Every few years I find myself experiencing a period of acute anxiety for no apparent reason. Well, there are reasons, but I've come to realise that the reasons themselves are irrelevant. My brain just gets offended at the way it's being under-utilised by my humdrum daily activities, and decides to make a desperate bid for attention. Jolting me awake at 4am about some piffling matter, it makes me sit up and bawl my eyes out while wailing "I think I'm going mad" at a chest of drawers – a piece of furniture not renowned for its counselling skills.
I realised about a decade ago that this probably wasn't normal behaviour, and sought to get it removed from my mental store-cupboard.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, I was told, the idea of which sent me down three floors in the underground multi-storey car park of despair. Take up exercise, I was told, which I did, for a day, resulting in the least cost-effective tracksuit purchase ever made. Take these pills, said a GP, which I didn't, mainly because one of the potential side-effects was "anxiety", which obviously made me anxious.
Then friends started recommending therapists. I went to a big house in west London to see a hypnotherapist who had loads of certificates on her walls, which was reassuring, but then she turned the lights off and started tapping me on the arm, which just made me giggle. Then she turned the lights back on and I gave her £100.
I saw a cognitive behavioural therapist for a while, but she went on maternity leave and referred me instead to her colleague, a beautiful Scandinavian woman who, while wearing distressingly skimpy outfits, showed such touching concern for my mental state that I spent the hour daydreaming about going on holiday with her. Then I gave her £100.
I had a session with a slightly malodorous NLP specialist in a hotel lobby in Baker Street, where he made me walk backwards and forwards for a bit before rubbing my fingers and then asking me for £100, which I handed over.
So, if anyone reading this has any innovative solutions to my mental disorder, feel free to send me a message. Alternatively, we could meet up in a room, you could tell me in a soothing voice, and then I could give you £100. Up to you.