Therefore diseases of the brain, be they dementia or clinical depression, are not on the list of what is allowed for euthanasia here. Incidentally, it was Patrick Kennedy who framed his own mental illness as a "brain disease."
So, tremendous suffering goes on. Both for the direct victims and their families. Also some families with a member with dementia face bankruptcy because of nursing home fees.
Until America's antipathy toward assisted suicide for brain disease is ended, an option may be medical tourism.
More enlightened nations in Europe permit euthanasia for non-terminal conditions. Those range from Switzerland to Holland.
Who would benefit from an end-of-life pilgrimage to where euthanasia is available for non-physical pain?
One is my neighbor in his 60s with dementia. His torment comes with that flicker of memory. It informs him that he is the longer in charge of his life. The condition is worsening.
His family is also in torment. A full-time nursing facility will eventually cost them anywhere from $2,400 a month to $5,300 a month. Meanwhile, his primary caretaker - his wife - has become a prisoner of his brain disease. She can't leave the house without paid help to attend to his constant demands. Essentially he has regressed to a toddler in the terrible-twos.
Since the age of 11 until I relocated from the "scene of the crime" -- New York Metro -- to the Southwest, I battled clinical depression and more. Frequently that demon won more rounds than it lost, as it is well known to do. Working as a writer was the "word paste" which held me together. Although I always earned my own living and was never hospitalized, how I have suffered.
Mental health professionals paint too rosy a picture about what they label "treatment" can eradicate. With my own geographic 25 months ago, the darkness has lifted. At least for now. I can make social plans and show up. That's because I am not forced to stay in bed with a depressive episode. During my career, I have cranked out more articles from my bed than from a desk.
Could the depression return? You bet. If so, I have to consider medical tourism an option. No fool, Victorian novelist Virginia Woolf drowned herself as she sensed another eruption of brain disease about to take place.
There are many other possible consumers for assisted suicide.
A significant number of my immediate family went the passive suicide route. That could have been because they continued to lose the ability to manage their lives. With aging, they seemed to run out of tricks.
The check-out tactics ranged from ignoring a breast lump the size of a golf ball to walking home drunk along the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey. Had there been a service which they could have accessed for active suicide, they might have prevented the next generation - their children - from being so emotionally undone. My siblings and cousins were a mess.
America's mandate on having to continue to live, no matter what, is arrogant. And cruel. It is also out-of-date.