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Why it Feels Like Suicide is an Option When You Live with Chronic Illness or Disability

*Trigger Warning: This post is about chronic illness and thoughts on suicide, and may be potentially triggering. Here is a list suicide hotlines to contact if you need help:

Worldwide Suicide Hotlines

The Fears of Aging with a Chronic Illness or Disability

Whilst I did not ask others with chronic illness or disability how they feel about this, I know that many of us share the same sentiments. It feels like suicide is always an option on the table. And putting suicide aside, noncommunicable diseases – or chronic diseases – make up seven of the world’s top 10 causes of death.

Those with chronic illness or a disability are living out that rainy day scenario others are saving up for. Modern medicine combined with pieces of complementary therapies are like an umbrella. But one that is never big enough to shield us completely from the downpour. My lovely caregivers are also getting older by the day, and everyone grows naturally weaker with age.

Suicide as a ‘Retirement Plan’

I am somewhat calm about my future, because my ‘retirement plan’ is suicide. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, and will live my days out to the best of my ability.

But I do not own any material necessities such as a house, and have no spare change for anything. I live day-to-day, hand to mouth, and not by choice. Should it ever reach a point where I’m old, homeless, alone and without any pain relief or medical support (because that costs a lot of money, of course), then suicide seems like a logical choice.

The Need to Break the Stigma About Suicide

Some of you might label me a loser, or judge me for my negativity. This might be true to some extent, but I know that I’m definitely not the only one out there with this thought. Death by chronic illness is a real problem that needs to be addressed, not brushed aside and undermined.

If you truly care about someone who lives in permanent pain or a disability, then listen to them beyond the surface. Don’t hush them for being ‘morbid’ or silly, or because it makes you – not them – feel uncomfortable.

If you’ve never reached the stage where you’d rather choose a painless death over a sudden fulfilment of your biggest dream, then you don’t quite understand.

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Death by chronic illness is a real problem that needs addressing Pinterest Quote
'If you truly care about someone who lives in permanent pain, then listen to them beyond the surface. Don’t hush them for being ‘morbid’ or silly, or because it makes you (not them) feel uncomfortable.' Pinterest Quote

The Ideal Healthcare in Society

It would make sense if the government gave chronic illness and disabled patients more direct access to the best medical care. Chronic illnesses are complex and individual in nature, which require specialised care.

Basic healthcare is next to useless for the chronically ill, because the drugs we need are often non-standard. Each chronic illness patient needs their own customised cocktail of medications.

Regular medical assessments reveal little new insight as well. I never visit general practitioners anymore unless I know what the problem is, and what medications I need from them. Otherwise, they refer me back to the emergency department or to one of my 10 healthcare specialists anyway.

By the way, I discovered that there actually is a term for this:

“Though not widespread, V-BID is not new. It was pioneered nearly 20 years ago by Dr. Mark Fendrick”

Nothing Fancy, Just Basic Empathy

Chronic illness or disabled patients who may be considering suicide are not doing so because they are weak. We have been fighting for a long time, some of us since birth, and that can take a toll on anyone.

It would be nice if we had proper financial reassurance, physical support, and lived in a more compassionate and understanding society.

I believe that most of us would actually choose to fight on despite the daily crippling pain if we did. I am not even referring to intricate science or fancy terminology, but basic empathy. A doable thing at any given moment. Is that too much to ask for?

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'We have been fighting for a long time, and it would take a toll on anyone. It would be nice if we had proper financial reassurance, physical support, and lived in a more compassionate and understanding society.' Pinterest Quote
'I am not even referring to intricate science or fancy terminology, but basic empathy. A doable thing at any given moment. Is that too much to ask for?' Pinterest Quote

Note: The article is based on the author’s own experiences, and nothing should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.

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    For More Insight:

  1. Study Shows Having a Chronic Illness Increases Your Risk of Dying By Suicide (article on
  2. An Important Question to Ask If You Feel Suicidal (
  3. Confessions of person with chronic pain (
  4. Chronic Pain and Suicide (
  5. It’s OK to Talk About Suicide (
  6. When You’re in the Gray Area of Being Suicidal (
  7. Suicide is not chosen (
  8. Why You Should Avoid Suicide and Read This Blog Post (
  9. “If I’m Suicidal, Why Should I Keep Living?” (

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Let's Talk About Suicide - The No. 1 Cause of Death by Chronic Illness in the World

The Fears of Aging with Chronic Illness

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  • Sheryl, I can’t tell you how glad I am you wrote this. It’s not an easy topic to cover but you’ve done it brilliantly.

    I find it oddly easy to talk about in a more flippant way, but so difficult to really think about, to feel. I distract myself so much and talk about feelings of not wanting to do this any more as though it’s happening to someone else.

    I’m in a tricky situation myself right now with whether to have major surgery next month and see what happens, see whether I have a future or at least could keep going for a few more years. Or whether I’m just too tired to go through all of it, too damaged to risk all the potential problems that come with it. I’ve no partner or children or family, nothing to hold on to apart from my parents; I’m so grateful to have them and I’m very close with my mum, but on the days where I feel they’d be better off without me here it means I feel utterly untethered.

    There’s nobody in my life I can really talk to about how I feel. I gave a hint at it to an old friend (an ex I talk to on the phone sometimes) and learned my lesson to never speak about it again as he suggested I was being stupid, etc etc. “Don’t hush them for being ‘morbid’ or silly, or because it makes you – not them – feel uncomfortable.” – that’s so important. We don’t need to feel more guilty, more useless, more invalidated than we already do.

    It’s reassuring to know that we’re not quite as alone as we may feel because the chronic illness/disability/pain community is wonderful. So many of us share similarities in our experiences and our feelings, and this tribe can ‘get’ what it’d like and hopefully be supportive without judgement. I’d hate to think of more people out there going through similar and not being able to talk about it. Sometimes things just get to be too much; being ill, losing so much of our life, losing who we were, not being able to accept or be ‘okay’ with the situation, losing the future we’d hoped for, living every day unwell or in pain. It’s a lot, on top of financial concerns, home and relationship problems, guilt, work issues or inability to work, then fighting and struggling for our health with GPs that don’t listen and healthcare systems skewed against patients.

    Even if we don’t use that retirement plan and get-out-of-jail-free card, it’s reassuring and comforting to have it there. Just in case.

    Sending lots of love, Sheryl. Thank you for writing this.

    Caz xxxxx

    • Hi Caz, thank you for your lovely support as always. I am sorry to hear that you have a surgery due soon… it’s neverending, isn’t it?! So exhausting.

      Flippant is good sometimes, I think. A sort of survival mechanism.

      And yes, I think society in general avoids such topics, yet death comes to us all and is a part of life, isn’t it? I feel that such conversations should be normalised, because they ARE a normal part of living.

      Sending you lots of hugs. Keep in touch… hopefully til we’re an old age, too!

  • Thank you very much for being my voice. I want to say all this to someone, anyone. But things held me back. I always thsi thought if things didn’t workout SUICIDE is my Ultimate plan. YES, I AM AFRAID BUT SUICIDE SEEMS LIKE A LESS PAINFUL WAY OF DYING. because I can’t live like this anymore, I always wake up tired, Intense mood swings and things that i cant even explain. SO YEAH SUICIDE IS THE ULTIMATE PLAN.

    • Thanks for speaking up and sharing, Sahil. Whilst I don’t believe it *is* the ultimate answer in life, at times I do feel like it’s a way out when in the throes of intense, unbearable pain that makes life seem meaningless. I believe we as a society need to speak up more about this issue that so many of us experience, and learn to listen and be more empathetic. I wish you well!

  • This was a hard post to read. I have thought of this myself and during the pandemic, I think a lot of people have questioned the big what if and what do I do. It is there as an option, but right now I am still coping with the loss of a friend who was chronically ill and chose assisted suicide in December. I mentioned her in A Chronuc Linkup blog post this time last year and never knew she was planning at that time. I wish I could’ve been there to support her and wish we could all be more open and honest about it without fear of being judged.

    • I am so sorry to hear about your friend, Carrie 🙁 It really is so tough when pain is all you live with, as if you’re already in hell every day on earth. Sending you hugs.

    • I have come to understand why someone would want to end things. It’s just so hard, though, on those who care about that person, knowing they were in that much pain that they couldn’t continue. I appreciate Sheryl’s words that we should not “shush them for being morbid”. If we allow them to explain what they’re truly feeling, then maybe we can be there to support them. It’s the allowing things to go unsaid and that they feel like they have to hide this type of thinking from others that makes it even sadder if they chose to end their own life.

      I’m so sorry for the friend you lost, Carrie. I think you know, I lost my mom. We never (in my family) talked about mental health, illness, or pain. We still barely broach the subject. I think this is the greatest hurt of all.

  • Hi Sheryl, over the last few months, or maybe even longer now, the question of ageing with my chronic condition has been playing on my mind. I don’t know how to address it yet – but reading this post of yours has definitely got me thinking that it’s important that I do work to create some plan that makes me a bit more self-reliant. I think it’s a scary mental space to be in at times but it does need to be addressed and I cannot thank you enough for sharing such truths.

    • Thanks Shruti for sharing such truths on your blog yourself. I really do think it’s a topic that needs to be spoken about more out in the open. There are so many patients and people in pain who are thinking about this, yet unable or unwilling to voice their concerns out due to stigma, fear of judgment, and/or the harsh criticisms they might get from society, and even friends and family.

  • Thank you for sharing this Sheryl, it’s so well-written as always. Suicide and chronic illness definitely needs to be opened up for conversation far more than it is.

    • Thanks Claire, I do think there’s too little being said about suicide, mental health and stigma. More awareness is needed. Every life counts, and these thoughts matter.

  • I don’t have any loved ones. I have biological relatives, but there is no love. My parents don’t love their children. My family is bitter, toxic, and physically violent, even to this day. My entire family is completely fragmented. I only have a couple of friends left, but they have their own lives and contact is rare these days. I am 47 years old and can’t work anymore. My career as a teacher is down the drain. I can’t support myself. I struggled with extreme depression long before my chronic physical illness started. The two combined are a death sentence. I am living in someone else’s house. I experience daily abuse and humiliation and could be kicked out at any time. The owner of the home I live in knows I have nowhere else to go and exploits this fact. I can’t stay here forever and have no friends or family I can turn to. I’ve never been married and don’t have any kids. I take care of 4 dogs where I live. Before I moved here the evil owner completely neglected them. Because of me their lives are completely different. They used to sleep outside no matter how cold it got. Now they sleep in my room with me. They are my only family. I can’t leave them. They are my only reason for holding on. That said, I feel like I am getting to the point where the dogs won’t be enough reason to stop me from ending my misery. I wish I had a human family that loved and cared about me. It’s hurts beyond description. My father is wealthy and truly doesn’t care if I live or die. He’s actually encouraged me to kill myself. My mom is cold and bitter. Never once growing up did she hug me or tell me she loved me. Not too long ago she told me how much she regretted having kids. My parents are divorced and my dad is on his third wife. I’ve never had kids because I didn’t want to risk bringing another human being into the world that might suffer like I have. I’ve never been in love. The longest relationship I had was about 3 and a half years and ending when she cheated on me. I struggle with self hatred and am attracted to women who treat me like garbage. I’ve seen countless therapists, taken tons of different medication, done shock therapy, exercise, yoga, support groups, etc etc. I am mostly housebound and some days bedridden. I am broke. I can’t afford my own medical care.
    I have truly lost the desire to live. The condition I have is incurable and gets worse with age. I don’t even want to get better. I just want to be gone. I have very little human contact, aside from the abusive woman whose home I live in. Despair, isolation, and loneliness are my constant companions. I see no other way out. The dogs are all that is holding me back.

    • Hi Bill,

      I am so so so sorry to hear this. And I am glad you have your dogs with you, they are simply more human than humans at times. I think you should definitely reach out for professional help if you can, and work your way out of this pit slowly. Humans can be unreliable and horrible, but I hope you manage to love yourself eventually even without anyone else. I wish you all the best, please hang on.

    • Thank you for being you. For sure, that your dogs are so much thankful for having you. I rescue animals, because I always believe in second chances. I want to make those neglected animals feel the love that they are deprived. Please continue to be there for your family. They are also family. I hope you still can read this.

  • The title seems figurative. So long as someone is able to commit suicide, it IS an option, others’ disapproval notwithstanding. The fact is life can be extremely painful for many: bone-crushing poverty despite greater-than-full-time work, unjust legal systems or lack of access to legal help, abandonment by one’s group/family… and repeated failure to build a replacement, mind-searing loneliness, irremediable medical pain health care can’t or won’t help sufficiently with; demoralizing age discrimination when one may most need employment or socialization, worsening mental health despite decades of faithful adherence to psychiatric and therapy interventions… Life can be painful–and we’re reminded over and over again that no one owes us anything. That we should be self sufficient. Until the state develops a technology to prevent people from acting on thoughts, suicide will remain an option , as evidenced by the increasing suicide rates here in the US and abroad.

  • YES! We need end-of-life discussions especially for chronic illness. Care directives and supportive individuals that if they don’t “get it” they at least respect it. Governments have to get involved and make it easier for individuals to make decisions with their own care.

    • Hi Amelia, totally agree. It’s a topic not to be whispered in small circles or hidden in shame, but to be discussed on a monumental level by governments and health boards. We’ve lost too many people to suicide, for no good reason.

  • I not sure how I feel about this post. Im always the belief that life is too precious and we never know what is around the corner. I have had friends who have decided that they just can’t go on anymore. They get to a point of no return. Where the only option open to them is to suicide. My ex tried several times…and all i could do was to yell at him and tell him he was being selfish. This was as the ambulance was taking him away. It turns out there were things underlying and he was doing it as a call for help and that he thought I would feel sorry for him and not realize what he had done. I won’t go into what he had done but it was bad…its still bad. He is still alive and caring for his wife. My friends that made the decision they didn’t tell anyone no one knew. I lost 3 in one year. I have several chronic conditions yet I love life. somedays I don’t but I know one day my body will say enough and that will be it. Mind you I do agree with those that need help to check out. Those that have a horrible disease like MND or MS where quality of life is zilch.
    However I do know that with depression if not treated that feeling that no one will miss you no one will notice…but you know what we do miss you we do want you…we want you to fight to live…as we are here for such a short time….xx

    • Hi Bree, I’m sorry to hear about your ex. I hope he’s coping okay, day by day.

      I’m happy for you that you’ve found something to hold on to in life and to hope for. Though like you said – depression is a major cause for concern. Having been through deep depression myself, both triggered by illness and meds, I can personally say that at that point your brain starts to play tricks on you. It turns on you, and even if you love life or think suicide is selfish (at that point I did), the thing is you don’t care anymore.

      Let’s hope more awareness about suicide and depression gets raised. So many lives can be saved x

  • It’s sad but true, I have an elderly caregiver and I really don’t now what I would do without her, so I totally get this and it has crossed my mind also.

  • Suicide can feel like it’s always an option because … it IS always an option. Assuming someone’s physically able to do it. It may not be the option someone would prefer and it’s not an option society endorses. Yet. But no matter the rhetoric to the contrary, it’s a choice people can make.

    I also disagree with the general belief that suicide can’t be rational. Suicide can be the result of clear and careful reasoning. In the end, the governments and systems and people of the world either are unable or unwilling to care adequately for billions of humans’ needs. And it costs money to stay alive. So unless those who’re dead set against suicide have a reliable plan both to diminish people’s physical and emotional pain enough for the sufferers AND provide for their survival (meaningful jobs, affordable housing, companionship…), they’re not in a place to tell people they MUST stay alive.

    • Hello,

      Yes agreed, there is always a choice as a human being. Also agree that it can be a rational decision with how society has laid out the rules on the quality of our lives to a large extent. Yet as someone who straddles both thoughts frequently, I would still gently urge us all to cling on to life no matter what. I don’t know why we should or must. It isn’t fear of death, because I’ve faced that twice and am ready to go at anytime. It’s just a little voice inside my head that says, ‘hang on. There is beauty yet.’ Don’t know why. 🙂 Sending good thoughts.

  • Suicide as an option in old age or retirement may actually be a very healthy way to deal with stress associated with worrying over what will happen to you in retirement. You can compartmentalize it as one other option if all other options fail.

    The reality is we are all in this together and everyone grows weaker and more infirm as we get older and a majority of Americans dont have sufficient funds to take care of themselves through retirement. Our government will work with us in addressing it as it is a nationwide issue not an individual issue

    • Hi Tony, I wouldn’t say that that entertaining suicide in our minds is a healthy way to deal with it, but as someone living with chronic pain, it’s easy to fall into despair. Let’s try to support each other on this journey, I believe there’s still something about life that can be beautiful, even though I can’t fathom what in this very moment. Wishing you a happy new year!

  • I have a chronic illness which requires transplantation which has failed for me twice. I have made the decision to end my life. No one knows and I don’t think I will tell them. The only reason i haven’t gone through with it yet is i have German shepherd who I absolutely adore and couldn’t leave him by himself. So the day he leaves me I will be leaving this world.

    The only reason I’m writing this is I needed to get it off my chest.

    • Hi Robert, I’m glad you’re sharing your thoughts somewhere, at least. I really hope you can hang in there, even though I don’t know you. Perhaps you could get another dog when your German shepherd leaves? Dogs and the love, loyalty and companionship they bring can really make life so meaningful. Sending good thoughts your way.

    • If I could get permission from my children, I would check out with pleasure. I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of struggling. I’m so very tired of not quite being engaged enough, yet not sick enough for hospice.
      I won’t do that to them, though. That would be the worst thing that I could do to anyone who cares about me. I can say from experience of losing a friend to suicide, “Did he consider me? Didn’t he know I’d have done ANYTHING for him? Why wasn’tI enough?” But, still, he wasn’t sick. I don’t get an out, and I don’t think anyone should suffer, but I really believe that suicide is far too painful for those we leave behind to consider it as an option at all.

      • Thank you for sharing these thoughts…such an important perspective as well. I guess often we reach a point where we’re just go tired that we don’t care what anyone thinks anymore. This can be really hard to break free from even if it shifts from an active to passive suicidal thought, because the knowledge of pain is always there. I have no answers, only know we need to cling on to life 🙂 Sending both of you some light and positive thoughts for today!

  • I have been thinking about suicide a lot but dont know what will work. Beachy head is where I want to go but I am afraid of it not working. I cannot go on any longer.

  • This is something I feel so often, but never had the courage to share. Thank you for sharing. Just the idea of dealing with chronic illness for the rest of my life terrifies me. Another fear of mine is not being able to have a “normal” job or do things that I love. I set high standards for myself and I hate relying on people, and having to accept things that I can’t do and accepting that I need to rely on others has been very upsetting, especially as I get older.

    • Hi Lauren, thank you for taking the courage to share your thoughts here. Yes it’s terrifying isn’t it? Then I worry what if people around me get tired of helping me out, and then I’m old and in pain and all alone haha. What others see as ‘normal’ is probably high standards for us. But over the years I’ve also learnt how to accept help, because we TRULY need it. We’re not faking it or being wusses 🙂 Sending lots of hugs!

  • Hey-
    Totally feeling you on this! I also have a chronic pain condition and have had the same ‘suicide as a retirement plan option” for many years. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, but as soon as I feel that my illness is becoming too much to deal with and I simply cannot cope anymore, I will probably end it all. Committing suicide isn’t as easy as one might think, however, and needs to be thought out properly to avoid the possibility of ‘being saved’ or long-term damage. I don’t want to be saved if I honestly believe that there is nothing for me to live for anymore.
    You seem like a really nice and brave soul-keep up the awesome work! Sending some loving thoughts your way.

    • Hi Anna, thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts with us. I truly hope you’ll be able to hang on for life (and I personally do know how tough that can be!). Please seek help if you ever feel like you’re at that stage in life. If professional help is something that you can’t go for, there are also many online support groups and therapists – but it’s important to find the right one! Wishing you all the best, and you are welcome to this blog anytime.

  • I’m so grateful to you for putting this out there. I became chronically ill in 2001 and have gone broke looking for accurate diagnoses and treatment, none of which is covered by my insurance. At 55 I now have multiple conditions that guarantee a slow, painful death. I’m hoping you or others would be willing to share your plan for when the time comes. I’ve done a lot of research and am struggling. Not afraid of dying, afraid of being alone and of course failing. I know what method has the greatest success rate but it’s very violent and I’d have you move to another state for access. If I survive I don’t want to end up in a nursing home there. If you prefer talking with email that’s fine. I’ve just finished the dnr, will, health care proxy. I’m tired. It’s time up go. Thanks.

    • Hello, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’m sorry to hear of all the pain you’ve been going through for so long, especially at that age I can imagine it’d be even tougher 🙁 I really don’t have a plan for when that time comes, but I do believe we need to simply hang on to life because that’s the right thing to do, no matter the state of current mind (which can be deceptive at times!). Here’s another post I wrote that might explain why a little bit more:

      I wish you all the best, and you are most welcome to visit the blog or get in touch anytime. xx

  • There is a book called “The Peaceful Pill”.

    • Suicide is not the ideal option, but not all are given any options. Consider carefully any and all alternatives.

  • The only pain we can ever know is our own, and therefore we have no right to judge another person’s response to their own pain, a pain that we will never feel or understand.

    My pre-illness life seems like a strange dream, and sometimes I feel like a ghost, trapped in the land of the living. I’ve made peace with my mortallity, and if it does eventually come down to suicide, as long as I can go without any bitterness in my heart, I think I’ll be okay.

    I’ve come to believe that hope is a finite resource, and there’s no shame in running out of hope. And I think it’s important not to fight the shadows in our souls; we should allow ourselves to feel the absolute rawness of the situation.

    As a fellow young spoonie, I’m glad I discovered your blog. Hello from midwest America! (Oh I would love to live in Singapore)

    • Dear J Lee,

      I love how you put it so eloquently; my article is trying to capture what you just said as well 🙂 I agree that hope can be a finite resource, but that’s okay, too. When I allow myself to feel and to just simply carry on, strangely there is a sense of comfort in that for me. I wish you all the best, and I would love to live somewhere with four season ;p

  • Thank you for being so open. This post and the conversation in the comments is comforting in that it shows me that these thoughts I have – as a person living with a host of very difficult chronic illnesses – are normal and valid. I can hold these thoughts and feelings with a lighter grasp knowing that I don’t need to jusdge them or vanquish them. They are with me, this is an option. I am working on living and the living is very hard and too little and some day I might say enough, I need to end this. I have very good medical care, a partner, an accessible city…but my pain conditions and chronic illness have not been significantly helped. So I struggle mightily to live this life in this troubled body. I often think/feel it is too hard and there is not enough good and I need to end my life. I question if I need to be brave enough to end my life or brave enough to stay. Right now, I am trying to stay.

    • Hi D. Jones,

      Thank you for reading, and apologies for the late reply as I’m currently travelling for the hols! I wanted to say that yes, your thoughts are completely valid and normal; having spoken to others with various chronic illnesses, and watching films, this thought is a recurring one that society suppresses because it’s a ‘bad thought’. But still, it’s there, and is something I believe must be addressed. I believe that so many could have been saved if only someone listened to them, and believed them.

      Also, I think sometimes ‘having it all’ in terms of good healthcare, relationships, etc can make these thoughts harder to deal with as then, there is an added element of guilt – like you’re not allowed or supposed to have such thoughts because ‘you have it so much better than the rest’. Regardless of what we have, pain is pain, and we are all human at the end of the day.

      In regards to your last statement, I actually have a post in the works addressing that 🙂 I’d encourage you to stay, even though I too, struggle. At the end of the day, deep down we kind of know that’s the right thing to do. Have a peaceful new year x

      • Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I really appreciate how you’re engaging with people here.

        It’s true, I do sometimes feel guilty for feeling so low and hopeless and not able to cope given that I had a supportive partner and friends and others don’t. What I struggle with more – and what I was referring to above – is the fact that I have accessed many, many treatments and medications and have had excellent care over the years and noting has helped. I don’t tolerate meds or trigger point injections or infusions. No pain relief ever. So many years of trying. So many supplements and diets. So, I need relief and keep trying but I don’t get it. What happens then? Clinics have run out of options for me. I have full body intense pain and it has gotten worse over the years and new conditions are popping up. My body is so troubled and my mind is as well. I do struggle with all the levels of the truth of this and if I can keep going.

        I’m glad you have a deep down sense of wanting to live. I want to live but this life I have is very hard and exhausting…so, deep down, I am actually not sure what is true or right.

        • I understand where you’re coming from, I really do. To be honest, my psychiatric meds played a huge role in stabilising my thoughts as well.

          I really have no advice for you, I’m sure you’ve heard it all. All I can say is that I hope this blog and space provides an outlet for you to share your thoughts anytime you wish, and to know that there are many others out there who understand what you’re going through as well. x

  • I find myself saying, “I don’t want to play this game anymore.” It’s never been fun, but when the days stack up and fun seems too far away to grasp, I’m just tired of playing. Can it be as simple as checking out, and hoping things are better the next time around the circle?

    • I don’t think so. I really have no advice but from my heart to yours, I really believe that you should hang in there. I hope you have a decent Christmas x

  • Kudos to you for talking about an issue which is the elephant in the room. It is 2017 and we are still not able to have a rational talk about euthanasia without extreme reactions from either side.

    So far, Switzerland seems to be the only place which holds out for chronic pain patients who do not have any hope of any way to reduce their suffering.

    Suicide is not that easy an option. According to online statistics (which I have to take with a pinch of salt, but will that is all we have), more people fail than succeed at suicide.

    I really wish there would be some kind of an institution for chronic pain patients. Just like long-term care homes. That will then provide legal documentation about the state of the patient and hopefully facilitate the process of euthanasia.

    Do you know of any groups that support euthanasia that can provide support across countries. Right now every group is restricted to their own country which means all of us are fighting in isolation. Having a common pattern of arguments and sharing notes on how to persuade lawmakers across different countries (assuming Of course, there is no dictatorship and there are people may actually listen) will help.

    There should really be more blog posts of this kind. Thank you again for bringing this up

    • Hello,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts! Yes I too think it’s such a ‘heavy’ hidden topic that really needs more attention, for the simple fact that it affects more people than we care to believe!

      And society tends to think that suicide is shameful and stupid. In Singapore it’s illegal to take your own life. This just reflects how misunderstood a topic it can be.

      And no I don’t know if there’s any group that supports cross countries, but I can understand why. Death is a taboo topic in many cultures. And like you, I also wish there was some kind of institution for chronic pain patients who are suffering badly all day, every day.

  • I also suffer with chronic illness and I totally agree with your blog. One thing I plan to do soon as we are making up our wills and such is for End of life directives to be a DNR.
    I have suffered so much that if my heart wants to give out I want out. I am still a little on the fence about this decision but want to do this.
    If anyone else does this realize that resuscitation is not the only way to be kept alive. A friend’s mother was DNR but my friend overrode it by having the doctor give her medication that increased her blood pressure.
    She lived a terrible life after that until she finally passed years after that.
    I hope that this comment is not available for public view. It is not a subject I want others to know about. except here.

    • Hi Carol,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts as a chronic illness person too. I believe that every person that speaks up helps to strength our overall voice in society, and also helps speak up for those who can’t do so. I wish you all the best! x

  • I am not chronically ill, the challenges regarding which you have so eloquently described, but have stared down depression my entire life. I am 55 years old, unmarried, have no children or wife — because I chose never to burden anyone with my depression — and have been laid off three times in the last three years.

    I am tired. I had financial plans, pursued work that was satisfying and suited my talents but did not pay well. And I NEVER complained; NEVER whined when it all, ultimately failed. I have NEVER BURDENED ANYONE in my life. I managed my feelings myself, and never drank or took drugs. I coped inside. But now I am tired.

    Were I to commit suicide it would free up resources, housing, Social Security, reduce a carbon footprint, etc. It is a net benefit. I never tell people of my feelings because they would say, “weakling…just work harder…don’t whine…”

    But that’s the point, I have worked harder, I haven’t given in, and I never whined to anyone, and it all got worse and worse. I can no longer find work, no health insurance, housing in the SF area is $3000 a month for a studio, $1000 to rent a room. I am basically old and unemployable in my hometown.

    And so, the time draws closer when I’ll just sell or give way my stuff, clear out my retail room, settle my finances so what little there is goes automatically to where I desire. And yet it makes me very happy because I feel as if I am finally in control. Ending my life is the ONLY thing ENTIRELY within my control; isn’t that odd? And it gives me intense calm just thinking about that fact. Thus, the more I think about it, the calmer I get and am therefore able to cope. The promise of suicide keeps me going.

    • Hi Michael,

      First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your life situation. I know you are not looking for any sympathy at all, but where you’re at is definitely not a good place to be. Also, hats off to you for not wanting to burden anyone, even if they don’t look at it that way. We all deal with situations differently, and I can respect that.

      Just curious…do you see a psychologist or psychiatrist for your depression? I wanted to say it really made a difference in my life – seeing one of each. Now I only need the psychiatrist; it’s a bit of a complicated cycle with chronic illness, meds and mental health, but we won’t go into that 😉 But I’ve also learned that we all need help at some point in our life – whether we’re sick or not (and depression is a chronic illness of a form too – it is never going to go away, but can be managed in some ways).

      And I know exactly what you mean when you say that suicide feels like a relief; I guess that is what my article is trying to say, too. I don’t think ‘the promise of suicide’ keeps you going, rather, it’s ‘the promise of a way out’, which is symbolic of hope. It’s like there’s so much shit going on around, but death is that light at the corner that’s always there, and the only thing you know how to find with certainty.

      I truly hope you continue to keep up the good fight Michael. I know it may seem shitty, and honestly I’m in no position to give you any advice. But “hang in there” is all I can say. Keep me updated 🙂

  • I empathize with your pain. I am fortunate enough not to be diagnosed with a chronic illness yet, but at my age one never knows. One of our dearest friends chose the suicide option. We would have been happy to take care of him, since he had no family within thousands of miles. He had no medical insurance and suspected he had brain cancer. He did not bother to tell us that. We surmised it. He had always told us he would not die of a terminal illness, but I wish he’d told us his thoughts or at least seen a doctor instead of diagnosing himself on the internet. His symptoms may have been caused by something that could be fixed with medication. We had told him many times we would help him through problems and we always had in the past. But he was proud and did not want to be dependent on others. I’m sure he also thought watching him die slowly would have been hard on us, since he knew we loved him. We miss him terribly, since he as like a second son to us.

    I would urge people to be sure of their facts before ending their lives on a suspicion. If there is someone you believe loves you, and that includes friends and family, reach out to them and give them a chance to love you by helping you through your dark night. Don’t die because you are afraid to inconvenience someone who will miss you every day if you leave them. If you still feel there is no other answer, please leave them a note and explain why you made your decision so they won’t always wonder what they might have done to change your mind and blame themselves for your death.

    • Hi Barbara,

      Oh my, I am so sorry to hear that. It really is a tragedy when such an event happens, especially when it’s from reading off the internet, like you said! 🙁

      What I was writing about was more in relation to ending suffering, and not so much due to fear of bothering others. I think as someone who’s been ill for over 10 years, you learn above all to swallow your pride and accept help, and that that’s not a bad thing, really. Perhaps being ill at an older age can be a harder pill to swallow too, I’m not sure.

      In any case, I’m sorry to hear about your story once again. I wish too that he would have at least sought some help first.

  • I never talk about this subject because it causes great concern to my parents who are my caretakers. Thankfully I do have a home and I do receive money each month from Social Security Disability, but after my parents are gone, I will have nobody to help me. I have three brothers who live within 5 minutes of me but they are not interested in helping me even if it’s just something simple, even if I bed them which a I loathe doing. I used to be so strong and independent. I am a Christian and therefore we are to believe that each life has a purpose but it is awfully hard when each day is so full of pain with no relief in sight. I find no fault with suicide as a retirement plan. I believe that I will see my loved ones in Heaven so the thought of suicide doesn’t bother me much at all. Thank you for posting this, Sheryl.

    • Hi Shelley,

      Thank you for taking the time to read, and also to share your life with us here. It’s sad when family doesn’t feel like family – I get the feeling, too. We don’t have Disability here, so I’m not sure how I’m going to survive when I’m older, but hey, one day at a time, right? 🙂 And understandably, our parents come from a generation that is probably more prone to the stigma surrounding suicide, so they may just be of a different mindset, but ultimately it comes from a place of love. I wish you well as you continue to thrive on this journey! x

  • Suicide as a retirement Plan… This makes me think.

  • As always, you handled this with such wisdom, insight, realism, and sensitivity.

    • Thank you Stacey for your support and kind words as always 🙂 Looking forward to your next post too, I always enjoy reading them!

  • “It’s just a quiet mutual understanding.” TRUTH

  • I think about suicide a lot. It’s almost comforting in a way to know I’m not the only one thinking this way.

    • Yes I think so too 🙂 Like an unspoken understanding where we don’t have to explain at all, that’s why it’s so comforting. Not that we’re encouraging each other (for any other person reading this out there), but it’s just a quiet, mutual understanding.

  • I could not agree more and also have an end of life plan in place!

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