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Habeas Domus

Chronic Fatigue And Debt

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On a Sunday morning in early June, Kate, a 36-year-old counsellor, was sitting on a sofa, drinking a cup of tea, and saying she didn't think she could go on any more. "I can't see a way out," she said. "I look at my life and I don't see any possibility of hope." She dipped her head and put a thumb up to her eye to brush away a tear. "I know I've said it before. But this time... I've come to the end."

Kate said: "I don't know what to do. God, I could just give up. Yesterday I had this feeling that I could just give up my responsibilities. I could become derelict and hopeless. But that's not the way to go, is it? I have a child. I have my job. Something's got to give. I don't know what, but something's got to give, because I'm at breaking point."

I was talking to Kate about exhaustion. I should say, first of all, that Kate is not her real name - she does not want me to use her real name. What if her boss knew the state she was in? For one thing, she is responsible for the wellbeing of other people - people who are supposed to be more vulnerable than her. Although sometimes, these days, she's not so sure.

What state is Kate in, exactly? She is drained beyond belief. Her facial expression reminds you of one of those young combat veterans you see in war photography; she has a "thousand-yard stare". Her facial muscles are somehow bunched up. Her body, she says, aches all over. She is often dizzy and nauseous. She describes her mental state as "foggy" and "fuzzy". On top of this, she has persistent bacterial and viral infections - this month she has had a cough; last month she had aches and fevers. She has just finished two courses of antibiotics; her cough, she says, is dying down. But when one thing dies down, another always springs up to take its place.


"We get spent," writes Lipman, "because our modern lifestyle has removed us from nature and we have become divorced from its rhythms and cycles." And what is our modern lifestyle? Lipman is very clear on this. "We are slaves

to the corporate model," he says. "I think it is going to get worse and worse - and I don't see any improvement in the near future until we reach some kind of tipping point and wake up."

Speaking on a mobile phone from a beach in Cape Town, Lipman tells me why the modern lifestyle makes us exhausted. We're all chasing money. That's one thing.

And because we're all in debt, we have to chase more money this year than we did the last. If, say, we work in the food industry, we are forced to look at ways of producing food that costs less and that people want more - food, in other words, that is cheap and addictive... If we don't, our profits won't grow, and we'll go bust. If we do, we'll pump our customers full of processed carbohydrates and sugar, which will make their blood sugar spike and crash, exhausting them. And when they're exhausted, what will they want? More sugar and starch.

It's a snowball. An indebted economy must work harder all the time just to stay ahead of the creditors. It must spew up endless new products. More and more choice for the consumer - 50 brands of cooking oil, 200 brands of beer, 500 TV channels, tens of thousands of websites. The American sociologist Barry Schwartz has studied product proliferation, and he believes that, after a certain point, too much choice overloads our brains. "Increased choice," he writes in his book The Paradox of Choice, "may actually contribute to the recent epidemic of clinical depression affecting much of the western world." Schwartz checked out his local supermarket to see how much choice he was being offered. "There were 16 varieties of instant mashed potatoes," he writes.


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Sounds like the Guardian setting out the governments strategy, that actually, your inevitable unemployment is a good natural healthy way of life.

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I was talking to Kate about exhaustion. I should say, first of all, that Kate is not her real name

Yeah cos everyone would guess who it was if you used her real name!

This is used a lot these days to make the story more sinister or foreboding or whatever, when its just a load of old ******.

****** isnt its real name I changed it fron knackers to protect its identity.

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  • 395 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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