Dr. Commuter writes: Some times what seems perfectly rational behaviour to one person can, in reality, be obsessional and self-destructive. Symptoms include a refusal to accept what is apparent to everyone else, the belief that everyone else must be mistaken despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the delusion that if something is repeated enough times it becomes true.
Recently I have been working with a lady whose high-powered position in public life means her anonymity must be protected. I have therefore used the back entrance to No 10 Downing Street and only the Cabinet Secretary has been privy to our meetings. Treatment begins with trying to reach an agreed starting point and then building up in stages as I win round the patient's confidence. For example I might say "It is a nice day today", to which she replies "Yes it seems to be".
I say "I did enjoy last night's EastEnders, such a richly realistic portrayal of everyday life" and she will nod approvingly.
Then I make the first attempt to alter her perceptions.
"Such a shame that your plan to leave the EU is being rubbished on all sides, isn't it?".
This is what we doctors call the moment of putting the boot in. From now on it could go one of two ways. If the patient is on the road to recovery she will say "You are absolutely right, what was I thinking of, I have nearly done great and utterly unnecessary damage to my country, I will think again". But if she replies "I am right, everyone else is wrong and all my enemies will be as dust beneath my chariot wheels for surely God will smite them for their disbelief" then, alas, I must book a further set of appointments and ask her to delay the Brexit process for another few months.
If you have any questions for Dr. Commuter please sit on them for a while as it does appear that the anonymous patient whose condition is discussed in this column is going to need a great deal of attention in the near future.