Bink was to be readmitted to the Bethlem again, in early summer.
She was still following alternative therapies too. Still being treated by Neuro-Developmental Consultant David Mulhall, all those years later, still completely free. She had always sworn that as soon as Rosie turned five (the youngest David will treat anyone) she would take her to him for pre-emptive treatment, against her beloved sister ever going through the pain she has endured. They started going together, that summer, and for several years Bink paid for Rosie’s treatment, using her Disability Benefits.
Also at Easter she tried the Lightning Process, a three day course in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which Alex and I had both attended a few months earlier. Phil Parker, its originator, teaches psychological exercises for overcoming anger or illness or even simply lack of motivation, and his techniques have proved astonishingly effective in overcoming ME. I had gone, partly to write it up in an article and see if it helped Alex whose place at Cambridge was at risk. But also because, despite my extreme frustration, I still couldn’t write.
It didn’t help my fiction writing, alas. I suppose nothing could have done, given the circumstances we were living in.
But after that week I believed I probably had the tools never to be depressed again. I now felt equipped with skills to overcome the dragging, weeping helplessness of being trapped in such a dismal place: so inadequately housed; and Shaun working for a boss who had made his children homeless.
The week, which I wouldn’t have anticipated could do anything other than good, had a bizarre effect on Bink. Phil’s techniques, which should have been liberating, became a prison of horrifying detail to her: when he suggested so-and-so, she had to perform so-and-so to the very jot and tittle, to the last iota over and over.
Two or three days after completing the course she was going round in ever decreasing circles, becoming more and more stressed.
After several telephone calls Phil advised her to forget his teaching. It wasn’t helping her.
And then in May, just before she was due to go back into the Bethlem, I signed us up for seven days of NLP with Paul McKenna. It was frighteningly expensive, but I managed to procure a commission to write it up in the press, which covered my place. And a very generous friend had asked if there was anything he could do for Bink. He put the details of this course to the trustees of his charity and they agreed...
I look back on Bink, that summer, as being astonishingly well and blooming. So stunning and charismatic was she, that she was offered an amazing advance on a book about her story.
And yet here we still are now, Shaun and I, ten years on, on our way to a meeting at the Priory at ten o’clock to find out whether there is any treatment on God’s earth which can ever help Bink be well...