by Mr. M.
Lyrics from a Clash tune might seem out of place in a journal like GunNews, but if you have experienced depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mental health breakdowns please continue reading a little longer.

19.86% of adults in America experience mental illness of one form or another, or roughly 50 million people. About a quarter of those folks experience severe mental illness. It’s not a lot of fun, I’ll tell you.

So what’s that mean? It means if you suffer from mental illness you’re not alone.

However in the Land of Lincoln, seeking out treatment for anything except mild depression carries the risk of the loss of your FOID card and your carry license. That’s a big deal for those of us who rely on our firearms to defend ourselves and our families from the threat of the ever-growing criminal element.

I can also confirm first-hand that getting them back (as I’ve done more than once) has become more and more frustrating, expensive and time-consuming. Today, I’ve been told that the appeals process is clogged with thousands of applicants for each staffer handling them at ISP headquarters.

Some folks like me have experienced debilitating depression in a cyclical pattern. At times I’ve needed the help of professionals and I’ve experienced “treatment” at all different levels. With that knowledge, I’ll share some strategies to help readers navigate the minefield of mental health treatment. And I’ll cut to the core of the decision-making process that many of us eventually face.

Hence, “Should I stay (at home) or should I go (seek treatment)?”

First, make a plan. For those with a spouse, an honest discussion of a “best plan” may or may not be all-inclusive.

Should you seek out help of a good friend (who can keep his/her mouth shut)? YES! Talking with one or more friends who understand what you’re dealing with or going through can help a lot.

Should you see your family doctor? YES! They can help you understand the best way to treat your illness.

Should you see a psychiatrist for a consultation? WHY NOT? They are specifically trained relative to the best use of medications to treat your particular mental illness / depression. Your primary care physician can help with a referral.

Should you see a therapist? YES. I’ve done this with mixed results but it may be worth a try, especially as they have better availability than psychiatrists. Bear in mind that a therapist can’t prescribe medication.

Seeing your doctor, a psychiatrist or a therapist on an out-patient basis will probably not trigger a loss of your FOID card with one exception: as “mandated reporters,” they are mandated to report when they see someone as a “clear and present danger” to themselves (self-harm) or others.

Those reports will get you branded with the “mentally ill” label and your FOID revoked. In today’s world, that means you can pretty much kiss your guns goodbye for years, thousands of dollars in expenses and a whole new helping of frustration.

Should you call a suicide hotline? DEPENDS. Most of these will come with a FOID revocation as the people taking the calls are mandated reporters. You might try the VA’s crisis line (988, then press ‘1’) as they may not be state mandated reporters as federal employees.

Should you go to the hospital? NO, not unless you feel you are an immediate danger to yourself or others. You will lose your FOID card on this one. Even worse, in my experience I wasn’t impressed by the treatment. I only felt better after I returned home. Then the ISP revocation letter came two days later.

Serious, chronic depression issues…
If your depression or other mental health issue is negatively affecting your quality of life then it is not the time to drag your feet. Particularly if it’s chronic as opposed to intermittent or acute. Seek help and implement your plan.

It took me 25 years to seek out medication before I finally did it. I now wish I’d acted sooner. Don’t let the possibility of seeing you doctor (and/or a psychiatrist) feel like a compromise. You are facing a condition that’s treatable. The sooner you act, the sooner you will recover.

At the same time, if you’re in a very dark place where you’re seriously contemplating giving up and checking out, reach out to a friend.

If you’re ready to take your life to stop the pain, seek help. Talk to a friend until you can talk with your doctor or a therapist. Reach out and make that call. At the same time if you have a friend who is in crisis mode and they have guns, ask if you can hold onto those guns for a few days or weeks until they’re better.

In most cases, suicide is a permanent solution to a very temporary problem. There are treatments for depression. If it’s negatively impacting your life, talk with your doctor.

3 thoughts on “MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS? Should I stay or should I go now…”
  1. Bless you, sir, for sharing your experience.

    I’d like to add some – what should be common sense – advice to this: UNLESS you are considering the more-serious option, perhaps you should just take a long walk with your dog. That’s therapy.

    Because, while not all pseudo-science para-professionals with three or more letters after their Christian names may not be “mandated” reporters, these types ALWAYS LOVE to butt in where they’re not needed. Those who don’t “have to” report WILL report, just cause they can. And data show that some 85.7% of all these types are also ANTI-GUN types.

    POINT IN FACT: YEARS ago I was engaged to a beautiful young woman, the unfortunate product of divorce. Mommy was a whoor, a beautiful woman in her own right. Daddy was a Knot-See. She was, in the medico-vernacular “MESSED UP IN THE HEAD” because of mommy and daddy’s vitriolic divorce and subsequent fun and games. She was and had been seeing a pshrink for these problems. One day, AFTER we had broken up, she went into the basement-level 8×10 office of this “professional” who, upon seeing my darling walk in, said “my, you look great, what has happened?” WHEREUPON my beloved said, “I’ve broken up with Mr. Wonderful.” At which time para-pshrink-pseudo-kinda-intellectual said “oh, that’s great, you no longer have to come in to see me, you’re fixed!”

    NOW, recall, she’d been seeing professionals for at least two years before we even met, and then the year or two we were together, but magically it was I who was her problem.

    Hence my distrust of the species (the professionals, not women!). You should consider NOT TALKING TO them the same as you should NOT TALK TO THE POLICE . They are NOT a good for the majority of society. Now, if you need prescribed meds, that’s a different story. Get ’em.

    But the moment that you tell anyone else about your troubles or what’s ailing your aching mind at the moment, you run the risk of being red-flagged.

    1. Well said.
      I recommend a good night’s sleep. That has a way of moderating most mental “crisis” – at least in my experience.
      Talking with a friend is also recommended.

  2. It is not in their interest to help anyone. It is in their interest to see you next week The “profession” of psychiatry runs on money. When the money runs out they seem to produce the most miraculous of cures

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