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Woman explains why she wants to end her life aged 29 as she is granted euthanasia approval

Woman explains why she wants to end her life aged 29 as she is granted euthanasia approval

She plans to die within the coming weeks in her own home.

Warning: This article contains discussion of assisted dying that some readers may find distressing.

A woman who has been granted the right to euthanasia on the grounds of mental suffering has explained why she wants to end her life.

Dutch woman Zoraya ter Beek has had her request for assisted dying granted, and is expected to end her life in the coming weeks at her home.

"I feel relief. It's been such a long fight," she told The Guardian of being granted the right to die, and on the day it happens a medical team will come to her home, sedate her and then when she is in a coma administer drugs which stop her heart.

She said it would be 'like falling asleep', and her partner will be with her in her home when she dies, though ter Beek said she had told him it was alright if he felt he needed to leave the room.

Under the law in the Netherlands, a person seeking assisted dying must be experiencing 'unbearable suffering with no prospect of improvement', and they have to demonstrate that they are fully informed and capable of making such a decision.

She said she understood the fears some people had about assisted dying, but that it was was a well safeguarded process. (RTL Nieuws)
She said she understood the fears some people had about assisted dying, but that it was was a well safeguarded process. (RTL Nieuws)

"People think that when you’re mentally ill, you can’t think straight, which is insulting," she explained to The Guardian of her decision to seek assisted dying and the safeguards around it.

"I understand the fears that some disabled people have about assisted dying, and worries about people being under pressure to die.

"But in the Netherlands, we’ve had this law for more than 20 years. There are really strict rules, and it’s really safe."

She explained that she had chronic depression, anxiety, trauma and unspecified personality disorder, and 'continued to self-harm and feel suicidal'.

In her life, ter Beek has undergone a series of treatments including therapy, medication and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and that after 10 years there was 'nothing left' in terms of potential treatments.

She said: "In therapy, I learned a lot about myself and coping mechanisms, but it didn’t fix the main issues.

"At the beginning of treatment, you start out hopeful. I thought I’d get better. But the longer the treatment goes on, you start losing hope."

She had sought treatment for years, and applied for assisted dying after 'accepting there was no more treatment'. (RTL Nieuws)
She had sought treatment for years, and applied for assisted dying after 'accepting there was no more treatment'. (RTL Nieuws)

She finished receiving ECT in August 2020, and applied for assisted dying in December of the same year.

ter Beek explained that applying for assisted dying was a 'long and complicated process' as she had to be assessed for her eligibility, get a second opinion and have it all reviewed by an independent doctor.

She said: "In the three and a half years this has taken, I’ve never hesitated about my decision. I have felt guilt – I have a partner, family, friends and I’m not blind to their pain. And I’ve felt scared. But I’m absolutely determined to go through with it.

"Every doctor at every stage says: ‘Are you sure? You can stop at any point.’

"My partner has been in the room for most conversations in order to support me, but several times he has been asked to leave so the doctors can be sure I’m speaking freely."

Others have decided to seek assisted dying on psychiatric grounds, while in the UK there is a debate over whether euthanasia should be made legal

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.

Featured Image Credit: RTL Nieuws

Topics: Health, Mental Health, World News

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