A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Goodbye Letter

I've moved my quit day up to tomorrow. It will be Halloween and therefore a memorable date. I bought my last pack of cigarettes today and will try to finish them off by bedtime. If not, I will destroy them. I've been getting some excellent advice and guidance from a couple of people on Woofmang.com, especially someone named Deb. Thanks Deb!! She's so on target and very, very supportive. I'll probably be leaning on her for the next week.

I saw my therapist today. I've been seeing her every other week for a while now and that seems to be working out. She's a very understanding person, very supportive of me. I've known her for eight out of the last ten years. She's seen me at my most psychotic and also at my most sane. I'm very fortunate to have found her at the very beginning of my psychosis. Her office is right in town which makes going to see her stress free. She's also a psychology professor at the university. There are definite boundaries she keeps in our relationship, but that also helps me to know where I stand. I don't pry into her personal life and she's very careful not to discuss me with her husband and friends, not that I'd really care too much. If she weren't my therapist, she could be my friend. She gives practical advice, she's non judgmental and she's kind. She's someone I can trust. So I told her about my quit date tomorrow and why I moved it up (to stop teasing myself with smoking). I also told her about Bev getting in touch with me. I'm going to see Bev tomorrow for lunch to catch up and hopefully create a real honest to God offline friendship. That would be wonderful and Bev is the perfect person. She's smart, responsible, very honest about herself and to others and she's funny. I also like her children. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I see her. She quit smoking February 14th (Valentine's Day) 2005. Being with her will help me with my quit. I've also been advised to write a Goodbye Letter to my cigarettes. So here it goes....

Dear(?) Cigarettes,

Before I met you personally, you were good friends with my mother. You became her best friend when she was 16 and stayed close to her till she was 34. That was the year she learned how harmful you have been to so many people and that was the year I was born. So she quit you. Once a year she would meet with you again at a party, but that was it. She basically left you flat. Unfortunately my mother didn't warn me about you when I was a little girl and when I saw you hanging out with a boy I really liked, I decided to become friends with you too. I guess I thought he looked "cool" and I wanted to be "cool" too. I had another friend and she also wanted to be "cool" and she liked the same boy, so we would all spend time together on the top floor of my parents' house in my room (my parents rarely came upstairs). We were 12 years old, not even teenagers. A few years later we began drinking wine, getting drunk and spending time together. I guess we thought it was fun to break the rules and pretend to be grown up when we weren't. I didn't spend all my time with you, but enough that you left a lasting impression on me.

Then I got involved with my first boyfriend and he did not like you at all. You were close friends with his mother and he knew you were bad news. So I stayed away from you for nearly five years. Then I left my boyfriend. Soon afterwards I began hearing voices that didn't feel like me and I returned to you. I hid you from my family and didn't spend all my time with you, but enough that I was under your spell.

Then I moved away from my hometown, far away into the country. I had been feeling badly about myself for many years and I wound up choosing to be with another boyfriend, but this boyfriend was also very close to you. He kept you by his side all the time. You were close to nearly everyone in his family and I got closer to you too. I began spending all my time with you and my boyfriend. I couldn't get away from either of you and both of you hurt me badly. You polluted my air and made me cough and stink and even after I left my boyfriend for some reason I still held on to you, even though you hurt me. I was chained to you. I was an addict. I tried to break it off with you when I went back to school, but went right back to you five months later.

A few months after that I became paranoid and delusional. The voices in my head turned on me and attacked me. They said smoking was evil and that I had to quit and I tried so hard to leave you, but the stress was too much and I fell into a rut with you. Oh, I admit, at times you comforted me when I was at my lowest. I was so alone. You were my most faithful companion. But soon, I became so tired of always turning to you. I couldn't go a waking hour without turning to you. And last year I left you. I thought it was for good. I remained without you for over six months and then I spent a few moments with you and left again. Four months later I spent a week with you and left again. I've been seeing you and breaking up with you ever since and now I know this has got to stop.

The truth is you killed my grandfather. You also killed my grandmother's sister. The truth is you could kill me. The truth is I don't like you and I never really did. Right now my head hurts because of you and my house stinks and my poor cats are being hurt by you. You may think that I need you, but I don't. I spent over 10 months without you and I can spend the rest of my life without you. You have no redemptive quality. You are bad to the bone. This long and painful affair is over. I'm leaving you for good this time. I may see you around, but I will never join your company again. It's over between us.


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