Monday, 7 January 2013

Keeping up with life

The Daily Mail (not my favourite source of healthcare/science, or indeed any other kind of news, but anyway) reports a worrying trend in the number of women taking stimulants in order to cope with life.

Aside from the fact that Ritalin and friends are not licensed for the treatment of ADHD in adults (ie their safety and efficacy in this group of patients is not proven) and that buying medicines on the internet is a stupidly dangerous thing to do there are some other concerning aspects.

The women taking these drugs are obviously experiencing extreme pressure to perform and conform, but more seriously still we can see a tendency to measure people by what they do. We are not ourselves, or what we eat, but what we do. This is massive problem because if you cease to "do" then you also cease to "be". In the case of the students using these drugs, their measure of themselves is how well they perform in exams: I am only as good as my exam results. Others struggle with the demands of juggling work and family life, or long hours and pressure to meet targets. But where is the weakness in admitting that something is hard? There is also, as so often with mental health, a reduction of the human person to the merely biological.

According to the article, women aged 25 to 34 are the most stressed demographic group in the country. No surprises there: we are the group who first experienced student loans, SATs at 7, 11 and 14 years, league tables, contraceptives for all, abortion virtually on demand... We have grown up being encouraged to turn down children in favour of career success, with the advice that giving up work for motherhood makes you a failure, that instant gratification is our right and we are also the generation whose parents lapsed in their religious pratices meaning that many of us have never stepped foot inside a church. We started life with the understanding that, as women, we would have to fight tooth and nail to be recognised as good enough and we have arrived at adulthood finding that most of the work has been done.We have moved on from the time where everything was blamed on our parents not giving us enough attention. Now we are our bodies. We have been formed by secularism and individualism and taught that an expensive pair of shoes can solve all our probelms.

We were promised the world, and the world turned out to not be worth the paper it was written on. Only God's promises are worth trusting, and the majority of this group have no idea what they are.

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