I don’t want to die, but I can’t live like this – El Sol de México

By Katia D’Artigues

Zoraya lives with depression, autism spectrum disorder and a psychiatric condition called borderline personality disorder, which causes her emotions to flare. She has spent the last two and a half years in bureaucratic procedures to legally end his life, to undergo euthanasia, which means “good death” (from the Greek expressions “eu”, good, and “thanatos”, death). ).

She is only 28 years old and in the Netherlands, where she lives, euthanasia has been legal since 2001. After the ruling that will allow her to carry out this decision of hers, she let a few months pass to put everything in order and next month, accompanied by her partner, A 40-year-old programmer and his two cats will inject her with a sedative that will put her to sleep and cause her heart to stop beating.

The quote with which I opened this text is his: “I don’t want to die, but I can’t live like this.” It seems to me that it is an expression of deep pain, perhaps not physical, but vital!

Zoraya Ter Beek, a Leo, underwent different medical treatments, went to several specialists and none of them worked the way she wanted. She began her long legal fight after the last psychiatrist who treated her told him that her depression would not abate.

I know that it is a controversial decision and that many people do not agree with this young woman. It is also important to emphasize that not all people living with depression, autism or borderline personality disorder (together or separately) want to end their life.

As I am part of the Mexican culture, very permeated by Catholicism, I know that many people will even argue religious reasons or their own mental health to even dare to say that no one should be allowed to make a decision like that.

It is reflected in our laws. In Mexico, advance directives are legislated: that no extraordinary actions be carried out to continue or extend life, but not the right to a dignified death. In fact, euthanasia is allowed in a few countries in the world: Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Luxembourg, New Zealand; in Latin America, only in Colombia and Ecuador. It is generally allowed when a person is living with a terminal illness.

In the Penal Code of Mexico City, Article 127, it says that a prison sentence of two to five years will be applied to a person who deprives another of the life even when it is “by express, free, repeated, serious and unequivocal request.” of this, provided that there are humanitarian reasons and the victim suffers from an incurable disease in the terminal phase.”

The Federal Penal Code, which was last reformed in May 2023, also maintains penalties in articles 312 and 313. Anyone who provides support for another to make the decision to end their life may have a penalty of one to five. years. If he ends his life himself, it is understood that at the request of another, from four to 12 years.

In addition, there are aggravating factors: if the person is a minor or “suffers from any form of mental insanity”, it will be classified as qualified homicide.

“Mental derangement”? Like every time I have a question I turn to the dictionary. The Royal Spanish Academy marks as synonyms “madness, dementia, alienation, lunacy, delirium, madness”, that is, a frankly ableist term, discriminatory towards people with disabilities.

Finally, users or ex-users of psychiatric services are people with psychosocial disabilities.

I see the photo of Zoraya again, with her long brown hair, blue eyes, hugged by her boyfriend, with whom she has already decided that she will spread her ashes “in a nice place in the forest.” She looks calm, although she doesn’t smile.

It’s hard for me to think that he will die in a few days, but I also can’t know what it feels like to live under his skin. Finally, isn’t ending one’s life a very personal decision, a final expression of absolute individual freedom?

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