Audio transcript: Do you consider yourself healthy?

Speaker One: I'm 21 years old and not healthy physically or mentally. I'm terrified to live [in] a world which implies that I am a burden. I don't like how I can live without help and I don't ever want to impose on someone else's life and freedom. I'm scared.

Speaker One: Yes, but I'm considering taking up smoking again.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaker One: Indeed, I do. I have spent my 65 years moving towards health – moving, walking, yoga, cycling, swimming and eating a wholesome vegetarian diet. Sure, I have some deficiencies. Thyroid function, need dopamine to assist sleep and a pill to keep the bastard genital herpes away. But I'm healthier than most people I think I know. Top tips: swim, walk barefoot, stimulate your feet and have as much sex as is womanly possible.

Speaker One: No. I break a little bit every day. Maria, aged 52.

Speaker One: I wonder if being healthy actually means being able to adapt our illnesses, whether physical or mental.

Speaker One: Yes, I do. But, at age 61, I feel that my health and good fortune are a gift I am in danger of squandering. I feel I need to earn my continued good health. This reveals the silent judgements I have made on others I have known who have been ill.

Speaker One: No. And being unhealthy is not a bad thing. Arthritis, et cetera, makes me not healthy. Unhealthy is seen as bad by society due to lack of knowledge.

Speaker One: I have been sober for 103 days and eight hours. I'm 26 years old. I drank heavily between early 2015 and the beginning of June 2019. The alcohol is gone, but I'm still me. Same as it ever was. I may have ruined the rest of my life already.

Speaker Three: No, I don't think anyone fits the ideal of being healthy.

Speaker One: Health is such an odd word. How do you know every bit of you is healthy? Is freedom from health? Where does mental distress fit in? Maybe healthy is just a balance on day when good health over bad health. Once over 50 or 60, being in good health is more of a lottery, something aches, looks, misbehaves. You can look healthy, but inside you are a mess. Take multiple sclerosis – fatigue, brain fog, but you look OK: my daughter. You can be crying inside after your sister’s suicide, but you look healthy. You can be severely depressed, arms showing self-harm, but look healthy: my daughter. Health is an artificial term. It tells you nothing. It tells the world nothing.

Speaker One: Two months ago, I went for a gynae appointment and was told I was very healthy. This was written on the report. But, since then, I have felt like something's very wrong. My chest hurts. My breasts hurt. I keep thinking I have breast cancer or will soon have a heart attack. I went to the doctor last week for a UTI. I told her. She said I was almost certainly fine. Hormones, menopause, I got some antibiotics. I felt better immediately, at least psychologically. But I still suspect something is wrong. I'm not sure I want to know so.

Speaker One: I wasn't born healthy. I went into cardiac arrest as a baby and was diagnosed with multiple heart defects. My childhood was plagued with feelings of being different because I was sickly and constantly in hospital. As an adult, I've shaken those feelings and now consider myself healthy, not because I'm not chronically ill any more – I am – but because of my actions and behaviour. I choose to be healthy. I eat a healthy diet. I run, I weightlift and I take care of my mental health. That's the key to feeling healthy for me.

Speaker One: I am alive and well. I am healthy. I try to look after my body and mind and to feel a little bit better each day, whether that means taking medication, or practising mindfulness. I have cerebral palsy and anxiety issues. You learn to manage each day as it comes and to live in the moment. I have a couple of conditions, but I'm healthy. Being alive is beautiful and I am happy. I'm able to keep learning, growing and coping.

Speaker One: I struggle to feel healthy. Most days, I feel a bit off. I have a slightly low thyroid. I suffer with anxiety, but try to keep going and believing in love.

Speaker One: Not currently, but I do consider myself working with my body to get there.

Speaker One: Hell, yeah. Health is wealth.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaker One: Thank you so much for asking. I feel healthier for reflecting this multidimensional part of life. Overall, yes, but how many things I can do to improve my health. Putting off to tomorrow, being asked to inspire me to make that today.

Speaker One: I tried to be, but fail, usually, on a daily basis.

Speaker One: Sometimes, I feel we are the sick. We were born in this society.

Speaker One: Not as healthy as I could be. I need to lose a lot of weight. But I don't drink or smoke, I cycle every day and eat a lot of fruit and veg. I had a lot of surgery as a child and needed a hip replacement when I was 30. I'm much more physically able now. My brother has always been super-fit and he had two different types of cancer by the time he was 30. I deserved much more of them than he did.

Speaker One: On good days, yes. I also have come to accept, slowly, with great struggle, that I will never be better or healthy, but I can be OK and well enough to do what I want to do. I am grateful to my body because it tries. Even when it tries to kill me, I can still be OK. I have to be.

Speaker One: Do I consider myself healthy? In short, no. The long story is no-one really is, after everything we've done to the environment and the world. How can consumption of that air pollution keep us healthy? I invite you to answer - how can we be healthy in the 21st century?

Speaker One: Well, I was diagnosed with lupus eight years ago, so that's a complicated question. Healthy has come to mean something different. I think, to me, it used to mean the absence of pain, but this state doesn't exist for me any more. Perhaps feel healthier when I am in less pain, but I no longer find the healthy/illness binary useful. There is no well-behaved body. Our bodies were born to decay. It just happens in different ways and illness is always there, lurking in the shadows, or in broad daylight.

Speaker One: I consider myself healthy for a sick person.

Speaker One: Today, I have sneezed over 100 times. My nose is runny and my eyes are itchy. Hay fever. I don't feel healthy at this present moment in time.

Speaker One: No. My body works differently to normal, all scrambled, with my heart on the wrong side. My lung is attacking itself with autoimmune conditions. I also have a lump in my boob. Nevertheless, I love my body. I'm not healthy, but I'm honestly me.

Speaker One: I'm so healthy, my doctor doesn't offer me antidepressants.

Speaker One: Perpetual interim space between the two.

Speaker One: Physically, healthier than I've ever been, which is ironic as it's partly the result of a nervous breakdown I had last year. Apart from medication and therapy, good food, no alcohol, walking and swimming have helped me the most.

Speaker One: Healthy is such a vague word. Honestly, in this generation, no-one is. You could be a vegan that exercises every day and still be unhealthy. All the chemicals pumped into our bodies makes no-one healthy despite best efforts. Don't even get anyone started on mental health.

Speaker One: I feel healthy, but I know I am damaging my body by starving myself and using drugs.

Speaker One: I do now that my chronic pain has gone. I consider myself healthy. But, maybe, also, post-ill. It was a different way of existing which I don't like to actively remember.

Speaker One: We're all sick in some way.

Speaker One: I consider myself healthy as long as I can walk in a forest.

Speaker One: I used to. Now "patient" is a part of my identity. I was diagnosed and treated for kidney cancer in 2017. At the same time, I am running marathons again and cycling 200, 300k a week. Healthy is now moment by moment.

Speaker One: Yes. I feel that health, my health, is holistic, lived experience, where it feels comfortable to explore thoroughly, using all of my five senses, and process and share the various outcomes with confidence and laughter and tears.

Speaker One: I think no-one truly knows what healthy means, not until you lose control of your health anyway. As a 19-year-old, no-one ever has to care about this meaning amongst my peers. I am not healthy. Living for five years with chronic pain and mental struggles daily, I notice others' healthiness in the luxury of carelessness and spontaneity. Health is freedom to look forward to your life.

Speaker One: I am probably halfway healthy. I work out a lot, but I also eat like shit. Love, Anonymous.

Speaker One: I don't consider health to be something that is static – yes, no, black, white. I think healthy is a conscious process and one that you have to put work into. I have suffered from trauma, anxiety and depression and getting myself to the stage where those things no longer control me means I am healthy. I don't think you can be healthy if you're not consciously working on yourself.

Speaker One: I would like to think so. I try to take a balance with mental and body health. I never think of death, but I do not think I am afraid of it. Only pain scares me. As the French say…

ASIDE: Can either of you read French?

Speaker One: Quand la santé va, tout va.

Speaker One: Thank you.

Speaker One: I feel healthy on a surface level. I eat right and exercise. But, within, I am constantly imagining the unborn cancers, swimming around. The kinds that took my family. I'm waiting for them.

Speaker One: My mother, in response to me telling her that I am about to start testosterone and hope to afford chest surgery soon, said, "I love and support you. I want you to be happy, but I struggle to see how it can be a good thing to medically intervene with healthy bodies." This made me think a lot about how, for me, health is in my body and mind, corresponding. For, there, it's about a body functioning. I am a trans binary person with a long history of mental health diagnoses. She is a binary woman, a nurse... and mother.

Speaker One: I feel overwhelmed by my fortune of health and my body, mind and freedom of choice to ensure I keep my body and mind safe. Like the good passport and the bad passport, none of us know what we are going to get, whether we are going to get. But the way I feel is so positive and hopeful. It is a real honour and I am so grateful, so thank you.

Speaker One: I consider myself less healthy than I'd like. Responsibilities and pressures sabotage me. I am a GP. I care daily for dying patients. I was widowed earlier, with two young children. I am more happily married now, to my wonderful wife, but I know that we hang by a thread. This is in our modern medical age and that life can level towards death in a minute.

Speaker One: For sure I am not, even though I tend to fear I have diseases, whenever I notice something on my body or in my mind. I cannot say I am perfectly healthy either, but I think Instagram and other social networks are fucking up our perception on health. We're following all the influencers, but not looking to your body and mind.

Speaker One: I feel like I'm floating. Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning, but then I always try and float again.

Speaker One: I consider myself healthy today, but, much of my life, I have been chronically unhealthy, physically, due to cystic fibrosis. I am healthy because of lung transplantation, I am healthy because of immune suppression and steroids. I am healthy because of nature and trees. I am healthy because of human love. I am healthy because of my donor. (Kiss.)

Speaker One: At the moment. I had breast cancer three years ago, poison, slash and burn, so I'm now a uniboober. I am also a runner. I'm running for my health.

Speaker One: I'm diseased, perverse and sometimes suicidal. But, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaker One: Technically, technically I am. But I don't feel healthy. I constantly feel I will get ill any second.

Speaker One: Yes and no. There are aspects of my body that are biologically healthy, like iron count, haemoglobin count, et cetera. But there are aspects that are not. I am overweight, have dyslexia – something that I don't think makes me unhealthy, but is kind of a defect, or something that makes me different. I have PTSD from my dad's death from cancer, when I was nine. Overall, I would say I'm healthy, but there are always ways to improve myself.

Speaker One: I am on the journey to being well again. I just don't want to do it alone.

Speaker One: Yes, actually. I have Crohn's disease, but I feel I am healthy, because I make successful efforts to take care of myself and limit the impact my disease has on my body and my mind. I do this by continually talking over my choices, how to treat my condition. I will disagree with my doctors, if I need to, and find alternative treatments if I didn't like what they suggest. It's treating mind first in the type my body will allow and I will exercise a great deal. Still winning.

Speaker One: Healthy? No. I try to eat well, maintain a balanced diet, to practise sleep hygiene, meditate and self-love, share warmth with others, but, inside, I feel sick, a deep burrow of poison has accumulated and I don't know how fast it's moving, but it makes me feel sick emotionally. Physically and mentally, I don't want to get out of bed. I don't want to be near loved ones. I don't or can't spread joy, because of fear of spreading poison, so I push, push away and, really, if inside is not well, how can other parts be healthy?

Speaker One: I am healthier than millions, billions of people. Does that make me healthy? No. It makes me lucky.

Speaker One: Not really. Waves of melancholy are sometimes confused as imposter syndrome. Healthy makes us supple when laughs are in short supply. Laughter is the best medicine. I last laughed yesterday.

Speaker One: Seemingly, I'm not dying of disease, but illness rules my life and restricts it. I'm not healthy and I'm not dying; a weird between.

Speaker One: Yes, I do. But my psyche is scarred from my husband leaving me 12 years ago.

Speaker One: I'm a 41-year-old woman. I have borne two grown children and four others have passed through my womb. I had a hysterectomy 14 years ago and I've got cysts in my breasts and under my scars which can't be removed. I just ran 10k with no training, to prove I rule this body and it doesn't rule me. But that is a lie. She holds me hostage, a willing prisoner.

Speaker One: I am Deaf. Before, I was hard-of-hearing. With Deafness came a language, community and culture I love, clearly. I never want to give up. It taught me a new kind of independence, but I know I'm missing out. I'm missing something and I can't even say for sure what it is, because I can't hear it. I have vague memories of it. All my friends have it. Am I healthy? No idea.

Speaker One: I was not a citizen of health. I was born by Caesarean, spent parts of my childhood at appointments. Physically, I passed the test, discharged at 13, but, like a fugitive, I was without papers. I formally met mental illness through CAMHS, admitted November 2017 to psychiatric care. I completed my deconstruction as a person and metamorphosis into a patient. As a citizen of illness, I could be Lady Lazarus. I reduced myself to cubes. I have lost count of my bruises. I discharged a dual citizen. I am starting to participate. It's nice to meet you. (smiley face)

Speaker One: No. I've had Crohn's disease for 36 years, and major depressive disorder for most of my adult life. However, these things haven't stopped me being an excellent nurse, mother and now grandmother.

Speaker One: As of today, I am free from cancer, in remission from Hodgkin's lymphoma. But I'm not completely well – left with a stomach that is delicate, skin that still peels from radiotherapy and unable to have pain-free sex.

Speaker One: Probably. Sometimes I take paracetamol though. And sometimes I wash it down with wine.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaker One: Do you consider yourself to be healthy? Yes. Despite one, obesity – ten stone. Two, deep cataract, right eye, only light/dark, no vision. Three, high blood pressure. Four, stomach tear at side of navel showing as partly distended stomach. Five, frequent heartburn. Six, bad right ankle means some days walking with a limp and pain. Seven, but otherwise 100% healthy.

Speaker One: I have a chronic condition, PGAD, which can be painful and traumatising. This also affects my mental health, and my depression and hopelessness has gotten very bad in the past. However, I consider myself healthy as my attitude is positive. I have to adapt my life and stay mentally well, to cope. So, I have to believe I am healthy or at least believe I will get better in the future.

Speaker One: My packet of untaken medication. Secretly stopping my meds – does this make me healthy?

Speaker One: Health. Body function how you wish. Most of the time I should see a doctor about a lump that appeared around exam time. But without time, I had myself.

Speaker One: I'm reflective and open to other people. I'm quite socially healthy. I'm content and aware. I'm quite mentally healthy. However, I am achy and sick in my body as I do not invest in my body's health and take it for granted a lot. Thank you, body.

Speaker One: Yes, I'm fairly happy and thank the world for it every day.

Speaker One: Yes, I am healthy because I can live the way I want, though illness is getting in the way. I have everything I need – a home, food, friends, family, love and work. I have chronic conditions – allergies, migraine and scars from surgeries, but I don't think about these most of the time. They can be a pain sometimes, but everyone has something to deal with and I'm really lucky, compared to many. Love is the most important thing and remember to take care of yourself. Stress is probably the hardest thing as it can throw everything else off track – sleep, exercise, eating well, et cetera. So, yes, I'm healthy and lucky.

Speaker One: I think I'm addicted to chocolate and my mouth tastes like blood when I run.

Speaker One: Not really. I feel like I could do more and would like to stop drinking Pepsi Max.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaker One: Objectively, technically, I am healthy. But there exists a perverse desire in me to believe I am ill to explain my mental health shortcomings.

Speaker One: I hope so. Healthy enough to live a fruitful life worth living until the very end.

Speaker One: Yes, because I can now poo every day.

Speaker One: I sometimes think I may not be, but I stay away from doctors so I don't find out.

Speaker One: No, I have spina bifida and it usually reminds me of its presence on a daily basis. But I don't usually take it into account. I tell it to shush, really. (smiley face)

Speaker One: Sometimes, then my body decides otherwise and I am surprised.

Speaker One: My initial reaction is to say I could always do better in terms of health. The media and health companies probably influence me to feel guilt at not going to the gym enough or taking vitamins, et cetera. I also get a reluctance to say yes, I am healthy, due to the mental health diagnosis I have. But, at this moment in time, I feel very healthy. So, I will answer yes. I consider myself healthy.

Speaker One: No, I do not consider myself healthy. Since moving to London for university, my diet has improved, yes. However, I've started smoking more and more. And I'm bulimic. These are things I've never written down. I feel terribly for living this way, but I can't help it. Mental Illness affects everything, including your physical health. The unfortunate reality.

Speaker One: Nah, my body resists me trying to be fit by getting injured or ill. Also ADHD sucks. ADHD is fun until five years pass and you still have the same goals.

Speaker One: I consider myself as healthy as I can be in the life I've chosen. The world doesn't view me as healthy as I'm a fat woman. It's taken 28 years for me to shake that belief off myself. Fuck that.

Speaker One: I feel strong mentally and physically 75% of the time. When I feel mentally fragile, I seek help from Buddhism, Japanese type. When I feel weak physically, from old injuries, I fear old age, dependency and think of suicide.

Speaker One: I do. I am emotional for a man, but aware of why I do the unhealthy things I do. I'm learning to love my body.

Speaker One: Yes. But when you have a loved one that's ill with cancer, for example, you too always feel unwell, never quite happy.

Speaker One: I am healthy. But don't quote me on that.

Speaker One: No. Grief is lifelong, isn't it? Ask me again in a couple of years.

Speaker One: Whether I consider myself sick or healthy depends on the context I am in and what I am doing. As someone with a chronic vaginal condition, I find myself increasingly negating my sexuality so as not be confronted with my sickness. With my sexual limitations, however, has come a new sensual apprehension of the world and everyday stimuli. In some ways, my bodily sickness has precipitated a healthier and more robust mind.

Speaker One: I was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic degenerative illness that affects multiple organs, but primarily the lungs. My lung function was now about 65% and for most of my life was about 45%. By the time I was 21, my health was very bad and I was in hospital for nearly two years. Age 23, I received a life-saving and life-changing double lung transplant. Now, there's no more oxygen, long treatment regimes, wheelchairs. I still have cystic fibrosis, but my lungs don't. And I live a normal life. I'm as healthy as I'll ever be. So, yes, I consider myself healthy, although others might not.

Speaker One: Being in hospital, I began my journey into being healthy. And, now I'm out, I'm not healthy yet, but I'm learning how to be. I made myself a home in my illness. But I know now that I don't have to live there forever.

Speaker One: Yes, 70. Active, sexy, wise.

Speaker One: My brain is broken, but my body works. So, I'm healthy, like a child with a broken arm is healthy.

Speaker One: We're living in the wake of slavery. Racism. No. I'm black and racism plagues me; economic disadvantage and micro organisms at work. It catches you up eventually. I might feel OK right now, then you hope you have no racist doctors. Where is the care for black bodies and ideas?

Speaker One: 80% of the time. Chronic illness, narcolepsy and cataplexy. I forget I have it sometimes.

Speaker One: Yes and no. Being 16, it's hard to tell if I am fat, or sane.

Speaker One: I consider myself healthy like a curate's egg, i.e. good in parts.

Speaker One: Mentally, I am on a path of recovery. So, my mind I would say is healthy. Physically, I'm a vegetarian and I am not strict with my sweet tooth. I smoke cigarettes and a fuckload of hash. I drink, I am chubby, but I love my body. So, yes, both mentally and physically, I am healthy.

Speaker One: As I am writing this, I am in pain. Physically, my back hurts and I am struggling to stand. Because I am young, I am confused about how to handle pain. I feel I should be able to get over it, to not let it slow me down. But not slowing down is why I don't feel healthy. Neither physically nor mentally, emotionally. There is this quote from a John Green book, "Pain demands to be felt," but I am often told that, because of my youth, and, really, because of capitalism, there is no time to feel pain, even when your body demands it of you. And, so I keep doing and going with this lingering fear and awareness that, at some point, my body will break, will crash. I am struggling to stand and my response is to move faster and work harder. And I feel that that is an unkindness to myself, to my body.

Speaker One: My first reaction, yes. I am able-bodied and I don't suffer from my physical illnesses or impairments. However, for the past six months, I have been struggling on and off with an eating disorder, binge eating, which is not healthy. I also suffer from depression. But I eat healthily when not suffering from binge eating. I do rarely eat processed foods. And I eat a large variety of vegetables and fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and kombucha. Making my own food and eating healthily is very important to me. I also do boxing training regularly, now I'm back in London. Trans masculine, 20-something years old.

Speaker One: Physically healthy, yes, with my mental health improving day by day. I have struggled significantly with addiction in the past, and I am forever thankful for the life I have now.

Speaker One: I used to be healthy. Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune, autoinflammatory form of arthritis. It took me 12 years to get diagnosed. I can no longer hike, bike and walk like I used to. My body was once a vigorous mover. While I am finally on a cocktail of medications that are allowing me to finally get some mobility back, it's not uncommon for such meds to stop working, necessitating another round of trial and error. Any health I might come to feel, therefore, feels quite precious. Life uncertain, able to change at any moment.

Speaker One: I consider myself healthy as every day I eat five or seven fruits and vegetables. I only have fast food on very rare occasions and order the healthiest option. I brush my teeth for two minutes twice a day. Daniel, 11 years old.

Speaker One: I'm pickled in Tiger Balm and various alcohols. Plus, my knee hurts and this shoe rubs.

Speaker One: My father was a lecturer in literature in postcolonialism, much respected and published, he's won awards for his writings. At 73, he has the signs of dementia. He can no longer read, no longer write without careful support. It's hard for him, he's frustrated. Communication, which always came naturally to him, is suddenly difficult. A man who helped hundreds of students study identity is now losing his. But he's still him. Still the man we love, and spending time with him is always the best.

Speaker One: Yes, I'm 28 years old and in generally good health, despite arthritis in my knees. I am active, generally well and take care of my mental health. I studied vaccine confidence and I found it fascinating how many vaccine sceptics refuse vaccines, because they feel their unvaxxed kids are healthier than their friends vaxxed kids. How do they know? They say this is the unhealthiest generation ever and correlate it with more vaccines. Yet, they forget that our life expectancy is significantly high, higher now than 100 years ago, and infant mortality is so much lower.

Speaker One: Sometimes, it's easy to get up, take a shit, eat, bathe, smile, communicate, love. Sometimes, it's not so easy.

Speaker One: I have a healthy mind, sometimes. But my body is a piece of shit. I try to love her but mostly I want to chop her into tiny bits. Nobody gets what it feels like. My spinal cord cyst is a cunt. Love you, kiss, kiss, kiss.

Speaker One: Please see other side. I hope it doesn't upset you. If it does, then please know that I will be fine and everything will work out awesomely. My hands and my feet both have the correct number of fingers and toes. My hair shines bright and my smile gleams, for I have no foes. I may be a bit chubby, enjoy my youth with bubbly bee, but my skin remains soft and my body the envy of those with more visible woes. Yet, look closer and you may see my eyes reflecting the flames caging my mind, once before free. My skin, though young and smooth and soft and supple, bears scars and burns from memories, over a couple of months, from years and years ago. Formed while my mind and body were as young as a doe, these memories of a trusted man's touch Sellotape my lips so I can't say much. It pierces straight through the heart, a pain like no other, not even death's art. Have on, woman. This was bloody years ago. They shout and, indeed, I had lots of years of hard work overcoming doubt. And then he came back again with his sneer and now his deep, hollow voice is all I hear. The memories become life and I forget all that I am. My body shakes, my heart races, as my skin feels the dashes of his touch. I'm a helpless lamb. The feelings with the world and the people within all carry a mistrust. Leaving myself feels a sin. Most of the scars, my lips now know words to express them. And, so, they become silent and hidden, like a dress. But still the luckiest girl in the world I am for the love showered upon me by friends means resurgam.

Speaker One: Somewhat. Menopause has made me feel less like myself. Sad.

Speaker One: It is beyond physical health, social, emotions, mental. I have a neurological condition, Tourette’s, but that doesn't make me unhealthy. It can make me feel mad at times. I am cycling, and it makes me feel healthier, at least making a healthier choice and alive. The feeling of being truly alive in the wild, by a river, swimming in a lake. Happiness.

Speaker Two: I'm thinking about how I understand this question. What is health, good health? To be able to fulfil my potential, physically and emotionally, but the body keeps the score. And, so, I try to eat better, to run... away. But my mind is wherever I am. I try to be in my body, to help my mind be well. I'm privileged in many ways, broken in others. I'm still not sure I understand the question.

Speaker One: Yes, after many years of searching for resolution to my various illnesses, physical, emotional and intellectual, I have come to rest in a place of calm.

Speaker One: My response is to laugh at this question. And I did laugh out loud. None of us are healthy. All of us are broken in some way, to greater or lesser extents. Anyone who says they're healthy is lying. But, the simple answer, no.

Speaker One: Seasonal.

Speaker One: I believe health, or my understanding of my own health, can be relative. I try to keep in good physical shape, but my mental health is 100% not where it should be. I suffer from PTSD and still don't know how to come to terms with the places my mind tries to take me back to.

Speaker One: Yes, I do. I have MS. I was diagnosed 14 months ago. I'm very lucky I have medication. Thank you, NHS. Hopefully, I'll never have another relapse. I exercise, I eat well, I drink little, I do not smoke. I am.

Speaker One: I am disabled, but that doesn't make me unhealthy. However, there are other things that mean I'm both disabled and unhealthy.

Speaker One: No, I ache.

Speaker One: I am 47 years old. I am a man living with HIV. I consider myself very healthy. I am vegetarian, exercise daily. Ran 12 full marathons, including Boston, and I do frequent half marathons. I've never been hospitalised, and my mental attitude and body tells me I am healthy. Sebastian from Israel.

Speaker One: I am 97% on pharmaceuticals. As long as they keep working, as long as I keep dancing, I'm happy.

Speaker One: No, I drink too much and have far too much casual sex.

Speaker One: The things that I do to keep myself healthy are probably very bad for me.

Speaker One: I have incurable ovarian cancer, but I consider myself well. I don't know if I can claim the healthy word, but I feel it today.

Speaker One: Better not to consider too much. Better to get out there and do. That almost always makes a difference for the better. The focus on introversion and therapy has the potential to do harm as well as good. Almost everyone is always a little bit unwell.

Speaker One: Yes, I am healthy. But I am overweight, have aches and pains with age, have two knee replacements and suffer from a bad back due to my nursing career. But I consider myself healthy. I can see, hear, taste, move, think for myself, laugh, cry, pee, and I'm happy, content and have family and friends. What more could one ask for?

Speaker One: For a 78-year-old, yes. Physically, many parts feel worn, but still operate OK-ish. Mentally, learning new things is a lot more difficult. But day-to-day living is no problem in this complex world. Hearing, understanding accents is more difficult.

Speaker One: I look healthy in society's eyes. I am considered healthy because I am skinny and petite. However, I am not. I'm constantly fatigued, emotionally, physically and mentally. I suffer from depression and anxiety along with an unhealthy, dangerous relationship with food. I am not healthy, though may look it.

Speaker One: Not really. I try to, every year, but I just love food too much.

Speaker One: Illness can take away choices. You are not defined by it; you are still you.

Speaker One: No, LOL. This is me. (picture of a woman in a wheelchair) I have hip impingement and chronic inflammation. There are bone spurs on my hips and my tendons are shredded. I'm hoping the next treatment works. I don't want to be in pain my whole life. If I have to choose between walking again and getting rid of the pain, I'd rather lose the pain.

Speaker One: Endometriosis is my identity, sexuality, gender. It is at the core of me, wrapped around my organs. I hate it and I don't know anything else.

Speaker One: Still winning, still alive, still rocking, still experiencing and giving joy. Illness is like the absence of wings, gills or unicorn horn, you can still manage.

Speaker One: Yes. Why is it any of your business?

Speaker One: Yes, because I brush my teeth. Joseph, I'm five years old.

Speaker One: I think that I'm kind of healthy, because I eat ice cream and snacks. Jess, aged six and a half.

Speaker One: I consider myself more interesting based on my illnesses, my defects.

Speaker One: Yes, luckily. I have Treacher Collins syndrome, which means I'm moderately deaf and have a facial deformity, neither of which affect my mortality, but perhaps made me more considerate of the body, how it's perceived, its ability. I think it's also helped build resilience, given me a sense of rootedness, mentally. Thank you for a brilliant experience. What an amazing opportunity to open up these conversations.

Speaker One: Piss, eight. Blood, five. Shit, ten. Puke, nine. Spit, one. Pussy juice, five. Spunk, four. Sweat, three. Tears, two. Pus, seven.

Speaker One: My oncologist says I'm healthy. But when my partner told me one day, sadly sounding, as I stood naked in the bedroom, that he looked at me and all he saw was cancer – I still carry that inside of me.

Speaker One: Healthy, what is healthy? Is it the extent to which we can look after ourselves? Is it just how well we feel in our own bodies? Is it an ideal human standard? I have depression. There are good days and bad days. There are coping mechanisms, but no cure. Today's a fairly good day, so I guess, today, I'm fairly healthy. But is a depression of diagnosis anyone's objective idea of healthy? Probably not. (heart)

Speaker One: Maybe the question should be, can we really be healthy in today's world? Can we really be healthy in a society that pollutes our water and our ground, the two primary sources of nurture essential for life? Can we really be healthy, when all around us we are exposed to messages of violence, usurpation, domination, indifference and we are told that it is just how it is? Maybe even how it should be. We are all ill.

Speaker One: I dance, I dream. I'm overweight. I had my first heart attack five years ago and await my next. Loves life, my worth, my partner, the beauty.

Speaker One: I consider myself healthy. I do calisthenics and yoga, eat mostly plants. I'm very fit, but I have HIV. I smoke, sometimes, I beat myself up mentally. Although, I'm still optimistic about the future.

Speaker One: Yes, I do right now. A little tired after a great night out with friends. In the past, I've had mental health problems, awful. But, right now, I'm really enjoying all that life has given me and that I've made for myself. I've had a few happy years now. It's been great. (heart)

Speaker One: I cycled here today. I had a big lunch, so I won't have dinner. I drink about 10, 15 units of alcohol a week and I don't smoke. I'm happily married and my family is healthy as well. I feel blessed. I am 52 years old and I still feel like a child.

Speaker One: I'm a diabetic, with a fantastic immune system. I'm the healthiest sick person I know.

Speaker One: No. And I am afraid.

Speaker One: At the age of 76, I consider myself to be healthy, even though I've had a hip replacement, have osteoarthritis, and recently diagnosed with polymyalgia. My mindset is so positive. I love life. And I know it. I stopped all my activities, Tai Chi, water therapy, Pilates and fire classes. It would be the worst, for fear. Everyone, keep fit, and move.

Speaker One: Yeah, bro. I go to the gym and I lift pretty big.

(LAUGHTER)

Speaker One: No, and I hate the impact it has on my family and partner and the fact that most of my friends have disappeared as a result. I also hate that I am too healthy or not sick enough to be considered properly disabled, but that, in myself, I am not healthy and will have these conditions for life.

Speaker One: Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on that. Yes, I consider myself healthy, because I feel reconciliation with death. I have found the answers I was looking for. I have found my purpose in life. Besides, I have belief in CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine) and I follow homeopathy, Chinese herbs, shiatsu treatment, Zen meditation and aerobics. I am well-informed about food and have changed my dietary habits. No sugar, no white flour, no animal milk.

Speaker One: Recently came off social media as it was becoming addictive. It's not good for our overall wellbeing. The mind affects the body, the body affects the mind.

Speaker One: After ten years of ME, CFS and fibro, it is every part of my identity, how I manage my day-to-day life and my strength, determination and grit to get out of bed every day and put on my mask, because no-one else would know I'm operating at 500% just to be there.

Speaker One: Under capitalism, a human's natural state is illness.

Speaker One: At the moment, yes, but usually lack self-care and don't always focus on my wellbeing. Being pregnant makes me focus for the baby, so health is paramount now.

Speaker One: No, I don't feel healthy. I had breast cancer last year, and I can't shake the sense of altered reality. I still have issues with chemotherapy side effects, which may last all my life. I live in a perpetual state of anxiety that cancer will return and also that the increasingly underfunded NHS will not be able to save me next time. I feel that my entire life has changed, and so will always bear the shadow of illness.

Speaker One: Yes, I do. They don't.

Speaker One: When I am not sad, I feel healthy. When the sun is shining, and my life is feeling complete, I feel healthy. When the darkness comes, both outside and inside, I don't feel healthy.

Speaker One: Do I consider myself healthy? Yes, and fortunate to be so, but sometimes I feel I will never live up to society's ideal of what a healthy body should look like. Aged 24.