When I was a kid, it was still very common for people to die of simple “old age.” And until old age did creep up on them, in general most folks were pretty healthy. I knew precisely two people who had diabetes, for example—one a family member who developed type 2 well into her 60s and one a child with type 1. The only people I knew who took high blood pressure medications were a handful of old folks, mostly in their 80s or nearing them.
For the biggest part of my life, no one took anti-anxiety medications, though I did have one neighbor who took antidepressants for a few months. (She’d had a “nervous breakdown” after losing her husband. The entire neighborhood rallied to support her. After 3 months she stopped taking “her pills,” as she called them, and went on to have a perfectly normal life including a second marriage and two more children.)
During my school career, the nurse’s office wasn’t full of asthma inhalers and Epi-Pens. And kids hadn’t been subjected to multiple doses of more than a dozen vaccines. Instead, we were immunized against a handful of truly dangerous diseases: smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and polio. Later, another fairly dangerous childhood disease (rubella) and two more mundane ones (measles and mumps) were added.
Shockingly, no one advocated locking up parents who refused to vaccinate their kids. And peanut butter sandwiches were a staple kid-friendly lunch, often actually served at school. We were even allowed to bring our own lunches—schools assumed that our parents were competent enough to feed us.
Adults and children alike ate from the four food groups: meat, vegetables and fruits, dairy, and bread and cereals. Practically no one had “health insurance” and most people would have thought it was crazy to pay money every month for something so seldom used. We went to the doctor when we had strep throat or tonsillitis, when we broke an arm or needed stitches.
And you know what? We weren’t dropping like flies, no matter how today’s media wants to spin it. In fact, most of us had healthier, happier lives than what the average person today is living. It was a different world.
What changed? Did our health really deteriorate that much? Or is something else going on?
It’s not about your health, it’s about your wallet
Something did change. And this is what it was: back in the day, we started out from the position of assuming that the average, normal person was fairly healthy. We saw illness or disease as a temporary situation. Today, however, the view has been flipped 180 degrees. We’ve been taught to believe that the human body is simply a disease waiting to happen, and that it’s only a matter of time before we’re struck down.
It’s a radical shift in belief. And it’s been a boon to Big Medicine, Big Pharma, Big Insurance—and yes, Big Government too. Without this shift in viewpoint, Big Medicine, Pharma, and Insurance would still be little medicine, pharma, and insurance.
Think about it. Why else would any of us buy “health insurance”? If we weren’t living in fear, wouldn’t we choose to spend all that hard-earned cash on more immediate needs?
Why else would we go for “regular check-ups”? Do we not know our own bodies well enough to recognize what’s normal or not normal—for us?
Why else would we waste our precious time and resources on “screening” programs?
We’ve been sold the story that sooner or later, each and every one of us will be hit by some catastrophic or chronic condition that will send us into bankruptcy if we don’t pay a fifth of our income into the system.
We’ve been taught that every ache or pain, every physical variation, every personality quirk is something we need to have checked out by a professional “just in case.” How many times per week do you hear or read the phrase “ask your doctor before you…”? Go on a diet, start an exercise program, or do any of another billion mundane things that have nothing to do with medicine?
It’s a scam. We’ve spent the last couple generations being indoctrinated with this culture of fear, all in an effort to make a buck. Because fear sells, and fear of illness or death is the biggest seller of all. By changing our perception and making sickness the new “normal,” those who make the rules have ensured an endless revenue stream for medicine, pharma, and insurance. And worse than that, they’ve created a society that will roll over and hand over its rights without complaint at the mere mention of illness.
Don’t buy the lie. We’re not fundamentally flawed, and sick isn’t the norm. Medicine keeps lowering the bar in an effort to pigeonhole more and more of us into a “condition” so it can sell us drugs and “treatment” we may or may not need. Disease is the aberration, not good health—no matter what the Big Guys try to tell us. The goal shouldn’t be treating disease once it happens but keeping it from happening in the first place. That means:
Not going to the doctor “just because.” Medicine’s job is to find something wrong with you, no matter how hard it has to look. Skip the “routine check-ups” and “screenings.”
Being a sceptic when it comes to recommended drugs or treatments. Too many medications are prescribed “just in case” or to “treat” things that really aren’t problems. Ask hard questions and find out if the benefits really do outweigh the risks.
But most of all, it means taking responsibility for your own health, not putting it in the hands of someone else. Your body is fundamentally healthy. Feed it right, give it some exercise, and remember that YOU know your body better than anyone else does. Listen to it.