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Flag Megulator2 July 7, 2009 9:13 AM EDT

So, my husband has shown interest in getting a handgun permit. It's the South, and lots of people have them. I don't have an issue with the concept of it. He wants to take the class and is really responsible about it. He doesn't hunt and isn't a "war games" kind of guy or a gun fanatic.

Then I told him that a stipulation would be that when we had children, the way the gun was stored would need to be open to discussion. We would need to agree on a safe way to handle it based on the relative risks involved. He's fine with that. I next suggested that he look up some gun stores or ranges to call about lessons.

I think it was the phrase "look up a gun store" that triggered my memory of one of Therese's posts, where she said that during her deepest depression she had actually pulled out the yellow pages to look up a gun store.

Now, when deeply depressed I had some suicidal ideation. I wanted the pain to end, but (thanks to some therapy and some very good writing from some folks here) I was always able to make a distinction between wanting the pain to end and wanting to die. I never made actual plans to harm myself.

But the gun thing got me thinking. What if I'm in that place again? So I told my husband that he also had to promise that if I ever got depressed again, he would lock the gun up or remove it from the house.

He freaked out. I guess he had no idea how deeply depressed I'd been. I could tell he was hurt. After a few minutes I asked him what he was thinking. He said, "I was thinking that I don't think I could ever forgive you if you did that." I told him that was one of the reasons I never got that far - I couldn't do that to him or to my family. That was what drove me to get better and seek help. But, I also told him that I felt it needed to be said.

So, what are your thoughts on this? I don't need pro/anti gun rhetoric; I need some insight from people who have been in the same place as I. It's just as easy to overdose on meds or go many other routes, so am I wrong to be worried about the gun? I've shot plently of times myself, so I'm not actually scared of the gun itself.

Any thoughts?

I will say this. When I was telling my husband what it was like inside my head while I was depressed, I felt like I was talking about another person entirely. It was both helpful to see how far I'd come but also scary to verbalize to someone besides my therapist how low I'd been.

Thanks for listening...


Flag luthitarian July 7, 2009 11:24 AM EDT

When planning release of clients from mental health care, one of the sets of questions asked have to do with potential risks in the home environment. One of those is "Are there any guns in the house?"  You've raised an important point.

And the question is not whether he will ever be able to forgive you afterwards? It's a matter of what precautions he and you will take before hand?

Also, what kind of gun is he talking about getting? What will be its intended use or purpose?

Flag melzoom July 7, 2009 11:30 AM EDT

Oh, Meg.  ((((meg))))


First of all, let me  tell you how AMAZED I am at your BRAVERY in talking about how you felt then, how you feel now, and being HONEST.    You are beautiful and very strong for bringing this up.  

It's easy once an episode or downturn is over to pretend like it didn't happen.  Until my third suicide attempt, that is what Mike and I always did.  Because I've been hospitalized so many times, we rarely say the word 'suicide' but instead refer to being in-patient or the hospital.

I think for Mike and I, the most important moment in my recovery was our mutual realization that the cyclical nature of this illness doesn't mean it will get that bad again, but that we MUST have a plan for the worst.

Good for you for bringing up a very painful and real scenario.  He's a football guy, right?  The best defense is a good offense.  That doesn't mean the defense guys get to slack at practice, though. =)

As for your question, I see two in here.

One is asking if you were overreacting to the idea of having a gun in the house.  

The other is asking how to deal with your husband's unexpected reaction to the reality of where you were.

I don't think you were overreacting at all.  In fact, I think you were being very proactive.  My second suicide  attempt was with a straight razor I found on the floor as I was sweeping that I had been using months earlier.  It was like a light went on.  *bing*  Everyone's burdens would be lifted if I just...  *shudder*

I'm shuddering because how irrational that sounds.  But that is part of the illness.  It messes with our thought processes and gets us to the wrong conclusions about everything.  And that's the important part about responsible gun ownership.  I would even go so far as to create a sign in advance 'no guns in the house' so that if you are incapable of verbalizing how you feel, you could still put the sign out for your own safety.  The other option would be for you to never know the combination to the gun safe.

As for his response of hurt and anger, he's responding to Healthy Managed Meghan.  No one wants to think of their own mortality and no one thinks of it more than people with depression.  It was important for me to make comparisons to Healthy Managed Mel and Abysmally Symptomatic Mel.  I would explain something I felt or thought during an episode.  Mike would be baffled and ask how I could think that.  My response was always some form of,  "I'm not sure.  Mental illness is just that--mental.  It effects the way I perceive everything and interpret other people's words and actions.   I'm healthy and we're doing all the right things now, so I can't even imagine thinking that way.  It scares me sometimes knowing my brain could think that way."  

I've found it's good to acknowledge that you don't get it either because NO ONE-- doctors included-- really understand.  And that is scary and hurtey and emotionally painful to everyone including you.

I hope this was in some way helpful.   



Flag Therese Borchard July 7, 2009 11:42 AM EDT

Wow. Thanks Meg for that powerful post, and thanks to Mel for alerting me to it. 

I think you were smart, meg, to ask him to do that. One day when I was so depressed and obsessing about all the options I had to end my life, Eric made me tell him all of them. One was running the engine of our car in our neighbor's garage because ours was crowded with woodworking equipment, and we had the keys to his house. Upon hearing that this was one of my options, Eric took the keys back to the neighbor and said we couldn't have an extra pair. 


The thing is .... when you're that depressed, logic is gone. At least it was with me. The desire to die trumped everything. Which is why I had to permanently get rid of all options. The pills, the gun, the keys to the garage, etc. I guess it was like having candy in the house. And I think this is the difference between people who have wanted to die so badly and others ... that you never appreciate that lack of logic until you've been there.


Thanks again, Meg (and Mel!) t

Flag belleo July 7, 2009 11:51 AM EDT

(((Meg))) I share with my sister deep down things . She makes me promise not to own a gun . I am not afraid of owning a gun today . I know what I need to do when the strife rises .I pack my suitcase and visit people that care about me , such as family and friends .

Flag Megulator2 July 7, 2009 11:54 AM EDT

"you never appreciate the lack of logic till you've been there..."

Well said, Therese.

Mel, thanks :) And you've given me some good tools for discussing Abysmally Symptomatic Meghan with my husband.

Bob - My initial thought when my husband said "I don't think I could ever forgive you" was - oh, it's all about you, huh?! Luckily I remembered that I'd dropped this bomb on him as we're laying (lying?) in bed have our nightly pre-sleep talk. It came totally out of nowhere and he'd had no time to process what it really meant. As we talked a bit, he was starting to  grasp the depths of where I'd been. He still won't understand, I know. But he needs some time to think.

As for the gun, he wants it for home protection use.

Thanks to all of you...I have some ideas on how to broach the subject again in a few days.

Flag MixedBlessings July 7, 2009 12:23 PM EDT

In my Red Book, only about the second stage in, I have Peter secure things like my car keys, credit cards, cash and medications that I could use to harm myself.  It would be a simple thing to add other things to the list, like guns and knives if it were necessary. 

It's all a matter of having a plan, making sure that everyone around you knows the plan and is willing to help to enact it, and then taking the responsibility to communicate the need to acivate the plan.


Flag Weeble75 July 7, 2009 9:41 PM EDT

Meghan, most of what I could say has been said already. There IS one angle that I don't think I've seen addressed, and that's the angle of the speed and effectiveness of killing with a gun.

I never seriously made plans to kill myself in my deepest, darkest days, but I did have times of ideation. Something that was a pretty consistent deterrent to even planning anything was the fact that anything I could think of doing 1) took time, and 2) had no promise of instantaneous death (OK, I'm a wimp--no pain, OK?) or assurance that I'd really be DEAD and not left alive but crippled (in worse condition than before).

A gun changes all that. If I'd had a gun, I could impulsively act within just a few minutes to do something that I could be quite sure would have taken me out of this life. Might I have done that if I'd HAD a gun? I don't want to know.

As for your husband's reaction of not being able to forgive you if you killed yourself, my thoughts of response to that both begin with "DUH!!!!!!!!!!" 1) "DUH!!!!!!!!!!" You wouldn't be around to know about his anger--it would have no effect on you, and 2) "DUH!!!!!!!!!" That's why you're telling him in the FIRST place, so as to PREVENT it from happening when you're at your worst, because when you're at your best self you don't WANT to kill yourself.

That's my 2c worth, FWIW.

Flag shocharah July 8, 2009 6:35 AM EDT

I know what I want to say, but not the words to express myself. I'm going to try anyway.

I live alone, so the response in my case is based on that. No way will I ever have a gun in my home. I would love to shoot at some point, but the gun would stay safely at the range. The last time I tried suicide, I remember thinking, If I'm going to do it (kill myself), I have to do it NOW. After that, there was no thought, just action. If I had had a gun, I would be dead. I had been depressed with some suicidal ideation, but had no idea it was so serious. You have a husband who can lock it away. My question is when would that happen? Would it be in time? What if he weren't home to do it?

Your husband's response was pretty normal. The sad part is that he likely would not be able to forgive himself, either. At this time, when you are doing well, you might think so. When the disease has taken over, would you care? I didn't.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if there is going to be a gun, there have to be a lot of precautions taken. Please, be very, very tired.

Flag lapatosu July 8, 2009 10:00 PM EDT

Take what is needed, leave the rest. 

 A handgun in the home of a person with a history of suicidal ideation is a really, really dumb idea - for all the reasons that have already been given in previous posts.  I personally know two people, my own personal friends, not through support groups, but just two guys  with great families, who killed themselves with handguns.

Too tempting for me, I don't have one, and won't let anyone else bring one into my home.

That said, if your husband is worried about home invasion, getting an alarm system set up in your home, and having a cell phone with automatic 911 would probably be a much safer way to go, then realizing that

a) someone has entered the house

b) now where is that pesky gun?

 c) where did I put the ammo?

d) how am I supposed to load it again, after I get the gun lock off?

Or, you can do what I have done; get a large dog, who barks at anyone coming into the house.  The added benefit to this is the dog will give you a reason to get your outdoor exercise each day, and can also help you monitor your mood cycles.

Mel is better able to discuss the mood thing, but dogs get very worried when their owners start getting manic or depressed.  Mine can usually pick up the mood swings, before I become aware of them.

Flag melzoom July 9, 2009 3:09 AM EDT

 First of all, totally off topic-- Lynne!  OMGoodness! You are looking good, Mammacita!  Love the new pic. =)

And yes, I can go on and on and on and on about Service Dogs.  (Sally, too!  Her Benny is AWESOME!)   

Dylan and Mike and Lynne and Michelle and Therese and Marie....  We sometimes joke around so much that I forget why we are all here.  We all have so much 'ouch' in our souls.  I am so thankful we can be honest here and at the same time I want to say something dumb that a well-meaning but clueless friend would say... like how much I adore you guys and promise me you'll never think those things again.

But that's just it, isn't it?  We could never keep that promise.  Even as much as we would want to.

We can promise to get help or tell someone if we ever have those thoughts.

Or go straight to the ER.

Or write them down to show our doctors at the next appointment.

But we can't promise to have control over this really frustrating, disappointing, angering illness/disorder.  Hell, I ran a 5K the morning before my third suicide attempt.  I woke up that morning before and thought, "I'm going to do my hair and get ready to sing at a wedding.  I'll only go to the reception for a bit so I can get a good night's sleep before the race tomorrow.  Actually, it's probably ok if I don't sleep very much because I'm going to run this 5K and then I'm going to go to sleep.  Forever."



I hate that part.  Hate it.

But I'm not as scared of it as I used to be.  I recognize ups and downs and know that a little dip doesn't mean I'm going all the way down.   I know I have been open enough with the people in my every day life and given them words and phrases like, "Do we need to call the doctor?"  or "Are you feeling safe or do we need to go to the ER?"   

Sometimes the dark is so.... dark.  As we shed a little light on it, talk about it, it's not as scary.  Or maybe it is just as scary, but it's not so alone.  And cold.

Maybe that's all you need to ever say, Meg.   That might be enough so that your husband would be proactive enough to remove the gun if he thought you weren't doing ok.  Maybe it's enough, now that you've said something about how low you had gotten, that he can ask in that vague way that husbands do, if you, "Like, you know... feel like you did back in Germany."  



Flag Megulator2 July 10, 2009 12:24 PM EDT

More to think about....

Before the whole "what about if I get depressed?" thing ran through my head, I had no problem with the gun concept.

Now that it has, I like the idea less. A lot less. Much of my "uncomfortableness" has to do with my own feelings about having suicidal ideations when I'm very low. I'm a bit ashamed and embarrassed by the fact, although my logical brain knows that I don't need to be.

Mel, you seem to have channeled my husband in your post. That's exactly how he would phrase it :)

Husband and I have a long drive this weekend when we go to see his family (my SIL is throwing a welcome-home party). I may bring it up again with him on the way home and see how his thinking has progressed over the past few days...

Thanks y'all Laughing

Flag Megulator2 September 4, 2009 10:14 AM EDT

Since Therese has decided to feature this thread again, I thought I'd give an update...

-Note that we live in an urban area with a moderate crime rate. Not nonexistent, but not exactly the 'hood :)

1) We activated our alarm system and use it consistently

2) We've discovered that most of the neighborhood is quite intimidated by our very large dogs. The have big barks and nonexistant bites, but no one needs to know that, right?

3) Husband hasn't brought up the gun thing since the initial discussion.

Conclusion - I don't think he plans to get one for the time being. He has digested what I said and made his decision. We never have discussed it again, but I know if he still wanted to get a gun that he would be talking about it with me. So, I guess that's the end of it. We both still like to shoot when we go to his parents' house, but I don't think we'll be having a gun in the house.

I can say that I'm happy he's chosen to respect my needs and safetly as opposed to his wants. But I already knew I had a good guy.

Update finished :)

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