Right, I’m fed up to the hind teeth of battering this one back and forth in the confines of my own skull. So, I’m throwing it over to you. Think of it as a text-based RPG.
[Note for young people: A way, way back, in the long-ago, when Blessed Bill of Windows (patron saint of Fatal Exception Errors) was still just a gawky nonentity with glasses, computers didn’t really do pictures. But in that far-away, benighted age, there were socially awkward teenagers with bad breath, smelly feet, and acne. And those teenagers thought they’d rather pretend to be someone else – someone with muscles and courage, who could slay dragons and defeat evil sorcerers, and who voluptuous young women with an aversion to sensible clothing would swoon in the presence of. And so computer-based RPGs were created. And, forsooth, there were quests, and battles, and badly-executed dialogue scenes, but all done through the medium of text. Literally thousands of eager gamers became addicted to the thrill of reading a paragraph of green text on a purple background.]
[Note for old people: An RPG is a role playing game, a form of entertainment popular with some young people, in which they sit hunched over glowing screens for hours at a time, and compete to see who can achieve the highest Body Mass Index. It has replaced earlier forms of childhood entertainment, such as playing hopscotch, scrumping apples, and being abducted by strangers driving a Ford Cortina.]
This post is also going to be my first stab at incorporating a poll. Newness! Excitement! Interactivity!
Your name is Aethelread. You are in your mid-thirties, dress head to toe in black, and rarely leave your flat before nightfall. These are your current scores:
Friend score: 1/10.
Loneliness score: 7/10.
Paranoia score: 6/10.
Hallucinations score: 2/10.
Anxiety score: 7/10.
Depression score: 4/10.
General inadequacy score: 10/10.
Inventory: self-deprecating humour; own teeth and hair; blog.
Attributes: ability to be scared by own shadow; overly analytical mindset.
You have been treated for a number of years for mental illness, and have a history of ambivalence towards MH treatment. You have abandoned all hope of a pharmaceutical cure. You would like to think that therapy could save you, but your inability to believe in the psychological equivalent of fairies at the bottom of the garden has proved problematic. Last year you received 20 weeks of 1-2-1 therapy, and found this beneficial. You have been told there is no chance, under any circumstances, of your receiving this ever again.
Following on from this therapy, you were referred for art group therapy. You attended the initial introductory session, at which you were told that: during sessions, doors would be locked, and once a session has begun, no-one would be permitted to enter or leave for any reason; your art work would effectively be confiscated from you, and might, if the therapist had serious concerns for your own or other people’s safety, be shown to third-parties without your consent. All of this caused a fairly major flare-up of your paranoia, and you did not attend for a 1-2-1 ‘practice’ session. You didn’t even do the decent thing and phone or write to say that you would not be attending, you just didn’t show up. When you were sent a letter re-scheduling the appointment you became worried that they were trying to persecute you, and didn’t show up again, again without letting them know.
Your last appointment with General Psychiatrist was frustrating. No new diagnosis was forthcoming, but despite this, the General pushed you very hard to consent to treatment with antipsychotics, and was notably angered when you declined the ‘offer’. Your relationship with the General has been strained before, and, while you warm to him as a person, you do not have full confidence in his professional abilities.
You fully expect the next appointment with him in a couple of weeks’ time to be an unproductive ten minute affair, during which you will be heavily criticised for failing to attend the art appointment, and threatened with summary excommunication from all forms of MH treatment as a punishment. Alternatively, you may be put under great pressure to take medications you do not want to take, with your failure to attend the art therapy appointment advanced as evidence of a worrying ‘instability’. At the present, you are in reasonably good health, and feel that the stress and worry you feel in relation to the appointment can only prove harmful.
On the other hand, you are aware that you are usually acutely anxious before any appointment, and your expectation of bad things happening may be the result of that anxiety. You are also aware of your tendency to act in ways that may be stupid and/or harmful in an attempt to pre-empt imaginary bad consequences. Although you feel reasonably well at the moment, you are having significant problems with paranoia. You are continuing to refuse to allow the electricity company access to your flat in order to replace your meter, even though things are now moving towards a court order forcing you to let them in. For several days last week, a steady trickle of water was dripping through your bathroom ceiling from the flat above, but you did not alert the building’s concierge for fear that they would ask to see inside your flat. Neither of these are the actions of a ‘normal’ person, and this would seem to undermine your belief that you are in ‘good health’. Even if you are currently well, it would surely be the height of stupidity to do anything that might delay your receiving help if (and, truthfully, it’s more likely to be when) you need it in the future – might it be best to ensure you stay ‘on the books’?
So this is the question before you: do you attend the appointment as scheduled, or do you write a polite letter to the General’s secretary, informing her that you won’t be attending, and declining a re-scheduled appointment? Vote now, and/or leave comments in the traditional way.