This article is bound to cause an uncomfortable feeling amongst some and garner criticism over its depictions of a way out of life. However, I first want to highlight that there are many reasons why written works like this should exist. If you take this information in as a guide, then we cannot recommend or encourage that you take your own life. This was written for the curious, the researching and those who wish to understand how the human body can in-fact have an ‘off switch’. Those who want to criticise this article should question their own mental health. Have you truly felt the way that those genuinely wanting to die have?
This article was written with the assistance of a psychologist who wishes to remain anoymous.
Suicide may not be the answer, but in a lot of extreme cases, it is to those who want out. You cannot stop somebody who wants to die from attempting suicide, but can the help of voluntary euthanasia at least make sure it is done properly? Thousands of failed attempts reported over the last few decades have lead to serious brain injury and physical health issues.
Talking about suicide and giving people options should not be considered dangerous. At the end of the day, we all have our own freedoms and rights to decide what we do with our lives.
As the psychologist tells me during the writing of this article “nobody is truly untreatable, but there are limits to how people can help and sometimes the only way to solve an issue is to end it for these people and if they fail, they create a new issue for those around them. Sometimes it’s not about being selfish, it’s about being selfless”
There are multiple ways to kill yourself, but they don’t always factor in the character and feelings of the person carrying them out. This is why I have put some prominence on the scrutiny and consideration of ending one’s life.
I think it is very important that the person is taken into consideration, because all plans can be disrupted by a doubt, fear, indecision, or self-deception of one’s true feelings and desires.
With mental health issues now accepted in society and many cases being seen as “untreatable”, there are people who feel as though they are a burden to their families with their constant cycle of being in and out of hospital and draining the lives of those around them.
Euthanasia can become a means of reducing health care costs. Mental health costs the globe trillions. Whether or not this is a good thing is up to the reader. This could easily be utilized as a means to ‘encourage’ death without encouraging mental health support and treatment. This, in turn, can devalue the life of a person.
First: Why do people want to take their lives, even if they are quite ‘normally’ surviving?
To answer this question we must dive into the scenarios of human thought and justification. Suicidal thoughts are often linked to depression and a loss of the will to live – and yes, that’s almost always the major factor – but there are plenty of reasons one may wish to put an end to their life. Suicidal emotions are prevalent when one:
- Is sick and dying and wants a stress-free way out that does not involve mobility.
- Is depressed and cannot find the motivation to go the distances required for their situation.
- Is disgusted with life and wants a way out that is not too painful, messy or likely to fail.
- Wants to die for any of the listed reasons and is afraid of being discovered, seen as a coward, or judged as malevolent by those the person admires.
- Wants to go out fashionably, making a strong statement against enemies and detractors (such as bullies or ex-boyfriend’s/girlfriends or those who requested the person to ‘prove’ they were really suicidal)
- Wants revenge on society or group or a person, using suicide as the means of achieving their revenge
- Wants to perplex their loved ones or enemies by knowing that their exit from the world will shock and confuse.
- Feels as though there is more to life and that, in their death, they will enter another realm based on their spiritual beliefs
Suicide is usually related to the fear of something. Whether the person is afraid of their existence, their depression, their inability to succeed, their inability to control their own body or the fear that they will be a burden on those they love.
The Empowerment of Accepting Death
We can be caught between knowing that we want to die and taking steps to accomplish it and really just wanting life to be different and trying to find some way to escape or hide from it. Attempting suicide can be a way of shuffling the deck. No matter how much we may decry the control exercised over us once we’ve failed an attempt, we are the ones who got us there. It is a means of changing the life we are leading (abandoning control, which a lot of us want to do but for which are afraid of the repercussions). This is in part why some people commit crimes — to return to a controlled environment where they cannot have to face the stress of decision-making.
Knowing that we can at any point terminate our lives can be a powerful incentive. Ok, now I can do anything. If the heat gets too much, I can exit and I don’t have to worry about the conditions I’ve created for myself. To many this is considered as the easy way out, the weak and selfish way out or the lazy way out. Is it selfish to say goodbye to your family, acknowledge the good times and bow out?
Preparing for the end
When one is dedicated to the task, suicide will not be difficult to achieve at all. the major problem is internal, not external. Some degree of self-analysis, preparation for death, the reaction one will not witness but apparently cause, etc., is important since we are conditioned to regulate our behaviour based on imagining the reaction others will feel in response to our choices.
Other than deciding on the method of self-termination, the practical preparation for suicide includes accepting one’s demise, how it will be effected, and one’s role in the social world prior to that event.
Deciding (or leaving undecided) the metaphysical issues inherent to the notion of suicide (such as how the cosmos may be structured, whether there are moral authorities who have forbidden the taking of your life, what happens to people when they die, whether it matters if someone has killed themselves as to the quality of any post-mortem experiences, etc.) is an important part of accepting the idea of effecting one’s own death.
Contemplating the likely responses to the type of suicide one has planned and the future development of the society in which one lives (i.e. how family and friends will react to the news of your choice to end your life, what, if any, repercussions, there may be to the message your death may symbolize, etc.) is essential in the construction of a satisfactory suicide method and context.
The ultimate ‘intelligence’ or ‘unexpectedness’ with suicide is perhaps the most shocking and well-thought-out elements of suicide. This may include lying to one’s friends and family (so as to avoid being bereft of autonomy and freedom in a misguided attempt to provide ‘help’), the resolution of administrative details (like arranging for payment of regular bills and any funerary expenses that will likely be incurred by your survivors, etc.), or a fierce and fiery ‘Shooting Star’ termination in which a huge mess is left to those whom you despise or have learned to disregard, knowing how to approach the world will put those destined for death one step ahead of those who may wish to see that a self-termination fails.
Fear of pain is an important reason to hesitate when contemplating self-termination. We want to terminate the pain we may be feeling (often psychological).
Many subjects who have survived suicide have stated that during what they believed were there final moments, they began to reconsider their situation.
For example; a man who had leapt from a bridge told that he began to feel a sudden tranquility and type of rebirth during his descent. He survived the suicide and his mindset had changed. Likewise, many people who travel to Zurich to receive legal euthanasia have reportedly realised that, through expanding their horizons and discovering an all new ‘world’, they decide that they would start life anew.
Asides from the obvious jump-off-bridge or pull-gun-trigger-at-head methods; there are several curiosities surrounding those who are trying to find methods on dealing with their own death. It wouldn’t be too farfetched to suggest that many seek ways to die in the same way that many seek ways on curing and surviving.
Asphyxiation has been the subject of many ‘natural’ suicides. The Hemlock Society (which supports the right of the terminally ill to die) says that the rubber band method may cause discomfort and the suggestion of the ‘exit bag’ (pictured) is often given.
In 1990 German Factory worker Peter Ditert (Google Books has an archive of the newspaper which mentions him briefly here) had multiple failed attempts to take his life. Some may even argue that ‘fate’ was on his side: his gun barrel jammed, he consumed multiple poisons and hazardous substances and he survived a couple of intentional car-related incidents too. I was unable to find any information on whether or not Peter Ditert was still alive or if he had finally achieved his death.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a 46 year old tried to kill himself 7 times after his wife left him. He even gassed his entire house and lit a match after the monoxide poisoning didn’t happen soon enough. He was rescued and later reported to be on good terms with his estranged wife.
The use of chemicals such as propane is commonly brought up as slightly nauseating to the respiratory tract and may only cause non-life-threatening effects. Common symptoms whilst trying to suffocate with propane include dizziness, headache, drowsiness, and nausea, muscular incoordination, disproportionate salivation, incomprehension, vomiting, and even extreme excitation. In punishing cases, seizures or loss-of-conscience may occur.
It’s worrying that all of these inventive measures HAVE to exist, when the assisted dying and euthanasia options can be legalized and make for a much easier and safer method for the person and those around them.