Are you going to harm yourself?"
The doctor looked like an old, evil-tempered elephant. His face looked like it had melted, dripped off his skull and hardened like candle wax.
He had turned his head towards me, just enough to look at a point above my shoulder. This was the first time he'd spoken in the appointment.
How did I get here? All year I've been harassed by a man who wouldn't take no for an answer. Things reached a breaking point this week. I woke up sobbing, exhausted and afraid to get out of bed.
Eventually, I made it to breakfast, and broke down over the choice of Weet-Bix or cornflakes.
When you're upset by cereal, you know you've got a problem. Cereals are like Volvos; they're not particularly provocative. Unlike the cunning peach, sweet but impossible to eat politely, cereal is simple.
When I teared up at the Weet-Bix, clutching a steadily browning banana for support, I realised I had to act.
That's how I ended up in the doctors, trying to explain how I was sick.
It was a horrible half hour. I had to explain what had happened, how I was feeling, and why I was unable to work.
Now, I'm a modern lefty baby; I believe in climate change, organic pasta, and haikus about herb gardens. My modern upbringing means I grew up understanding, accepting and respecting the need for discussion about mental health issues. I've always known that conditions like anxiety, stress, or depression, all need to be talked about seriously and openly.
Then it happened to me. And I had to go to the GP. And I had to admit to being so stressed that I couldn't choose my underwear that morning. At the point when I had to explain myself, despite all my shiny modern ideas, I suddenly felt like I was just being soft and making a fuss.
I hate the idea I'm just being dramatic. Not only because it's wrong. Not only because I'm English, and making a fuss is as acceptable as farting on dates. But because I know that there's nothing "weak" about feeling anxiety. Yet I still feel like I am weak.
What this experience showed me was that we're not as okay with mental health issues as we think we are. We're still scared that they're not ... legitimate. This makes telling a GP an enormous challenge.
You're not purple, pulsating or pus-filled. So because there are no obvious symptoms, you feel like you're not properly ill. Even if theoretically you understand what's happening, admitting you need help is still incredibly hard. This is why good doctors are essential.
My doctor didn't say anything when I explained about the sustained harassment. No sympathetic nod. No polite smile. Not even an embarrassed cough. Nothing.
The first time he spoke was when he asked me if I was going to cut myself.
Imagine if I was upset enough to consider self-harming - I would never tell anyone who asked me like that. But my issues are relatively small; I just wanted a week off work to sleep. Imagine if someone who'd been abused for 20 years was asked that? They could have been destroyed by such insensitivity.
The sheer difficulty of dealing with mental health issues means that our doctors have to be on form.
The other day, I sat quivering with a friend in a sexual health clinic for routine check ups. But we were so flushed and trembling, just with the stress of being there, that we looked like beetroots being blended.
After 15 minutes with a young Australian nurse, who was completely unembarrassed and called me "darl" with a soothing familiarity, I was fine. The situation was handled with low-key, professional sensitivity. It was a model of what we can be with enough training, money and effort. It was also an example of what medical professionals have to be.
Yes, I might have just had a bad doctor. Yes, I'm fine now I've looked elsewhere. Yes, there might be lots of great mental health clinics.
But this week has shown me how hard it is to experience mental health issues. And the enormous stress this entails for the patient makes it vital our doctors are always good. One bad doctor is one betrayed patient. And one is too many.