*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 Sickness
While I did not ask others with chronic illness 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, the number one cause of death in the world is due to chronic illness as well.
We are living out that rainy day scenario others are saving up for. Modern medicine combined with pieces of complementary therapies is 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, 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.
Some of you might label me as 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 addressing, not brushed aside and undermined. 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. 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.
The Ideal Society
It would make sense if the government gave chronic patients more direct access to the best medical care. These illnesses are complex and individual in nature, which require specialised care. Basic healthcare is next to useless for us, because the drugs we need are non-standard and customised. Regular 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 anyway.
Though not widespread, V-BID is not new. It was pioneered nearly 20 years ago by Dr. Mark Fendrick
Chronic illness 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 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. 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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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 (article on themighty.com): https://goo.gl/fm1ai7