And Then My Head Exploded

I am going to talk today about smoking cessation for what might be the millionth, and probably not the last, time.  It is all that is in my head and it is totally and completely consuming me.  If I don’t get it out here, I can’t work through it, and if I can’t work through it, I might start smoking again.  And I don’t want to do that.  I mean I really, REALLY don’t want to do that.

The last time I tried to quit, I had the support of a “quit coach” through my employer.  It was a great resource and I completely wasted it.  You could call almost 24/7/365 and someone would be there to answer your question, make suggestions, and sometimes just talk you out of taking that first puff.  I so wish I had that now, and kick myself for not using it properly when I had the chance.  I just wasn’t at a point in my life at that time that I was ready to quit.

It isn’t that my immediate family isn’t supportive, because they mostly are, but in some ways they are really not helping me.  Because quitting smoking often takes many attempts, there are members of my family who are not actively supporting and encouraging me because they think this is just another dry run.  You know, I get that, but how many times did I get behind you when you wanted to quit or start doing something that was hard?  How many times did you get my unequivocal support?  I really feel like saying, “Fuck you,” and running off screaming into the woods.

And there are my blog friends, who are probably more supportive than anyone except maybe my mom and DSB, who stop by to wish me well and tell me their stories of loved ones who have died from smoking and how happy they are I am quitting and how hard they are rooting for me.  Why can’t I get that from the people who know me?

And, as my friend Kim asks, “Why do you care?”  I really don’t know.  I wish I could just throw caution to the wind and not care at all, but the truth is I have always cared WAY too much about what anyone else thinks of me.  I have a constant fear of criticism, of judgment.  I am always worried that what I am doing is not good enough and I am going to be exposed for the fraud that I truly am, for all the world to see.

It comes down to the fact that I am far too judgmental of myself.  I can’t see these little slips and slides in my path toward quitting smoking as normal, as ordinary, as plain-Jane as it gets.  I let it build up until I believe it is pathological and obscene and so out-of-the-ordinary that not even my own mother would claim me.  And it really does get that bad.  And, you know, if I think that about MYSELF, I shudder to think what OTHER people think of me.  I’m sure it is ten times as bad!

And when I sit down and type this all out, I can see how silly and irrational I am being, but unfortunately, I can’t sit and type 24/7.  I have to go out there and live life and do laundry and buy groceries and socialize and fill my med box.  There are a lot of things I need to get out there and do, and I really am finding it difficult to do those things without this immense fear of judgment, especially while testing out my new wings of not smoking.

And I just realized that I am fearing judgment from anyone who reads this blog, as well, because I am worried that I am talking too much about quitting smoking.  Someone please slap me now, or my head is going to explode.

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16 thoughts on “And Then My Head Exploded

  1. Blog about it every day if you need to. About.com has a good online forum, if you need a safe place to vent or just want to read rants from other people going through it right now. It is so freaking hard, but celebrate every victory. I lost my dad to lung cancer 4 years ago. I continued to smoke through his whole illness, hating myself for it. I’m proud of the progress you’re making!!!!

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    • Thanks, RFL! I should check out the About.com. I tried QuitNet and they are really and seriously insanely strict there. It’s awesome you quit…gives me hope that I can do it!

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  2. It will get better. You probably ARE being awful but we all are when we are quitting. Cope. It will get better. Repeat that to yourself, then repeat it again. IT WILL GET BETTER. The craving WILL diminish and you are actually almost at the breakaway point. Give yourself the same patience you would give to any other friend. You deserve that. BE your best friend.

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  3. I also say blog about it as much as you want. It’s a huge thing in your life right now, and you need and deserve all the support you can get.

    One of the things you said really got me thinking. I have received more support from strangers through my blog than I have from some of the real-life people in my life. (Luckily for me, my family has been great, and it’s great that you’re getting support from family too.) I don’t know why. I think some people are afraid of change. If I change or accomplish something, maybe they feel insecure that they haven’t changed or accomplished something. Maybe they feel jealous. Maybe they just find it boring and uninteresting. I don’t know, and I try to ignore the lack of support and appreciate the support where I can get it. It does bother me from time to time though. I try to give people support on their projects or struggles when I can, since I know how I would feel, but I’m sure I’ve been guilty of neglecting people in my life too. I also hold back sometimes because I have things going on that have nothing to do with them.

    Hang in there! You’re doing great!

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  4. Slap! You’re going to be ok. Just try to let go of what other people may be thinking and focus on yourself. And yes, blog about it every day. I imagine when I try to quit smoking I am going to do the same thing you are doing, and I am going to want a supportive community like you have here.

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  5. Hi, Rose. I’m pretty sure the only reason I quit twenty-five years ago was that I bummed a Marlboro off a friend and got a brutal case of bronchitis. Couldn’t inhale air without coughing, let alone smoke. I’ll never judge a smoker. Hang tough. John

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