I am now officially being CBT’d, that for those of you with standard issue brain functions who may never have had the need to explore the working of the human mind or your own in specific is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I am rather excited about the prospect, anything that helps me alter the crappy way my mind can work would be rather bloody wonderful right now.
To begin with I am told there’s a long waiting list for referral, then almost instantly I am told there is a place on an Introduction to CBT presentation the following day, its two hours long, but its worth taking I am told, I am excited at the prospect of moving forward positively.
I set off to the Session, I go meaning business, I want a working brain, I take along my favourite note-book, It’s from Liberty and was a present from a lady friend, it makes me feel important, (I only use it for important stuff), she chose it for me, that makes it important. I take my favourite pen, I’ve always had a thing about pens. It’s all subtle stuff, subconscious stuff, but I realise that I am committed to this, I want to be good, I want change and I want to be happy.
I arrive at the clinic, I am ushered into a meeting room, there is one other person on the intro session, let’s call him Mahmoud for arguments sake. God he looks miserable, his eyes look tired and sad, he looks worn out, he’s probably a similar age to me, my mind wanders, what is he doing here, why did he get here, then I begin to over-think. Should I be here? Do I need or deserve to be here, maybe this Guy has had real problems, maybe mine are just bollocks and I should wake up and pull myself together and sort myself out. I consider for a while, and I tell myself, I am fucked, I haven’t sorted myself out, I need help. I need to be here, on with the show.
There are two team members there a Psychotherapist & a CBT specialist, they are to give a presentation on CBT & therapy in general, Dave, runs the show, he is slightly spotty, he looks pretty miserable as well, it’s not a good sign I decide, then there is a lady, lets call her Anne, she says three words in the whole two hours. As I listen to Dave waffling away he is explaining the relevance of CBT compared to other forms of therapy, I try not to switch off, I’ve already a basic understanding of how CBT works and I’ve also read up before I came, he’s repeating what I know and at a very basic level. I try not to appear as though I am disinterested, but my inquisitiveness gets the better of me, there is a bundle of presentation notes and I begin to go through them whilst Dave is talking away. My interest is sparked by a check list form, it appears to be a record of one’s perceived mental state at a point in time, I am far more engaged, I get out my pen and start filling out the form, its far more of a draw than Dave.
One could have such a lot of fun with these, if you were really bored and an attention seeker it would I am sure be possible to get yourself sectioned in minutes, those tell tale, have you thought about harming yourself type questions, I fill out the boxes, I err on the average, even if I think I am maybe a little bit extreme in some areas. I tot up my points, I am at the edge of mild depressed, I border the heavier category, that makes it ok, I should be here.
The two hours drip away, I find myself yawning listening to Dave. I try to hide my tiredness.
At the end of the presentation I leave, Mahmoud stays, he is having trouble filling the forms, I will never find out his story,I wonder why any of us get to where we are, it’s a lottery, a choice,fate and the direction of the wind. Then the deciding card is how our brains play it all. I say my goodbyes, I think to myself I want Mahmoud to find peace and for those eyes to smile.
The following day I receive another call, my first appointment is arranged, I have the name of my CBT therapist, it is a woman, I wonder what she will look like, how old she is, I wonder if she will be attractive. I realise, ridiculous as it is, that if I find her attractive I will be far more connected and I will make more effort. CBT is about setting goals, changing patterns of thoughts and project orientated, goal orientated action. I realise once again that a woman will make a difference for me, a pretty woman telling me what to do will have far more effect on me than anyone else. I realise that’s nuts, but a pretty woman to therapise me will get the best result. Jesus, I have an awful lot of work to do on myself.