I have been in treatment a few times over the last several months. It’s in light of the horrific shootings that have taken place over the past 24 hours that a couple of questions I was asked then, are relevant today.
Daily you are asked many questions related to your current frame of mind while in treatment, but two specific questions really cut right to the most important theme of all.
- Have you made a plan to kill yourself?
- Do you want to harm anyone else?
These are paraphrased but you get the idea. Embedded in the heart of mental illness is the motivation to act out on what’s called “suicidal ideation”. I can speak first hand to this, however the second question is one that reveals a further layer to psychological problems.
I, for one, feel that both these shooters are, or were, dealing at some level with mental illness. Have I wished anyone dead or thought of killing someone? Yes, in a fleeting sense. There is a perpetrator of abuse upon me that I have considered killing, however non-serious it was. I have been more taken with killing myself.
I am only one person and don’t share the complicated stories of many others that take their illness to another more dangerous level.
I believe in gun control, but on a more lasting basis I believe in care for those who suffer mental health issues. We are a society good at reacting, but our proactive efforts are somewhat less than effective. I believe our mental health organizations are doing the best they can but its a drop in the bucket as to what’s needed.
My sincerest condolences to those affected by these recent tragedies. Now, let’s concern ourselves with taking weapons out of the hands of the people at greatest risk for using them in this manner. But not forget there is a road that leads the mentally ill there, and it has to be interrupted.