Often when I speak to medical professionals about my views on death they are very surprised and exclaim ‘you are very black and white about that.’ I realise my views on the subject differ to that of many other people, and they have done since I was a young child. I don’t know if this is partly due to my autism, or just my own weird take on things, so I thought I’d ask on here what other people’s views on death/dying are. To give you a flavour of my views, here are some of my comments on the matter:
I think that we all die so we should get used to the idea sooner rather than later and that’s it’s not worth worrying about as it is inevitable. I wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow. Further, if I was to fall terminally ill I would refuse treatment as I believe in letting nature take it’s course - after all, natural selection has worked well for thousands of years, so why mess with it? If I died prematurely due to illness I would just see it that this was meant to be. This is why, despite being in my early 20s, I have already requested a do not resuscitate to be in place (also, I kind of view CPR as a form of physical assault - having seen it done to others, I certainly wouldn’t want it done to me!) and I said I wouldn’t want a blood transfusion when I had surgery. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to refuse all medical input and I am very thankful for some of it, but I do draw a distinct line between what I consider acceptable and not.
My grandma is currently in a nursing home with dementia. She literally asked my mum and me to smother her, and she just wants to die because she is no longer able to live at home and do what she enjoyed. The home said she was depressed and tried to medicate her for it. They gave her a medication they new would increase her appetite as she was refusing food. I ended up arguing with them over it, explaining that my grandma wasn’t mentally ill - her thinking was perfectly logical and if I was in her position I would feel the same way. My grandma is very like me, and is very pragmatic about death also, and she hid the tablets rather than taking them, so that demonstrates what she thought about it! Maybe I was wrong to argue with the home, but I honestly couldn’t understand why they were trying to get her to feel different and eat more, as this would only prolong her suffering (aka life) and she just wanted to die! I think that keeping people alive at all cost is truly immoral and if they didn’t ask for it personally, it is selfish of those who did.
Disclaimer: I don’t mean to offend anyone with my views, and I certainly don’t expect others to comply with them. I respect everyone’s views and I know this is a difficult subject for some. I’m just wondering if anyone else thinks like me about death, or if I’m being obscure on my own here! Some may put it down to my current depression, but as mentioned I’ve thought like this from a very young age, so it appears intrinsic (maybe inherited from my grandma!).
An interesting thread. My own argument, for myself, against suicide is that we can never know if life can get any better unless we give it the chance to.
But supposing we've given it chance after chance after chance, and it's never really improved? In fact, with each chance we've given it, it's just actually gotten worse in one way or another? And supposing we've reached an age where a combination of factors might be edging us towards a reconsideration of our position? Supposing, for instance, that we're starting to develop degenerative (though not immediately terminal) health issues as a natural part of the ageing process. Supposing we are feeling acute mental distress at the current state of our lives and at the thought of continuing with it. Supposing we feel that we're beyond all the usual 'where there's life, there's hope' platitudes, and the calls to the Samaritans, and the other myriad interventions designed to make us stay alive at all costs. Supposing, too, that we have no friends we can go to, and no supportive family: in fact, no one at all who will truly grieve at our passing. Supposing we've lost interest in many of the things that used to interest us. Supposing we no longer wish to take tablets to numb our pain - whether it be physical or mental, or both.
Supposing, then, we've come to a place where, having weighed it all up, we've decided quite consciously and rationally that we no longer wish to carry on living.
Shouldn't we be allowed to take the route of 'voluntary euthanasia' that many with terminal illnesses make? Shouldn't we be able to fly abroad to somewhere like the Dignitas clinic, and end our lives in a dignified manner rather than through the usual horrific methods of suicide that we're all familiar with?
It's not being selfish after all, is it. Perhaps it's actually more selfish of society to insist that we prolong the agony.
Just putting the thought out there.