Young woman to be euthanized after three-and-a-half-year ordeal: “I feel at peace. Such a long fight”

The 28-year-old Dutch woman is scheduled to be euthanized next week. Zoraya ter Beek recently received final approval to die after a three-and-a-half-year process under a law enacted in the Netherlands in 2002.

Video capture by Zoraya der Beek

His case sparked a wave of controversy even in his home country, where the practice is provided for in law. This is because assisted dying is uncommon in the Netherlands for people with mental health conditions, although the number is increasing. In 2010, there were two cases involving mental disorders, and in 2023, there were 138 or 1.5% of 9,068 euthanasia deaths.

For Zoraya der Beek, the ordeal began in childhood as she suffered from chronic depression, anxiety, trauma and non-specific personality disorder. Also, she was diagnosed with autism. When she met her partner, she believed that he would be her savior and that the safe environment he provided would heal her.

Why did he decide to seek euthanasia?

Unfortunately for her, despite intensive treatments, therapies and more than 30 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), she was unable to escape suicidal thoughts and ended up mutilating herself.

“In therapy, I learned a lot about myself and coping mechanisms, but it didn’t solve the core problems. At the beginning of therapy, you start with hope. I thought I’d be fine. But the longer therapy goes on, the more you start losing hope.” Zoraya der Beek testified.

After 10 years, after doctors had tried everything they thought could help her, death was her last resort. The reason she didn’t take her own life was because of the impact her colleague’s suicide had on her family. It was then that he decided to seek euthanasia.

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“In August 2020 I completed electroconvulsive therapy and after accepting that there was no further treatment, I applied for assisted dying in December of the same year. It is a long and complicated process. It’s not like asking for help to die on Monday, die by Friday.” she said.

An article about her case published in April was picked up by the international press, sparking a wave of protests that caused her great suffering. Zoraya der Beek, the legal issue of assisted dying and her case are understandably controversial, but she is fully aware of what she wants.

“People think you can’t think straight when you’re mentally ill, which is insulting.” she announced Guardian. “I understand the fear that some disabled people have about helping to die and that people are being pressured to die. But the Netherlands has had this law for over 20 years. There are very strict rules and it’s very safe.”The young woman explained.

The law in the Netherlands states that to be eligible for euthanasia, a person must face “Intolerable suffering with no prospect of relief.” Also, another condition is that the person is fully informed about what this means and is competent to take such a decision.

“I’ve been on the waiting list for assessment for a long time because there are very few doctors willing to commit to assisted dying for people with mental illness. You have to be assessed by a panel, have a second opinion on your eligibility, and have their decision reviewed by another independent doctor. This is going on. “In three and a half years I’ve never felt guilty about my decision. I have a partner, a family, and I’m not blind to their pain. But I’m determined to go all the way.” Zoraya der Beek explained.

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“To me, it’s like sleeping.”

After receiving the final approval he needed last week, the 28-year-old met with his medical team to finalize the final details.

“I feel relieved. It’s been such a long fight.” She agreed. “They’ll start by giving me anesthesia and they won’t give me the drugs to stop my heart until I’m in a coma. I’ll be sleepy. My partner will be there, but I said it’s okay if he leaves the room before he dies. Now the time has come and we’re ready for it. , let’s find some peace. I feel guilty too. But sometimes when you love someone, you have to let them go.” Zoraya ter Beek finished.

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