I DON'T WANT A GUN IN THE HOUSE BECAUSE OF MY MENTAL HEALTH
I think females with guns are pretty badass, so long as they are safe and careful about it. It’s a huge responsibility they take on to protect their family. Some mothers do it because they are a single mother and want to feel safe at home. Some mothers do it because their neighborhood isn’t the safest and the threat of a home invasion is real. Some do it just for the peace of mind. Whatever your reason is, I’m fine with it, so long as you are safe about handling and storing your weapon. When our family had a scary encounter with a sex offender at our doorstep, my husband immediately looked into getting a gun for our family. After the fear subsided, we ended up not purchasing one. I’ve never told my husband this, but I’m glad we didn’t. I’ve suffered from postpartum depression for over a year now, and although I’m in a good place right now, I’m unsure of how long this will last. My mental health varies from month to month, and to me, having a gun in the house would only do the opposite of offering me peace of mind.
Two weeks after my son was born, I was hospitalized for my postpartum depression. I began to have dark thoughts including suicidal thoughts. I didn’t have a plan to end my life, but the dark thoughts led me to believe I was really better off dead. I fortunately received care quickly after the onset of my scary thoughts and have since been on antidepressants. But even though my mental health is pretty stable right now, I never know when it will come back. I’ve had relapses while on my antidepressants that left me feeling pretty vulnerable and weak. My will to live was hardly there, but I stuck around anyway. All day, I remember hearing voices in my head saying, “I just want to die.” It’s scary to have your own mind turn against you. I’ve had to switch up my medications on various occasions to maintain my mental health, but it’s always a gamble. You never really know how long the stability will last.
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the benefit of a gun in the house. Growing up, we’d always heard of home invasions in our neighborhood, so I know the threat exists. With a little one too, I now more than ever want to make sure our family is protected. But at the same time, I fear for my personal safety as well. I would never do anything to hurt my family, even under the darkest clouds. I’ve been there and have never had bad thoughts about my family. It has always just been me who was in danger. Having a mental health illness is scary, because you don’t know what length you will go to to end the pain. I want to believe deep in my heart that I would never hurt myself, but you can never truly know. I’m sure people who have hurt themselves in the past never thought they would reach that point, but they did. Having a gun in the house gives me an easy, sure-fire way to “end” the pain, should I ever reach that point. I really don’t think I could ever do it. I love my family so much and would never want to redistribute the pain to them, but I have to take every measure possible to make it not easy for myself, should I get to that low point.
I’m sure it’s scary for family members reading this. I am not suicidal now in this moment, but you never know how things can turn out. Not only do I fear for my life, but also my family’s. At any point in life, anyone can get those dark thoughts. I wouldn’t want my husband to have easy access to a gun either if he were in a dark place. Not to mention, our little son is very active, and I would never want him to accidentally come across a gun in the house. I know guns can be properly stored in a way that makes it nearly impossible for a child to get their hands on it. But I feel like storing away a gun spikes their curiosity, and should they ever come across a gun in a different house, I wouldn’t want their curiosity to get the best of them.
Even if we were to store the gun in a safe that only my husband has access to, I would still fear for my family’s well-being. I have to believe my husband would never do anything to hurt himself either, but like I said, you never know. A Harvard study linked a higher rate of suicide in states where gun ownership was more prevalent. The research suggests that you are less likely to take your own life if you don’t have a gun in the house. Now, I’m not bashing gun ownership altogether. If you like to hunt or just want to have that added security at home, it’s your right. But for my family, I don’t think gun ownership is the best and safest option for us. For now, we will take our chances living gun-free so that I don’t become a part of another statistic.