Well, right now I don’t.
What I have is an indentation in the carpet in my closet where the gun safe was. I have an empty space on my shelf in the closet where the canvas bag of ammo was. All thats left is a cloth bag with a turkey call in it and a replacement peep sight for my compound bow.
But no compound bow, and no guns.
The morning I walked into the hospital; my focus changed. I am not going to debate the underlying issue of firearm ownership. What I am going to talk about is how my hospitalization and diagnosis changed my relationship with them.
The subject of guns came up at one point as the Doctor was evaluating my risk to myself and others. In my “up against the wall state,” I was open to any scenario. I stated, “Get them out of the house.” What I also said to a family member was, “I don’t care if they are pawned.” But then, even at that moment, I was able to say, “but that is a very rash, heat of the moment comment. Please don’t do that, just get them out of the house.”
And when I came home, they were gone.
Five weeks later, I am learning more about how that happened. It makes me happy to know that my family was able to figure it out. It makes me sad that I put them in the position of having to figure it out. In the end, depression is not just my problem. Its reach extends to those I love. The truth is I have succumbed to depression’s embrace more than once.
Hiding it from myself and others has not worked. Even in the past, without saying it, I was acting on unhelpful thinking. The depression tries to limit my ability to make choices. It is sneaky, making it seem like the decision is so clear. Even if it means everyone else is wrong, I follow its underhanded ways until I am against the wall.
Then I make impulsive decisions.
So, having the firearms out of the house is the responsible thing to do. Being able to evaluate that in the future is now a possibility. But my first job is to understand depression, to learn more about the tools that will keep me moving towards normal. To build a support system that will be on alert for signs that the depression is returning.
Having choices is a good thing. The fact that I am here to make those choices is a good thing. And as I have said, my decisions about that comes from my being more frightened of death, than of life. While thoughts of not being here still occasionally pass through my brain, I do not dwell on them. I observe them and let them go.
I do not have a plan.
I was asked that by doctors in the hospital. I was asked that by my Psychiatrist and during my first therapy visit. “Have you thought about how you would end your life?” NO. I do not have a plan, I do not obsess about that or spend my time wondering about that.
Once again, I am too competitive, I want to see 100. And I have not made my peace with death. I am frightened by the prospect and want to do everything in my power to keep it away as long as possible.
Therefore, in the hospital emergency room, it seemed the responsible, prudent thing to do, to ask that my guns not be in the house when I returned. And that was what happened.
I may see my guns again and have them at home, then again I may not.
The most important thing is that I have choices down the road. I am alive and here to make those choices. That is cause for celebration.
Please share if you know someone who might benefit from this.