If it doesn't seem like ten years since we played the national guessing game "Is the Troika here?", and then bounced Fianna Fáil out of government, that might be because our lives have got shorter since then.

I had been meaning for some time to fact-check ads that the Department of Health had been running online claiming that our lives were getting longer and longer. But it was just one of those things I kept on forgetting to follow up on. 

Researching the 'Boom Bust Broke' podcast series meant I had run out of excuses not to just get on with it.

On its own, the claim the Department was making in its animated promotional videos was accurate, "Over the past decade we have added, on average three months per year to our life expectancy".

The CSO figures confirmed it. But it was only accurate if you take the last ten years in isolation. If you look at the ten years before the crash and austerity programme, we were adding on average five months per year to our life expectancy.

Then Taoiseach Enda Kenny and then IMF chief Christine Lagarde

I asked Sara Burke, the Assistant Professor in Trinity College’s Health Policy Centre, was I reading the numbers right. She looked at them and confirmed, "What we are seeing since 2010 is … a halving in the rate of life expectancy increases."

In other words, should we have every good reason to believe that we should have been living two years longer if it wasn’t for something that happened in 2010? "Absolutely. That is completely true," confirmed Professor Burke.

Two years might make those events seem an awful lot closer in the rear-view mirror than they actually were. Or more likely it is the case that we haven’t been able to drive far enough away from them to signpost them in our minds as history.

We are still living with some of the most savage cutbacks in the area of health that remain in place since they were introduced.

Dr Kevin Kelly, a family GP in Wexford, alerted me to practically the first health service cut of the austerity era. A withdrawal of service to medical card holders for women’s reproductive and sexual health. It was a decision which imposed painful, if not non-existent, sex lives on tens of thousands of women, which has never been reversed. 

"Because we made a decision to bailout the banks it removed access for women to a service that they had had," says Dr Kelly.

There are still 55,000 mortgages in arrears

We are also still living with one of the biggest legacies of the crash - the mortgage crisis. Though you might be forgiven for not having noticed because we have stopped talking about it.

There are still 55,000 mortgages in arrears. Fifty-five thousand mortgages is, in human terms, the homes of somewhere over 200,000 people.

These people are living in the early stages of a process we no longer call eviction. The banks and courts prefer terms like 'voluntary surrender’.

"People always avoid physical seizures," says NUIG Law Lecturer and Director of the university’s Housing Policy Centre, Dr Padraic Kenna.

With another mortgage crisis looming he is alarmed by the snail’s pace of resolutions, "about 1,000 cases a year through personal insolvency".

At that rate we will have cleaned up the mess from the last mortgage crisis by 2076.

And the events of ten years ago are still the events of today and tomorrow for so many.

One of the most disarming interviews in the podcast series is with Sarah Gill. She struggled through "very dark times" during the austerity years as a single parent, fretting about where every last euro was spent, mystified by why she had to pay for someone else’s errors.

Where her strength lets her down is when I ask her about Austerity Version 2.0 - paying for the pandemic. There’s a break in her voice as she replies, "I don’t want to even think about that. That’s going to be a hard year."

All this stress changed us and how we view the world. You can draw a pretty straight line between the bank guarantee and the rise of conspiracy theorists.

Along that line you’ll find a loss of trust. Not just in institutions like banks, political parties and legacy media, but a loss of faith in each other.

That’s the analysis of Prof Orla Muldoon, a Political Psychologist, who got her doctorate in Northern Ireland researching how trauma can change the personality of a whole society.

Her research points towards the stress of austerity, eviction, unemployment or emigration causing physiological changes in the body which in turn encourage a phenomenon she calls ‘cognitive narrowing’.

"Where people do this black and white thinking. And the shades of grey that we … had previously, aren’t there so much. Because we are so caught up in our (own) distress that we find it difficult to take the perspective of another."

Boom Bust Broke is an attempt to paint a canvas of the last ten years in those shades of grey. Strip out the absolutist black and whites. Get past my own "did it make us or nearly break us" strapline and show how that decade simultaneously nearly broke some of us while also making us what we are now.

All ten episodes of Boom Bust Broke are available for download now wherever you get your podcasts.