If people treated physical illness like mental illness…

CW: sickness, death, other depressing shit.

 

“Try to think calming thoughts. Non-agonizing thoughts.” You croon into the face of the man lying on the ground. You avert your gaze from the jagged end of shattered femur protruding from a bloody hole in his thigh. “Don’t think about the pain. You can overcome this. I believe in you.” Slowly his moans of pain go quiet, his face white with shock and pain. His skin loses its colour, goes cold and clammy. “That’s better. Don’t focus on the pain. Think strong thoughts. Think of how much you want to be well. Take hold of your goals: you will walk!” He lapses into unconsciousness. Pain, shock, and massive physical trauma have taken their toll. Soon his heartbeat fades. “Why aren’t you trying?” You demand, as he takes his final breaths, “Why don’t you want to be well? If you wanted it enough, you wouldn’t die like this!” He dies. You wonder why he didn’t love life enough to overcome his problems.

 

“It must be so depressing, being a cash cow for Big Pharma,” you tell your friend as she injects her insulin. She’s had diabetes since childhood, and has it pretty well under control with a careful diet and regular injections. “I mean, you’re basically an addict, right? You’d be a different person, without the drugs. You can’t even function without them. They’ve got you hooked.”

“Actually, I need insulin to allow my body to function normal- ” She tries to make excuses, but you have to tell her.

“You’re letting yourself rely on artificial drugs. How will you ever learn to be resilient if you don’t push yourself, learn to be self-reliant? I believe in you. You just need to believe in yourself.”

Worn down by your constant moaning, your friend begins to doubt herself. She skips one dose of insulin, then another. Her partner finds her one morning, collapsed on the bathroom floor. She never wakes up from the coma. You wonder why she was never able to make that final step into true self-reliance. One more death caused by the evils of Big Pharma 😦

 

You find a growth on your side. It’s sore and painful. It seems like it fits all the warning signs for cancer. It’s still small though. You go to your GP and they frown. “We’ll just give you paracetamol. Until it’s seriously affecting your quality of life, we don’t have any services funded to deal with you.” You go home. Months pass. The growth… grows. You stop going outside for fear that people can see it bulgig under your clothes. It hurts, constantly. Sometimes it bleeds. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. Finally, emaciated and frail, you fall and hit your head. An ambulance rushes you to A&E. You need complex surgery and end up spending six weeks in hospital. Although they successfully remove the tumour, you never regain your full strength. Health problems plague you for the rest of your days. This costs the NHS a huge amount of money, but luckily you are declared Fit for Work so at least the state saves on benefits. You die in poverty.

 

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If people treated physical illness like mental illness…

Wilkos’ R&D and Marketing Departments Have ISSUES

Wilko Low Calorie Anti-Reflux Syrup
Yes, that is a grey, underweight-looking body in the background, doing the classic anorexic pose.

I went to town yesterday, and saw this. I was actually shocked, and I am very rarely shocked. Nor am I one of those people who declares shock to try and stir up outrage. But this medicine is messed up. It is marketed completely and deliberately at people (women, specifically) with eating disorders.

I had eating disorders from age 15 to 19 or something like that (my memory of teenage years is mercifully fuzzy) so I know. I still have some part of me, which is ever alert to weight and food weirdness. This particular thing has so many things wrong, which put together, add up to a very definite conclusion.

  1. There is a skinny body in the background. There is no reason for this, at all. No other reflux medicine has similar packaging. The body is androgynous, with pronounced neck and collar bones, in a faded grey. It’s all very ‘thinspo’.
  2. That it says ‘low calorie’ rather than ‘sugar free’. Who worries about the calories in their Gaviscon? Anorexics, that’s who. Diabetics (and parents of hyperactive children) are concerned with sugar specifically, and so usually products are labelled ‘sugar free’. Not many people think ‘Oh dear, I’m carrying a few extra pounds, I should change my diet a bit… I better cut down on the antacids!’
  3. Starving and throwing up both make you really need this product. Marketing team know this. Hell, I still need this product (although please, not caramel flavour), even many years later. (Although maybe the cider isn’t helping either.)
  4. Caramel flavour? Because real sweets bring too much guilt, this is your compensation. Yes, EDs are fun aren’t they.
  5. The text is pink. I know it’s fucked up, but pink is still considered the girliest colour, and eating disorders are stereotyped as a girl disease. Acid reflux in general is not thought of as a ‘feminine issue’. Why would they try to narrow down a wide market by being so weirdly specific? Because marketing is sexist, of course.
  6. The eating disordered population is growing fast. According to charity Beat, 6.4% of the population shows signs of an eating disorder, and the number of inpatient hospital admissions is increasing by 7% year on year. Sub-clinical body image and eating problems are widely prevalent, with up to two thirds of adults suffering negative body image. So it does make financial sense to market to the eating disordered.
  7. After all, what do you think the diet industry is?

I never thought that Wilkos were evil. I know they are just another capitalist conglomerate, but somehow they always gave off a nicer vibe than the other massive chain stores. Who knows why they have made this product? Like chocolate flavoured Ex-Lax, it is inexplicable in its weirdness.

Wilkos’ R&D and Marketing Departments Have ISSUES