*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:
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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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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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:
- Study Shows Having a Chronic Illness Increases Your Risk of Dying By Suicide (article on themighty.com): https://goo.gl/Cv9jpa
- An Important Question to Ask If You Feel Suicidal (themighty.com): https://goo.gl/fm1ai7
- Confessions of person with chronic pain (brainlessblogger.net): https://goo.gl/rk5B3z
- Chronic Pain and Suicide (nationalpainreport.com): https://goo.gl/RCEAci
- It’s OK to Talk About Suicide (thinkingoutloud-sassystyle.com): https://goo.gl/SQvg37
- When You’re in the Gray Area of Being Suicidal (themighty.com): https://goo.gl/PuR1Lp
- Suicide is not chosen (ajourneythroughthefog.co.uk): https://goo.gl/69dK1k
- Why You Should Avoid Suicide and Read This Blog Post (riverandquill.com): http://bit.ly/2P7CBLk
- “If I’m Suicidal, Why Should I Keep Living?” (illness-to-wellness.com): http://bit.ly/2rD8LVv
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