A YouTuber suffering from multiple personality disorder is documenting his bid to end his life at a euthanasia clinic.
The French 23-year-old, who goes by the name Olympe, recently told her mental health channel’s 255,000 followers that she had ‘contacted doctors’ in Belgium, where suicide is legal.
The content creator suffers from dissociative identity disorder, a condition shaped by trauma that is often deeply distressing for those it affects.
But Yves de Loch, a Belgian doctor who visited Olymp, said the clinics were not ‘euthanasia dispensers’ and the process could take many months or years before someone could access assisted suicide services.
It follows the controversial death of another 23-year-old suffering from mental health problems who decided to end his life in Belgium last year.
YouTuber Olymp spoke candidly with his followers on Instagram earlier this month
What is dissociative identity disorder?
‘DID’, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is a condition in which the sufferer has two or more distinct and ‘relatively stable’ personalities.
This condition occurs in about 1.5% of the general population and is the result of repeated or long-term childhood trauma.
90% of those with DID have a history of abuse and neglect.
This condition develops in childhood before the brain develops a single, integrated identity.
Treatment usually includes treatment of symptoms (‘palliative’ therapy) and psychotherapy. Without treatment, it’s rare that the condition goes away on its own.
The diagnosis of this disorder has increased dramatically in recent years due to the development of more diagnostic tests and new techniques for imaging brain tissue in the field of psychology.
The condition is often deeply distressing for its sufferers. More than 70% of people with this condition attempt suicide at least once.
Olympe, who lives with around 40 distinct personalities, initially said in a post on Instagram, ‘In the last quarter of 2023 I will help commit suicide in Belgium.
‘I am already in touch with the doctors.’
He added: ‘This is not a controversy. This is my life. It was a decision I made that was difficult to make.’
Olymp states that he can no longer handle the burden of his condition or its causes.
She said this included sexual abuse and moving between different foster homes.
But Brussels doctor De Locht, who was contacted by Olympe, rejected claims of progress in talks in an interview with Le Parisien.
He said the process could take months or years and said Belgium was tired of being painted as a ‘death ward’ for France, where assisted suicide is illegal.
‘I have not seen his medical dossier but I have read his emails. He wants to meet me.
‘We don’t refuse to meet (people like him) but we explain to them that the process can go on for months or even years.
‘This young woman has announced to end her life at the end of the year. This date certainly does not come from me. I need a lot more information before planning to meet him.
The young YouTuber has since insisted that he does not want to set an ‘example’ for youngsters and urges those with dark thoughts to ‘lean in to the people around them’.
Euthanasia – the withdrawal or withholding of life-saving treatment – is legal in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Spain.
Assisted suicide – providing a patient with the means to end his own life – is illegal across most of Europe.
Switzerland does allow assisted suicide, but active euthanasia is not legal.
While illegal in France, a citizens’ council has begun debating the country’s approach to end-of-life care in general and the legal status of assisted suicide.
The recommendation will be tabled in Parliament in March this year.
In the United Kingdom, aiding and abetting the taking of another’s life is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Olymp says it will radically change its content after negative attention online
Assisted suicide presents many ethical complications in defining a ‘reasonable suicide’.
The scientific community is somewhat divided.
48.6% of psychiatrists surveyed in 2019 did not support access to suicide assistance for people with severe and persistent mental illness.
About a third supported some degree of access and just over 20% were neutral on the issue.
The number of psychiatric patients for assisted suicide is increasing, the authors said.
A 1994 paper concluded that the availability of assisted suicide may increase suicide rates in the general population, especially among young people, due to copycat behavior and disrespect.
The authors of a paper last year highlighted the importance of assessing decision-making capacity when considering assisted dying.
This can be complicated by underlying mental health conditions.
23-year-old Shanti de Corte chose to end her life in 2022 after suffering psychological distress after witnessing the ISIS attack on Brussels airport.
Last year, Shanti de Courte, 23, chose to end her life in Belgium citing ‘unbearable’ emotional pain.
Courte was traumatized by witnessing the 2016 ISIS attack on Brussels airport.
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 he was overruled by the woman’s mother.
When life gets tough, the Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them free on 116 123, email email@example.com, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.
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