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Bob Dawson

Well, I don't want to ruin anyone's day, but there is a timing issue that we face. If I don't want to end up being totally crippled and unable to feed or wash or dress myself, bed-ridden for years, then I consider that I would have to commit suicide before becoming too incompetent to commit suicide. And when is that point in time? If I wait too long, I may not have the presence of mind and the physical ability to do it. If I go too soon, it would be just my luck that they announce the cure the next day, and all the businessmen at my funeral would be joking, saying "He always said that timing is everything...hahaha!)
But thinking about death, natural or self-inflicted, happens to just about anybody with a downward spiraling not-fixable disease. And having thought about it, I put on the Blues real loud and drive those blues away. Let's do some living while we can. But I am still in the early to mid stages of the disease, so it is easy for me to talk.

parkinson illness

There were just over 100 patients followed for 8 years and only 2 suicides. With such a small sample the chance of error is high.

Rachel Tortolini

Should we not distinguish between suicide and euthanasia? Suicide carries with it a lot of culturally negative baggage that should not enter into such studies. After all, choosing life over suicide might be just prolonging a painful death in reality. I like to think of euthanasia self-inflicted as a choice to go when I have the ability. To rationally get my affairs in order, be with friends and take the final exit before I am no longer able to take care of these thing myself seems eminently preferrable. This is planned not a sudden off the cuff (condemned) suicide. So please let us have clarity over choice of words. For those nearing the final exit this is not suicide.


Comtemplating self-directed euthanasia before this hateful disease can rob us of our independence and dignity does not mean that we "don't want to live anymore." The exact opposite is true for me. I love and revere my life but I feel like I am standing on the train track with my foot stuck in the rails, and late-stage Parkinson's is the train whistling in the distance! There is nowhere to run but to oblivion. I cannot reconcile these options in my head (Invalid or death) so my mind runs like a mouse in a maze looking for a way out. Please, give me door number three and I'll gladly choose it! I am only fifty years old! I have a job I love, a husband I adore and the sweetest son in the world. I have family and friends and dreams and want to believe that my disease will progress slowly and buy me precious time, but I can tell you one thing, there is no way I am going to allow my family to be made bankrupt by medical bills, or be responsible for what's left of me when Parkinson's has ravaged my body, mind and spirit. So...door number three, anybody?

george atwood

How can anyone with a terminal illness, destined to disable those that suffer from it and burden family members terribly, not think of suicide? I wish there could be more of a dialogue between Parkinson's patients on this matter. I am tired of reading upbeat messages about preserving the quality of life - of course we want to do that, but what about that day when all quality vanishes? Door #3.

Tom Tucker

Why would we not think of suicide? I am close now as I know I am only going to continue to go down hill and my emotions are raw.


It's a fine line we walk, maintaining a realistic outlook without letting the dismal vision of our future poison the pleasures available to us.

I have to wonder: is suicidal ideation in PwP a bad thing? I take a certain bitter comfort in knowing it is within my power to avoid a fate worse than death. I'm not interested in suppressing thoughts of suicide. What I would like is some help, some guidance in discussing this with family and friends so no one I love will have to feel guilty or blindsided if I check out. Are we allowed to talk about that?

Linda Lysne

I lost my husband of 47 years to PD 4 years ago. I am now a volunteer at the Parkinsons Resource Center where I live. I facilitate two groups for spousal/partner caregivers. It is a process group, closed to 8 members, where they can let everything out and share the most intimate of feelings. One group has been going 3 l/2 years, the other 1 year. There has been 1 recent suicide of a caregiver's loved one which has raised some questions not found in the textbooks and certainly not encouraged to talk about with most of their doctors. "It is depression, here is a pill I prescribe". My groups want to know: "What do I do/say when my loved one indicates he/she doesn't want to go on?" "How do I react at that moment?" I am a retired CD counselor and kinda know how to respond to these questions, especially since I've walked the walk, but I would like input from some of you going through this. Thank you. Linda

Kate Kelsall


Please see my response in the following blog post:

Responding to Loved Ones Who Don't Want to Go On Living


Kate Kelsall
Shake, Rattle and Roll

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