I’m upset about it! Kurt … why?


This is a time that I just don’t understand. It’s hard for me to understand that people wake up in the morning & some of them … feel so helpless about life. Re-reading his interviews, I see times when he jokes about self-destruction & I wonder, “Were they really jokes or truth, subconscious or not?”



April 16, 1994


Fear of what? Myself or, more specifically, of my subconscious. Another fear of mine is of destiny of life. Rather, of death. Am I destined to live the life of a tortured dreamer? One who lives happily in her fantasy world but when an essential aspect of that fantasy breaks and give me a clear, however brief, glimpse into the “real” world.


I feel so … Unhappy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Life is a game. So what? Here I am, feeling once again, suicidal. And now is the time to make it clear that this is not in any way connected directly to Kurt. His break maybe, but not the suicide. No influence, OK? OK.


I know I’ll never  do it (but for that seed of fear of my subconscious) but am I to go through this “suicidal” period every four years or so. In other words, destined to? Why will I not? I don’t want to disappoint people, hurt people, disgust people, lose that minute control. And, when I am not like this – usually – I love life infinitely … Nor do I feel particularly bleak or helpless. But is the “tendency” worth it?


I’ve reached that attitude. The one that says, “What is the point to all of this?” As a dreamer, I can fluctuate – dismal now, I guess. OK, so life is a game. And games are not always wonderful but my question is, do I truly want to deal with it? Afraid of the other side but it is, after all, a gamble. Worse, better? Could be either.


Is there any place that is permanently happy? Perpetually so? Or is this so we don’t take it for granted? Would I after this?


Help me, oh help me.


Kalpita Pathak
Age 18


I normally have one journal entry per post but here I’ve combined three consecutive ones. They are thematically linked and I decided trigger warnings three posts in a row could, in and of themselves, be triggering. So this is one mega-post. Be well, fellow #neurokin. ❤️


Many autistic people have special interests (AKA, “spins”). More than hobbies, spins can help us regulate our emotions, ground us, be an important part of our familiar routines.


I want to immerse myself in my special interests when I am happy, when I’m sad, when I’m at peace (to find peace), when I’m anxious, when I’m energized, when I’m tired.


Special interests can be people! One of my beloved special interests was Mozart. I learned his compositions (exclusively!) on the flute and piano. I read every biography I could find. I listened to “Rock Me Amadeus” on repeat. I watched Amadeus so many times I memorized it – and it’s a long film. I I had a photo album filled with images I’d cut out of him. Flipping through it brought me such tranquility.


Sometimes special interest change. When this transition is allowed to occur naturally, we can look back on them with anything ranging from fondness to indifference. But when it is taken away from us, as with ABA or societal pressures, it is a wrenching loss. A death of sorts.


Unless our special interests are dangerous to ourselves or others, we should be free to explore them to our hearts’ content.


Both Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were my special interests at the time of his death. It was painful and lonely. I had to hide my sadness and grief because it was “weird”. I felt even more isolated, more a stranger in a strange land, than before, and I was already in a bad place by then.


I was in a real existential crisis.


In the three years before Kurt Cobain’s death by suicide, one of my mentor-teachers and one of my dear friends also died by suicide. Both were neurodivergent.


Autistic people have a significantly higher rate of suicide and suicide attempts.


If you are autistic: You are not a burden. You are not a waste of space. You do not deserve to die. You are not alone in this world – you are a valued member of this community.


If you want to be an ally: Support begins with acceptance. Learn from autistic advocates; we have insight and a willingness to share vulnerable moments to help make the world a safer and more inclusive place. You may never fully understand us but you can believe our experiences as valid.


Please follow this link for suicide hotlines in your country: Suicide Stop


Whatever you do, be gentle with yourself.    – Sanober Khan