Tag Archives: Happiness

Happy List – May 30 to June 5, 2016

I’ve been feeling extremely unmotivated to blog lately. It’s not that I don’t want to, or that there aren’t enough prompts or other ideas to get me started. I just can’t get my fingers moving and actually type that post. I don’t know whether it’s for that reason or in spite of it, but I’ve wanted to restart my Dutch website, blog or both. Of course, I’m uninpsired on that side of the language fence too. Just to get myself back into the swing of things, I’ll just write a list of things I’m happy about this week.

  • I’ve been doing okay in the exercise department. The physical therapist came to my unit on Monday to do exercise with me and I worked out some with the resistance band. On Tuesday, I went to the institution gym and did well there. I’ve also been lifting weights and working out more with the resistance band in my room. Yesterday, I went on the elliptical at home.

  • On a somewhat related note, the physical therapist measured the strength in my hands, believing my left hand would be weaker. Turned out they’re both equally strong (or weak). I didn’t ask whether my strength is much worse than normal people’s. It probably is, but for now, let’s forget that and focus on the fact that my left hand isn’t weaker than the right one.

  • On Wednesday, two student nurses from the locked ward went to the market and there was still room in their car. Since one guy ended up not wanting to go and another woman had just lost her privileges, I was the only one going. We bought fruit for my unit and the locked unit and I got some fish.

  • On Friday, my husband and I went out to buy fries and snacks. Yesterday, my husband made us tortillas. Both times, the food was great.

  • Yesterday, my husband and I went clothes shopping for me. We didn’t find what we’d hoped for, but we did find some great dresses.

  • The weather is good. We were supposed t get thunderstorms all week, but in the institution town we only got one on Tuesday. My husband did get worse thuderstorms. Over the week-end, however, we had beautiful weather at home.

  • Our cat Barry celebrated his third birthday today. My in-laws came and brought an apple pie. Barry himself got some of his favorite food.

What are you happy about this week?

Mental Health and Resilience #Write31Days

31 Days of Mental Health

Welcome to day 14 in the #Write31Days challenge. Today, I am joining in with the 1-word blog challenge hosted by Janine and Lisa. This week’s choice of words are “happy” and “pity”. I choose to write on happiness.

When Martin Seligman became president of the American Psychological Association in 2000, he held a speech advocating for more research into positive psychology. Positive psychology is the field of study that examines why certain people are happy, rather than trying to find out why those with mental health issues are not. Now of course mental illness does not prevent happiness, at least not in people with a positive attitude.

As I’ve said before, mental illness does not discriminiate and can in fact strike the most optimistic people. This being the case, optimistic people probably handle their mental illnesses differently from pessimistic people.

I am currently studying modifiers of people’s reaction to stress in my health psychology course. There are three tersm that essentially describe a person’s tendency towards otpimism: hardiness, coherence and resilience. You have probably heard of resilience, which refers to the way some people bounce back from stress and go on with their lives. Hardiness is essentially the same, while coherence describes a way of looking at the word as something that is understandable and logical. Resilient or hardy people perceive a stressful situation as a challenge rather than a threat.

I did not learn about the efffects of resilience on mental health. However, with regard to physical health, resilient or hardy people tend to get ill less, and when they do, they also adhere to treatment better and recover sooner than those who are less resilient.

People who are resilient, besides bouncing back from stress, also perceive they have some level of control over their health. I did not read this, but it could be they are easier patients in therapy. After all, therapy relies on the principle that patiens have control over their thoughts, emotions and actions.

Can you learn to be resilient? In part, yes. While resilience is a trait that is in part determined by people’s heredity and life experiences, you can still get to a more resilient place. Focusing on the positive is an important step towards developing resilience. Even tiny steps, such as creating gratitude lists, can help.

Gratitude List: Week Starting September 14, 2015

Like I said on Tuesday, I returned from my parents’ having caught a cold. My irritable bowel syndrome is also out of control rihgt now and I’m very tired. We had to cancel my sleeping over at my husband’s this week-end because he too caught a cold. That being said, there’s still a lot to be grateful about. Time for another gratitude list!

  1. This one is cheating a bit, as it’s about last week. I had a good stay at my parents’ last week-end. On Saturday, we went to an album presentation and on Sunday, we went to a performance by a poet and a singer-songwriter.

  2. The journey home by train on Monday was uneventful. I actually was on time to catch my train at Zwolle, where you only have about six minutes to transfer and the station is undergoing reconstruction. The railway service personnel were great.

  3. I did an okay job at the gym on Tuesday. I actually learned some new exercises on a balancing ball. I still need to blow up my own balancing ball so that I can do the exercises while not at the gym.

  4. I bought some deliciously-smelling coconut shampoo at the town store on Wednesday. My husband says the smell doesn’t last as long as that of the sunflower shampoo I bought at the supermarket a while back, but oh, it’s so gorgeous! I am now looking to buy some coconut-scented shower gel too.

  5. Speaking of scents, the vanilla scent I put in my AromaStream® a few weeks ago still lasts. I have had my AromaStream® on almost everyday this week.

  6. I found out about the book Suffering the Silence by Allie Cashel in a woman’s magazine that I read on Friday. Decided to buy the book and am totally sucked in. It’s not a light read (the book is about chronic Lyme disease) but it’s fascinating. I will post a review once I finish the book.

  7. So far, I’m liking the fall/winter menu at the institution somewhat. There are still meals I don’t like, but I enjoyed the couscous and noodles we had earlier this week. Nobody else liked the couscous, so I fear it will be off the menu soon.

  8. It was my and my husband’s fourth wedding anniversary yesterday. I liked all the E-mails and messages I received acknowledging it.

  9. Though I am not a big fan of chocolate, I liked the creamy chocolate my husband gave me for our anniversary. Its taste went well together with the vanilla scent I mentioned above.

  10. My husband and I went to Domino’s, a pizza place not too far from our apartment, to order takeout. I had a delicious but very spicey chicken pizza. My husband had a slice and found it extremely spicey, so spicey that I won’t repeat the cuss words he used to describe it. 😉 While I did notice there was some spiciness to it, I found it mostly delicious. We also ordered a box of chicken wings and other deliciousness. Can you tell by now I’m a huge fan of chicken?

  11. I have been looking at various online drug stores, originally for the coconut-scented shower gel I mentioned, but I’ve been oohing and aahing at all the goodies they have on offer. I think I’m going to treat myself to a nice facial someday soon. I tried some facial masks at day activities a while back when someone visited there to help us with makeup and such. The experience was weird but good. I’ve also been reading a lot of goodness about facials on beauty blogs and so want to try it for myself.

  12. Speaking of beauty products, I’ve been trying to apply the lipgloss my sister gave me for my birthday. It smells great. I am not yet good at applying it, but will ask one of the nurses to help me someday soon.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Ojo's World
What Katy Said

My Happy Place

This week on the prompt, we’re talking our happy places. I had to think about this for a bit. A happy place could be a literal space or a state of being. I choose to go with the former. My happy place, unfortunately, is not yet in my and my husband’s aparment. It’s still got to be my room at the institution.

I have two happy spots in my room in particular. One is my desk, at which I write. I have quite the messy desk, with my computer space accumulating a lot of dirt from my computer being there all the time and my rarely cleaning the desk. I did just clean it last Wednesday, so hopefully it’s relatively dirt-free now.

My other happy place definitely has got to be my bed. I love covering myself in blankets, listening to an audio magazine while my AromaStream® essential oil diffuser on my nightstand dispenses a lovely vanilla scent. Of course, vanilla is not an essential oil. I got it in a set of scents from the local supermarket two years ago and am still looking for some other scents that are not the organic type of essential oil but can be diffused in an AromaStram® anyway.

In our apartment, I will of course eventually create my happy place too. When I leave the institution, I’ll be taking my AromaStram® and digital talking book player with me (obviously). I think now I’m going to place the essential oil diffuser on my desk in the living room, but am not 100% sure. I’m not yet sure where I’ll place my digital talking book player either, as it’s not too comfy having to sit in front of my desk while listening all the time.

I’m looking forward to my husband getting his stationary bike moved from his parents to our apartment, so that I can exercise without being disrupted (when my husband goes running himself, for example). I think it’s definitely possible to turn our apartment into a place that I’ll feel happy in too.

Everyday Gyaan

Choosing Happiness In Spite Of Mental Health Issues

I have been reading a book about a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome and bipolar disorder. I have Asperger’s too, plus bordelrine personality disorder, which has some similarities to bipolar disorder. When I was sad because I recognized some symptoms this woman experienced, my husband said that the experiences I described are entirely normal.

This was a bit of a shock to me. Of course, I’m more than my mental illness. I am a woman, a wife, a blogger, a crafter, etc. too. What shocked me was that, in fact, struggling to an extent is normal. It isn’t like, as a mentally ill person, I am always struggling, and it isn’t like, as a currently mentally healthy person, you’re always blissfully happy.

I also read a post on happiness yesterday. In it, the author writes that, in spite of depression or other mental health struggles, you can choose to be happy. I commented (I think the comment is sitll in the mod queue) about a mental health support group on Facebook that is called something like “Mentally Ill People and Supporters Who Love life”. This, plus the realization about certain “symptoms” not being symptoms of a mental illness per se at all, made me realize that maybe happiness has little to do with mental illness.

Of course, depression clouds our minds and people in (hypo)manic states, like the woman in the book, often feel ecstatically happy. But still, you can choose to be optimistic, to be positive in spite of depression. I have in fact met and heard of and read about many people with major depression who call themselves optimists.

Like with any other outside circumstance, we can change our perception of a mental illness. This requires looking at our mental illness as something outside of ourselves, and that takes mindfulness.

It feels a little counterinuitive to see myself as separate from my mental illness, but maybe that is what it takes to choose happiness in spite of my mental health issues. I may have mood swings and feel depressed, suicidal even one moment, angry the next and then joyful, only to go back to depressed. This doesn’t define me, however. It is in fact possible to look beyond the immediate darkness of depression.

My classical culture teacher in high school once said that there is only one moment when you can be happy in your entire life, and that’s now. Having practised some mindfulness has indeed helped me embrace this statement and choose happiness now. If I choose happiness for a minute every sixty seconds, I’ll be happy no matter what happens.

It of course isn’t that simple. Some people more easily find the peace of mind to choose happeness for a minute every sixty seconds than others. This could be related to mental illness, such as major depression often taking over your entire mind. In this sense, the comment in the linked post that you cannot look to medication to make you happy, is only partly true. While antidepressants don’t make you happy indeed – they don’t do that, and it’s nothing to do with how badly yu want them to make you happy -, they do take away the darkest shadows of depression, so that depression doesn’t completely take over your mind anymore. That way, people with major depression will have the ability to actually practise mindfulness again, because, in fact, severe depression does make this next to impossible.

Medications are not for mild depression or anxiety. They firstly do not work that well and may have side effects. In addition, however, when mental illness doesn’t take over your mind, you still have the ability to look beyond it and enjoy your life in spite of it. Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy works far better for mild depression or anxiety than meds, because it teaches you to choose your thoughts and actions and therby choose happiness.

I have to make a confession here. I have thought of asking my doctor to increase my antidepressant, even though I have only mild anxiety now. I look at those times when I am joyful and wish these occurred more oftne. Now I realize that I in fact have a choice. Anxiety at this point doesn’t take over my mind. If it did, I’d definitely look to medication. This is why I won’t go off my medication, which helped me climb out of the valleys of an unquiet, anxious mind. Medication is there to treat mental illness, and it is quite effective in my case. I won’t say I’m free from mental illness, but with regard to anxiety, for the most part it is mild, more like everyday worry than severe, debilitating madness. I can still manage it if I put enough effort into it. I shouldn’t want a blissful life thanks to my happy pills when I can choose that sense of bliss myself.

Mom's Small Victories
Mami 2 Five

Ten Achievements of the Past Decade

Today in Blog Everyday in May, the prompt is to list ten achievements of the past ten years. Now I already did my 28 Before 28 post in February, so it’s an extra challenge not to repeat myself. I am just going to write, and if I don’t get to ten, well, screw it.

1. Graduated from high school. This happened just shy of a decade ago. I am not particularly proud of myself for graduating, probably because my parents were super over the top proud of me and I still can’t let go of a little parent-defying. I forgot most of what I learned in high school anyway.

2. Learned to clean and cook semi-independently. I went to an independence training home for the disabled in 2006 and 2007, where I learned many skilsl ncessary for independent living. I lost most of these skills again, but the fact that I learned them once, makes me confident that I can relearn them.

3. Overcame a mental crisis. It surprises me that, in the 28 Before 28 list, though I did include my diagnoses, I didn’t include the actual achievement of overcoming the darkest of aspects of mental illness. In all honesty, and I hope this doesn’t get me kicked out of care before I’m ready, I can say I’m much better able to cope than I was back when I was first hospitalized in 2007.

4. Finished two Open University psychology courses with a passing grade. IN 28 Before 28, I did mention that I took five courses in total, but the achievement of passing two of them in 2009 was largely overshadowed by the fact of the three that I didn’t pass.

5. Was able to let go of some of the darker trauma-based emotions and perceptions. As regular readers might know, I’m a childhood trauma survivor, which largely came to the surface when I was at my old rehabilitation unit in 2010. Though I got no evidence-based treatment for PTSD or dissociation, through a lot of talking and some work done on my own, I overcame most of the classic PTSD symptoms. I still have attachment issues, emotion regulation difficulties, etc., but I am confident that I will overcome the debilitating effects of these too.

6. Got married. I don’t usually credit myself for our relationship success, but then again it’s a mutual effort I guess, so I should deserve half the credit. If not, then well, I’m still happy I got married, so this fact still belongs here!

7. Started and restarted yoga. I took yoga classes in 2009 or 2010, but eventually quit because the emotions it brought on were too overwhelming. I recetnly restarted and am becoming quite successful at basic poses and exercises.

8. Was able to participate in group recreational therapy. In my old institution, I used to get individual day activities only. Due to budget cuts, I couldn’t get these for a long while in my current institution so I tried the day activity group. It’s still quite hard, but I can at least usually keep up.

9. Was able to enter the recovery stage with regards to my eating disorder. That is, I comletely stopped purging and recently was able to reduce my binge eating significantly too. I gained lots of weight in the past decade and have only started losing it again little by little over the past couple of months, but at least I’m improving. I also haven’t self-harmed in a few months, but that has not been a conscious effort as much.

10. Am generally much happier than I was ten years ago. This pretty much sums up all of my achievements. I didn’t earn the Ph.D. or get the high-profile job I thought I envisioned for myself ten years ago, but so what? I’m generaly less angry, less hostile and also less anxious than I was in 2005. I’m still not the shiniest example of positivity on the planet, but I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, and that’s what matters!

Found Love. Now What?
The List

Rediscovering Yoga

“The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough.” – Amy Weintraub

I take antidepressants, which are moderately effective. I don’t do talk therapy anymore, since the closest to a psychologist we have on our unit is a recent college grad. The actual psychologist, who is on maternity leave, deemed him not to be a suited treatment provider for me, so she assigned me a psychiatric resident whom I mostly talk practical issues with. Talk therapy has not been all that effective for me anyway. So would yoga be one of the keys to a calmer, happier life?

I took yoga classes at my old institution for a while in 2009. Though yoga helped me somewhat, it also made me feel rather emotional. Crying in a group just didn’t feel right, so I quit.

I rediscovered yoga a few months ago and bought an instructional DVD to practise in my own room. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work on my computer. Last week, I finally gave up and searched the Internet for good yoga instructions. Boy, have I been blessed!

First, I came across some Dutch sites which provide step-by-step text and picture guides for many poses and series of poses. I of course can’t see the pics, but the text was quite easy to understand. I tried many of the poses and was relatively successful. I could even do the tree pose, which is a balancing pose in which you put one foot onto the other thigh. I later heard from an activity staff, who used to be a yoga teacher, that this is quite a tough pose.

I also subscribed to YogaDownload.com, which has a large selection of yoga video and audio which elite members ($18 a month) can freely view and download. I downloaded a beginner video in the front room, where we have WiFi access, and played it in my room. It was sometimes hard to follow the video as I practised, but it was very relaxing listening to the calm and gentle instruction.

The activity staff member I mentioned, who used to be a yoga teacher, provides me with individual day activities once a week. She offered to help me learn yoga. Next time she comes, we’re going to practise the sun salutation, which is a relatively easy-going series to warm up your muscles to further practice. When done repeatedly, it can also be used as a work-out.

As I practise on my own, I am finding that yoga is a lot more calming than it used to be when I went to yoga classes. I intend on attending yoga classes sometime again, but for now, I feel much happier practising in my own room. I can’t be sure yet, but I do believe yoga is truly a great addition to my current mental health treatment.

Linking up with Inspire Me Monday and Motivation Monday.

50 Things That Make Me Happy #50Things

I love listing positives and things that make me happy. Therefore, I was so excited to see the 50 Things That Make Me Happy meme over at Mummy Tries. I wasn’t tagged for it and I am not going to tag anyone because I’m too lazy, so consider yourself tagged if you so wish. Listing 50 things that make me happy may be quite challenging already, but I’m going to give it a try.

  1. Daydreaming about living with my husband. Now that we’re trying to figure out how we can make this happen, I’m so excited.

  2. Coffee!

  3. herbal tea. Since writing this post, I have discovered a few new herbs that I like, such as St John’s wort.

  4. Going for a walk.

  5. Yoga. Unfortunately, I can’t get my instructional DVD working, but I still like what I still know about yoga.

  6. Journaling.

  7. Reading inspirational, helpful and positive books.

  8. Being moderately successful at my attempt at losing weight without much effort. All I basically do is keep from binge eating and exercise some.

  9. Snuggling with my cats. Barry isn’t too much of a snuggler and Harry is quite hyper, but I like them both.

  10. Facebook. I am a big Facebooker, mostly engaging with groups. I haven’t updated my blog’s FB page in forever, but that’s because pages don’t work that well on the (relatively accessible) mobile FB.

  11. Crafting. I haven’t done much of it lately, but since I got complimented on my work by my husband recently, I think of giving it a try again.

  12. Cooking at day activities. I can’t cook independently to save my life, but I can help.

  13. When the head nurse makes us French fries or pancakes.

  14. The fact that I’m getting somewhat fitter. A month ago, I couldn’t even walk to the grocery store without my breathing going fast. Yesterday, I walked for about an hour. I did get tired at the end, but it was rewarding.

  15. Art therapy. I don’t always look forward to it, particularly because it’s in the morning and I’m not a morning person. I do usually like it though.

  16. Music. I recently got a Spotify account and love listening to songs on it. I mostly enjoy country.

  17. Taking a bath or shower.

  18. Nice spring weather. We’ve had some pretty good days lately.

  19. Going to concerts with my family. I wasn’t able to go to Sarah McQuaid’s concert this year because I was ill with the flu. I hope to be able to go next year.

  20. Listening to children’s stories and songs.

  21. Essential oils. I love diffusing them in my AromaStream diffuser.

  22. Hot chocolate. I get a cup each week at art therapy.

  23. Getting some fruits and veggies and nuts out of my parents’ large garden when I visit.

  24. Gardening. I don’t do it often nowadays, but my art therapist offered to get me some herbs in a pot that I could grow.

  25. Shopping online or jus looking at all the lovely stuff I could buy but won’t.

  26. Sleep. My sleep/wake cycle is a bit off though.

  27. When my husband says he loves me.

  28. Planning for possibly going back to distance learning at Open University. It might not work out, but just the idea is nice.

  29. Blogging challenges and writing prompts. I love being able to participate in challenges like the A to Z Challenge, although it’s sometimes frustrating when I have lots of other things to write about.

  30. The singing of birds.

  31. Mindfulness exercises.

  32. Learning about natural health even when I can’t or won’t practise it.

  33. The fact that I have some more energy after starting on vitamin D and iron supplements (and vitamin B12 but that has been discontinued).

  34. Going to church. I don’t go nearly as often as I would like to, but I love it everytime I go.

  35. Reading devotionals and other spiritual writings. I lean towards progressive Christianity in my faith, but also derive meaning from many other traditions.

  36. Reading and writing poetry.

  37. The fact that I overcame most of my classic PTSD symptoms.

  38. Nurturing my inner child(ren).

  39. Having a much better relationship with my parents than I used to have.

  40. The fact that I’m a lot calmer generally and having much fewer meltdowns than I used to.

  41. Black liquorice. I haven’t bought it in a while because it is a binge food for me, but my husband has offered to help me divide it into portions. That way, I will be able to enjoy it in moderation.

  42. Receiving cards and small gifts from people from all over the world whom I’ve met online.

  43. Meeting online friends in real life. I recently traveled to Rotterdam to meet someone I’d known for twelve years but never met in real life.

  44. Hearing my parents tell stories about their life in the countryside. I really hope to live in a rural area someday too. This is weird, because I used to believe I wanted to live in the city.

  45. Going to my favorite restaurant with my husband. When I lived in my old institution, we went there often because it’s in that city. Now we treat ourselves to it on special occasions like our anniversary.

  46. All kinds of animals. I used to care for guinea pigs and rabbits at my old institution and go to a horse staple to care for a pony.

  47. Making my own smoothies.

  48. Long summmer evenings spent outdoors.

  49. My birthday. I used to dread it but now look forward to it.

  50. Putting on make-up – or rather, having someone else put make-up on me. I don’t get it done often, but when I do, I like it.

Wow, this was a little hard sometimes, but I am so much happier having written this list! It truly cheered me up. Have a nice week everyone!

You Baby Me Mummy
Post Comment Love
Mami 2 Five

Positives for the Week Starting February 23, 2015 #HappyDaysLinky

This week has been challenging. I’ve been very fatigued. This is nothing new as I’ve had terrible fatigue for a few months already. I also had a dizzy spell on Monday. Since my blood pressure was fine, there hasn’t been an obvious cause. I’m due to get blood drawn to check for hemoglobin and vitamin levels to see if either could explain the fatigue today.

On the old version of my Dutch blog, I used to post happy moments every now and then. Many other Dutch bloggers do this to focus on everyday enjoyment. I just found out that there’s a linky for this in English too. It’s the #HappyDaysLinky. So let me list some things that were good about this week.

1. Getting my braille display back. I got it back on Tuesday and was so relieved. I honestly hadn’t expected it back till later this week at the earliest. Since I hadn’t received a call from Freedom Scientific, the copany that manufactures them, I was expecting it to take much longer. I’m so glad the thing came back, so that I am now fully able to enjoy my online life again.

2. WiFi at the ward. Another thing that will enable me to enjoy my online life more, is that we got a WiFi connection at the psych unit I reside on. It won’t reach my room as the emitter is at the opposite end of the building, but I’ve been able to take my computer to the front room to enjoy the best signal. I don’t think I’ll be using the connection often except to download digital talking books, but it’s a good thing that it’s there.

3. Chocolate! I bought myself a box of chocolates on Monday and truly enjoyed them. Unfortunately, I ate a little too many and got sick, but that went away quickly.

4. Going for walks. The flu has stricken many of the nurses, so there’s usually fewer staff on my unit. That being said, I have been able to enjoy a few walks with the staff. I had a long walk with a substitute staff member on Sunday. Normaly staff can’t take patients on walks on week-ends because there is even fewer staffing, but apparently it was quiet enough on the ward that one could leave. Yesterday, I had to squeeze in art therapy between breakfast and going to the doctor for the fatigue. It was originally frustrating to have the art therapist arrive late, but I made up my mind that this was a great opportunity to go on a walk instead of doing actual art therapy. After all, by the time we’d reached the art therapy building, it’d almost be time to return to the unit for leaving for the doctor’s. I had a nice walk.

I am hoping next week will see at least as many happy moments. I heard the activity staff are introducing movement-focused activities in the day activity room across from my unit. I am looking forward to participating.

My goal for next week is to spend more me time. I hope to focus on writing and hope to also start yoga again. If not at day activities, then I hope to do it in my room.

What Katy Said

Disability and Quality of Life

A few weeks ago, I read a post on gratitude for people with disabilities. It made me think: are disabled people naturally presumed to be unhappy? And if so, do we have an obligation to put up a shiny happy face to make the world know we’re not unhappy? I think indeed we are often thought of as necessarily unhappy. While it would be great if we could show some gratitude, for ourselves and others, this is unrelated to disability. Everyone can be a pain in the ass when they’re constantly grumpy.

I am a relatively unhappy and a significantly disabled person. I do not feel these two necessarily go together. And what if they do? I sometimes do feel crappy because of frustrations related to my disability. Does this make me a pitiful crip? I don’t think so.

Let’s face it: life throws challenges at all of us. It’s not like living with a disability entitles us to be grumpy all the time. On the other hand, we are not required to put up the shiny face at all times either just to show the world that our disability is not a harrowing fate.

I remember when I was aroudn fifteen participating in a preemie folloow-up study. Part of it involved a quality-of-life questionnaire. I was honest that my quality of life was pretty crap, but made a big deal out of making clear this was not due to my disability. After all, I didn’t want the doctors to think that blindness is somemthing worse than death, and, let’s be real, neonatal specialists do use quality of life to base ethical decisions about life or death of future preemies on.

Are we, as disabled people, responsible for making the world believe that disability is not a big deal? I don’t think so. To give an example, when in like 2011 two deafblind twins were euthanized in Belgium, the National Federation of the Blind (U.S) responded by playing the Helen Keller card. See, she was a major achiever and was deafblind, so deafblindness is no reason to have a miserable life. Maybe so, and I agree that a disability in itself is not necessarily a reason for suicide, assisted or not. However, the NFB did not know the specific circcumstances of these people, and neither do I. Both sides of the euthanasia debate made the case of the deafblind twins about deafblindness. What if deafblindness was only used as an excuse for the twins to get assisted suicide, while the real reason was subjective suffering that may or may not have been related to their disability?

Since euthanasia was legalized in the Netherlands in the early 2000s, the definition of unbearable suffering, which is required for euthanasia, has undergone significant inflation. Formerly, euthanasia and assisted suicide were only lejal on terminal patients, while just today, a man who euthanized his aging but non-disabled wife was found guilty but not sentenced. Maybe there’s a difference in that the man in today’s case was not a doctor, but people constantly make it about the wife’s non-disabled status. Let me make one point: if you allow euthanasia or assisted suicide but only on those with a disability, that’s discrimination. It’s not like non-disabled people can’t suffer. As sort of an inverted argument, are non-disabled people required to live in misery just because they don’t have a disability?