This is an extract from a conversation between Anne, a 16 year old girl with M.E. and her computerised CBT programme. Anne is in her bedroom in front of her computer. she is making a first attempt at using the programme which is called James -for no apparent reason.
Anne types in http// http://www.anxietyanddepression/cbt/ login/
Anne “God. I could be dead by the time I’ve typed this in. But here goes. http//wwwanxietyanddepression/dbt/login/.”
She waits for several minutes for a reply.
James. “I’m sorry but I don’t recognise that instruction. Please try again.’
Anne “Fuck. What does it fucking want? Blood?
She tries again.
She waits again. Then
James. “You have reached http://www.anxietyanddepression. I am here to listen to you and help you resolve your difficulties. But first, for the sake of our record, please will you answer the following questions. Then we can proceed. Please type “Yes” or “No” to continue.
Anne types “Yes”
James “Thank you. This is the first question. What is your gender?”
Anne thinks. Then types “Bi.”
James “I’m sorry. I don’t recognise Bi. Please give your gender.”
Anne types in “Trans.”
James “I’m sorry I don’t recognise Trans. Please give your gender”
Anne swears again. Loudly and profanely using words she didn’t know she knew. But now does.
Anne “Sodding stupid programme. If I knew the answer to that question, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. So much for a non binary identity.” She types in “Female” Waits for a minute then types in “Female / Male.” She sits back and folds her arms.
Anne “Alright dickhead. Get out of that and still stay fashionable”
James “I’m sorry. I don’t recognise Female / Male. Please give your gender.”
Anne now takes a razor and begins scoring lines on her forearm. After a few minutes she is calm enough to return to the screen where James is waiting. She presses the Enter button and he comes to life. “Hello. You have reached http://www.anxietyanddepression. I am here to help you resolve your difficulties. But first for the sake of our records please will you answer the following questions…”
Anne “Christ! Not again. Where are my tablets?”
Anne looks in her bedside cabinet and begins counting.
“10 Valium. 20 Paracetamol. 15 Prozac .20 Mogadon.”
She then looks under her bed and brings out a bottle of Vodka. She puts it on her bedside table and begins to swallow her tablets. She puts the bottle neatly back on her table and lied back comfortably. In a few minutes she is asleep. The last voice she hears is
“You have reached http://www.anxietyanddepression…”