Might this person be a troll or a sock puppet? (Swiss assisted suicide question)

There’s a (maybe) woman on another site who’s obviously quite intelligent, so her story is believable on this level, but I found out something about her that calls her veracity into question.

She’s allegedly about 40 years old, moved to Switzerland from the U.S. a few years ago, with a Ph.D. in some kind of advanced science thing, and says she has 3 kids who live with her ex-husband, who she says left her because of her illness (which is why she cannot work) and he also got custody of them for the same reason. Okay, that part is believable, BUT she says that she’s had treatment-refractory depression since adolescence that may qualify her for the Swiss assisted-suicide program once she meets residency requirements.

My issue, having experienced major depression although it was treatable, is this: HOW could a person who is in that state find the wherewithal to get a degree of any kind in anything, let alone a Ph.D., and also get married and have children, and care for them on top of it? People on this board are swallowing her story hook, line, and sinker, and of course we can’t questions her family status because, well, just because.

I’m starting to think that this person is making at least some of it up. What do y’all who know more about these kinds of things than I do have to say about it?

Lots of help and lots of money, that’s how.

I don’t know much about her “background”. I just wanted to know what people on another board might think before I start flagging her posts.

This board has caught a few such people before. Eventually, they tell too many contradictory stories and trip up on their own ropes.

Since the OP is asking for opinions, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Why not just ask her how it was possible?

Flagging posts on such a flimsy unsubstantiated little suspicion turns YOU into a troll (though I know you don’t mean to be).

I think I would sit back and wait. If she’s lying it will come out. Keep reading.

What kind of messageboard is it?

I’ll PM you.

I agree. PhD is not compatible with “I’m going to shoot you to put you out of your pain”. But PhD is not totally incompatible with “crazy person with episodes of craziness”, so I don’t call her as a troll or a fictionalist.

What state? Every person isn’t the same, you know.

My oldest sister was a high-functioning person with clinical depression. She earned a master’s degree and for most of her adult life was able to hold down a job. Superficially, she seemed too successful to be depressed.

What most people did not see were the darker periods of her life when a small network of close friends covered for her. They saw the nice house in Ann Arbor she bought with her partner, but not the horrible little apartments and occasionally appalling living conditions she had also lived in. They did not see the days she stayed in bed, the crippling phobias and anxieties. They saw the pleasant, successful face she constructed to show the world and not the dark underbelly of her mental illness.

Depression doesn’t always manifest the same way. Sometimes it’s completely paralyzing. Other times, people manage to function on some level despite feeling horrible. A few function very well, but they are still depressed and still suffer - they succeed despite their illness.

So… with sufficient funds (however she got them) and with a husband/family that would cover for her “episodes” and care for the kids when things go bad… yes, it is possible. It is also possible this woman is a troll of some sort. You will likely never get enough information over the internet to know for sure, especially if it is filtered through her. She will construct the narrative she wants, leaving this out, emphasizing that. She may not be depressed but having some other problem - people faking illness for attention of one sort or another is nothing new. “Husband leaves and takes kids with him” actually is consistent with someone having severe mental illness - my sister’s partner left her because she could no longer deal with my sister’s illness and was tired of keeping up a facade.

Bottom line - hard to say, but the more time that goes by the more likely a faker is to slip up.

To be honest, I’m more fascinated by your propensity to get involved in others’ online lives nearwildheaven.

It’s none of your business, and why do you care whether this person might be a troll or a sock? And why to you continue to bring all sorts of other board and FB stuff HERE for our entertainment??


I would add to Broomstick’s excellent post that simply because it’s treatment-resistant doesn’t mean this woman’s depression has been at a consistent level the entire time.

But I think I’m missing something. What is it besides this woman’s accomplishments despite her depression has you suspecting she’s a troll? How is her story less believable than that of Sylvia Plath, who, before her eventual suicide, did, after all, graduate from Smith, attend Cambridge on a Fulbright, teach college, have two children, and write The Bell Jar and two collections of poetry? Something else must be raising your suspicions. In what other way does her story not ring true?

I can, alas, confirm that it is possible to earn a PhD and raise children while severely depressed.

Ex-college prof here.

Sure, depressed people get PhDs all the time. Some of the best students have various mental issues. It’s pretty amazing how the human brain works. You can have all sorts of problems in area X but excel at Y.

The bolded part shows that there are some misconceptions that needs clearing up.


Take time to read it. It’s probably not what you thought it is.