Just to mention it beforehand: I don’t have any intention to commit suicide! A lot of people asked me that as they heard about that topic, so “NO” is my clear answer.
Some time ago I watched a talkshow, and the topic “assisted suicide” popped up during the discussion. The well-known german politician Gregor Gysi talked about his mother (“The doctors brought me to life, now they can help me end it in dignity!” she said to him) and how he thought about assisted suicide and the legal situation in Germany.
It was very interesting and I recalled a movie I watched long time ago. “Choosing to Die” is a 2011 one-off television documentary presented by Sir Terry Pratchett and portrayed the famous fantasy author discussing the possibility of assisted suicide and accompany Peter Smedley, who travelled to Switzerland and died with the assistance of Dignitas.
Pratchett, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers Disease in 2007 and died in 2015, talked about the possibilities of assisted suicide and the legal situation in Great Britain. It was really upsetting for me to see that it is possible for the state to pass sentence on your relatives if they are helping you to die or just accompany you on your last walk!
German laws are tricky in this respect. Assisted suicide (the link is in german) is not prosecutable AS LONG AS the helping person doesn’t commit any prosecutable acts to provide the help to die. Here the irony begins: my doctor is allowed to help me to take a lethal medicament, but will be prosecuted if he also provides it. My friend is allowed to help me to kill myself, but will be prosecuted if he let me die (denial of assistance)!
How absurd is this?!
There are many discussions about that topic, and I understand both sides, mostly. It is not easy to hear someone saying “I want to die” and let him get his way. There are facts to consider, laws to follow and so on. But I think about it this way: “Why should I hinder someone to commit suicide if I am convinced (!) that he will know what this step will mean for him and his relatives?”
To make a clear statement: if my disability will become more and more worse so that I am not able to handle myself anymore, I want to have the possibility (I am not saying that I will use that possibility) to end my life. I don’t want to burden my family and friends with this responsibilities (even if they will say “It is no problem for us”) and want to end my life at a time where I can say “I had a good life, now it becomes a burden to myself and my family, now it’s time to go”. I would NEVER make this decision over trivial problems like relationships, money or because I am “tired of life”, so to say. This is serious stuff!
I hope I made myself clear, and I really want to encourage you to make up your own mind about that topic. I consider it as important as having an advance health care directive (“Patientenverfügung” in german). At least, I want to recommend you to watch “Choosing To Die” and have an open mind for the upcoming discussion.