Why is it so difficult for us as humans to tackle these topics?
Recently I was in a class that confronted these topics among relative strangers. We were given the task of conversing about them, and sharing our opinions, while being sensitive to others around us to avoid possibilities of causing upset.
At the point of class discussion, a group brought up the notion of euthanasia and it’s connotation of suicide, as well as the contention that this creates for not only the person of question, but family and friends, and medical staff. Another group member then spoke up, saying that a close person to her had committed suicide after enduring a crippling depression involving many attempted suicidal episodes. She believes that for him, this was the only option.
It brought the class to a standstill, and made us realise the importance of considering others when discussing these aspects.
In January, I viewed a documentary (click here) that very closely followed the contention between euthanasia and depression. Emily, a 24 year old physically healthy woman living in Belgium had been suffering crippling depression, to the point where she became convinced that the only possible assistance was death. I urge you all to view the documentary and let me know what you think.
As a medical professional this is something I find hard to confront and work through in my mind. We as a society still consider physical pain in many cases to outweigh mental and emotional suffering, decreasing the medical importance of these unique persons in their quest to either improve, or silence their pain through the avenue which they see fit. What is seen through Emily’s case, and the very brave woman in my classes friend, is that physically ill and mentally ill in a terminal sense align for some people.
As euthanasia remains a baby of a medical imperative and a huge debate to many, especially in Australia, there is time lost on those who are terminally ill (both mentally & physically). I believe improved education on the science of mental, emotional and physical health is needed in the general population for matters such as this to increase traction and become appropriately legislated. Calm consideration, discussion and research into these avenues for these particular issues must be a priority in order to gain clarity, and save future argument, but it must be done sooner rather than later.
Let me know how you feel about this, and the other difficult topics. What can we do, and why are people so stubborn in these aspects… Am I wrong in my thinking, and why?