So I went to the doctor’s…

No, it’s OK. I’m not going to be telling a stream of old jokes taken from Tommy Cooper‘s act.

What do you mean “who’s Tommy Cooper?”  Go get on Youtube and look him up.  How generous am I, then?  Just click this link!  By the way, I wouldn’t watch the clips that say he died onstage.  It’s not a metaphor.  Tommy Cooper collapsed and died while onstage at a Royal Variety Performance.

I especially recommend the “bottle-glass” and “jar-spoon” bits – actually anywhere he’d doing his magic act.  According to various stage magicians, that shows how good Cooper was.  The tricks always go wrong in just the right way and at exactly the right time to be funny.

Kind of like Les Dawson‘s piano playing – hits the perfect “wrong” note at the right part of the tune for it to be funny.  That shows skill.

Anyway, I’m digressing.

The depression and anxiety have been kicking my arse pretty badly for a while.  It’s spiked recently so I made an appointment, self-certified to go on sick for a few days, and went.

Now, I will admit I was a little disappointed when the receptionist told me who I was seeing.  I’d seen this particular physician before and didn’t find her particularly sympathetic.  This time, though, since I was taking some control, asking her about CBT, mentioning I’d done some reading round (which I have – it turns out that CBT studies show a statistically significant improvement in the condition of patients who combined it with TAU (treatment as usual) therapies, such as drugs and that) and she became very helpful.  I’m left thinking that was the key – telling her I was getting off my arse and trying to do something.  That does seem to be the key for depression, actually.  Instead of wallowing in the pit of darkness and despair (because, let’s face it, it’s nice and warm and cosy down there), do something.  Anything.  Seriously.

Although the drugs DO work, they work much, much better if you start using some other techniques too.

This new level of trying to do something about the depression has also got me meditating again.

Yes, I did type “again”.  I’ve been through the hippy stage and come out grumpy as ever.

Apparently this whole “mindfulness” thing does help with depression.  I can give you anecdotal evidence myself.  A quick 5 minutes of sitting quietly, listening to some American bird twittering on about listening to my breathing and taking notice of the sensation and all that really did help.  I felt absolutely fine (so a fair bit better than I have for a while) for a good 10-15 minutes.

So it DOES work.

Got myself referred to my local NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) thingy, so now I’m just waiting for appointments and stuff to come back to me.  Suppose I should have asked how long the waiting list was…

Anyway.  Other advice she gave:

  • Get some exercise.  That means I’m going to have to get myself back to the gym.  That’s going to be hard.  Haven’t troubled them since something like November.
  • Line up playlists that can get you going, snap you out of an episode and bring you down from a panic attack.
  • Have favourite films and comedy ready to roll at a moment’s notice (thank the gods for Netflix and Google Play Movies!)
  • Do something you enjoy.  Just for YOU.  You get to be selfish.  Which is nice.

When I mentioned the Wyrd Ways Rock Show, the doctor specifically told me to do that as part of my self-therapy.

So there’s now definitely a new episode in the works.  Following medical advice.  Get ready for a medically mandated Wyrd Ways Rock Show, coming soon!

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