My approach is based on 3 pillars:
- Foundation-strength tools (nutrition and sleep)
- Emotional tools (enter a useful dialogue with your emotions)
- Somatic tools (dialogue with the body and movement)
Because our sensitivities have rarely been respected across our lifespan, we people on the spectrum often disconnect from bodily needs and feelings (including emotions) at some point (often very early). While this is often the only thing we can do to stop constantly feeling pain and discomfort, in the long run this leads to massive trouble because it turns off the basic compass we have to know and navigate our own needs in the moment: our bodily and emotional felt sense.
We are often strong at using our minds (their purely intellectual side) to guide our lives and solve problems. This works in IT and any kind of systematic and analytic pursuit, but is often an insufficient strategy in daily, personal decision making, as well as in social space. At least this has been my experience in relying purely on my intellect for at least two decades of my life: my body, emotions, and social relationships turned into chaos (even while my intellect was getting me PhD scholarships).
The basic idea of my approach to mental health is using the aspects in which we’re already strong, which is often analytical skills and seeing patterns (and occasionally intuition), to reconnect with and build up those “missing pillars” – the intelligence in our body and emotions, which can maintain (or work towards) our bodily and mental balance and help us make good decisions for our well-being far more easily and effectively than we can with the intellect alone.
This is not a vague, woo-woo mushy concept, but a concrete, stepwise process with measurable outcomes – at least when done with keeping the intellect fully engaged. There are concrete practices and exercises that generate learning and progress in these areas, and these are a good part of what I can share (I will also be sharing these for free on the blog over time).
Below you can read more about the tools and how they can be of crucial help in autistic mental health challenges: