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To the patient who wants to die: a psychologist’s perspective

To the patient who wants to die: a psychologist’s perspective

chronic illness chronic pain disabled life mental health rare disease suicide Apr 26, 2021

To the patient who wants to die: a psychologist’s perspective

I’ve been there. In my first two years of severe, chronic pain, I was right where you are at. I felt hopeless, mentally exhausted, and didn’t want to keep living with an extreme level of pain anymore. I felt there was no point if I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do and live how I felt I should be able to live. I get it.

I’ve now lived decades with chronic pain. This is a process. It will take time. But you are capable of getting through this. I know that saying this likely doesn’t help, but hear me out.

I wish you could see yourself in the way I see you, how your friends and family see you. Your smile lights up a room. Your wit is unmatched. Your presence allows others to be themselves. You have helped so many people in your life, more than you know, and you continue to make an impact on others.

I know you may not see these things right now. I know the pain is so severe that it has severed the parts of you that make you, you. I know that because of pain, you can’t recognize yourself right now. You feel deflated, and all joy stripped from your life. I also know that all these words may not matter, that you feel friends and family would understand if you left this world.

I often think about how I can make you see these things about yourself that others see. I think about the ways I can tell you that things will get better even though the darkest of days is upon you right now.

But I know I can’t make you see these things; no one can. I know these things may not be helpful to hear, irrelevant, noisy.

So instead of trying to convince you, dear one, I’m going to be here for you. I’m going to listen to you. I’m going to advocate for you. I’m going to help pull you out of this depression. I’m going to help you live a valued life with chronic pain.

I’m not going anywhere. Please, please stay here too.

(Note: This piece is in no, way, shape or form supposed to be representative of the vast scope of chronic pain patients. It’s just a short personal view on a few experiences I have recently had with some of my patients who do have supportive families. It’s not meant to discount or dismiss anyone’s experiences. I felt moved to write it because of my recent personal experiences.)

Melissa Geraghty is a psychologist and can be reached on Twitter @mindfuldrg.

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