Emily Macaulay (emilymacaulay) wrote,
Emily Macaulay
emilymacaulay

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The unintentional suicide

Firstly let me say how impressed I was that if you ‘google’ “suicide” the first thing that comes up is the Samaritans helpline (08457 90 90 90). In a world increasingly guided by Google this seems like a very responsible thing to do. Also let me state that I am lucky enough to never have been close to someone who has taken their own life and that in no way is what follows intended to demean experiences of people left hurt by another’s suicide, or those finding themselves in a position where they are contemplating suicide. If any of that resonates with you perhaps don’t read on…this may just make you cross.As someone with cancer I physically recoil whenever I hear the words “battle” or “fight” in relation to the illness. I’m not the first person to have written on this topic ( and for example). However previous comments have largely focussed on the resulting impact of using such loaded language when the individual dies, for often the individual that is “fighting” will have a terminal diagnosis.this from the Guardianthis on Dying MattersThe brutal reality of that diagnosis is that someone (a medical professional) with years of experience and all the science and data they can get their hands on has considered the probabilities in front of them and come to an objective conclusion that says the individuals death will be earlier than expected – that the illness is incurable/the disease will result in the death of the individual regardless of any medical intervention. Medicine, alternative approaches and any other manner of intervention may improve the quality of life left or may even, in some cases, extend the quantity of life too. But the inevitable is set.The previously linked articles argue (and do so well in my opinion) that to say someone is fighting, then results in huge negative impact on them when they are nearing death, the inference being “losing” their “battle”. A lot of people won’t want to be remembered that way. I agree. I wouldn’t want to be considered of someone that lost. I always want to win (speak to my friends…it’s a curse and a blessing!).But this isn’t my main “bug” with the phrases “fight” and “battle” and others that suggest conflict. And that is because my cancer is me. It is not an infection or a contagious disease, it is simply some of my cells not following the rule book. They are my cells before and they are my cells after. How can I win a battle against myself? Why would I want to fight myself? The World Health Organization defines suicide as the “act of deliberately killing oneself”. I argue therefore that cancer is a form of unintentional suicide. My body knows what it is doing, it is sending the signals to the cells, or the cells are deciding what to do themselves. Either way, there’s nothing new in my body. My body is killing itself. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

Tags: cancer
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