THE FRIARY NEWSLETTER: In here we have 20 different words for stress

Share
Related Topics
M

any people on the "outside" wonder what goes on at the Friary. What kind of medical regimen, they ask themselves, is available at the most glamorous rehabilitation centre in west London? Is it all secret sherry parties and midnight romps with Aston Villa players? Could it help me too? How do I get in? The first thing they must do is to stop talking to themselves. The second is to read on.

The Friary is a democratic institution, open to all. You can stay here a week or two gratis on the NHS, if you have the right contacts, sorry, symptoms. This is a hospital. It is by no means the exclusive preserve of tired celebrities, for whom, if I may speak off the record, I have no time as a committed medical man. y mind is on higher things than the pampering of giant egos and tiny brains frazzled by excessive chemical intake, as I was saying only last Friday to Jazzy Q, the talented adjuster of high-fidelity turntables who is in here for doing rather too much Devil's dandruff, and who says he will try to get me an Access All Areas pass for his next gig.

Where was I? You were asking how it worked. First, you decide what to call your condition. We do not say "addicted" here. It is not a nice word. It is judgemental. Everyone, after all, is addicted to something, eg alcohol, nicotine, tannin, caffeine, er, milk (if very small), breathing, etc. So instead we call it "exhaustion", a better word that implies, in a helpful way, that the patient has been doing something quite strenuous, like housework or running up hills. Other acceptable words are "dependent", "shagged out" and "going through a thoughtful period of image realignment".

Next you dream up a syndrome. Every patient's well-being depends on their feeling special about themselves. This means assuring them that their condition is unique to them. Sometimes it is.

Today, for example, we had Proxy Celebrity Puzzlement Syndrome, in which a patient is at a loss to explain why he or she is famous, suspects it has something to do with their well-known ex-prime minister dad or their busty wife, but is also convinced that the world loves them for being an interesting and important person in their own right. James, a shelf- stacker at a well-known High Street retail outlet, is a sufferer. He believes that paparazzi are everywhere, longing to take photographs of him, waiting to spring out when he is in the grocer's shop, the shower, the lavatory, etc. Worse, he has begun to think that being photographed is his job, is what he does for a living. Poor guy.

Next, treatment. Like every other clinic, we have a 12-step programme, but we think ours is a bit different. It's a gradual path to recovery and inner peace through a series of interpersonal encounters that reveal the true nature of the Exhausted One. The highlights are:

Family Therapy Afternoon, when your partner, children, mother-in-law, grandmother, mistress, on-off lover, etc all sit on the carpet and really thrash out what was wrong with you when you were a kid.

Life Story Confessional Therapy. Everyone is encouraged to write about their lives, identifying all instances of bad behaviour, wrong-doing, corruption or vice of which they were guilty, from school age to the modern day. This works better with some patients than others. ichael, for instance, an Anglo-Belizean businessman, who is being treated for paranoia and the delusion that he is an important figure in the Tory party, simply didn't understand the rules and kept sending in empty sheets of paper. Hopeless.

Getting Off With Famous Women Treatment. A surprising number of patients form passionate alliances with other patients during Personality Deconstruction encounters; gentlemen especially feel stronger about facing the world if they can claim to have had a relationship with a well-known female casualty. We therefore supply several Paula Yates lookalikes (and an Elizabeth Taylor for the more mature patient) with whom the romantically inclined can dally by the wheelie-bins.

usic Appreciation orning. usic calms the mind and fosters a sense of communal joy. Guests are encouraged to bring their favourite records for all to share. We are a liberal-minded community, to which censorship is anathema, but try to remember that Psycho Killer by Talking Heads and Gravelly Depressive Canadian Suicide Blues by Leonard Cohen have rarely brought out the best in these sessions.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Engineer - Powered Access

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...

Recruitment Genius: Pharmacy Branch Manager

£19000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This pharmacy group are looking...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This design and print company a...

Recruitment Genius: Lift and Elevator Contract Manager - London

£38000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Election catch-up: Just what the election needs – another superficially popular but foolish policy

John Rentoul
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence