Do I have the right to die?
Should we all, as self-determining adult humans be able to decide how and when our lives end?
If you have a mental illness which puts your life or the life of others in danger you can have your rights taken away from you.
Depression is categorized as a mental illness.
The desire to end your own life by suicide is obviously putting your life in danger.
So there is a catch-22 wherein if you don’t want to kill yourself then you are allowed to, but as soon as you decide to take your own life you instantly lose the right to make that decision.
The only option is to kill yourself unexpectedly, because if you make your desire known you will be stripped of rights, incarcerated, and medicated; potentially for years.
Legally then I have no right to die.
If a pet is unwell we take it to the vet.
The vet explains that your family dog or cat is in terrible pain and discomfort, that it’s quality of life is very bad, that there is no hope of improvement, and that the best thing to do is to put it to sleep to ease its suffering.
It is “the kindest thing to do.”, “the humane thing to do”.
This same kindness is very rarely extended to the human animal. Though euthanasia does sometimes happen, for some reason the same act which is ethical and humane when applied to a dog is seen as unethical and inhumane when applied to a person.
Right to Refuse Treatment
The closest thing we have to legal euthanasia for humans is the right to refuse treatment.
If I was diagnosed with cancer I would have the right to refuse any and all treatment and just let nature take its course, even where this would definitely result in my death.
So in terminal illness I do have the right to die.
The problem in suicide is the catch-22; if I’m depressed then the illness is in my “mind” rather than my body, so I’m “crazy” and can no longer be trusted to make decisions. So my right to refuse treatment is taken away and I can be physically restrained and injected with powerful medication against my wishes.
The distinction between illness of mind or body is false. The mind is a function of the brain, the brain is a part of the body.
I have suffered from depression for around fifteen years. There have been ups and downs but overall I would describe that decade and a half as crushingly miserable and hopeless.
During my life I can considered suicide many many times, though I’ve never made an ernest attempt.
I have also worked in psychiatric hospitals where I have seen screaming weeping children beg for death while a room for of strangers pin them down and inject them with sedatives.
Depression is at worse a chronic and lifelong condition. It is debilitating. It is all encompassing.
Like the dog at the vet, I am in terrible pain and discomfort.
My quality of life is very bad.
There is no hope of improvement.
If I choose to end my life it will be because it is a kindness; because it is the humane thing to do.
I’m not insane, I’m not irrational, I don’t need to be hospitalized, I just need my wishes to be respected.
I wish to have the right to die