In October I publicly acknowledged my battle with mental health due to depression and anxiety. You can read that original post but I want to continue my story today because there was so much I wasn’t ready to write at that time. Like most people with mental illness, it is never really one little problem that you can explain in a simple sentence. My illness is complex. There are layers like an onion and it would take another 20 posts before I would be close to revealing all my demons. Today I want to continue my story in the wake of the tragic gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
I am about to do something you may call rather controversial, daring, personal or confronting. Some of you may not like it but it is important for me to post this.
Last week was devastating, no matter what your take is on guns and the control of them surely you were devastated by the brutal deaths of 28 people. I am not a violent individual but as I get older my anger/sadness/devastation does make me agitated to the point where I will attack the perceived opposition with words. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen exactly what I am talking about. I was furious at the news of yet another gun massacre in the USA and I directed my anger at anyone who believed guns shouldn’t be banned.
For those who may not be aware, Australia only banned firearms (except for some necessary reasoning) as recently as 1996. The event that sealed the deal for Australia changing the laws on firearms was the Port Arthur massacre that occurred on 28 April 1996. It was an event that still brings tears to my eyes today (it happened 10 days after my 10th Birthday). For Australian’s we will never forget Port Arthur because the ban on guns meant we have not had another massacre to cloud our memories. And let me tell you, the battle to have guns ‘banned’ here was epic so don’t think the USA has more to deal with than any other country who banned them. The NRA (National Rifle Association) tried to stop the ban in Australia and they don’t even operate here. Apologies, I got off track a little bit but my point is that guns being restricted here did change things … and that is where my story will continue.
I briefly mentioned in my first mental health post that I was bullied and suicide was something I constantly thought about. By the time I was 10 (and the Port Arthur massacre happened) I was so severely depressed about the anguish my bullies were causing me that my suicidal thoughts evolved to how I could take them down with me. Then it evolved to how I could get everyone back for not helping me when they could see these bullies were torturing me. The teachers at school would tell me to “toughen up” or they would just ignore me completely. By the time I actually found out guns were ‘banned’ and there was no possible way I was going to get my hands on one, I had an elaborate plan to shoot up my school. Yes, I could have been that kid.
I have no doubt that if my parents had a gun locked away in our house that I would have followed through with my plans. Or if I had known a neighbour had guns, I would have broken in and stole it to complete my vendetta. When you are in that much pain it is amazing the lengths you will consider going to, or as we see with these cases in the USA, the lengths people will actually go to. I knew I would get no where with a knife, I was short and couldn’t run very fast so I would have been knocked out as soon as I tried anything. I looked up recipes to make bombs but that was way to complicated and a 10 year old in a hardware store buying dozens of chemicals would have never worked. Trust me, I thought about every possible way. I needed access to a gun. Without it I had no way to carry out my plans and in time I managed to get the help I needed.
I didn’t have any learning difficulties, a below or above average IQ or something else to blame these thoughts on. These thoughts were my own and I do take responsibility for them, even though I have an illness. It is only now, when I am mentally healthy (well, as mentally healthy as I can be) that I can see that violence to others wasn’t going to solve anything. Yes, I would have rid the world of my bullies, the teachers who never helped me, the other kids who just ignored me and myself but that wouldn’t have solved the problem of bullies existing for others or my mental health. It would have just meant more pain for innocent people and been a cry for help no one could do anything about. I still battle suicidal thoughts today when things get rough but I realise that it is to end my own pain and the constant battle with negative thoughts.
As someone who knows these demons well, I urge everyone who thinks that banning guns won’t solve anything to reconsider. Banning guns does work. I could have been that kit. PLEASE, let Sandy Hook be the last torturously tragic event to plague US history.
Now more than ever I want to hear your feedback. Please don’t hold back on your opinions, thoughts, concerns or anything else. Have your say below.