Friday, January 18, 2013

On anti-depressants? Then give up the gun.

Ok, I can't avoid all the gun talk, so here's my two cents.

(Oh, and for the record, I'm stealing my friend Lisa's (buy her book!)
zero-tolerance attitude for this as well. This is my opinion, and it's not up for debate. If I feel like deleting a response, then it's gone. Want to disagree with me? Fine. Go post your own blog.)

It's not violent video games or anything else in our culture that's causing this. It's the anti-depressants.

I'm basing (or biasing) this on experience. The last time I had my meds reduced I had a few days where mass-murder-suicide seemed perfectly rational. Luckily another part of my brain kept saying, "Noooooo, howabout we just go find something to eat instead?" But after that, every time I heard that a shooter was either on or coming off of anti-depressants (which so far has been all of them) I just found myself saying "well, there you have it, that's why."

I'm not bashing anti-depressants. They've done a lot to help me and many others get through some very rough times. But you are MESSING WITH YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY. You know, your BRAIN? The thing that tells the difference between right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable? And I can also say from experience that it's a total trial-and-error process. They pick one that works for most people, and based on your reaction to that decide whether to keep you on it or switch you to something else. Now to be fair, I was monitored pretty closely at that stage, because when it goes wrong it can go REALLY wrong.

But there really needs to be closer monitoring of those of us on these medications to see the warning signs, especially when it's being reduced. You know what my counselor did to help me when I told him how I was feeling? He had me sign a paper saying that I wouldn't hurt myself or anyone else. Yeah, because when your brain is telling you that it's never going to get better ever again but you can't kill yourself because it will affect too many other people, so the only rational solution is to kill them too, and that spiral doesn't stop until you come to the conclusion that really the entire human race really just doesn't deserve to live anymore
and you'd be doing everyone a favor if you wiped everyone out, the only thing that pulls you back off the ledge and keeps you from doing it is remembering that you signed a little digital signature pad saying you wouldn't go there. Right. 

And from there it was "See you next month." You know what, if I'm in such a bad shape that you're making me sign contracts not to harm anyone (and let's be real, that's probably more of them covering themselves from legal responsibility than anything else), maybe that's a sign I should be seen again a little more often during this rough patch. Ya' think?
Now for the gun control part of the equation. 

All of you pro-gun people shouting and screaming that only the criminals will have guns and we need more guns to save us from these shooters and Obama better not take our guns-- get real. No one is going to take your guns away. 

And all of you anti-gun people dreaming for a gun-free America-- get real. That's never going to happen either.

The bottom line is that love it or hate it, that genie was let out of the bottle over 200 years ago, and there's no putting it back. This country was founded on guns, the Second Amendment protects the guns, and there will always be guns. So both of you, just chill out.

But to me this is a clear-cut obvious place where gun control is needed. If you're on mind/mood-altering meds, then you should not have access to a gun. At all. Period. Not only should it automatically disqualify you from buying a gun anywhere (gun shows, the internet, all those lovely loopholes), you need to turn in any gun you already own while you're on them. And that also goes for anyone else in the house you live in as well. You should not be able to have access to a gun at all

After you've been off the meds for a few years and have had enough evaluations to prove you're stable again, then you can have them back. But someone has to sign off on it, being willing to put themselves out there and say "yes, I think this person is okay to own a weapon again."
If it's illegal to drive a car when your brain is intoxicated, then it should be illegal to own a gun when your brain chemistry is being altered as well.

I like to think that my own sense of morality, my being able to recognize even in my lowest state that I didn't want to hurt anyone, was enough to keep me from being one of those crazies you see on the news. But you know what? I don't have access to a gun. And I don't doubt that that helped.

Oh, and one last thing.

To those of you who actually think Sandy Hook has any kind of conspiracy behind it... shame on you.