Are we sicker than we look?

By Joshua Campbell, Ghent, Belgium

Are we sicker than our eyes would have us believe? Are we very good at band aiding our ill conditions and making it seem like all is ok? These are questions I have been pondering on ever since I moved to Belgium from a small town in New Zealand.

When I was growing up in NZ it was common to see only one hospital in each city, with the exception of a few bigger cities like Auckland which has three and this makes sense given its population is over one million. However, in Ghent, the city I now live in, a city of only 300,000 people, there are a whopping four large hospitals each with the full catalogue of services and specialists that you would expect in any large hospital.

In addition, Ghent also has 6 health centres, each with numerous doctors and other specialists on top of the already large number of general doctors and other specialists practising in their own clinics around the city. And if that was not enough, there are also night doctors, dentists and pharmacies and if you really are stuck, it is only a short trip to another city close by, which like Ghent has yet more hospitals and specialists there.

This as you can imagine was vastly different from what I experienced growing up, yet is the norm for people here in Europe. Most do not even seem to question that such access to health care is a warning sign for humanity. The healthcare here is fantastic, no question, in fact it is excellent and I am not criticising this in any way, but what I am asking is: why do we need such a large range of healthcare services just to function as a society?

Naturally, there were a number of questions that came flooding in when I realised the extent of health care here in Ghent and Belgium in general. Firstly, was the question of how so many health specialists could compete for business!? And how all these hospitals were able to fill beds and afford to keep themselves running. Obviously with the large numbers of people using these facilities, there must be a demand for so many to begin with, for them to even have been built. And hence my next question; if the demand is so high, there must be a high level of sickness, disease or illness within the community to justify such a demand, so is this a sign that this society is sicker than it looks?

I walk around Ghent and I see that most people are not bandaged up, on crutches or having to be wheeled round in wheel chairs. No, on the surface society seems to be doing well. But one of the things that struck me when I first came here was the incredibly high number of pharmacies. There is one on almost every street! All with a full range of basic and specific drugs and medications available for use. And again, if so many pharmacies are able to not only survive but do well in one single city, then there must be a high demand for them and that means a high demand for drugs, given that with so many pharmacies, a single pharmacy is serving only a fraction of the population.

It makes me wonder: if these medical facilities were not there in the many and varied ways in which they currently are, would we be able to cope? The evidence of so much illness and so much disease would be unavoidable and perhaps in such a state we could not hide the fact that as a race we are very sick.

I have observed that there is very little in modern-day life, with so many technological advances, that ought to be making us sick by circumstance alone. By this I mean that we have so many tools at our disposal to make life so much more physically supportive than was available even 50 years ago and because of this we should be less sick. Yet it is apparent there is more, yes more, sickness now than there was back when my parents were my age and this is not just true by statistics alone but also in the fact that so much has changed even in the twenty years since I was born. I can remember going to the doctor and talking about anything and everything, and yet feeling like the doctor was not rushed off his feet with patients to treat, nor overwhelmed by the ways of the system, or by complications that seemed to only get worse and not truly better, or that the health budget of the nation was bursting at the seams like it is today. Nowadays it feels like doctors and health systems are just getting by and one day they may not be able to cope, especially if we keep getting sicker.

So, why are we getting sicker when today we can have so much at our finger tips, literally to the point where we can order a taxi, a pizza and search the web on anything and everything, all from the ease of our phone!?

What if the downward trend in our health is related to our way of living? The two are not exclusive, as what we do more than anything is to live life. Recently, I have become more aware of the importance of self-responsibility in life and how it is not common for us to live much, if any, true responsibility for the quality of our well-being. There is a ‘life happened, fix me up’ mentality that is common in society, and I am starting to question whether it is this approach to life that is the cause of our worrying health trends.

This is indeed a much needed topic for us all to consider, for there is clearly more to living truly well and healthy than just mere function, as we are very good at restoring function in healthcare but clearly the overall state of our health is not great. Perhaps it’s time to take off the layers that have us believe that our state of health is ‘ok’ and start to question whether there is more to how we are living than would otherwise meet the eye.

Without the wonderful care of modern medicine, we would be looking and feeling a lot sicker… medicine is doing a great job, but it is also starting to ail and fail, because of the increasing burdens we are placing on it. It is propping us all up to continue living our unhealthy ways, patching us up and allowing us to go back out there and continue doing what made us ill in the first place, and protecting us from the full consequences of our choices. But we cannot continue like this forever…

Perhaps it is time for us to start taking responsibility for our choices and to live in a way that keeps us largely healthy and well, thus reducing the burden on our health care systems.


Read more:

  1. The new era in public health 
  2. What would happen if we became CEO’s of our own health? 


573 thoughts on “Are we sicker than we look?

  1. That our ill health can be disguised between a mask of looking ok to the untrained eye, is a sign of how far we have drifted from our true norm and how we have settled for a great lessening when we are deserved of the more we in-truth are.

    1. That is true but it can’t be hidden from the trained or the aware eye and the more aware we become, the more we see these changes.

  2. The question of ‘are we sicker than we look’ is a definite yes. All you have to do is look at the statistics of chronic illness and major health conditions to know that the man you work with or the person serving you at the shops may look ok and still be functioning but has every chance of having at least one of these conditions. And as a nurse having seen just how many pills people come to hospital with, before their acute condition is treated, I have seen just how much we are being propped up by pharmaceuticals.

  3. This is a great observation and question: what would our health be like if we did not have so much medical support? But also how well would we be coping if we did not have so many coffee shops, and how would people fare if they did not have access to their cigarettes and alcohol? And let’s not forget the excess of entertainment that we use to switch off from daily life with…. The list is endless. We have to be honest here. The world we have created is not working.

  4. I love how you bring it up because it can become so normal to have indeed four hospitals in Ghent and a whole lot of additional health care specialists spread over the city. It is like the frog that does not notice it is being cooked when the water heats up slowly. I love to question these things and bring awareness of what is truly going on.

  5. The propping up with medical drugs is indeed a cover up of the state of or health and well-being. Not suggesting we take them away but if we were to truly feel where our bodies are at and be honest then we may consider to look at healing the root cause at the same time. I have learnt this with Serge Benhayon and how he approaches life and our relationship with our bodies and it sure is a way that has healed and dealt with the issues at its root.

  6. I have seen some really amazing transformations lately when seeing members of the public for healthcare reasons and just the reflection alone through the assessment process and first treatment has lead them to re-connect with themselves and to look completely different in a great way. Bright eyes and bushy tailed you might say and far more able to deal with the health matter in hand as a result.

  7. I discovered tonight while having a conversation with people who came from Iran and who now are living in the West of Europe that they actually didn’t know what ‘burnt out’ meant until they came here as there was not such a condition over there, and there is no word in their language to describe it either.

  8. Interesting to see my country, Holland has a similar situation, through your eyes. And yes on the surface it looks like the streets are not crowded with crippled people, but indeed if you go under the surface most people are suffering from some kind of illness, disease or chronic physical, emotional or mental pains. It is part of life. And pills keep it manageable. I am a supporter of health care (current system of curing people) ánd I am supporter of preventive medicine which is not given equal attention – it is slowly getting more ground and needs to be given more attention. What are the daily choices we make that mounts up to all these pains? How can we support each other to start at the root cause instead of waiting till it is way out of hand and we indeed need several hospitals to support us of all the after-effects?

  9. England has pretty much the same picture, our healthcare on the whole is marvellous yet many of us in the UK don’t recognise our responsibility to our own health and there is an unhealthy general conception that we get ill and the doctor will deal with it. This kind of cultural thinking puts an even more heavy burden on our already struggling heath care system.

  10. Medicine “is propping us all up to continue living our unhealthy ways.” It is perpetuating the lie we are living a ‘better life’ when the better life is actually killing us.

  11. We are indeed experts at covering up our conditions – even everyday things like being tired. How often do we say “I’m fine, I’m good” …when we honestly feel exhausted, burnt out, stressed etc.

  12. Absolutely we are sicker than we look… and then there are those who take a zillion supplements and say they are healthy too! Why take so many if we are truly well?

  13. Not only can we take the burden off our health care services by taking care of our selves we can inspire others that there is another way to live.

  14. Hi Joshua, I think you would find that there are excessive pharmacies everywhere in Australia also. I live in a small suburb of a country town and in this whole area there are 8 chemists in the CBD and two in the small suburb of that town and one of this is a huge chemist warehouse. And this area is not as highly populated as in Europe! People are taken aback if you are not on medication if you are over 60.

  15. It seems that we have re-defined what well-being is and reduced it down to ‘just getting by’ and as long as we do not have a serious illness we say we are doing ok – even though we may be using all the facilities provided from the healthcare profession.

  16. The vast majority have bought the lie that it is a great step forward that we are all living longer and pass off the explosion in illness and disease as being simply because we are all living longer. It is such a huge lie yet no one is correcting it. Well almost no one.

  17. The other day in clinic I had a 75 year old client and I was blown away by the fact that they were not on any medications and were in pretty good condition compared to most from that same age bracket. Why is it that our elderly are not all this vital and well? What happens in our society where we allow our health to slip and slide downhill from a younger age and then accept that we should be on polypharmacy (multiple drugs) when we get older? Does this not show that we have dropped the ball when it comes to taking responsibility for our health? We can all be inspired by this 75 year old and realise we can all make choices that will support us not just now but later on in our life.

    1. Since the weather has been so hot in England this summer, a lot of people have had a lot of skin exposed. I have been shocked to see the number of enormous disfiguring tattoos people are now going for, both men and women. Currently, we are certainly checking out much earlier and displaying more extreme behaviours as normal. When this generation gets to be 75 I am wondering what exactly they will be reflecting to the generation coming through?

  18. We so often walk around with a myriad of issues health wise developing or developed and think it is normal to get sick, like the body has let us down. Rather than looking at it from the other direction.

  19. It such an endless tiresome cycle we as a humanity are stuck in, we seek solutions to fix a problem in this case drugs, we wait for the relief and then we can pretend it never happened. Saying no to this pattern and wanting to look at the root cause is exactly what Serge Benhayon presents. A way of living that brings honesty to ones life.

    1. Well said Natalie – when we are unwell and seek a fix, this does not address the underlying issue and so the illness or disease will come back on some way or another till such time that we are willing to face what it is actually telling us. And this I have found can be applied to so much in our lives – be it relationship issues, work related problems etc – when something comes back time and time again, it means we have to look at it deeper rather than seek a quick fix. So much to learn in life and so many opportunities offered to us for our growth.

  20. It’s like with the iceberg, what we see is only the tip of the underlying sickness; often there are abysses one cannot surmise before actually seeing them. As multidimensional beings much of what is going on is not perceivable to the 5 senses.

  21. The amazing increase in hospitals, chemists and pharmacies and the increase in size of the medication section in supermarkets is a real reflection of the sickness we all live with and the medication relief we seek to manage and masks the truth of how we are living and the depth of what is really going on. The acceptance of this in the world that really does need to be exposed.

  22. I reckon that we get used to what we see around us, obesity would have been a rarity years back but we now normalise it and think people are strange or special if they are slim. We normalise ill health and it is all around us, whether it is the obvious weight issue or the more hidden issue of having a mix of a drugs prescribed as long as your arm by the time we are in our sixties, just to keep us alive. This is an issue to look at.

  23. “No, on the surface society seems to be doing well. ” If this is so why is the state of our medical system overloaded and nurses and doctors are at a burn-out stage? Looking deeper into society we find that all is not well at all. We entirely ignore the energetic factor at our peril. We are not merely physical beings.

  24. “No, on the surface society seems to be doing well. ” But inside are people doing so well? If we are why do we need so many coffee shops on our high streets? It would seem that people can’t do without their caffeine hit in order to get through their day.

  25. In England at the moment we are having a great summer the longest without rain since 1977 or something, someone asked me why I didn’t water my lawn and I said it was because I was saving water and that we all should conserve water because if it doesn’t rain we could run out of water , at very least have hose pipe bans, but still there are those that carry on using as much water as before doing nothing until possible it will be too late. I think our health is similar to that in that there are so many of us that carry on without responsibility doing or using anything we please until we get to breaking point and then wonder how things got this bad being oblivious to the warning signs until it is too late.

  26. Clearly our standards of what it is to be healthy have grossly dropped in order to accommodate our continuing decline in true health, well-being and vitality. But if we were to honestly look at how we are moving as a society in general, our physicality alone will reveal the quality of health, the state of well-being and the lack of vitality and vibrancy we are living with and accepting as ‘normal’. This is quite revealing of the fact that we have said ‘yes’ to making life about being propped up by the medical sector in our society, in order to avoid taking responsibility for our health and well-being as such the quality of energy we are aligning. Regardless of how hard we try to mask it, at end of the day what we are investing in or aligning to is the quality of life we end up living.

  27. How profitable a business is the health care system when it thrives on people who are not so willing to take responsibility for their health? A good question to ponder on, as well as the role of the pharmaceuticals in all of this too…

    1. Great point Henrietta – we are definitely not encouraged to take responsibility for our well-being or lack of, but also, we are willingly part of a vicious cycle of supply and demand which we are not wanting to step out of regardless of the distress we are living with daily. It is time for us all to take a much needed reality check to see our role in the ill-state of well-being that we are accepting and glamorising as ‘normal’.

  28. Popping a pill is an ‘easy’ way out of pain and illness (at least on the short term)…and this does not really ask you to take responsibility for how you live. This is not to say that you should not take medications, but more a caution on how we can abuse this as a source of relief for our conditions. And though diet and exercise are equally important in the equation of health and well being, a larger portion of the equation holds the energetic choices that we make in life that are really the ones that determine our true lived quality in life and hence the effect on our health and well being and vitality.

  29. Our medical system and treatments and medications are getting more and more sophisticated but so too are all the illnesses and diseases becoming more complex, multi factorial and difficult to treat. People are getting sicker despite all our technological advances. What does this say to us, what does this deliver as a message? Is it not time for us to be brutally honest, to stop and admit that despite all these advances, perhaps there is something we still have not gotten quite right in the equation…that there is something missing….Or are we too caught in an arrogance that wants to put technology and science first above and beyond our health and well being?

  30. ‘So, why are we getting sicker when today we can have so much at our finger tips,’ such a good question. We have so much at our disposal, like really anything we desire – even rent-a-family to pretend to be your relatives – to any food TV etc. But also the most advanced medical technology, expertise etc. and yet we’re in a real state of dis-ease but don’t want to admit the rot of what’s going on in full. Until we admit all that we can ever conjure up isn’t it, there won’t be the humility to say enough is enough and cease creating problems through the pursuit of perfection, fulfilling our desires, having a life that’s comfortable but we’re stagnating etc.

  31. Responsibility is multilayered. By accepting responsibility for our choices and the way we care for ourselves we are taking care of the whole community and the health system itself by reducing the burden. The health system is very stretched and with any more weight it will snap. How long it takes depends on us.

    1. Spot on Jennifer, and as I have mentioned in a comment above, there is a profitable business in people being unwell and unwilling to take responsibility for their health and well being – you do not have to look far to see who profits especially considering the pharmaceuticals that are consumed by the many ill people seeking relief. We have much work to do to un-do what we have allowed as a standard of health in our current society.

      1. It would be an interesting study to see who is doing well out of the illness and disease industry. This would need to be beyond the financially doing well and include personal, relationships etc. We would see that although certain industries and professions may financially profit from illness in looking at the whole thing we would see that no-one is actually doing well. If we look at health professionals for example, some of whom are well paid we still see very high rates of depression, burnout, even suicide in some cases. Thereby breaking the myth that you need money to have good health.

  32. I love this blog because when we see so many hospitals in one town it is easy to think how great that is, that society is so well catered for but hold on why is there such a need? What are we doing to ourselves that we feel we need so much support? This turns the responsibility of our own health firmly back into our own hands – not just individually but as a collective… are we living, because we know that lifestyle is a huge factor in illness, and how can we turn the tide on this increasing reliance on creating systems to save us.

  33. It only needs a look at one person on the street and you know, you have to reflect a different way.

  34. I love your innocent review about the increase of all the pharmacies/ hospitals etc. The mentality of – I live life- fix me- is huge nowadays. Something totally goes into the wrong direction, and it does not needs more “fixing” stations but more honesty within humanity. We are all accepting the decrease of health as what humanity seeks the most is : staying in their comfort, no matter what.

  35. If the true measure of health is that there is no dis-ease or disharmony in the body then we are very sick indeed.

  36. Imagine if exhaustion was visible – and more than just dark circles and an obvious lack of energy. So many people are bone tired and deeply exhausted, and yet can with the help of sugar and caffeine and other stimulants, maintain a level of function. But what if like a bruise, we could not truly hide the exhaustion we felt? How healthy would society look?

  37. Its great to question the normal expectations like this. Is illness normal? Well it is common, and normal to be ill, but should it be the norm. Or is there another way of living and being where the norms we have applied to illness are different from what we as a race experience today.

  38. In the sea of humanity we sail among every day, what does healthy look like? What is the new mean? The new normal is fluid and regularly being moved. We know what healthy doesn’t look like, visit any A&E waiting room that has clocks telling you the expected waiting time! Has the standard or top of the bell curve for looking healthy, become a cliff, because of our choices of how we are living?

  39. If you walk through a shopping center at midday and you see the many extremely overweight customers and staff who often have major difficulties walking – if we are sicker than we look then the situation may be dire.

    1. True Christoph – when so many people have multiple illnesses or conditions, even if we can observe the signs of one there may be a number of others present too.

  40. It is great that you bring this up Joshua because sometimes we get so numb that we don’t see clearly more what is going on in society. And how the many hospitals we see as normal are actually not normal at all for us as a so-called well advanced human beings.

    1. So true, we accept the increase in the erosion of our health as normal because its so widespread, what if we saw it like it truly was?

  41. Once again if these amazing health systems that are bursting at the seams with patients and their employees leaving in droves due to stress, did implode go bust or simply had to cut back on services offered would we still be so reckless with our health?

    1. Great questions posed. As a society we have become so compliant with – ‘everything will be taken care of” but what if it hasn’t? There is more here to ponder on the responsibility we all have to bring our own levels of health care to account.

    2. Maybe our health service going bust would be a wake-up call for many because they would have to stop and ask themselves what they are going to do to manage their own health. Looking at our health in a new way would be the obvious answer.

  42. The enormous increase in sickness, disease, ill health and our living way of disregard and abuse so hidden in society, really is calling for another way of living with the fact that we are all so much sicker than we look.
    A reflective and inspiring sharing on the truth about life and where we all need to bring our awareness to what is really going on.

  43. Great points you make here Joshua – we are as a society getting sicker and sicker despite the many advances in medicine etc. It is certainly time to consider this and ask if there is more to healing then just taking a drug or having surgery…have we forgotten the other half of the healing aspect which is the way we live, our life choices and how complementary medicine can support with making these changes so that we have long term and true changes embraced in terms of our health and wellbeing.

    1. I love this Henrietta as with everything we can’t ignore the part, we have to look at the whole – to ignore any part is to be incredibly ignorant and stay stuck.

  44. It’s true, we don’t look sick from an external view. But the doctors surgeries, specialists and hospitals are packed. What is going on for us internally? It seems our illnesses and conditions are not out in the open or obvious, but at the same time requiring medical services seems to be the norm.

  45. Yes, with improved levels of sanitation and medical advances of modern times there really is no reason for our healthcare crisis, other than what Universal Medicine has been saying from the start – that we create our own ills when we do not live in accordance to our true nature.

    1. Janet a great point, we have all the ‘mod-cons’ and so, in theory, we should not be so sick, not be in the state of illness and disease but we are and so what comes to light is that we people are in disarray, not content and missing that feeling of settlement which is underlying many of our conditions. As you say we create the ills and yet we are also the only ones that can heal this.

      1. Agreed, David. If humanity is in a greater state of dis-ease than ever before, why are we still not looking for the true origins of our unrest? Universal Medicine has the answers whenever we are ready…

    2. It is more that, as fewer of us die early, other issues get uncovered though there are also many diseases on the rise regardless of age – autoimmune diseases, obesity-related diseases etc. So we have a double influence here raising the prevalence of especially chronic diseases.

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