I like Bink’s new shrink.
I can’t quite believe I’m using like and shrink in the same sentence, but life is full of surprises.
We – Bink, Shaun and I (and how extraordinary is that, that parents can be welcomed as part of the healing process, instead of demonised as the culprits) – sit in Professor David Veale’s pleasant Georgian study in the North London Priory, and I think I’m listening to myself talking.
“Do you eat healthily?” he asks her. Given that the day before, Bink had turned up at teatime in a highly agitated state, pacing the kitchen floor like a caged tiger, saying she couldn’t talk to me unless I accompanied her to the pub where she could have a pint, a ciggie and a meal as she hadn’t eaten since the previous Friday (five days earlier), I knew the answer to this one.
“A good Mediterranean diet, with lots of pro-biotics and fresh vegetables.”
Bink writes carefully, in her diary, in the correct coloured ink for food.
“In bed by midnight, up by eight, would be good. It’s not just children and animals who love routine: it’s very good for the body, and for all of us.”
I am listening to a psychiatrist who is talking sense. Can this be real?
He tells her, in all seriousness – just as I would, in all seriousness but without any impact whatsoever in my case – that next time she is feeling stressed, instead of popping a pill she should dive into cold water (having first established this is practical: we do as it happens have an unheated pool at the bottom of our garden) and this will calm her down without the need for chemicals.
Where, of course, Professor Veale has the edge on me is that he can give scientific reasons for all the common sense I’ve been trying to sell to Bink for the last eighteen years or so. He can tell her what it does to the body’s neural transmitters when you put an icepack on your forehead.
Now, if I’d known that, the last time Bink was having a hissy fit, threatening her brother with a knife so we had to call the police because she was screaming that she wouldn’t have an ambulance because they shove her full of pills and inject her with the sort of knock-out you'd use to fell a rogue elephant in full rampage mode, I could have just put her head in a bucket of ice.
Something I have often wanted to do, believe me, but have never had the letters after my name to justify the impulse.
A couple of hours later, after she’d had her therapy session too – and yes, she likes the therapist and says she can work with her as well – she stopped and smelt a rose.
“See!” she said, proudly. “I’m doing as I was told. Smelling the flowers to calm me down.”
“Lovely,” I said. “Has it worked?”
“Nah. I don’t like the smell of roses.”
This is going to go well, Bink’s relationship with the Priory. I feel full of hope for the first time in many, many years.
And I really like a shrink who talks sense.