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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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There are some who call him... Tim
As those of you who have been playing along with our home game may recall, back in January I saw a psychiatrist and was referred for CBT. I recently reached the head of the waiting list for this, and after the standard grappling with and cock-ups by NHS bureaucracy I had my first actual appointment yesterday.

I'd deliberately not mentioned this here, and indeed had only mentioned it to a handful of people, though I'm not entirely sure of why. I think something to do with expectations. I was deliberately trying not to think about it too much, or form firm ideas of what I expected, or generally to be too positive or enthusiastic about it. As such, not mentioning it much meant there'd be less of a let-down if it had all gone tits-up. Fortunately, however, it didn't all go tits-up.

Obviously, one appointment is far too soon to make definite judgements, but the signs were very encouraging. My therapist is a guy by the name of Tim Norton who carries the title "clinical nurse specialist". He passes the all-important "not an asshole" test, and generally seems to be fairly amiable. Even more importantly, he seems as if he really Gets It.

With depression, a lot of the best treatments are simultaneously very easy and very hard. Get more exercise. Eat well. Keep regular hours. Be sociable. Go outside more. These are things that seem easy – and in some ways they are – but for a depressed person they can be very difficult. The best analogy I can think of is to ask which of the individual steps are difficult when running a marathon.

Across the gamut of therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors that I've encountered in the past, I've had a few who just didn't get this at all and didn't understand how something so easy could be difficult. These were the morons, the wankers, and the terminally inept. Then there have been those who did understand the dichotomy, but were eager to stress the "easy" part. I see where they're coming from; it's generally easier to motivate people by saying "this is something you can do" than saying "this is something difficult".

This guy is the first person I've ever seen who's stressed the difficulty to me. He made it clear that he was under no illusions that anything he asked would be easy for me, and he made sure that I understood that this wasn't going to be an easy ride. I'm not sure why, but I found this incredibly reassuring. Of course, I know damn well that if I want to sort my life out, there's going to be a hefty amount of grind involved. I'm willing to put that effort in; the reason for seeing a professional is to help me figure out where to expend that effort. There's a big tangled ball of interconnected problems, and I need to figure out which order to pull on things to get them untangled.

Another big positive to come out of the first appointment was the discovery that he has a background of psychosexual therapy before moving into CBT, which means that queer stuff and trans stuff is very muc a case of "old meme" to him. This is a relief, because it means that I won't be having to spend time and energy retreading old ground there just so he has a clue what's going on. He also seemed to be pretty clued in about stuff like the diversity among trans-folks, some of the Dramas inherent in the system, and so on. Also completely non-judgemental, which is handy.

The first appointment was mostly a case of introduction, with him getting to know me, what my problems are, where I'm at, how I deal with things and so on and so forth. He did, however, task me with trying to get my recalcitrant sleep patterns under some semblance of control, figuring that that's the important first step to take to trying to sort out everything else. As such, I'm under instruction to be in bed before midnight every night, out of bed before 9am every morning, and not to nap during the middle of the day.

As expected, this is proving to be somewhat tricky, but 30 hours into my new regime and I'm managing so far. I'm horribly tired and would like nothing more than to take a nap at the moment, but I am being good and resisting. My cause wasn't helped by the large group of newly-returned students who decided that 2am was a wonderful time for raucous drunk singing and shouting in the street last night. Gits. From the type of song, I'm suspecting rugger buggers, but may be wrong.

But yes. Still too early to tell whether this will work for me, but from the first session, the signs are good, and I'm generally eeling positive about it.

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A good therapist is worth his or her weight in gold.

That sounds encouranging. I wish you all the best.

I found it rather heartening to read that and hear of someone in the NHS who appears to have Clue about (a) queer stuff and (b) depression.

Good luck, hope he lives up to the cautiously-optimistic first impressions!

"The best analogy I can think of is to ask which of the individual steps are difficult when running a marathon."

I like that analogy. Might just borrow that for next time I'm trying to explain stuff to my mom.

Sounds like you've got a good 'un in that there Tim.

Congrats on finding someone who seems on top of things and really gets it - or at least seems to! Hopefully he really is and does, and wasn't just putting on airs. You're in my thoughts...

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