'Naked & Afraid XL' Survivalist Opens Up About Having Autism In Emotional Moment
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'Naked & Afraid XL' Survivalist Opens Up About Having Autism In Emotional Moment

Naked & Afraid XL has an all-new season with survivalists trying to make it out in the wild. However, one survivalist is opening up about some personal struggles. In an emotional moment, Nathan Martinez opened up to his teammates Lynsey McCarver and Terra Short about having Asperger's Syndrome.

Growing up, he said that he struggled to connect with others. Some people thought that he was odd or strange. However, he wanted to have a powwow with his teammates to connect with them.

"Some people may think I'm weird or strange, but I'm not good at words for a reason," Nathan said. "I don't talk about it very often unless someone asks a question. So, I'd like to have a powwow with my teammates and make sure that we're all on the same page."

"I have Asperger's Syndrome so it's kind of hard to read people or read between the lines," he continued. "People say something to me and I just won't respond. It's not because I'm being rude. It's because I can't think of what to say and I get stuck on a very, very narrow focus and can't switch rapidly to something else."

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However, Lynsey noted how the Naked & Afraid contestant gets hyper-focused on one task. It explains why Nathan sometimes had difficulty multi-tasking when others needed him. "I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when I was about 27 or so," Nathan told the cameras. "And that is a cognitive disability that is on the autism spectrum that causes you to have difficulty in social situations."

"The diagnosis did change my life in that it gave me an explanation for something I had no explanation for, which had led some depression in the past," he continued. "Now, I know that it's just a different way of being."

His Naked & Afraid teammates appreciated the honesty. Terra, who is transgender nonbinary, could relate to Nathan and his struggles of acceptance.

"Don't worry, it's not like we're gonna hold it against you or anything. You know, we're a team. We're a partnership," Terra told the Naked & Afraid contestant.

"I know that people with Asperger's have a hard time assimilating into society. Being trans non binary, I can relate," Terra said. "So you know, we want to make him feel as comfortable as possible, and let him know that he's 1/3 of this group, not anything less."