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The Right to Choose……

1 Apr

‘Regular readers will doubtless know my feelings on the right to self-determination when it comes to assisted suicide.  Well, yet again, another terminally ill man has to suffer the indignity and stress of fighting the British Courts on top of being in an unimaginable position……’

The case of Noel Conway, 67, from Shrewsbury, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease more than two years ago and fears being “entombed” in his own body as his ability to move declines, is the latest to reach the High Court.  He is not expected to survive beyond the next 12 months.

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Noel Conway

It is  completely understandable that people in Noel’s position fear the indignity, pain, inability to communicate and all of the unimaginable horrors that come towards the end of life as the disease progresses.  To have the added distress of having to fight a court battle, when all he is requesting a peaceful death when the disease becomes intolerable, seems cruel and totally unecessary.  We have the medicines required to bring about this ending painlessly when the time comes.

The legal arguments against assisted suicide always seem to come back to the same thing; that relatives will ‘push’ a terminally ill person to prematurely end their lives for some spurious reason, or that the person feels they will become a burden as the disease progresses.  It has been demonstrated in countries which allow assisted suicide that with the right checks and balances in place this is almost impossible.   I know of no instances where relatives or carers have been prosecuted in such situations.  In independent polls a large majority agree that it should be an option.

There are options available to some, but only if their condition and financial status allow.  Dignitas, Switzerland, are one organisation that can arrange a peaceful death for sufferers of incurable, degenerative diseases, however, the cost involved (approximately £10,000) is prohibitive for some.  For others, their condition makes travel impossible, denying access to the service.

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Established 1998

The unfortunate inability of our courts to legalise assisted suicide has led to despairing people taking things into their own hands which can cause more suffering or, in the worst case scenario, a prosecution.

Death is not something to be feared.  The idea that your place in Heaven will be lost is  nothing more than the remnants of outdated superstition.  When you are dead you are effectively in the same ‘place’ you were before you were born; and anyway, surely a loving ‘god’ will understand your need to end your pain.

It is time we removed the superstition and hysteria from the argument and listened to common sense, ended the anguish and suffering of those people who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having an intolerable illness and placed assisted suicide on the statute books.  It is a sick irony that we don’t allow animals to sufifer but our fellow brothers and sisters are allowed to suffer…….

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Euthanasia……

5 Apr

The debate carries on; people continue to suffer……

 

People who find themselves in a position with only one prognosis, whether imminent or in the future, will doubtless be in turmoil. Their thoughts will be for their loved ones rather than for their own predicament, a measure of the bravery shown by many. However, nobody could possibly think less of them for looking inward and thinking about themselves and, those who really care, should, make that known. If they decide that they wish to end their suffering, any caring person who has thought deeply about euthanasia must surely agree with self determination, even if it is at odds with their own personal view or belief.

The person requesting euthanasia has most likely suffered enough.  But to be faced with lengthy legal proceedings, to ensure their loved ones are protected and their wishes are honoured, can only make a difficult and tragic situation even harder for all concerned.

The arguments that legalised euthanasia could leave vulnerable people at risk from some ‘sinister’ party with an interest in getting rid of them, should be immediately apparent to any court.  To deny clear cut cases carte blanch only inflicts further suffering and, I believe, insults the people who have given their request a great deal of contemplation and ask only that their wishes are respected and acted upon, more often than not with the full support of their families.

Legal euthanasia is clearly needed; demonstrated by the number of cases that reach the High Court.  There would not be a sudden tidal wave of people asking for euthanasia but, currently, for the people who have made this difficult choice, please let’s not prolong their suffering with legal nit picking and a parliament who act like a rabbit caught in the headlights whenever euthanasia is debated.

Euthanasia should be made legal and could be easily implemented, with safeguards put in place, ending peoples’ suffering.  Life is precious and euthanasia a difficult choice for anybody to make.

Our political representatives act with much less caution when deciding to wage unnecessary wars which murder thousands of innocent people, so a little more humanity is needed in the euthanasia debate.

Until such time arises and we catch up with countries like Switzerland, The Netherlands, Mexico and Ireland, if you feel strongly enough that you too would want to have self determination, search for and download an Advance Directive.  This will designate a proxy to carry out your wishes and stand as an advocate to your personal wishes, regardless of the inadequate legislation.

I have personal experience of a family member with a terminal illness and, although euthanasia would not have been their choice, faced with the same circumstance, It would have been mine……

 

The lengthy legal process started by the late Tony Nicklinson is still ongoing for other people with the support of Jane Nicklinson, whose love and bravery stands as a testament to difficult issues raised in this article……

Assisted Dying Bill to be put Before Parliament……

17 May

Lord Falconer who served as Lord Chancellor under Tony Blair and chaired the Commission on Assisted Dying proposed bill will again go before Parliament.  Lord Falconer, who tried to and failed to change the law in 2009, believes current legislation is in urgent need of an update. Three quarters of adults in England and Wales support the proposals in the bill, a YouGov poll for Dignity in Dying found earlier this week.

Although Lord Falconer’s attempts to change the current outdated 1961 Suicide Act are admirable, the amendments would not help people like Paul Lamb and the late Tony Nicklinson because the patient would not only need a prognosis that their life expectancy was less than 6 months but then require them to perform the action leading to their death unassisted.  In cases where the patient was physically incapacitated this would not be possible.

As is usual whenever the subject of self determination is discussed groups opposed are the first in the queue to make their opposition known.  One is forced to enquire as to the religious motivation of these people, most of whom are not suffering from a life altering, debilitating and painful condition, or care for someone who does.  Their opinions may be different if they were, God permitting.

Living in the 21st century we have little autonomy.  We are told where we can go, when we can go there and what documentation we will need.  The ‘free’ society in which we live holds details on almost every aspect of our lives and, as the declaration on the endless forms we are obliged to complete informs us, legal action can be taken against us for failure to give accurate information.  The only aspect of our lives which remains under our direct control is the choice to live or die albeit with many obstacles placed in the way and, for those unfortunate enough to have had a physical barrier placed in their way; even that choice is severely restricted.

In a society which no longer needs to invoke divine explanations for apparently mystical events is it not time to put death into context.  Before the evolutionary process which brought about your existence did you spend all of pre-existence contemplating the brief period of consciousness you were about to experience?  In the same way, do you believe you will spend an equal amount of time contemplating your non-existence once it ends?  The time you spend as a sentient being, hard though it is for some people to accept is the total of your conscious experience.

Ironically, in our politically correct society there are legally binding provisions to provide access to public buildings and adaptations to the workplace to accommodate people with disabilities, provisions which do not apply to self determination.

For some people who are unfortunate enough to have been deprived of the fullness of experience enjoyed by the rest of us, returning to the before or progressing to the after is for them a desire that you, I or any other well meaning person is not at liberty to dictate.  Life belongs to you, and you alone.  Should you not wish to take part that is ultimately your decision and should be the first of your rights as a Human Being……

Paul Lamb Continues Tony Nicklinson’s Case in the Court of Appeal……

15 May

‘Brave Paul Lamb and one other person simply known as ‘Martin’ have been given permission to continue the case of Tony Nicklinson who passes away last year shortly after loosing his case.  Tony was seeking immunity from prosecution for any medical professional assisting him to end his life.  Paul, like Tony, due to their medical conditions where not in a position to take this step without help due to the physical restrictions of their respective illnesses……’

Background……

Both Paul and Tony are the latest in a long line of people who feel that their quality of life has been so profoundly affected by their medical conditions that they feel either now, or at some unspecified point in the future, being able to end their lives with dignity and without pain is their right as autonomous human beings.  The premise behind making such a decision is based upon several understandable factors.  First and foremost is the pain many of them are subjected to on a daily basis.  Secondly, the quality of life they have to endure, in that they are not able to perform even the basic everyday tasks without assistance including going to the bathroom, feeding them self, moving around and some cases even communicating with loved ones.

There is also the question of deterioration in medical condition which the courts seem to take no account of.  If deterioration in health was a new factor, they would be faced with challenging the legal decision all over again.

Like so many before them and one fear many to follow, the steadfast judgements of the courts seem to operate within a ‘one size fits all’ methodology with one issue at its core.  That being the potential for abuse of the law and the vulnerabilities  of certain groups within society who, for whatever reason, may be ‘victims’ of a law permitting euthanasia under certain circumstances……

In the Real World……

Whilst the courts have to give consideration to vulnerable groups and any potential abuse of a carte blanche law permitting assisted dying, I feel we are intelligent enough as a society to make a clear distinction between people like Paul and Tony who are clearly capably of making their feeling known and vulnerable groups who may be acting under duress from others.

The law does not have to be ‘black and white’ and courts could employ the services of Doctors and Mental Health Professionals to establish the merits of each case on a one by one basis.  It is not beyond the courts to identify people who are clearly of sound mind to express when they feel their lives hold no quality and dignity, with little chance of improvement, and to humanly grant them their wish to end them, any more so than to recognise when the plaintiff is requesting such an action under duress.

I am not suggesting a change in law that makes possible the indiscriminate euthanasia of ever sick person but a simplified process under which a judgement can be made without causing delay and upset to those involved.

NIMBYism……

It seems that the opposition to a process which allows ill people the right to end their own lives has fallen foul of the nimbyism which is apparent in many other legal matters and works on the principal that individuals and Judges are not capable of reaching rational decisions.  This is clearly not the case.  Our humanity should allow us to accommodate special circumstances especially when people are suffering……

What can you do……?

 

I have written a ‘Living Will’ of ‘Advance Directive’ to give it its proper name.  It’s quite a simple document that lays out what you want to happen in the event that you should be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident and unable to make your feelings known.  They are quite straight forward and give instructions on resuscitation and artificial life support.  There is space for you to put a statement of your beliefs and allows you to nominate a proxy, to whom you should make your feelings known.  They can act for you if you are unconscious and not able to make your feeling known at the time.

Although an Advance Directive is not ideal if you feel strongly about this issue, it is a good thing to have in place.  Mine can be seen at the bottom of the post but it is important to print out and give copies to those concerned……

And Finally……

Until the brave battles being fought by Paul Lamb and that of Tony Nicklinson set any precedent in law there is little we can do.  I wish Paul, Martin, Jane Tomlinson and the many others fighting for dignity all the best and hope their tenacity pays off……

My Advance Directive……

ADVANCE DIRECTIVE – Blanks Left to Respect Privacy……

THIS LIVING WILL is made on the 12th day of May 2013.

I:  STEPHEN P_____ W_____ of 1, G_____ D_____, B__________ H____, L______, LN4 ___.  Born on:  3rd February 19__

Being of sound mind make this Advance Directive now as to my medical care and treatment directed to my family, my doctors and any other medical personnel, institution or authority in the event that I shall be unable to make my views known at any time.

I DIRECT as follows:

My life shall not be artificially prolonged and no life sustaining treatment shall be administered, if at any time my attending doctor, consultant or surgeon and one independent medical practitioner certify in writing that in their opinion:

 

a) I have a terminal, incurable or irreversible injury, disease or illness; or

b) I am permanently unconscious, comatose, in a persistent vegetative state with no reasonable chance of recovery; and

c) I am no longer able to make decisions regarding my medical treatment.

In the above circumstances I wish to be permitted to die naturally and to only receive such medical treatment as will alleviate any pain or distressing symptoms so as to make me more comfortable even if this has the effect of shortening my life.

EXCEPTING as follows:

If I have elected to end my own life and have taken steps to bring about this, in the event that I am found I wish to be allowed to die with no medical intervention whatsoever.  I believe this is my right as suicide is permitted in law.  The terms of the above directive shall also apply in this circumstance.

APPOINTMENT OF PROXY

I appoint S____ G______ of 11, S___________ H_____, S____ E__, L______, as my proxy to be involved in all decisions about my medical treatment if I am physically or mentally unable to make my views known. The wishes of S____ G______ should be respected at all times and I confirm that she is fully aware of my wishes.

IN WITNESS of which I have set my hand to this my living will on the day month and year first above written.

SIGNED by the above named in our presence and by us in his/hers.

 

Maker of Living Will

 

Signed:                                                 [Person making living will sign here]

 

Proxy

Signed:                                                 [Proxy sign here]

 

First Witness

Signed:                                                 [First Witness sign here]

Name: [Insert first witness name]

Address:          [Insert address of first witness]

Occupation:     [Insert occupation]

Second Witness

Signed:                                                 [Second Witness sign here]

Name: [Insert second witness name]

Address:          [Insert address of second witness]

Occupation:     [Insert occupation]

Human Rights, Morality, Dignity and Public Image……

20 Apr

‘I an returning to a subject which I have covered before and the original articles can be found at the 18 July 2012 entry “Tony Nicklison’s Right to Die” and, 27 August 2012 “Tony Nicklinson – A Fight for Dignity” – Enter “Tony Nicklinson” into the site’s search box to find the articles……’

‘The case of a paralysed man who wants the right to end his own life will be heard in the Court of Appeal next month and public health leaders in Brighton will consider recommendations regarding the treatment of drug addicts within the city.  Although apparently unrelated both of these issues remain unresolved, despite having clear solutions and are being held up by bureaucratic stupidity rather than any real concerns for the people affected……’

What do they have in Common…..?

Real people’s lives; real people, in real situations, that affect real quality of life to them and that of those who care for them.  Not the philosophical or ideological arguments about the morality and rights and wrongs of certain courses of action which bear no relevance to the issues of the individuals bringing the cases.  Whilst considerations have to be given to potential abuses of any changes made to laws there are quite clearly situations that arise and transcend legal, moral and political arguments.  Euthanasia and the treatment of addiction are two instances that have large amounts of scientific, peer reviewed evidence in support of the proposals.  However, instead of consideration of the individuals affected by these cases they are soon overshadowed by the wider arguments which claim the vulnerabilities of some groups in society and the potential for abuse are placed at the forefront of the debates, making the individual’s logical and well demonstrated cases being over ruled by what could be described as the legal professions equivalent of NIMBYism……

 

The Case of Paul Lamb’s Continuation of Tony Nicklinson’s Fight……

Paul Lamb

Paul Lamb

Paul bravely picked up the torch from Tony Nicklinson who died last year from complications related to his illness shortly after loosing the legal bid to allow a doctor to assist in his suicide, with protection from prosecution.  Tony, like Paul, felt that their quality of life was so profoundly affected by their medical conditions they simply wanted the choice to end their lives with dignity at some point in the future when they deemed it appropriate, with the support of their families.  Both incredibly articulate and intelligent men there was no questions that arose surrounding the possibility of outside pressure leading them to make such a brave and considered request.  Suicide is not illegal and those who are able bodied can take steps to bring about the end of their lives should they wish to do so, but due to Paul and Tony’s practical physical restrictions it would almost certainly require a degree of help from another person, whether a family member or doctor leaving them with the possibility of facing charges, including murder.  This is not a situation which Paul and Tony found acceptable, that someone close to them who had may have had to endure the pain of watching their loved ones suffering, may be put through the trauma of facing a public trial.

It is here that the politically correct version of NIMBYism enters the equation.  I completely accept that safeguards would have to considered when granting the sort of requests that Paul and Tony were asking for but, in both cases, even a layman can clearly see that their cases were in no way influenced by external pressures from the families in fact nothing could be further from the reality.  These articulate men were presenting an indisputable case for a member of the medical establishment to assist in what would be a painless act of mercy to end their suffering.  There are no grey areas in the hypothesis and I strongly feel that under such clear and indisputable circumstances a change to the regulations is workable.

I wish Paul every success in his challenge to the current status quo……

The Treatment of Addiction……

Although, these cases appear to unrelated they do share a number of similar institutionalised orthodoxies, which despite years of scientific peer reviewed studies, all of which draw very similar conclusions, they continue to be ignored by the medical services charged with delivering results; again displaying the politically correct NUMBYism that does not affect the people who are either, going through, effected by someone who is going through or as a part of the structure of institutions charged with producing results using a methodology which has been proven to be largely ineffective and they are unwilling to change.  All of this despite the fact that what is considered by science and medicine as the best practice, demonstrated by favourable results within the small scale trials which sometimes take place……

The National Approach to Dealing with Opiate Addiction……

A patient presents with an addiction to Heroin which is the ‘street’ name for Diamorphine Hydrochloride, commonly used in medicine for the management of post operative and severe pain.  The treatment given to all patients is a replacement therapy with either Methadone Hydrochloride or Bupronophine; both are Diamorphine substitutes but lacking in some of the characteristics of Diamorphine and, it is due to this subtle difference that the substitute medication regime fails in the majority of cases to prove effective.

The second contributory factor to the failure of substitute medication’s failure to prove effective is the delivery by whichever agency is charged with its prescribing.  The National Institute for Clinical Excellence list 8 key principals for dealing with Opiate addiction.  One of the first states that ‘the prescription of substitute medication alone does not constitute treatment and should be used with a psycho-social intervention’, or dealing with the psychological reasons for addictive behaviour.  This is simply not done.  The key workers a patient sees have little if any specialist training in dealing with patients physiological needs.

This approach has changed little in since the 1960s, which is when the prescription of Diamorphine was replaced by that of Methadone.  This was not done for the benefit of patients, rather as a result of one rogue doctor who was abusing his position and supplying drugs…….

What Does the Scientific Community Recommend……

 Over the past 30 years the UK Government have commissioned hundreds of studies into the most effective way of delivering the safest, most compliant method for patients and with the maximum harm reduction and every one has recommended the reintroduction of the prescribing of Diamorphine Hydrochloride; the drug to which Heroin addicts are addicted.  These studies show a compliancy of between 92 and 98% whereas with Methadone it is closer to 12%.  The tendency of users to carry on using Heroin on top of their Methadone prescriptions fuels crime, from local level to high end organised crime.  The need to make money to fund the patient’s habit again equates to crime.  The costs to the retail industry, criminal justice system and the cost of locking up offenders at a cost of £30,000 per year is completely false economics, especially as the solution to the problem is simple, advised in the NICE recommendations and falls within the legal framework already in place, it seems crazy to dismiss these scientifically quantified recommendations……

The Effect on the Individual Patient……

The patient is unable to control their drug usage (unless they were prescribed the appropriate substitute) and this leads to the crime, isolation from ‘normal’ life, depression and anxiety and the dangers of exposure to life threatening illnesses such as Hepatitis C and HIV.  There are also many inherent dangers with the 95% of the unknown substances with which the Diamorphine is ‘cut’ by unscrupulous dealers wishing to expand profits.  The damage caused by addiction to Opiates is not the Opiate itself, it is the behaviour associated with continued illicit drug use……

The Solution……

As has been proven by every scientific study into the best way to treat these people is to prescribe the drug to which they are addicted.  This has the effect of ending the destructive behaviour which causes the harm, giving the patient the opportunity to rebuild their lives after which they can be successfully detoxified and continue being a productive member of society.

Why is this not done despite recommendations to our Government that this is the best course of action?  Because of political motives.  Any government taking this approach would face accusations that they are supplying ‘illegal’ drugs to addicts when the truth of the matter is that they are supplying them anyway, albeit under a different name.  The initial cost may increase but the eventual outcomes would be more effective in reducing crime and relapse and, in reintegrating addicts into society.  It is not done for the same reason that people like Paul Lamb and Tony Nicklinson were not given the dignified options they needed; ineffective politicians, ineffective courts and the worry of the damage it might do to their public image and to hell with ‘real’ peoples lives.

There are several countries which have taken this approach including Switzerland, Canada, The Netherlands and Portugal.  All report positive results in both reducing harm to individuals and achieving abstinence……

‘Our political classes, many of whom have never worked or experienced the real world, should be ashamed of themselves for they do not care about individuals, they only care about themselves……

Tony Nicklinson

Tony Nicklinson

 

In memory of  Tony Nicklinson, 4 February 1954 – 22 August 2012……


Squeezed Out of Existence……

24 Jan

Globalisation and Homogenisation……

Take a look at the ‘society’ we have become, or more accurately, we have been moulded into, from government departments to banks, insurance companies, utility service providers, in fact almost every aspect of contemporary life has been given the blanket approach to dealing with the public.  All of the 0845 non-geographical telephone numbers that connect you to an efficient, cheap to run and impersonal call centre, used by almost all large companies and government departments, only have the ability to cope with the most simple of enquires.  Anything that doesn’t have a box to tick is beyond the scope of the badly paid and highly pressured staff to deal with.  Escalation to a higher power usually returns little and I’m sure there is a majority like me that simply cannot bare the stress of attempting to resolve their problems and quit, having had their mental illness tested to  breaking point.

You are left feeling, anxious, demoralised and unable to cope.

If, for example, you have a hearing impairment, legislation dictates that the organisation have to provide access to services or, should you be a wheelchair user, ramps  are a legal requirement for access.  However, if you suffer from a mental health condition such as chronic bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, feature on the Autistic Spectrum or have a complicated combination of mental health issues which is not unusual, you are at the mercy of the machine.  Sadly, mental health services have fallen victim to the machinery of statistics and the ‘tick box’ culture.  The very people charged with supporting you are effectively paralysed.

Driven to the Brink……

I have some personal experience of mental health services and know others who have.  A friend with a history of suicide attempts; she genuinely wanted to die and was not ‘crying’ for help, was in the throws of an incident when she felt she could not cope and was planning another attempt, was fortunately lucid enough to call the Crisis Management Team of the local CMHS and was advised to ‘go for a walk’.  Thankfully, somebody happened to call on her during her attempt and was able talk to her and defuse the situation.  This does not absolve the Crisis Team of responsibility.  Stretched they may be.  Working with budget cuts may feature but what use is a Crisis Management Team who’s idea of managing an imminent suicide attempt from someone known to them with a history of serious mental health problems is to, ‘go for a walk’ does not cut it……

A Policy of Persecution……

A mental heath problem can be debilitating.  It may not manifest in the same way an outwardly obvious physical health problem but is just as serious.  In their drive to save money on the welfare bill the government have taken to persecuting some very ill people through the £100m contract they have with Atos Healthcare, a French IT company.  They are finding thousands of people ‘fit for work’ based on a brief interview and without any information from the doctors and consultants that are treating them.  Recent figures have shown thousands have died within 3 months of being told they are ‘fit for work’, or before their appeals against the unprofessional decisions have been heard.  This clearly demonstrates the reality of process.  They have been tasked with reducing the number of claimants and to ensure they keep the lucrative contract are obliging.  This was exposed by Channel 4s Dispatches program when a doctor went under-cover to the Atos training camp, where they were told in no uncertain terms that, in one case, if you have one are and one finger on that arm, you can press a button and are therefore fit to work.

The most sickening part of this whole debacle is that the money they save pales into insignificance when compared to the industrial scale tax avoidance which the legislator do not seem to be dedicating many resources to stamp out.  Far be it from me to insinuate that they have a vested interest in protecting these huge multi-national companies, even though many ex-MPs become consultants and lobbyists for them when their political careers are over.  The political classes, with the exception of a handful, are completely out of touch with the realities of life and akin to a corrupt mafia as has been demonstrated by the Leveson report and the exposure of the close relationship between bankers, the media and the police.  The tip of a sycophantic iceberg is all we see……

One More Push and a new Statistic will Appear……

My own mental health ranges from states of being catatonic to manic, via obsession and punctuated with addiction.  The argument that addiction is a choice is not invalid; however, my addiction to Valium, Opiates and other depressant drugs is as a result of the lack of intervention when I pleaded for it.  Having had absolutely no help, I began ‘self medicating’ to switch off the mania and anxiety that was driving me toward an early death.  Referral to Drug and Alcohol Services is a joke as they fail to follow even the most fundamental rules set out by NICE and the NTA.  In 20 years I have been stuck on a maintenance prescription with little psycho-social intervention which is a prerequisite in the treatment advice given and the occasional meeting with a key worker does not meet the threshold required in the guidelines …..

Everyday I die a little more and become ever further detached from society.  The black and white I see is a choice to carry on fighting a loosing battle with the establishment, to no avail or, to take the other route out and die so I no longer have to wake up every day and within a few seconds of opening my eyes, realising the untenable nature of living for livings sake.  When I am found dangling from the end of a rope I will have a note that explains the failings of all the many and varying services that were supposed to help.  They will doubtless chalk it up to my mental health and not the failings that lead me here……

‘Only time will tell if and when I defer to making an exit but I have an idealised plan which could be put into action at any time, maybe after taking that walk’……

The Meaning of Life……

9 Aug

Statistically, I should be able to live quite happily in the 21st century.  According to the numbers I have enough food to eat, I will not be killed by extremes of weather, nor will I be a victim of sectarian violence.  The reason I feel unable to live in contemporary society is more subtle and much more impersonal……

The developments that have moulded the modern world are largely reliant upon an individual fitting a predetermined model.  If the automated announcement doesn’t have a selection which suits your enquiry you can find yourself unable to further your query.  In a bid to streamline systems and reduce the costs to providers of services, from banks to the NHS, organisations have placed multiple layers of administration between the service user and a human being that may be able to help you but, even if you get that far, there may not be a ‘box’ for them to tick.  If you happen to fall within the range of the statistics that were used to design the system you will not face any problems in this area; if you’re needs fall outside of the ‘norm’, you inevitably will……

Pigeon holing people is the first of the obstacles I face.  The second, and more challenging, is that of seeing a positive future in which things improve.  Here’s how I see mine.  Currently, I have nothing other than the worn out clothes I wear.  My income is the lowest amount of money payable by the DWP.  I have no qualifications and a patchy work record littered with dismissals.  I cannot drive.  Therefore, I see my prospects of work being limited to a minimum wage job and one from which I will derive no pleasure.  Supposing I get such a job, the income will barely cover my living cost, leaving nothing to either pursue a hobby or further my education to improve my prospects.  So I ask myself the question, “do I want to do a job from which I derive no pleasure, for a wage that makes existing just about possible and, do it for another 36 years only to find that at then end of it I will have no private pension income and be living on a breadline not dissimilar from the one I exist on now?”  Only by then I will be older and find life even more of a struggle……

It does not seem to make any difference how ever many ways I try to look into my future.  The outcome is the same; bleak.  My dear Mother tells me that is the way the cookie crumbles and you just have to put up with it and make the most with the cards you have been dealt.  I see it differently.  Why suffer a life without reward to reach an inevitable end which, given a lack of material wealth is likely to be undignified and at the minimum of standards.  Checking out early is one solution……

There is nothing to fear about death.  The fear is usually associated with the moment of death and the fear of pain at that point.  If dying is not painful then the fear of death is removed.  There are many ways of achieving this and, although most have many obstacles placed in the way, some are easily achievable if you know what you are doing.  Once the fear of death, or rather the fear associated with the moment of death, has been removed, you are left only with questions of belief or spirituality……

I do not believe in any form of theological ‘god’, nor do I believe in a divine creator of any sort.  You are a conscious entity as long as your brain has a supply of oxygen; remove that supply and your consciousness disappears, forever.  You do not transcend to a ‘higher’ dimension or go to any ‘heaven’, or in my case hell.  From my own point of view being dead is like not being born.  I can’t seem to remember spending the 13.7 billion years that the universe existed prior to my birth ‘worrying’ about not having been born.  Nor do I imagine I will spend the next 4 or 5 billion years until the Sun ‘burns’ out worrying about being dead.  To me the whole idea of a ‘before’ and ‘after’ is nothing more than a human construct created to try and give some meaning to the seemingly pointless reason for us to have existed in the first place……

For me the answer is simple and logical.  If there is no reason to live, then don’t; therein saving yourself from a lifetime of misery, literally.  There is only one person on this planet for who my death would be painful.  Therefore, I am waiting until my passing will not cause distress.  Then I will end the suffering we call ‘life’……

Q.E.D.