IN the olden days, before Kim Kardashian, a tickly cough saw us hacking away stoically, alongside 20 other snot-nosed illards hacking away stoically, in the doctor’s waiting room.
Today, you’re more likely to spot a flying pig or fully fledged unicorn than you are a GP in situ.
Welcome, then, to Dr TikTok.
In lieu of common sense and medical discourse, we now have social media detailing, across every digital orifice, a raft of mental health disorders.
A recent BBC undercover probe, meanwhile, showed an alarming number of patients are being offered powerful drugs and told they have ADHD, following unreliable online assessments.
Why the sudden rush to get a diagnosis?
Online, the hashtags #anxiety and #ADHD have had over 41BILLION views.
We are being bombarded with posts telling us we are probably all a bit mad.
A cursory glance at TikTok, and it’s pretty hard not to think you have every condition going.
One video, for example, explains classic symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
It appears I have all three.
OCD, according to Doctor T, isn’t just about touching lamp- posts four times or colour- co-ordinating your bookshelves.
It’s also . . .
- Oversharing (er, I write a column and therefore frequently overshare — see below for more).
- A nagging sensation that everyone hates you (er, I write for The Sun — every Guardian reader, everywhere, hates me).
- Having a hard time letting things go (no one bears a passive-aggressive grudge quite like me).
According to the NHS, ADHD symptoms fall into two categories — inattentiveness, and hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Symptoms include trouble concentrating, constant fidgeting and excessive talking. But browse online and up come a veritable array of other signifiers.
Essentially, they are a tick-box of the entire gamut of human emotion — frustration, forgetfulness, tiredness, sadness, excitement. Are you sometimes over-emotional? ADHD.
Suffering poor sleep? ADHD.
There is no nuance online. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health.
Fairly recently, I was convinced I had low-level anxiety (a condition I’d never heard of ten years ago).
I had crippling insomnia, couldn’t turn my brain off, ever, and was generally overthinking and worrying about the smallest of things.
Had I confirmed my fears online, I’d now be knee-deep in medication.
The reality is, I was having a mildly troubling spell in my private life — as every single human being in the history of Planet Earth does — and wasn’t sleeping. It happens.
Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder, affecting around 7.8 per cent of the population.
Go online, and 98 per cent of us would have some sort of disorder — were we to self-diagnose. While it is great that the conversation around mental health has opened up, false ailments are doing a huge disservice to those who really do have clinical disorders.
It is belittling to those with depression — and the sheer hell they go through on a near-daily basis.
It makes a mockery of those incapacitated by mental illness.
A recent study showed that 52 per cent of TikTok videos analysed under the ADHD hashtag contained misinformation.
Given the vast numbers of people who are watching this stuff, this is alarming.
The reality is that we don’t all have raging and undiagnosed mental health issues.
It’s far, far more likely that social media is the thing giving us issues.
So for anyone unsure about the definition of woke, see below…
So wad if Rishi is rich?
RISHI SUNAK has swatted away Labour’s class-war attacks.
The unfathomably rich PM says voters do not care about his wealth, suggesting the public is “beyond judging people by what’s in their bank account”.
I’ve given this some thought, and he’s right.
The last thing people need right now is a leader worrying about meeting his mortgage payments. A man distracted with feeding his kids and scrimping in his (meagre) downtime.
Sure, Rishi may lack some fiscal empathy.
But then, has Sir Keir Starmer, or any Russell Group university-educated MP, ever truly had to go to bed hungry?
Let the man get on with the job at hand, and stop the petty game-playing.
FUN fact. The tech we know as Bluetooth – that wireless bit of kit that lets us stream music, among other techy things – derives its name from Harald Bluetooth, above, a Norse king who united warring factions in Norway and Denmark.
Mr Bluetooth was, apparently, so named because he ate such an excess of blue- berries that his gnashers stained, yep, blue.
NOT SO SMART
DELAYS for routine hospital treatments have, depressingly, reached a record 7.33million, and rising.
On the surface, then, cross-party plans to increase use of private hospitals for NHS treat-ment, and slash waiting times, make sense.
But herein lies the rub.
The scheme is reliant on patients booking appointments through the NHS app. Which for many elderly people, or those without a smart-phone, isn’t feasible.
More needs to be done to include the most vulnerable in society.
Tough on Phil family
AS a nation, we feel we know Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
For 14 years they’ve come as one smiling, saccharine package – Philandholly or Hollyandphil.
In the dark, dark days of lockdown, their very presence was a reassuring constant. Apocalypse hadn’t struck, yet . . .
We welcomed them into our homes every weekday morning.
They felt like friends.
We wanted their chemistry to be real and, crucially, believed it was.
For many, many years, it was.
But as with office and real-life friendships the country over, people drift – circumstances change, perspectives alter.
That Holly posted her tribute to her one-time pal on Instagram Stories, where posts disappear after 24 hours, says all you need to know about their current status.
Phil, who is facing a witch-hunt on Twitter, must not be judged by the abominable, unforgivable actions of his paedophile brother.
No one chooses their family. Phillip has very publicly disowned him.
But beyond this, and the media circus surrounding Phil and Holly, spare a thought for 61-year-old Phil’s poor, elderly mum, Pat.
Beyond the TV screens, these are 3D people with 3D lives and 3D families – ones without crisis comms teams and PR advisors at their disposal.
That poor woman must be going through hell.
These past few months are, surely, every mother’s worst nightmare.
FAT AND FICTION
ANOTHER day, another diktat from the funny farm.
In the latest entry to Wokeipedia, researchers suggest we shouldn’t call fat people fat, in order to remove the stigma.
Instead, we should be calling a spade a long- handled tool primarily for digging. And rebranding fatties as people with Chronic Appetite Dysregulation.
Yep, can really see this catching on.