Summer 2000 and January 2012.
You already know about Robin number Two, if you have been with this blog for a while. (A couple of very helpful readers have scrolled back and reminded me. See for instance 21st and 22nd August, and 21st September)
For those who have joined us since (or missed these posts):
In the autumn of 2000, Bink, aged 15, was diagnosed by a friend as having OCD. If she had been given immediate and appropriate treatment – as she surely would if it had been a physical illness – the lives of all of us might have been very different indeed... but that’s a separate matter.
By the following summer she had still received absolutely nothing from the NHS. Because, for the first time in my working life, I had an income greater than my expenses, I was able to pay for private therapy.
On the recommendation of a friend, Bink had ten weeks with a snazzy psychotherapist with a snazzy practice in Sloane Square, called Robin. Robin showered her with extremely inappropriate physical and verbal assurances of his extremely inappropriate affection, her already susceptible soul becoming more screwed by the session... until she took a cry-for-treatment overdose which poleaxed Robin into such panic that he persuaded her into a hell-hole of a psychiatric ward from which she was never going to walk out whole.
After she escaped – extremely damaged, three months later, her life changed for ever – and rather reasonably sat on Robin’s snazzy doorstep demanding some kind of explanation, he attempted to get her sectioned. Since this would have been many times more damaging than the already devastating effect of her so-called voluntary incarceration, it is difficult to see this as anything other than Robin’s cowardly attempt to save his own now unsurprisingly s***scared skin.
Still today, Bink blames Robin’s behaviour for much of her ongoing illness.
This was Robin Two.
The middle and by far the most destructive of the first three Robins in Bink’s life.
Robin Three was responsible for Bink’s academic welfare at Cambridge. I rather liked him, actually. (Just as I have much reason to be fond of Robin One.)
At the time when she asked me, “Why are all the bad people in my life called Robin?” it must however be acknowledged that he was not presenting as a particularly benign power.
Bink had not been well during her undergraduate career. Neither time.
At the end of her first year, two of Bink’s essays came top of her entire Classics year in the university and she missed a First by a quarter of a mark. (Given that she’d barely scraped any work together all year and had small Latin and less Greek, she is convinced they shaved off that quarter mark – who ever heard of a quarter of a mark? – artificially, in order to spare a top degree being awarded to such a shockingly ignorant candidate.)
Despite her formidable potential however, given the state of her health she can’t have been an easy pupil.
Over the Christmas and New Year of 2011 and ’12 (at the end of her fourth term and beginning of her fifth) she was suffering from particularly acute symptoms. As this was at exactly the same stage of her academic career as she had dropped out, with illness, before, I imagine she faced quite a daunting psychological barrier.
Sensibly, she told her college she wasn’t sure whether she was well enough to press on.
What she had intended as a tentative question about continuing, Robin accepted as a definite resignation, with arguably indecent enthusiasm.
She had to be out of her room by Sunday. Or be kicked out. (That’s what she understood, anyway.)
So that was Robin Three.
Not necessarily a negative influence in Bink’s life, overall. But that morning, as she anticipated her imminent eviction and commented on the Christian name these three people in her life so coincidentally had in common, this third Robin was indeed perceived as a problem to be prevailed over.
All the “bad” people. All Robins.
Alas, there was one more Robin. From my point of view far more devastating and destructive than all the Robins so far.
I can only assume, therefore – since a mother can’t help but feel her child’s pain – in some ways experienced as such by Bink herself.
It was this last Robin whose very memory made me crumble into a shuffling wreck last week. The Robin I never want to see again.
The Robin I very much hope is not now re-entering our lives for long.