Brexit anxiety

The nightmare goes on. I thought today it would be over, that parliament would accept Mrs May’s deal for the third time of asking. But it wasn’t to be, hence the nightmare has yet to cease.

A therapist colleague said she has seen a marked up turn in her patients symptoms being influenced by the Brexit chaos, and on the radio today I heard many stories of families and friends suffering deep and possibly irreparable rifts over the outcome.

Is it any surprise the numbered prescriptions of antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs has doubled in the last ten years? What has it done in the last two years alone?

In truth few of my patients are asking for medication primarily because of Brexit but without doubt it is impacting on people’s lives, not just those having political debate but those whose jobs depend on their companies continuing. Do the workers of Honda or Nissan think their future has been put in peril by the Brexit shenanigans? If so how do the hundreds of thousands of Brits feel who are married to Europeans living and working in the UK, who have children learning English at school and their parent’s mother tongue at home? Do those European want to stay in such a divided country? Will the country even let them? What bureaucratic hoops are needed to do so?

It might sound trivial but i’ve been surprised by the vehemence of the young, particularly those too young to vote in the referendum. Many seem furious with the Brexit decision let alone the farcical nature of the actual exit. They lament at the doublespeak of the political classes on both sides, the divisions within the opposition and they struggle with the value of leaving compared to the vagaries of leaving. This could readily be put down to youthful naivety if wasn’t for the joining of forces of the CBI and TUC calling for an urgent change of direction.

The many years of austerity have hit many patients very hard. Few in work have had a pay rise for years. The stresses on family relationships have been huge. Universal Credit has been a nail in the coffin for many. The NHS hasn’t met it performance targets for years. It takes at least two weeks to see a GP and longer if you have a life you can’t just drop everything for that sole available appointment. Local authorities are in crisis over social care and public health. Hospitals are clogged with so called Delayed Transfers of Care, known to the rest of us as ‘bedblockers’. In some parts of the country there is little in the way of locally funded prevention services other than the national screening programmes. The wave of knife crime seems to be getting worse and police numbers are thousands down.

Yet for the last two years the country’s political representatives have been obsessed with leaving a union that almost half of the electorate wanted to stay in at the referendum and which, if you believe the opinion polls, more than half now want to stay in.

It feels there are more good reasons to forget Brexit and start concentrating on rebuilding our society. To not do so feels a monumental mistake that will cause us more economic and mental health problems than it is worth. It’s now clear the NHS will never benefit from a weekly Brexit dividend of £350 million, and…shock horror we will have to get visas to go to Europe and we might not be able to use our free calls and data in Europe! No wonder the young are up in arms. They know the value of the good communication.

The internal squabbles of the Tory party are not a justification for wrecking our society, physically, mentally or economically. That’s for the Tories to resolve themselves and not to damage everyone else with.

Time for another referendum with the benefit of all we now know.

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