Wednesday, January 05, 2005

tournament of evils: nicotine dependence versus the noonday demon

A friend of mine, who has had problems in the past with major depression, is now trying to quit smoking. She sends me this update from the front lines:
108.5 hours without a cigarette. I'm not sure I'm going to make it through tomorrow without breaking down and buying a pack. I went to my office for awhile tonight, and then to the bookstore and library, and every time I leave my car or a building I automatically reach for my purse to pull out a smoke, and then I remember that I'm now a non-smoker, and have to talk myself out of going and buying a pack. Every [expletive deleted] time.

But as much of a pain-in-the-ass trying to quit smoking is, it's nothing - NOTHING - compared to the mental battles I had with myself when I was really depressed. Like trying to talk myself into getting out of bed, or making a phone call. Cycling through self-recrimination, shame, and despair, and still trying to function like a normal human being. It makes me sad that everyone I've told about quitting smoking is all "wow, that's really tough, you're doing great just to make it 3 days" or whatever. But when you're depressed, no one is all "great job for not killing yourself for 3 whole days!" or "wow, that's really tough, doing a load of laundry is really hard". It's just like people's perceptions of how difficult it is to quit smoking vs. how difficult it is to be depressed are way out of whack.


dorotha said...

gee, jeremy, i feel all warm and happy now. thanks.

Joan said...

Yes, doing a load of laundry really is hard.

I had so much more to say I ended up posting on this topic in my own blog.

Thanks for posting this. It's wonderful.