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    Community Voices

    Change negative self talk to positive self talk

    Part 2 of 4 id="5b23cea700553f33fe99993a">.

    The Worrier promotes your fears that what is happening is dangerous or embarrassing(“What if I have a heart attack?!” “What will they think if they see me?!”).

    In short, the Worrier’s dominant tendencies include

    1) anticipating the worst,

    2) overestimating the odds of something bad or embarrassing


    3) creating grandiose images of potential failure or catastrophe.

    The Worrier is always vigilant, watching with uneasy apprehension for any small symptoms or signs of trouble.

    Favorite expression: By far the favorite expression of the Worrier is “what if …?”.


    Some typical dialogue from the Worrier might be: “Oh no, my heart’s starting to beat faster! What if I panic and lose complete control of myself?”

    ⦁ “What if I start #Stammering in the middle of my speech?”

    ⦁ “What if they see me shaking?”

    ⦁ “What if I’m alone and there’s nobody to call?”

    ⦁ “What if I just can’t get over this #Phobia ?” or

    ⦁ “What if I’m restricted from going to work for the rest of my life?”

    The Critic (promotes low self-esteem)

    Characteristics: The Critic is that part of you that is constantly judging and evaluating your behavior (and in this sense may seem more “apart” from you than the other subpersonalities).

    It tends to point out your flaws and limitations whenever possible. It jumps on any mistake you make to remind you that you’re a failure. The Critic generates #Anxiety by putting you down for not being able to handle your panic symptoms, for not being able to go places you used to go, for being unable to perform at your best, or for having to be dependent on someone else.

    It also likes to compare you with others and usually sees them coming out favorably. It tends to ignore your positive qualities and emphasizes your weaknesses and inadequacies.

    The Critic may be personified in your own dialogue as the voice of your mother or father, a dreaded teacher, or anyone who wounded you in the past with their criticism.

    Favorite expressions: “What a disappointment you are!” “That was stupid!”

    Examples: The following would be typical of the Critic’s self-talk: “You stupid …” (The Critic relishes negative labels.) “Can’t you ever get it right?” “Why are you always this way?” “Look at how capable _ is,” or “You could have done better.”

    The Critic holds negative self-beliefs, such as “I’m inferior to others,” “I’m not worth much,” “There’s something inherently wrong with me,” or “I’m weak—I should be stronger.”

    The Victim (promotes #Depression )

    Characteristics: The Victim is that part of you that feels helpless or hopeless. It generates #Anxiety by telling you that you’re not making any progress, that your condition is incurable, or that the road is too long and steep for you to have a real chance at recovering.

    The Victim also plays a major role in creating #Depression . The Victim believes that there is something inherently wrong with you: you are in some way deprived, defective, or unworthy. The Victim always perceives insurmountable obstacles between you and your goals.

    Characteristically, it be moans, complains, and regrets things as they are at present. It believes that nothing will ever change.

    Favorite expressions: “I can’t.” “I’ll never be able to.”

    Examples: The Victim will say such things as “I’ll never be able to do that, so what’s the point in even trying?” “I feel physically drained today—why bother doing anything?” “Maybe I could have done it if I’d had more initiative ten years ago—but it’s too late now.”

    The Victim holds such negative self-beliefs as “I’m hopeless,” “I’ve had this problem too long—it will never get better,” or “I’ve tried everything—nothing is ever going to work.”

    The Perfectionist (promotes chronic stress and burnout)

    Characteristics: The Perfectionist is a close cousin of the Critic, but its concern is less to put you down than to push and goad you to do better.

    It generates #Anxiety by constantly telling you that your efforts aren’t good enough, that you should be working harder, that you should always have everything under control, should always be competent, should always be pleasing, should always be (fill in whatever you keep telling yourself that you “should” do or be).

    The Perfectionist is the hard- driving part of you that wants to be best and is intolerant of mistakes or

    Community Voices

    Change negative self talk to positive self talk

    Part 4 of 4 ive, supportive mental habits. Bear in mind that the acquisition of positive mental habits takes the same persistence and practice required for learning new behaviors

    Community Voices

    Written for a Classmate and Friend - Writing Keeps Me Going

    Thank you to our mighty leader for supporting me in sharing this. Writing has helped to comfort me and cope with depression, anxiety, grief, and loneliness. I live alone now (with three cats) and do my best to stay in touch with people. I have lost a lot of special people in my life and have grieved a lot of different kinds of losses (job loss for example). I find myself overwhelmed with emotions a lot. Writing has helped. I write for friends, family, coworkers, and others who have touched my life. I wrote this for a classmate from high school.

    Sweet Speechlessness
    For C

    I remember the day in fifth grade that she came to visit our elementary school with her family. Our teacher, Mrs. H., stepped outside of the classroom to meet her and her parents. All of us, boys that is, ran up to the narrow window beside the classroom door to see her. She was like kryptonite to our cool overconfidence, the inspiration for that flutter in our chests, and the talk of the table at lunch that day. My parents were quite amazed by my newfound interest in personal grooming as well as my desire to get to school earlier than I had before—not that I had extreme struggles with either.

    In hindsight, I realized that she inspired my trust in the belief that cute, kind, and sincere could all exist within a person at one time. She was equally accepting of everyone and just as, if not more so, kind. And, though I don’t remember exactly which year it was, I remember a school dance where she asked me to dance. Senior prom maybe? Talk about honored, shy, and giddy all at once. C’est tres bon of course! And, speaking of French, what a champion of another’s romantic hopes and dreams! C was always supportive of my romantic aspirations that I shared in our French class. Whether I succeed or not, her appreciation for what I shared with the class kept me from not giving up.

    If the person I was then was sharing this now, I’m sure his ears would be red, he would be stammering in his speech, and his shy eyes would be fixed to the ground. But, so many experiences have taught me that life is too short to be so shy and reserved—especially when it comes to gratitude for one’s kindness. So, thank you C for being that advocate that pulls that shy and giddy child in all of us to the front of the class, though not standing alone, and inspiring a sense of meaning in all of us.

    Thank you for allowing me to share this.

    7 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Ì had to ask again.#artheals

    <p>Ì had to ask again.<a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="artheals" href="/topic/artheals/" data-id="5c604ec992db4e00dc6a9f4b" data-name="artheals" aria-label="hashtag artheals">#artheals</a> </p>
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    My TMS Journey (weekend edition)

    <p>My TMS Journey (weekend edition)</p>
    3 people are talking about this
    Mike Macedo

    Autism in the Workplace: Why Accommodations Need to Be Fluid

    Imagine that you are an employer of a young adult with an autism profile. You are proud of your employee’s progress in the time he has worked at your company, and his attention to detail and quality of work is impeccable. Your other employees should take note. However, you occasionally have concerns, and it all started when he disclosed to you that he has autism. At first, you were not completely surprised, as you had noticed small inklings of the traits you have learned about and observed from others in your education and career. Nevertheless, you wish you had known this when you had first hired him, so you could at least have offered accommodations from the beginning. These supports can include additional supervision when needed, clear, easy to understand instructions, and not piling on too many tasks at once when he first started on the job. Once you have provided him with all of this assistance, it can be puzzling — even frustrating — when some tasks are not completed during periods of downtime. You find it irritating that your employee participated in a four-day crash course to learn a new software that the entire company will be using for billing purposes, and he struggled to implement it within the first two weeks of using it. You feel he had ample time to adjust to the new system, extra opportunities to ask questions, and received answers to many of them. You value and respect your employee as a professional, even more as a person, and you do not want to set him up for failure. Now imagine that you are the young employee with autism. You have worked extremely hard to get where you are at this moment. You’ve spent almost four years putting your life aside to get your advanced degree, spending all of your free time writing research papers and making PowerPoint presentations, because it takes you a long time to complete these tasks. Nevertheless, they got done and here you are in your first professional job. So far you are finding it to be challenging, but it’s “a good challenge.” What’s more, you are defying the sad statistic that more than 20% of young adults on the spectrum are unemployed. Recently, you have finally figured out how to implement the company’s billing software on your own, which is good because you work remotely half of the time. Now, just as you feel like you have mastered a good “work rhythm,” you have to learn an entirely new and more nuanced system. You have spent almost a lifetime training yourself to adjust to unpredictable occurrences, so you keep an open mind, you don’t make a fuss, and you try to imagine that it will be more streamlined than the previous software, based on what your colleagues say. You’re just rolling with the tides. Sure enough, it is more complicated than you had imagined, and as usual, you are the one who is going around interrupting people from their work to help you figure it out. It is embarrassing, and it takes all of your mental strength to “step outside of yourself” and communicate with a co-worker. You are expected to have it figured out when a question gets answered for you by the presenter of the aforementioned training. Yet, more than half of the time, it is explained to you at a fast pace, in wording that you would not prefer, and worst of all, the pressure is on you to acknowledge the time they put aside to explain it to you in detail. You still don’t understand it, so you just nod and say “thank you, I get it now.” Is it true? No, but it is easier and far less complicated than pushing the envelope even further. Every time you decide to keep the peace and play it safe, a little piece of you slips through the floorboards, and you feel yourself slowly losing control. Many autistics describe “masking” their autism in order to fit in with the neuro-typical crowd. They carry proverbial masquerade masks on sticks with them whenever they leave the house, and if they feel disapproval and puzzlement from their neurotypical peers, the masks draw closer to their faces. The truth is that for your entire life you have had to do things on other people’s time, not your own. Your executive functioning skills and ability to react take a hit when a situation arises that is so out of left field, you are left stammering your words, tensing up and stimming. You have difficulty processing verbal instructions at times, and the workplace is not designed to have employers hold your hand and repeat themselves multiple times. At least that is what you were told over and over again growing up. Your supervisors, professors and colleagues have always told you to “speak up” when you need help, and not suffer in silence, but speaking up always elicits a sense of mild exasperation from your employer and colleagues. You feel like a pest, and you question whether or not you are really making an effort to pay attention at all, even though you are. After many years, you finally understand that you are essentially taking on two full-time jobs, and that one job lasts 24-hours, seven days a week, and is a permanent position. So, what can employers and their institutions do to improve these circumstances? Ask questions, listen and be patient. Let the deadlines for tasks be known and understood and make allowances for your employee that are within company guidelines. It does not have to be an added burden but rather, an advantage and an investment in a remarkably gifted employee. Autistic individuals are often like refugees on a foreign continent. They do not know the language or the cultural norms instinctively but the longer they are on that continent, the more they learn through trial and error. As time goes on, they increasingly proceed to not only adapt, but thrive and dazzle with their unique perspectives and attention to detail that make them the ideal employees in any field. Adults with autism profiles — primarily young adults — do not receive adequate enough attention or resources both in academic institutions and in the workplace, period. Once these individuals complete secondary school, they are tossed into open waters with few life preservers. A sizable portion of the attention we do pay to adults with autism is negative; for instance, we dwell on the unemployed rate and the number of adults on the spectrum who are still dependent on their parents or caregivers. What about the percentage of adults with autism who are gainfully employed? You could say that these individuals are defying the odds, but in reality, they are skilled and driven individuals who are looking to better themselves in this world, and they deserve support — as do their employers, who are giving them the opportunity to succeed. As an autistic man, the above story reflects my own past experience in employment, as well as that of countless others with autism. It is important to point out that while I have not had all positive experiences as a professional, I have had the pleasure of working for certain companies under supervisors who have taken eclectic approaches to managing me, including a desire to learn from me, in order to better understand my unique work approach. As fate would have it, I am putting the finishing touches on this piece just as a global pandemic is putting our nation’s healthcare system, economy, and psyche in a vise-grip. For months, millions of Americans have been forced to work from home and some, unfortunately, remain unemployed. Those of us with autism who are transitioning to new ways of working will need additional support, guidance, and reassurance from our employers. In turn, our employers are learning alongside their employers about how to conduct business-as-usual during very unusual times. This was never in the playbook. We were never given a truncated timeline with which to adjust our workload and productivity. It is touch-and-go to say the least, but we are all in the same boat together paddling along, rolling with the tides.

    Community Voices

    Standing Before the Pharmacy Counter with Shaky Hands.

    Have you ever stood before stood before pharmacy counter, hands shaking, body slightly trembling, head aching? Waiting to see if they will even refill the prescription your psychiatrist just wrote you? Seconds ticking by on the clock, stammering, trying to explain the necessity of your medication, made to feel like an addict that is itchin' to get their fix? I have.

    It’s the worst feeling in the world. You’ve spent years fighting for your sanity and now you are made to feel like someone trying to close a drug deal.
    Looking over your shoulder, nervously waiting to see if the script will go through and when it doesn’t.. the devastation that fills every cell of your body, your heart hits the floor. Don’t they know you need your medication? And why are they making it so hard to obtain?

    No. I am not insane. But your rejection and refusal to fill my medication makes me feel as though I might as well be.

    Bobbie Byrd

    Why Suicidal Thoughts Don't Always Warrant Calling the Cops

    Being alone sucks. Don’t get me wrong, most introverts love to be alone for at least a little while sometimes. But sitting in your living room on a bright sunny day, all alone as you watch groups of people enjoying life together outside of your window is tough. You know you could drag yourself off the couch and join them, but it seems too hard and you fear you’d only be a bother. Welcome to depression . Now try being totally alone in the midst of total darkness. There is no sun and there are no birds singing. You can’t see anything ahead of you and, most likely, you’re terrified of the things behind you. No one is around. You’re alone in the darkest place you’ve ever been and your thoughts are centered on what you feel is the only way to get out, no matter the cost. Welcome to suicidal thoughts. Depression is lonely, but chances are if you tell another person you’re feeling down, their face will still break into a smile and they’ll do everything short of the chicken dance to try and cheer you up. The stigma surrounding suicidal thoughts and self-harm changes people’s reactions. Instead of love and concern and people willing to sit with you through the hard times, you might find eyes full of panic and alarm. People often do not know how to react when they hear the words, “I want to hurt myself,” and their reactions can put you in an even darker place. Speaking the words, which usually brings peace because you are no longer alone, turns to fear as you imagine their reactions or the call they’re going to make to alert the authorities. I know this firsthand. The first time it happened, my therapist was out of town and I couldn’t reach the people on my safety list. I know when I get into that dark place, I need someone else to help remind me of the truth. On that day, the dark thoughts were just starting. All I needed right then was someone to be with me, someone to walk into that dark place with me and open the door. It was simple but fear blocked the path. I went to a pastor at church, one who I call a true friend and love working in ministry with. That pastor is always so laid-back and calm and so I thought it was a safe place. The second I said the words, his eyes almost bugged out of his head and he immediately started stammering , “Do I need to call 911? Do we need to take you to the hospital because I will, we can go right now.” He went on and on, not sure how to respond and quickly my safe place disappeared. It happened a few weeks later when I was in a dark place again and I self-harmed worse than usual and my friends became extremely concerned. They asked me to talk to a pastor again until I could get in to see my therapist, so I did. Although much more relaxed, that pastor also brought up the option of hospitalization. That’s when I realized pastors are mandatory reporters, and most of the time they’re not mandatory reporters who have been trained to spot when someone truly is a danger to themselves or when someone just needs support to prevent them from potentially becoming a danger to themselves. Mandatory reporters are scary for people dealing with dark thoughts. There’s a time and place where we might really need them. Hospitals are there for a reason and they do save lives. But there’s also a time when you just need to talk. You just want to say the words that have no actions behind them. I want to be able to tell someone, “I’m thinking of suicide,” and be able to talk it out. I just don’t want to be alone, I need someone to help me fight. At that point, I need help to prevent me from going darker into that place, but I’m not at the point of needing a hospital. The fear of being committed simply because I’m asking for help has formed its own little jail around the area I need to be a safe place to share. But there’s a stigma that keeps people from being able to speak the words they need to speak because they’re afraid that someone will panic and call 911. It took me weeks just to build up the guts to ask my own therapist how to deal with the lies inside of my head when my brain tells me this world would be better off without me because of the fear that she could have me committed. The more we talk about suicidal thoughts, the more we learn about what they are and what people in that place truly need, the more lives we can save. We can give people like me a safe place where they feel safe saying the words that right now are shrouded in fear. And when people are able to find that safe place to speak, they’re also able to find the tools to cope and overcome. Yes, there are times when the call needs to be made because someone has a plan, a time or has written a note. They need that stronger intervention and I’m thankful the option is there. But it’s a very scary option for people that are not there right now. There are people who just need support and love. They need to know these thoughts do not make them any less worthy, they just show the depth of their hurt and pain. How many people have we lost this year because the lies in their heads were allowed to grow larger and larger until it really was too late? How many could have been saved if they were able to speak their truth without fear that they would be immediately involuntarily admitted to a hospital when it was just a thought? How many could have been given the tools to cope by a trained therapist if only we were open to the discussion that would help get them there? Suicidal thoughts are scary and uncomfortable to people. But there are people in this world who need friends and loved ones to sit with them through it, support them and most of all: give them a safe place just to speak and be heard without fear.