Bink has often referred to the advice I gave her that winter. Blamed me over and over. Undoubtedly because she is blaming herself far more. Which is almost certainly even more damaging.
We remember it slightly differently, she and I. Both of us, no doubt accurately, in our way.
I’ve just found a diary entry from the time, so that will have a truth of a sort.
She says she told us both, Shaun and me, that she could no longer cope off the medication that she had quit the previous Easter. And that this meant, obviously – she tells me now – that if she couldn’t cope… well, she would kill herself.
That’s what happens if you can’t cope. You can’t cope.
(Not quite, Bink. Other pretty awful things can happen when you can’t cope: not necessarily death. As we were to discover a few years later. And she was.)
Whereas I simply remember her asking whether she should, or rather had to, go back on medication.
She says Shaun gave her permission to do just that.
But she didn’t listen to Shaun.
December 2011, diary entry.
It is Saturday.
I spent two days lost. [After that visit to the doctor, when Bink was shouted at and we both went home in tears.] I did some things, I think. Rang the senior partner of the surgery. Went to see the counsellors the GP recommended. Read the NICE guidelines Serena had sent me and agreed, yes, he was talking through his a***.
These were achievements of a sort.
Emailed David Veale at the Bethlem Hospital and asked how it is that anyone gets better from OCD because surely, if anyone can, Bink ought to be able to. Youth, brains, supportive family. Trying as hard as anyone could.
Eventually, yesterday, I Googled Paul Salkovskis. Moved to Bath University. Rang the number on his page. Impersonal answerphone. Stumped. Thought for a while. Rang the department. Given the same number. Does he answer his own telephone? Yes. When will he be there? Try now.
Rang. He answered. He remembered me very well.
You can get 100% better from OCD, yes, and people do.
CBT. No, she doesn’t need it every day. She needs quality not quantity.
And what about medication?
I can’t tell you your daughter shouldn’t be on medication. It wouldn’t be professional. There is evidence that CBT helps the effect of medication. No evidence that medication helps the effect of the CBT. There is some evidence that it can impair its efficacy.
There is no scientific evidence but plenty of speculation that being on anti-depressants, long term, as Bink has been, can cause the kind of problems she is reporting when you come off it.
Then is there anything to be said for medication at all?
You’re asking the wrong person. I treat with psychological methods, so I’m not an advocate of it. You need to ask a psychiatrist…
Yay, hurray, hurrah hurrah hurrah. She is right, she will get better, she should never have gone on the bloody things at all.
I knew it all along and so did Serena and so did Fleur. And so did Bink herself.
And more practically, he recommended someone in Cambridge and told me what to do.
While I was on the telephone to Paul, Ian [our doctor friend] tried to ring me several times. He too had done his research. He had found a good psychologist in Bedford, spoken to her himself, and told me how to get Bink referred.
I put a bottle of Cava in the fridge and rang Serena and Fleur, I was so happy, happy, happy.
And now today has been s*** because Bink is so f***ing miserable...
[End of diary entry.]
So, because I didn’t advise her to go back on SSRIs, Bink did indeed get desperate… and eventually turned to something much worse.
And, as I said, has blamed and blamed and blamed me ever since.
And – far worse: far more damaging – blamed herself.