This article contains sensitive information regarding suicide. If you or someone you know is contemplating self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Years ago, I was in a very bad place mentally. My depression, my anxiety, my Borderline-personality Disorder, and my countless other mental illnesses were as bad as they can get. Nearly every day for two years I spent wanting to kill myself.. badly.
I contemplated a gun as my method: quick, painless, and I would be done suffering. I would escape all the evil and pain built up in my head. I would escape the troubles of my rough upbringing, the addiction I was held captive to, the bullies, and all the pain I thought people were bringing me.
But I didn’t. I didn’t kill myself. Not the gun didn’t. But I didn't. Because, you see, it wasn’t the gun’s fault. The gun wasn't going to kill me. I was going to kill me. The gun wouldn't have killed me, I would have killed me.
It would have been my fault, my disease's fault, that I was dead.
With all the debate about guns and gun control, I find myself wondering about when the world will find control over mental health.
Now let me say: I’m not political. I believe in the second amendment, I believe in the right to bear arms, but I also believe in the horror of mental health. I believe there should be gun regulations, as there is with almost anything, but I don’t believe it’s the guns that are the issue.
Do I give any justification to what those evil people did, the hurting and killing of so many people, so many lives? Absolutely not. Never in my many years of suffering did I think of doing such a horrendous act.
But my mind is different from theirs, just as my mind is different from your's, and your mind is different from even your best friend's. We all think different thoughts, process things differently, we all cope in ways we may later regret.
Mental illness is not a justification, but it IS an issue.
Do I believe that those kids standing up, fighting in what they believe in, fighting for gun control and gun bans, should have a right to use their voice, to shed some light on a problem they see? Yes. Absolutely. In fact, I applaud them.
If I am allowed to stand up and fight for those suffering from mental illnesses, fight for what I believe in, fight to fix an issue that I see, then they should be able to also. Because as I’ve seen with society’s burial of the mental health issue, our voice is the most important thing we have. The world won’t change and society won’t change its views if we don’t use our voice.
But as the debate for guns roar, the topic of mental health is buried even deeper, and that’s an issue. The world needs help, the people need help — let’s not forget it.
But going back, if I were to kill myself using that gun, my death would be a statistic of the number of deaths by guns. But that’s wrong. So wrong. My mental health would have killed me, not the gun. My mind, my thoughts, my pain is what would have killed me. It wouldn’t end my life, without my brain being the trigger as to why it fired.
As those kids proudly advocate for guns, I will advocate for the mentally ill.
To those suffering from mental illness, remember that hurting other people, taking out your pain on other people, won’t fix your problems. Whether it be gun violence or bullying others, hurting others won’t help you. So reach out. Find an outlet. Talk to a professional about your troubles, big or small. Heal, then use your struggles for good; fight for those who haven’t yet won.
To those who don't suffer from a mental illness, reach out to those who do. Befriend the lonely kid. Show your acts of kindness to prove it’s possible. Pray for those who are suffering. Talk. Use your voice. Advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.
To the families, friends, and anyone else who has suffered from those men behind the trigger, my heart goes out to you. My condolences, my thoughts, and my prayers are with you. Fight for change. Use your voice. Advocate for those who no longer can advocate for themselves.
No matter if you’re mentally ill, if your life is perfect, if you’re a survivor, or if you’ve experienced pain from someone behind the trigger — use your voice.
Advocate. Advocate for whatever you believe in.
You have a story and a voice, an experience that no one else in the world does, so use it. Make change.
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, know there is help. To those coping from the tragedies, know there is help.