Under No Illusions

Depression lies.  I am under no illusions about the serious struggle that those who are depressed battle daily as they are hounded and try not to listen to an inner voice that I’ve never heard.  An inner voice that says they are worthless.  That they are unloved.  That the world would be better off if they were no longer here.


The URL for the above photo (if The Washington Post lets it remain):


Maybe I’m arrogant, but I’ve been blessed to have a smart-mouthed inner voice, one that immediately thinks, “You and what army?!!” when told that I can’t win against someone, or can’t stand up for what I believe is right.

When battling the kids at school, running home each day in fear of the life being beaten out of me – I was never depressed.  Something inside me, always, has replied with sass when told I was not good enough, not wanted, not pretty.  I didn’t give a damn long enough to let such condemnation paralyze me.

Despite crippling fear, a father who hated my very existence which drained the funds from his bank account with every asthmatic and COPD-based illness, kids with whom I couldn’t find common ground, I was never suicidal.

Something in me has always wanted to live, wants to prosper, wants to adventure – regardless of the weakening of my body as COPD continues to have its way with me.  Regardless of the very real exhaustion I feel as my disease continues to take its toll.

As I read the story above, as one sister morns the decision of another, I feel empathy.

We will never know what causes one person to end their life.  We will never know what causes one person to say, “this far and no further”, and mean it.

Instead, I will always wish that the person who killed themselves is at peace.

If you’ve seen the film, “A Beautiful Mind”, you might be lucky enough to find an understanding of the tricks that one’s mind can play on people suffering from depression or schizophrenia.  Imagine being aware enough of the outside world that you knew you were out of your mind, but were unable to drown out the voice that was calling you to end the madness?  Trapped with that relentless voice.

I am thankful every day that my own illness is something physical and not something mental.  That, while I am trapped in an ailing body, my mind is still relatively healthy and not tormenting me.

As I wrote in Pro-Euthanasia Does Not = Suicidal, I see a fine line between being able to debate a quality of life decision, and being driven to end pain and suffering.

For anyone I disturbed or alarmed by my Pro-Euthanasia viewpoint, I apologize.  I don’t understand the nightmares you may live with when contemplating every new dawn and trying to find the energy to go on.

However, that being said, and in light of the eulogy included from Eleni Pinnow about the decision of her sister to end her life, I will insist that Euthanasia is not Suicide but a rational choice when all other quality of life decisions have been exhausted.

Suicide is a whole other issue, which I am not all all qualified to discuss or to try and resolve.  I just know that they are two very different things.

2 thoughts on “Under No Illusions

  1. So you were ‘pimped’ on my blog today because for the on-line blogging ‘class’ I’m taking I’m supposed to: ” Today, leave a comment in which you ask the blogger a relevant question or two.”

    We’ve had a few conversations now about euthanasia (voluntary) and the can o’ worms that can (theoretically) open in terms of how ‘sick’ is ‘sick enough’ and who decides who would be a good candidate for voluntary euthanasia and so I think I can ask these two following questions and I will hope that since we’ve already discussed them to some extent, they won’t take up a whole lot of time for you to answer them if you’d like to.

    What is the most important (pressing) factor that would determine someone’s eligibility for voluntary euthanasia (besides their desire to die with dignity)?

    Who do you feel should be ‘in charge’ of implementing such a ‘law’ (if it becomes a law) and who should enforce it? This can open up a myriad host of segues and discussions … like how much government involvement is too much in such a personal decision; should people with mental rather than physical illnesses that are ‘terminal’ (such as Alzheimer’s or traumatic brain injury) be considered for voluntary euthanasia?

    If you have any comments you’d like to add, please do. My readers are watching!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, very interesting. Especially since I’m struggling with the whole “who gets benefits issue” from the insurance company (i.e., yet another “committee”).

    “What is the most important factor that would determine someone’s eligibility for voluntary euthanasia (besides their desire to die with dignity)?”

    – For me, it’s their previously-expressed wish, established and documented long outside the moment of crisis. Things like the conversations in this blog are a prime example. Things like actually drafting a will (or, having a dated card in their pocket which expresses their wishes). I’ve had such a card in place since a friend died in 1998 (18 years ago), so I think it could be argued that I’m not coming to this topic in the heat of passion or depression. I’ve thought about it philosophically, long before it had specific relevance in my life.

    “Who should be in charge of implementing such a law”?

    – For me, it’s the same person that you designated in your Living Will / Health Care Proxy to ensure that your wishes are carried out. In my case, I have 3 people listed, any of whom can refuse to take on the burden of carrying my wishes out. But, all of whom have been spoken to about my wishes, and who I think could and who have agreed to follow-through in pulling the plug if it comes to that.

    “Who should enforce it (the end of life wishes of the person being terminated)?”

    – For me, if my 3 designees can’t go through with it, it falls on the court to honor my wishes. Not a smooth solution, but probate does a lot of stuff that no one else wants to deal with regarding final wishes and cleaning up family / emotional messes.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for another interesting conversation.


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