My chameleon circuit is broken.

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The TARDIS in Dr Who looks like a blue police phone box all the time because it’s ‘chameleon circuit’ which sets its external appearance is ‘jammed’.

Importantly it’s not a blue police phone box. It’s still a TARDIS. It just looks like a phone box.

A few years ago I was autistic but I had the ability to ‘pass for’ nuerotypical. I still wasn’t socially amazing but with great energy I could make it work.

I had a chameleon circuit of my own and I could fit into environments.

It was pretty amazing really.

As I got more and more ill I found myself less and less able to pass for nuerotypical.

Then after my operation I totally lost the ability to pass.

In many ways I miss my chameleon circuit and I feel more awkward and less capable.

The thing is, my ability to hide the autism was what basically made me ill. I took on more and more and I pushed to hard. Rather than stopping to find suitable help I thought it was a good thing to be ‘independent’ no matter the cost.

I paid for that mistake with my health and now I rebuilding my life so that I don’t need to be a fake person anymore.

Overall I think it’s been a useful experience. I have learnt that independence is more about autonomy and getting stuff done and less about pushing through day to day living skills.

I would encourage everyone who interacts with autistic people to think about how important any specific social norm is. Many of them can and should be rejected when the cost to the autistic person is too high.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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