We were at a bit of an impasse.
Bink said she needed everyone to stop putting pressure on her to go into the Priory by any particular date. Only then would she feel relaxed enough to go in at all.
It appeared that she couldn’t see what the therapist and I had a clear view of: just out of her line of vision, over her shoulder, Screwtape, laughing his head off...
Mental healing, far more even than physical, needs the patient to sign up to it. How many light bulbs would it take to change a psychotherapist, if the psychotherapist didn’t really want to change? Even had it ever been appropriate (it hasn’t, thank goodness) I can’t see how sectioning could ever have helped her.
If Bink doesn’t want this enough to do it, all bets are off. For ever, probably. We’ve all been seeing this life-changing opportunity at the Priory as a bit of a Last Chance Saloon.
I wouldn’t say this of many therapists (obviously, tautologically) but Bink’s therapist at the Priory does seem pretty exceptional. Both in skill and kindness. Gently, softly, she suggested Bink might want to relax about her room’s OCD, just putting it through its rituals on days when it felt like it, and come into the Priory in a month anyway.
“That,” Bink said, “is more pressure than coming in tomorrow.”
“In which case,” I suggested predictably, “come in tomorrow. Or stay now and I’ll go home without you.” She had no toothbrush, or spare clothes. “Southgate must have shops with toothbrushes and clothes.”
We’ve done this before when Bink’s got stuck. It can be easier to jump straight in, than think about how freezing the water’s going to be.
“Or Monday,” the therapist suggested sensibly. “Pack a few things over the weekend.”
“I’m not promising anything...” I said very carefully (since Shaun left his job a month ago, our house is the only member of the family earning… apart from Ben, whose snakes have some very expensive habits to maintain) “but just suppose we could undertake not to touch your room before November: would that help?”
A wave of relief washed visibly over her.
As we drove away Bink processed this. “My life is such a mess anyway,” she conceded, “I suppose abandoning my room can’t make it much worse.”
We formalised the deal: if she came back as inpatient to the Priory in time for her therapy appointment on Tuesday, I would promise not to let anyone touch her room before 2nd November: the most recent deadline she had given herself… before saying she needed to postpone that, too.
(I didn’t tell her what I had told myself – and no one else – a few days earlier. If she wasn’t in the Priory by 2nd November, she would be sleeping on the streets. Again. After she ran out resources to pay £70 a night for an hotel, which she’s done before too. I have read, and heard, from numerous sources, that sometimes you have to let your children hit rock bottom before they will swim up to the light. Love can be brutal. More, it can be utterly desperate.
To be honest, I don’t know that I could do it. But Bink wasn’t the only one who had set herself a very painful and difficult deadline.)
She would need help with her packing though.
She barely emerged all Saturday. On Sunday the diary had been cleared for her.
“What on earth for?” she demanded.
“You said you wanted help with your packing.”
“I didn’t say anything of the sort. Why are you putting pressure on me again?”
When Rosie (as she then was) was a week old, Bink took her to Wimbledon in a baby-sling. A week is the smallest a human being ever is, outside the womb: you lose weight in the first few days.
They came back, the two of them, with the biggest teddy bear in the world. Bink, the cat with the cream: everyone had admired her tiny accessory.
Somewhat remarkably given where we’ve been since, we have her still.
(The teddy I mean. And the sweet-grown Rose, actually.)