The first week back at work after Christmas always features me listening to radio phone in shows where people are taking advice on debt and diets or bemoaning the demise of the National Health Service. It’s like Groundhog Day is the first week of January.
At Christmas, I am led to believe, we spend too much money on presents and eat too much, so come New Year, we are fat and in debt, particularly if we were poor and in debt in the first place. This is based on the statistic that people with a low income spend more on their children at Christmas than more affluent folk. Mad isn’t it, but I don’t suppose people get rich by being carefree with money?
I can understand the getting fat bit, as I have been eating and drinking too much since my 50th birthday in November. I finally stopped on New Year’s Day before I turned into a lump of Mexicana cheese with a truffle on top. I am trying to clean up my act as I now feel heavy. It’s my own doing; there is no one else I can blame.
And that’s what gets me, the fact that I can only see a lack of personal responsibility in all this. People act as if though these issues are out of their hands and the only way to solve them is to take up emergency help from psychologists, debt management experts and dieticians who are all cashing in.
Let’s be honest here, there are three proven steps to help rid yourself of these issues.
Debt: Don’t buy presents on credit cards if you can’t afford to pay it back
Diet: Trying burning off the calories you consume by exercising more (I have to do this now!)
NHS crisis: Stop going to the doctors when there is nothing wrong with you
Yes, yes, yes, I know, the issues with the NHS run a lot deeper than that, especially with regards to underfunding and private companies swarming all over it like wasps around a pint of cider. However, if it is the national treasure people claim it to be, why do they abuse it so badly by missing appointments or turning up at A&E with a head cold?
Also, if people didn’t buy shit food or things they can’t afford and burnt off more calories instead, they would feel less depressed, therefore less likely to be taking antidepressants and becoming another statistic in a country rattling to death with subscription pills.
The awful deterioration in mental health is, in my opinion, linked to physical well-being and trying to keep up with uber-capitalism and the borrowing/spending frenzy that it causes amongst folk who are living in a state of perpetual fear of not having a car or a conservatory as big as the smug bastard next door.
Somehow, we need to get people educated out of this spiral of unhappiness but the problem is that the people pushing this crap food and antidepressants as well selling the debt to people who can barely afford it, are getting extremely rich from proletarian ignorance, so why would they want education to halt their gravy train (or burger, chips and a donut train)?
I reckon that if people were taught that it is quite clever to eat and drink healthily, exercise regularly, and only spend what is in their bank account, the obesity and mental health crisis would halve within a couple of years and the NHS would benefit accordingly.
However, the conspiracy theorist in me believes that there is a lot of money in health. The less healthy people are puts a strain on a service that is free at the point of delivery, thus leaving it open to a campaign to justify privatisation.
As I said, there is a lot of money to be made from privatising health and a lot of people wishing for it are entrenched in the establishment.
It’s like we are slowly killing ourselves to make a few private investors very rich out of a health crisis.
Ask Richard Branson.
*I know that mental illness is incredibly complex, however, bad diet and overspending doesn’t help.