The (horrifically expensive) private schema therapy I’d been attempting to get to grips with for a year felt like it was merely reinforcing my dysfunctionality, the drugs still weren’t work- ing, (once effective SSRI’s no longer touched the sides, antipsychotics lobotomized my spirit) and I just couldn’t quite buy into – or persevere with – the various holistic (mindfulness, Vedic meditation, acupuncture) approaches I’d tried. I knew exercise would help but who wants to jog round the park when you can barely squeeze one of your bollocks into your running shorts?
At this point I seriously felt like I was running out of options and switched back from my (relatively) new and very expensive consultant psychiatrist to my previous and also very expensive consultant.
Grave expressions were exchanged; next stage, treatment resistant options were discussed, including the last chance saloon of Electroconvulsive Therapy.
With hope in short supply a revolutionary new therapy called Rapid Wake Light Therapy was posited, which, compared to having an electrical charge zapped through my skull, sounded like a breeze.
Designed to recalibrate my appallingly arbitrary sleep patterns and re-set my distorted circadian rhythm all I had to do was check into a hospital ward for five days with dozens of other seriously mentally ill patients – several of them on 15 minute suicide watch – and not sleep.
Well; not sleep for the first 36 hours at least and then gradually re-align my sleep patterns so by day five I was back to a traditional 11pm to 7am sleep and hopefully – like 50% of patients who try this therapy – I’d be showing, ‘significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.’
Retrospectively I can see that the 50% success rate was fanciful at best but at that point I probably would have stood on my head for seven days in a bucket of urine if someone in a white coat had told me it would make me feel better.
Suffice to say I was in the resistant half and showed zero signs of any improvement, not helped by one highly paid clinician’s astonishingly flip assertion that, ‘what can you do, it’s a flip of the coin I’m afraid.’ Nice work if you can get it.
My previous panic-attack sparked excursions to A&E had brought me to the attention of the local NHS Mental Health services, who explained that they’d be unable to help me if I was under the care of a private practitioner.