Depression And Smoking

My doctor has doubled the dosage of my anti-depressant. I don’t know why she decided to do that and I wasn’t on the ball enough to ask her at the time.

It seems to be making me worse. The nausea, headaches, dry mouth and other side effects are worse for a start but I also feel more depressed on the higher dose than I did on the lower one. I must contact her and ask about it but I can’t be bothered at the moment.

I still haven’t gotten around to making an appointment to see the psychologist she has referred me to. Can’t summon enough interest to do that yet either but I must do it soon.

Someone left a comment on the “Reason To Live” wall that reminded me there are many people who really cannot understand depression. It isn’t just people who have never had depression who can’t understand it either. A lot of people who do have it think it’s all in the mind and they should just stop complaining and get on with life too.

The doctor who pumped my stomach after a suicide attempt about 35 years ago didn’t understand. He was angry and disgusted with me. He made me promise him I would never try again unless I was certain I would die thus sparing another doctor from having to waste his precious time saving me. He was angry on behalf of all the people he knew who were dying, against their will, despite all his best efforts to save them.

People who have never experienced depression cannot comprehend how someone could be so careless and unappreciative of life when they see it as something valuable and desirable.

Those people view death as an enemy to be fought off for as long as possible. They view depression and suicide as, in a sense, siding with the enemy and they have no time for such traitors.

It has always been hard for me, on the other hand, to understand why people fight so hard to live. What do they see in life that makes it worth so much to them? I do admire people who don’t give up in the face of overwhelming problems but I don’t understand what drives them to hang on to life so desperately.

Part of the reason I created the “Reason To Live” wall was hope that someone will add something to it that will help me see life the way they do – as precious and worth fighting for.

Hmmm. Now I come to think about it I guess I do know why my doctor doubled the dose of my anti-depressant medication.

She asked me how I was doing with my depressive thoughts. I said I’m doing well. I reassured her I was in no danger of attempting suicide as I was not considering that at all.

I said I still react to the anti-smoking advertisements the same way though.

There is one advertisement in particular. It shows a young woman lighting a cigarette. The cigarette turns into a glass tube with a pool of toxins bubbling in it and producing smoke. A voice-over man tells you about the smoke having acetone, arsenic and other poisons in it.

Every time I see that ad I light a cigarette and draw the poison as deeply into my lungs as I possibly can and I get angry. I get angry because they keep promising me these things will kill me but I am not dead yet.

I told the doctor about those thoughts and I suspect that’s why she doubled the dosage of my medication.

I have overcome the incessant urge to kill myself and reached a point where I can appreciate many of the good things about life but that has only made life more comfortable and bearable for me. My own life is still not precious in my eyes. I would do nothing to hold on to it. I am prepared for all the illnesses they say I will get from smoking and I have already made my decisions about what I will do if, or when, I get them.

It will cost the community nothing. Certainly nothing like the massive amounts of money I have paid in smoking taxes over the years. I will have no operations or treatments. I will let the illness take it’s course. I will not fight for life as life is simply not something I want enough to do anything at all to prolong it.

I will keep the promise I made 35 years ago. No doctor will be forced to waste his time trying to save me from something I did to myself.

It is impossible for those who have never experienced depression to understand how someone could even think the things I have just said let alone say them. I am sure they think it’s melodrama and, if actually faced with the situation, I would change my mind. They would be wrong.

I am, according to what I have read on the net, in the first stages of emphysema and I did an exercise designed to show me what it will be like when the disease is full blown. The exercise was suggested by a man named Garry Bain on a page containing people’s personal stories about their experiences with emphysema and smoking.

The exercise involved covering my mouth and nose tightly with my hand so I could only just breath through it. Then I had to try to take 40 steps with just that amount of air getting into my lungs then turn around and go back.

That exercise was one of the most frightening things I have ever done but I plan to try and tolerate living like that WITHOUT the oxygen they prescribe for you when you get to that stage. I am hoping that will stress my heart. I also plan to keep smoking if it is at all possible as I am hoping to die faster than the disease usually allows.

It may be impossible for those who love life to understand how I could say such things, let alone mean them, but it is just as impossible for those who have never found life to be anything more than a burden to understand why someone would fight to hold on to it.

I don’t feel sorry for myself. I don’t dwell on all the things in my past that are part of the reason I feel this way. I fight. I have fought long and hard to try and make my life worth something. To overcome this lack of appreciation for what I know is a gift. Smoking 50 cigarettes per day is simply my insurance against the possibility I will never be able to overcome my lack of appreciation for life.

I have fought just as hard to stop myself from committing suicide as others have fought to stop life from being taken from them against their will. It’s a hard thing to do – fight to make yourself keep something you desperately want to get rid of. The difference between fighting to stop life being taken from you and fighting to stop yourself from throwing it away is time.

This is a battle I have been fighting for 40 years. I am still fighting. I am taking the double dose of medication despite the side-effects. I will make the appointment to see a psychologist. I have stopped wanting to kill myself but I am not yet able to stop wanting to die sooner rather than later.

Smoking is the only semi-suicidal behaviour I indulge in. Society doesn’t classify smoking as suicide. Society understands I am addicted. They assume I would stop if I could and I don’t tell them why I don’t even try to stop. My primary goal in smoking is to satisfy the addiction. It is not a sure enough method for me to be using it just to kill myself. Dying is really just a side effect of smoking that I am only hoping I will experience.

I am really cannot understand what makes life so valuable to others but I am trying to understand. I’m hoping the help I have finally reached out for will be enough to let me find out what it feels like to love life and be willing to fight to keep it. If I ever do find myself loving life then, and only then, will I stop smoking.

Depression is not an enemy you can just say “go away” to. There are many people who think it is and they keep telling their depression, in vain, to go away. The rest of us fight on just wishing it was as simple as that. Some just give up and put an end to themselves and it is those people I created the wall for.

I’m fighting my own battle with depression so I know exactly how hard it really is and I want to help others fight their battle too. Many of them, maybe even most of them, will be able to beat their depression much easier and much faster than I have been able to. All they need to do is keep trying and get some help with the fight.

I’ve seen people recover. I know it can happen. Maybe not for me but it will for them. I believe that. This time, however, I am doing what I tell others to do. I’m taking the medication and I’m going to get the counselling I need. I’m hoping that will make it possible for me to completely beat my own depression once and for all too.

I’m hoping. Thank’s to the depression I don’t really believe but I am hoping and I am trying despite my lack of interest in doing so.

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