A YouTuber with multiple personality disorder documents her attempt to end her life in a euthanasia clinic.
The 23-year-old Frenchwoman, who goes by the name Olympe, recently told her mental health channel’s 255,000 subscribers that she was “in touch with doctors” in Belgium, where assisted suicide is legal.
The content creator suffers from dissociative identity disorder, a condition formed by trauma that is often deeply distressing for those it affects.
But Belgian doctor Yves de Locht, approached by Olympe, said the clinics were not ‘euthanasia providers’ and the process can take months or years before someone can access assisted suicide services. .
It follows the controversial death of another 23-year-old with mental health issues who chose to end his life in Belgium last year.
YouTuber Olympe spoke candidly to her followers on Instagram earlier this month
What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is a condition resulting from the presence of two or more distinct and “relatively enduring” personalities in the sufferer.
The condition is seen in approximately 1.5% of the general population and is the result of repeated or long-term childhood trauma.
90% of people with DID have a history of abuse and neglect.
The disease develops in early childhood, before the brain can develop a single, integrated identity.
Treatment usually involves symptomatic treatment (“palliative” therapy) and psychotherapy. Without medical treatment, the condition rarely gets better on its own.
Diagnoses of the disease have increased dramatically in recent years, in part due to the development of more diagnostic tests in the field of psychology and new brain tissue imaging techniques.
The condition is often deeply distressing for its sufferers. More than 70% of people with the condition attempt suicide once.
Olympe, who would live with around 40 different personalities, first said in an Instagram post, “in the last quarter of 2023, I will resort to assisted suicide in Belgium”.
“I am already in contact with the doctors.
She added: ‘This is not a debate. It’s my life. It was a decision that I made and that was difficult to make.
Olympe said she could no longer handle the weight of her condition or its causes.
She said these included sexual abuse and moving between various foster homes.
But Locht’s Brussels doctor, who was reportedly approached by Olympe, dismissed claims the talks had progressed in an interview with Le Parisien.
He said the process could take months or years and said Belgium is tired of being colored as a “death district” for France, where assisted suicide is illegal.
“I haven’t seen her medical records but I have read her emails. She wants to meet me.
‘We don’t refuse to meet (people like her) but we explain to them that the process can last months or even years.
‘This young woman announced the end of her life at the end of the year. This date certainly does not come from me. I need a lot more information before I consider meeting her.
The young YouTuber has since stressed that she does not want to set an “example” for young people and urges those with dark thoughts to “find people around them to lean on”.
Euthanasia – the withdrawal or refusal of life-saving treatment – is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Spain.
Assisted suicide – giving the patient the means to end their life – is illegal in most of Europe.
While Switzerland allows assisted suicide, active euthanasia is not legal.
Although illegal in France, a citizens’ council has begun to debate the country’s approach to end-of-life care in general and the legal status of assisted suicide.
Recommendations will be presented to Parliament in March this year.
In the UK, helping someone to commit suicide is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Olympus said she would drastically change her content following negative attention online
Assisted suicide presents many ethical complications in the definition of “rational suicide”.
The scientific community is somewhat divided.
48.6% of psychiatrists surveyed in 2019 did not support access to assisted suicide for people diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness.
Almost a third were in favor of some degree of access and just over 20% were neutral on the issue.
The authors said there was an increasing number of psychiatric patients seeking assisted suicide.
A 1994 paper concluded that the availability of assisted suicide may lead to increased suicide rates in the general population, particularly among young people, due to copycat behavior and destigmatization.
The authors of an article published last year highlighted the importance of assessing decision-making capacity when considering medical assistance in dying.
It could be complicated by underlying mental health issues.
Shanti De Corte, 23, chose to take her own life after suffering mental distress as a witness to the 2022 Islamic State attack at Brussels airport
Shanti De Corte, also 23, chose to end her life in Belgium last year, citing “unbearable” mental distress.
Corte suffered trauma as a witness to the Islamic State attack at Brussels airport in 2016.
After undergoing psychiatric treatment and medication, she chose to end her life in May 2022.
A neurologist later said the decision was premature, with options not yet fully explored, but claimed it was overruled by the woman’s mother.
When life is tough, the Samaritans are there, day and night, 365 days a year. You can call them free of charge on 116 123, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit samaritans.org to find the nearest branch.