Words & Scribbles From Mark's Writing Desk

Better Than Therapy Makes a Victorious Comeback

Back in 2003, six months after I had my breakdown and I was in the throes of severe depression, I started therapy. This was at the insistence of my psychiatrist who was getting annoyed that his strategy of stuffing me with pills wasn’t working the way it should. So, combined with pressure from the health insurance company, I was forced to go to therapy. I suddenly felt like Robert DeNiro lying on Billy Crystal’s couch in that forgettable movie (so forgettable I forget the name of the movie now).

Now I don’t like talking to strangers — especially about personal issues. I don’t believe that talking suddenly relieves you of the pain and suffering that comes from a mental defect. I think that shows a serious misunderstanding of what depression is. Plus I firmly subscribe to a policy of “look to the future, never look back.” I mean, what’s the point of dwelling on the past when it’s gone and you can’t fix it? That’s basically what therapy does — you have to relive the worst parts of your life by talking about them — and it’s supposed to make you feel better? It’s almost sadistic in nature.

Anyway, as you can probably tell, therapy didn’t work for me. Maybe I didn’t have the right mindset going into the thing, but I knew from the first session that it wasn’t going to work. But nevertheless I was obliged to go for 20 sessions to keep the health insurance company on my side (even though technically I stopped at 19! I like to be a rebel that way).

That was when I started writing seriously. I have always been a writer from when I was a child and I went to journalism college after school. But it was during my sick leave and these stupid pointless therapy sessions that I decided to find my own versions of therapy. The best one I found was writing. I started putting my dark thoughts down in Word documents (which I have now thankfully deleted to spare mankind the ordeal of having to read them!), and when I started a blog back then, I called it “Better Than Therapy”. It was a little dig at the therapist, the psychiatrist and the insurance company. I was basically saying “I don’t need you to pay for me to talk to a stranger. I’ll just talk to my blog.”

Sadly the original blog no longer exists but I kept the Better Than Therapy domain for more than a decade before giving it up. I may see if it is still available. But recently, I thought about resurrecting the site. The whole situation with Covid over the last year and a half has seen my overall writing productivity crater. I’ve gone from writing two books a year to none since last year (and I’m not the only one in this situation. Many other indie writers I am in touch with report similar problems). I’m sleeping far too damn much and if I don’t get to see my family back in Scotland soon, I’ll be going over there anyway, consequences be damned.

So this newly reborn blog is my attempt to get back into the regular daily writing habit. Hopefully it will inspire me to restart my next book in progress. Although it’s about a virus that gets out of a lab and infects the German population, so maybe not the best subject if I’m trying to forget all about Covid!

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