Lynn Gilderdale’s moving account of why she decided to end her life

From The Times, 26 January 2010 (Words by Lynn Gilderdale)

OK guys, I have something really important to say. I want to talk about something extremely private and personal to share with you, my closest friends. After many years of serious deliberation, I have pretty much come to a huge decision. I hope you will try to understand my reasons for this decision and even if you don’t personally agree with it I hope you won’t judge me too harshly.

I don’t know how to begin. I am just going to come out with it. Here goes, deep breaths. Basically I think some of you have known for a while I have had enough of this miserable excuse for a life, of merely semi-existing for the last 16½ years. I have had enough and I want to die. This is no whim and certainly not just because of the reactive depression diagnosed a few months ago. I am no longer on antidepressants because they weren’t doing anything for me.

I really, really, really want to die and have had enough of being so sick and in so much pain every second of everyday and, basically, one serious health crisis after another. I am tired, so very, very tired and I just don’t think I can keep hanging on for that elusive illness-free existence.

I can’t keep hanging for that ever diminishing non-existent hope that one day I will be well again. This is something I have thought long and hard about, and more than once about. I’m sure it’s what I want. I have discussed and continued to discuss with my parents at great length. Although they obviously desperately don’t want me to go, they can see I have just had enough and understand why I can’t keep hanging on for much longer.

A few months ago, some pretty extreme situations arose. Something happened here and I was finally tipped over the edge. I tried to end my life by sticking a syringe straight down into my veins and simultaneously a syringe full of air. This was not a desperate cry for help, it was a serious attempt to end my life. It should have been enough to kill a grown man. No, it didn’t finish me off. Eventually, I have become tolerant to morphine after being on it for years.

All the overdose did was render me unconscious for a few hours until I finally felt Dad shaking me awake.

That was really the first time my parents knew how depressed I was. I had managed to hide it by using my time-worn, fake-happy face, when they are around. I begged my parents not to tell the doctor what I had done. But, I was put on antidepressants.

Drugs have stopped me from crying all the time, but it hasn’t stopped me from my desire not be on this planet any more. Nothing can change my mind. I have since promised I won’t try to kill myself again in secret.

Injecting morphine is the only reliable suicide method I have access to myself. There’s no other possible way to do it on my own.

Dad, he has always hated me talking about it in the past. He was quite heartbroken. He said: “I understand. But what would I do without my best mate?” This made me sob even harder than I already had.

After talking to me for ages, they both were extremely reluctant but agreed that if something life-threatening did happen to me they promised that they would inform the doctors and nurses that I didn’t want to be revived in any circumstances. I refuse to go back for more treatment.

I know there is a slim chance that I could fully recover and live a relatively normal life but even if I wake up tomorrow, I still won’t be able to live the life I dreamt about living.

My ovaries have packed up — I won’t be able to have children, my all time favourite wish.

I am already 31 years old. By the time I have found the man I want to have children with I will be far past the age. I cannot see myself ever being well enough to do any of this.

Also my bones are so osteoporotic that every cough and sneeze could cause a fracture. How can I live the life I have dreamed of; swimming, sailing, running, cycling. The kind of life I had before it was taken away from me at the age of 14.

My body is tired and my spirit is broken. I have had enough. Can you understand that? I hope you can, I really, really do.

In addition to not wanting any life-saving treatment, if I am ever presented with an opportunity to leave this world, I have to admit I will grab it with both hands.

I understand people think I am just depressed or worse — suicide is far from easy in my opinion and recent experience — or they think it is ridiculous of thinking of suicide when there is still a chance I could recover.

I am also painfully aware that I have a couple of special friends with their own terrible diseases.

I was 30 last year, the desire to leave all this pain and sadness behind me has nothing but increased. I want to die so, so much. Mum and I have probably spent hours on and off discussing everything, despite her doing her best to make me see things differently. My resolve to leave this life has done nothing but intensify.

I am sorry. I know this may be a shock to some of you. Try to put yourself in my situation. Read all the newspaper articles online. This is only a tiny part of what I have been through in the past 16 years.

To see what every second of life in intense pain, feeling permanently and extremely ill, not just lying in a bed resting but 100 per cent reliance on others to care for my basic needs. I have survived because of tubes of medicine, pumps and drugs. Without all this modern technology I wouldn’t be here.

Imagine you lived in one small room, in one single bed for 16 years since the age of 14. Imagine being 30 years old and never having kissed someone properly. Yep, I am that pathetic 30-year-old virgin that everyone ridicules.

Imagine having the painful bones of a 100-year-old woman unable to move without risking a fracture. Imagine being unable to get the spinning thoughts out of your head, other than by slowly typing e-mails.

Imagine not being able to turn yourself over in bed or move your legs.

Imagine having to use a bed pan lying down and having your mother wipe your bum for you.

Imagine having never been in a pub or club at 31 years old. Imagine never having been able to fulfil one thing above all else — that thing that should be a right for all young women, the right to have a young child. I know some women are unable to, but it doesn’t stop my heart from aching and the need to hold my own baby.

Imagine being imprisoned inside the miserable existence that is your life.

I don’t have to imagine of that. My body and mind is broken. I am so desperate to end the never-ending carousel of pain and sickness and suffering. I love my family. I have nothing left and I am spent.

How are Mum and Dad coping with all this? They are utterly, utterly heartbroken, naturally. Although I fear they won’t get over losing me and they don’t want me to go, and despite all the pain they must be in every time I discuss this whole thing, they must understand why I’ve had enough of this life and can’t keep hanging on. They both said they would either die or feel the same. I am so lucky to have incredible parents.

I desperately want to die. Mum and Dad know I have made up my mind.

They have made sure repeatedly that this is what I truly want. And now I’m not going to resist temptation if a way of ending my life falls into my lap.

Even though I can’t imagine how hard this must be for them, obviously they won’t want to lose me but they can’t bear for me to suffer any more than I have — that’s true unconditional love. I will never be able to thank them for putting my needs above theirs. However sad it is, it’s going to be my time to go very soon.

November 2008: I am afraid I can’t lie. I still do crave suicide with every fibre of my being. I promised my parents that I won’t attempt to do it in secret again. If the chance falls into my lap I will grab it with both hands. Mum regularly goes through everything with me. I never waver, I just become more and more sure as time passes. I have always stated that if I was unable to make a decision myself the power goes jointly to my parents. I trust them implicitly with my life and death. I know they won’t do the selfish thing in keeping me here purely for themselves.

 

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