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




August 1, 1994,


Look, I have no problem with Al [alcohol]. I just want him in limited doses. I don’t want to use him or abuse him. I want to go out and drink socially minus the ‘drunk’. I want to drink on occasion (not three times a week) not out of boredom. I can’t even limit myself tonight to no drinks, so one … a beer. Even though I’d just be pathetic, it would almost be better if I went out wanting to drink then when I go out ending up ‘drunk’ or buzzed; or worse, if I go out with a specific pact not to drink or only to have one drink – ahem, last nite – only to finish the nite in a drug-induced different state of mind.


What is wrong with my life right now that I feel the need to escape? I feel fine, even amused (by class – ‘Missy’!) right this moment, if slightly bewildered. Am I over-exaggerating & -analyzing? OK, I’m done for now. Wow, I do feel good, happy, self-reliant, and confident. Thank you, flick.


Kalpita Pathak
Age 19


Writing down my thoughts, figuring things out, and problem-solving are all ways I manage my anxiety.


While I can speak, writing is 💯 my best way of communicating, even with myself. For me, the order is: think, write, read (aloud). But if I skip the writing step, I end up disorganized, chaotic, and flustered. Anxious. Miscommunications abound.


Since my diagnosis, I’ve become more comfortable advocating for myself and refusing phone calls and spoken conversation. I choose emails and texts, instead. I have situational mutism and in those cases, I text my partner or use hand gestures. Knowing I am autistic means knowing myself.


How has your diagnosis (self or otherwise) changed your life, fellow neurokin? ❤️


I called alcohol Al, my dangerous yet loyal and nonjudgmental friend when I had literally nobody. People liked me for (for a little while at least) when Al was with me. And my unfiltered autistic self was filtered through an NT lens of “drunk therefore forgivable and funny” rather than “weird therefore deserving of ostracization and hostility.


I tried so hard to establish rules and routine with Al. I didn’t like being drunk at all. Always felt so frantic and the post-drinking-damage-control was ratcheted up several notches from my usual autistic-damage control, ultimately isolating me further.


So many clues I am autistic: the self-analysis, the chastising professor calling me ‘Missy’ in class, my bewilderment over said incident (even now I wonder, was it my tone? my facial expression? my frankness? my many questions?), my anxiety about my own thoughts and journal entries. Plus the fun stimmy spelling of nite and my old A Christmas Story echolalia of ‘Thank you, flick.’