I still recall the first time we met. Years of stress, and genetic inheritence had brought me to an all time low. The running commentary of self-criticism that had replaced all normal thought had summed it up for me the previous day. I washed the kitchen floor, a small ambition to see it gleaming clean, and it did gleam. Then, a sauce bottle knocked on the floor, up the walls. The voice spells it out "You can't even do that right, you really are useless"
Next day I see my GP. I ask for you by name, and she agrees we may hit it off. She also suggests further help, a clinical psychologist. I walk out with an appointment, and a prescription. You have changed your name now to Fluoxetine, but to me you will always be Prozac. Within days you have worked your magic. Some say it is all a placebo effect, but tell me this - how come the Raynauds that made my hands crippled every winter is almost cleared -something I had not even expected.
By the time I meet the therapist I feel a bit of a fraud, but go along. The first meeting is about my history, she tells me I am a remarkable woman, promises to provide me with a "psychological toolkit" to enable me to be happy, stop hating myself.
She smiles when I admit I already feel better than I can ever remember. Antidepressants can be useful in the short term she admits, to get someone out of a crisis, but they are a poor substitute for what she can help me achieve.
The second meeting - she draws some charts. Starts delving. My fear of abandonment - that will get sorted, no problem. The next couple of weeks before the next appointment are hard. It is like someone has offered to come and clear out my loft, but just left all the junk by the front door so I keep tripping over it. I say junk, but toxic waste would be more like it - we are talking biohazard.
I just battle on, waiting for my next appointment. Without you, it would have been grim indeed. Just two weeks until the third meeting. But there is none. I arrive to be told she has phoned in sick. Another two weeks, I am just leaving the house when a call comes, cancelled again. I hear nothing for a few months, then a letter, the venue is changing and a new appointment is on the way. I never hear again. That was 15 years ago. The humour and irony is not lost on me - a psychotherapist promises to cure your fear of abandonment, then disappears!
And all these years later, you are still with me, my little green and white darling. Periodically I have to go through the motions to satisfy the doctors. Yes - I have tried to break away (lies, all lies!) We are told that mental illness is just that, an illness. Do they tell diabetics or epileptics that they really should try to wean themselves off medication, that they should explore talking therapies? You have always been there for me, we don't need words, I know what you mean to me.
A Moodscope member.