Colin Walker makes a very important point about engaging in therapy that seems worth mentioning here given my three-year therapyversary last week.

I think entering therapy with only specifics in mind is too limiting a way of approaching it. Personally, I feel that therapy should be a holistic process during which you have to go with the flow. There may be certain areas you wish to target but the willingness to explore wider and deeper is essential as it might not be immediately apparent where your sources of pain, anxiety, upset etc. reside.

Let me give a little bit of an idea of how I approach therapy that sort of gets at this idea.

After therapy each week, I open a new note in the Notes app on my phone. Over the course of the next week, I jot things down each day. Anything from the dreams I have, what I did that day, aches and pains, sensory issues, cognitive or motor flubs, to anything that strikes me. I don’t make elaborate judgments. I just make notes.

Each week in session, the first thing I do unless there’s something more immediately pressing is I read through the notes for the week, filling in any details that seem relevant but that I didn’t specifically write down.

More often than not, that provides the overall context for the session, because once I’ve finished relaying my week, my therapist and I can identify any common bits or anything that reaches into some ongoing matter that we tend to come back to or are deliberately monitoring.

There’s a general, overarching theme to the work, of course: being an autistic adult in an environment neither expressly designed for it nor necessarily accommodating of it even by accident.

When your mental health circumstances are chronic, not acute, anything and everything might be relevant any any given point in time. It’s statistically unlikely, to say the least, that the interface between my autistic impairments and the world around me will dramatically, or at least sufficiently, improve in my lifetime to make them no disabling, and that’s setting aside the impairments which are inherently disabling in and of themselves.

So, navigating that interface, as well as navigating my end of it, is of ongoing concern, and sometimes it’s not even entirely clear to me what’s setting off a mismatch or a dysregulation until I’ve talked through my week.

Mileage, as they say, may vary.