You may have seen the work of actor Laurence Fox. He played the role of Hathaway on the Masterpiece Mystery production of “Lewis.” That’s Detective Lewis, to you. Formerly he was the sidekick of Endeavour Morse in an earlier Masterpiece Mystery show.
Fox was married to a British actress, by name of Billie Piper. You may also have seen her work. She starred in a television show called “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” Fox and Piper are now divorced and the divorce seems to have hit Fox especially badly.
Since this blog is about therapy, I report on Fox’s efforts to overcome his trauma.
In a recent newspaper story, he explains that aerobic exercise helps with his panic attacks. As it happened, his brother offered to pay for his trainer, as a post-divorce gift.
The physical symptoms of trauma and suffering are profound panic attacks for an extended period of time, and I'd never had a panic attack in my life before last year.
It's like being plugged into an electric socket where you go mental.
I've learnt to put on my running shoes and sprint as fast as I can until I can't move any more, then there's something else distracting me and the endorphins kick in and you start to feel better.
Fair enough, and thoroughly to be expected.
Fox continues, explaining that he has been suffering from chronic insomnia:
I haven't slept for six months, even with sleeping pills. I go to bed the same time, same bed as the kids and just lie awake, sleeping two or three hours. My mind's whirring round.
Now, you will be thinking that perhaps he should be seeing a therapist. In truth, he has a therapist.
As he says:
I'm seeing an amazing therapist, I love her.
Let’s see. He hasn’t slept in six months, even while he is taking sleeping medication. And yet, he finds his therapist to be “amazing.” How do you think he would be feeling and how well do you think he would be sleeping if his therapist were not quite so amazing? And besides, the only instance of clear benefit comes by way of his trainer, not his therapist.
In principle you judge a therapist’s work on how well or how poorly her patient is doing. In Fox’s case, the treatment failure doesn’t really matter, because he loves his therapist. He has a good transference relationship, as the analysts would put it, but it is not enough to get him, after six months, a good night’s sleep. It almost makes you think that the transference is simply a way to keep people in treatment when its results are unsatisfactory.