23:48 GMT12 July 2020
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    Doctors in Belgium have granted a woman who has been diagnosed with depression, but is not terminally ill, the right to end her own life.

    "Life, that's not for me," the 24-year-old woman, who was identified only as "Laura," told local newspaper De Morgen.

    "Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful," she told the newspaper.

    Laura has suffered from depression since she was a young child. At six years old, she unknowingly picked up a loaded gun and thought about committing suicide.

    "If I had known this at that time," she said, "I might have pulled the trigger. I can easily imagine."

    Laura, who entered a psychiatric facility at 21, said her parents had her too young and her father was an alcoholic. And although her grandparents provided her "security, peace and structure," it was not enough to assuage her "death wish."

    "Even though my childhood certainly contributed to my suffering, I am convinced that I had had this death wish even though I grew up with a quiet, stable family," she said.

    Laura has not decided on the date of her death, but is currently planning her funeral as well as her final words to her family and friends, Der Morgen reported.

    "What I'm going to say on that last moment, I do not know yet," Laura told the newspaper. "I have extensively written ideas in letters to my friends. I think everything has already been appointed.

    "Maybe I will finally figure it out with these words: 'Those who are about to die salute you.'"

    Since Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002, approximately 1,400 people have ended their life every year. Belgian parliament extended the law to terminally ill children in 2013, the same year that the number of requests to die peaked at more than 1,800.

    Last November, cancer patient Brittany Maynard became the face of the US' "death with dignity movement" when she moved from California to Oregon in order to legally take her own life with prescription drugs.

    Christy O'Donnell, a terminally ill California mother, has sued the state for the same right. O'Donnell, 46, suffers from lung cancer and has less than four months left to live.


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    suicide, depression, cancer, euthanasia, Brittany Maynard, California, United States, Belgium
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