Half of Americans Would Choose Death over Disability: Survey

By Hilary WhiteJuly 15, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - More than half of people in the US would rather be dead than disabled says a new survey. A US website for disabled people ran the survey which asked, "Which would you choose: Living with a severe disability that forever alters your ability to…

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Not me, and I’m getting close.

As a person living with a physical disability since birth, I was very saddened to read this. Disabled people often can and do lead very productive lives. We work, we volunteer, we drive, we get married, we have children, and we teach, among many other things. We have far more things in common with the able-bodied community than people realize.

I really hate knowing that half of the people who see me in my wheelchair - if these results are true - would rather be dead than be in my situation. Talk about judgment! They don’t know me and have no idea of the quality and importance of my life. Disabled people have worth not only to themselves, but to their families and friends, and most importantly to the Father.

It is really sad that our society places so much importance on physical ability. It is even more sad that people make assumptions that living life with a disability is not a life worth living at all. They may be surprised to know that even if they can walk,
I don’t envy them.

The Catholic Church teaches that we should accept our sufferings and carry our crosses. The Catholic Church teaches we should offer our sufferings in reparation for our own sins and for the conversion of sinners. The Catholic Church teaches that we can use our sufferings to help ourselves, to help other people, and to help build the kingdom of God.

This is an example of how being a Catholic will help us both in this life and in the next life. Being a Catholic will prolong our life and make us happier. Being a Catholic will make us happier in the world to come.

Also, we being a Catholic will make other people happier here on earth and in the world to come because we have offered our sufferings for them.

My mom and my husband have both said they would not want to be disabled or really old and need constant care. They didn’t say they would rather be dead, but they don’t want to suffer.

No one wants to suffer. I’ve never had to deal personally with a disability, but I cannot imagine wanting to die instead.

Maybe if I had to deal with constant extreme pain, the thought would cross my mind. But I think that would be pretty normal and natural for someone to think that way.

But for someone to want to die because they are wheelchair bound, or blind, or deaf, or some other debilitating condition … excuse me, but have we become a nation of wimps?

Actually it’s probably our ideals of rugged individualism that make us not want to live with a disability. Living with a disability frequently makes us dependent on others for even very personal care. It is this loss of autonomy that I think lies at the root of most people’s extreme aversion to being disabled.

There was a survey of fears.

And fear of death was lower on the list than the fear of giving a speech.

So … using that kind of logic, people would rather die than give a speech.

I dunno … seems kind of like weak logic. ]

Well I think a better survey would be what the numbers are for people who have become disabled after a little bit of time to adjust to it. It would seem to me that the numbers of people who think they will not get a divorce just before their wedding would be a bit different after a few years of being married.

Or, they could follow the example of Dr. Kathleen Malley-Morrison, an award winning mentor, teacher, and author, who has been confined to a wheelchair since a car accident in the mid-sixties.

Living with any cross is not easy, and our lives here are temporary. How many of these people have heeded the words of Christ, and accepted God’s grace to lighten their burdens? Many of them are educated people, but their font of knowledge has rejected the virtue of wisdom.

It just goes to show how many people have continued to eat the fruit from the wrong tree. Their salvation is something we are to constantly pray for. And voting in strong candidates who will reject legislation allowing such abominations before God, is our duty as well.

Modern medicine has created many dillemmas for people because it can extend life through very unnatural means, such as G-tubes, ventilators, etc. People with severe neurological injuries can be kept alive indefinately, in virtually vegetative states, or with very severe mobility limiting disabilities. Whereas in previous times, they would have died natural deaths, medince can snatch them from the jaws of death with wonder drugs, dialysis, miracle surgeries etc.

This can lead to profound despair and depression on the part of the patient. It also can cause emotional, physical and financial burdens on family members at that are are very heavy to bear.

Just think, if a person is already struggling emotionally, with the ordinary burdens of life, and then they are faced with a catosrophic injury; It can easily be too great of a burden to bear. This is all very individual, which is why it’s better to not to judge another’s point of view regarding these matters.

This is a subject I think about a lot. My dad, who was biploar and suffered from emphyseme, committed suicide because the emphysema had destroyed his quality of life (his perception, I’m not saying we should agree). But he preferred death. Of course, he was clinically depressed as well which played a major role in his decision to take his own life.

I’m also bipolar and have stongly considered suicide as a way out of the nightmare that living with biplolar can be - it that isn’t a disablity I don’t know what is. Disabilities can be mental as well as physical and many folks with mental illness kill themselves as a way to end their suffering.

I also have rhumatoid arthritis. The older I get, the more pain I am in. The current pharmacology has intense side effects, death even occurs in somes cases. Suffice to say, the treatment renders my life less livable than the disease. So I try to deal with the pain. Now, I am only 49. I wonder everyday what I’ll be like when I’m 60. Will the pain be so bad I’d rather die. A definite maybe. Let me say here that we all have different pain thresholds and varying capacities for suffering. My dad obviously felt he’d reached his. Others would have gone on. It is hard to have to admit that some days I can’t lift the clothes basktet or bend over to pick something up off the floor. But it’s the physical pain that I find most difficult. And it just exascerbates my depression.

In short, life is complex and when reading these surveys I think we need to bear in mind that we don’t know the circumstances the responders are living with, struggling with. :shrug:

Not these people.

Harriet McBryde Johnson has died, but she did not prefer death over disability. Read of her encounter with Peter Singer here.
“He insists he doesn’t want to kill me. He simply thinks it would have been better, all things considered, to have given my parents the option of killing the baby I once was…”

The same could be said when reading these posts here in CAF.

Swan, I had no idea you were suffering so much. I am saddened to think of what you endure daily, with only a glimmer of escape. Its got to be a terrible burden which would grind you down day after day, week after week, months at time.

Please folks, lets remember to pray for one another.

Swan, God bless and give you the strength to deal with your troubles. I will do as you request.
Thank you.

Thank you, sincerely. What’s worse is that sometimes I’m not as charitable as I could be as a result of one or both problems. I try to remember this when I’m dealing with someone else who is less than pleasant, you know? I try to be one of the good things in their day. Guess there’s a lesson in everything if we are open to it.

RW Morris: thank you for your kind words as well. :slight_smile:

That survey wasn‘t about people near the end of their rope wondering how much longer they could hold out. It was about healthy people selling the disabled and their lives short.

Can I ask something of all of you here? Did you like to see her like that? …] I am, however, going to do everything in my power to see that my daughter doesn’t end up like that. I would consider that a great tragedy. A crime. …] I will never apologize for not wanting my daughter to be like that woman. Autism of that profundity IS a tragedy…not an alternative lifestyle. It’s a DISORDER that can be avoided. …] when I see that woman (I’m sorry I don’t remember her name) lying there with the lonely blank stares typical of autism…and read of her horrible experiences…all I can think of is how could this have been avoided? I imagine everything she has missed out on earlier in her life…and will likely never experience later in life. She may be “fine” with her life and merely want acceptance and love…and everything else that folks seek in life. But there’s a richness to life she’ll never have because of her disabilities.

Some time ago one Erik Nanstiel, arguing in favor of genetic engineering to prevent autistic people from being born, posted the above in a blog next to a photograph.

No sooner had he done so than the woman whose photograph he had published eloquently read him the riot act in her own blog, ballastexistenz.autistics.org, beginning with: „You call that a blank stare? … I call that my face!“

The whole survey is meaningless, since one really doesn’t have a choice between the two. I think a better survey would be to interview a bunch of people who were able bodied and had become disabled. Ask them if they would rather be dead, I suspect you would find the vast majority learn that life is precious and are glad to be alive.


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