Please note that this blog is regarding suicide and a person’s right to choose. It is in no way meant to incite anyone having suicidal thoughts into action. It is meant more as an offering of a different way to look at suicide in our world. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek help before taking drastic action.
When my mother was in palliative care there was a general theme that I found to be quite frustrating. The theme was that there could only be so many pain meds administered because they were “very addictive”. I would get so frustrated and angry at that. Listening to a loved one moan and groan in pain when morphine or whatever other opiate could easily take her out of that pain was more than agonising. It was cruel to have her go through that, and it was cruel to make her family go through that. My answer would always be, “So what? Maker her the happiest stoned corpse she can be! It is not like she is going to bounce back!” But no.
This scenario is exactly why so many terminally ill patients choose to commit suicide. There are still, to this day, religions that will not allow the body of someone who has chosen suicide to be buried in the church graveyard. They are considered somewhat tainted. So they are buried off of the church grounds. This, to me, is insane. It is so extremely judgemental and it only serves to escalate the church’s religious dogma. In the meantime it humiliates the family and spouts on about the soul of the departed being condemned to either “hell” or “purgatory”. What complete and utter bullshit.
Pain, and I do not care what kind of pain one is talking about here…be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, is excruciating. There is no way to compare one person’s pain with that of another. Pain is pain. And what is slight to one person will be gigantic to another. People with depression have lived with stigma for their entire lives and thus have often not sought help for that. And when they do the help is often inadequate at best as the medical profession screws around with meds and the dosages and so on until a person is either completely dead inside or completely out of their minds. No, I do not have a very good opinion of how we, as a society at large, treat the mentally ill. It is not their fault that they are ill. The fact that the illness cannot be immediately identified upon sight also does not help the situation. You are in a wheel chair and many have compassion for your circumstance. You are mentally ill and no one does. You are considered to be a total failure. This lack of compassion must stop.
In the meantime, people with suicidal thoughts are also thought to be weak and unable to make a “proper” decision for themselves, so absolutely anything and everything is done to take that decision away from them. In essence, they are treated as though they have no say whatsoever in how this all turns out for them. They are treated like criminals. After all, suicide is illegal in many parts of the world.
Here is the thing. I have known a few people who have chosen suicide over a long and painful death, over a long and painful life. I understand completely why they chose to do what they did. It is not like I have in any way encouraged it. But I totally get it. Pain is pain. And when that pain goes on long enough, there is a desperate need to just make it stop. That is not a “selfish act”. It is a desperate act. But it is also a powerful act.
I remember one of the people being talked about after she decided to commit suicide. The person speaking of it was so engrossed in the dogma and stigma of it that she was not actually paying attention to how the words were affecting the suicidal person’s sister. I had to step in. I had to put a stop to the berating words that were hammering into this poor woman’s head from a so-called friend. I interjected with, “Look, you have NO IDEA what she was going through when she chose to end her life. You have no place to stand on a soap box and preach your rhetoric about suicide and how selfish and horrible it is. You are so completely ignorant of so much, and that is shown to the world with every word you are uttering. And, by the way, she did not take her own life. She took her life back.” The sister broke out in tears and screamed, “Yes!!! That is what she did!”
I feel that we treat our animals with more compassion than we often treat our family members. When they are palliative we compassionately help them to move to the next realm. But family members are often expected to hold on and suffer and fight the long fight…and those expecting this are not the ones experiencing the pain. So they are the ones who are being selfish. Everyone should have the right to choose their exit strategy. So far my own exit strategy is to drop dead of a heart attack at 102 years of age while being chased around the bed during after play by my 20-something year old lover (gender non-specific). When one is depressed for years with no hope left of a normal life, they should not be thought of as less than simply because they choose to end the suffering. When someone is palliative they should be able to choose the less painful way to leave our world.
Until that balances out in our consciousness, we really do not have ANY personal power.