Giving Up Fags, Taking Up Madness


I’ve not posted for a while, my life isn’t that interesting at the moment, and I’ve few opinions worth the virtual print. The one thing that has been going on is my 25 year battle with smoking. I’ve taken to the doctors in regards to a cyst on my face and numbness in my left hand several times of late, and I’ve had a “whilst I’m here” feeling, “let’s get the fags out of the way”. I’ve tried to leave this addiction several ways before, Alan Carr, NRT, and hypnotism. I’ve gone pharmaceutical once before too – Zyban. Drove me mad. Everything was fine until the day I stopped smoking (one takes the drugs for 2 weeks until the Big Day), and then tears, darkness and hysteria took over. Speaking with my cessation nurse, I was keen to avoid this, and she assured me that our new silver bullet, Champix, had no history of such contra-indications. Anecdotally this wasn’t the case, but I blithely waved you correct people away, because I’d been ASSURED.

I’ve been more disagreeable than usual over the last fortnight, with hindsight. From a slightly cunty beginning, I’ve moved steadily into the territory of someone so wholly unpleasant that I’m shocked by the continuing tolerance of friends – but the most tolerant is my poor mother, to whom I don’t apologise nearly enough. But yesterday was the clincher. Yesterday was the day that I realised.

Still sure of the fact that Champix wasn’t blitzing my noodle, and looking forward to a Sunday in front of the telly, I got my coffee on. So irrelevant was the lack of smoking (was the day I was giving up) that I didn’t even think about the fact I wasn’t twisting a stick into shape as the obvious spouse to my muddy mug of Joe. Champix, on this long term physical health help, is GOOD. But the heavy caffeine bought about anxiety, and there were clear moments of oblivious fantasy. Should you not get the point, suicide was on my mind. I’m terrified of death, pretty sure that my pub musings of “I’ve made a pact with him downstairs, I’m living forever” are Faustian at best. But there it was, a clear, startling vision of how I should just nip upstairs and top myself. The little blonde girl from Poltergeist agreeing to the suggestion of the white noise of the telly. Luckily, I’ve been depressed before, noted how persuasive this feeling was, and type to tell the tale. I’m still a horrible cunt to be around though, failing to see the beauty of a sunset, wilfully falling out with those close to me. Such a joy to be around.

So, tonight, and this was the scary bit. Watching Sunderland on the telly in my good friend’s boozer. We might’ve lost 10-0, but I’d still be watching my lads. There was a clear moment, when someone on the other side of the bar mentioned something there had planned for November. Insidiously, my consciousness was washed over with something not even a thought – “I’ll not be alive to see it.”

I’m not going to top myself, I’ve been depressed before, and can deal with this drug; I’m trading long-term physical health for short-term mental illness. Please don’t think of this as anything other than an explanation of the trickiness of kicking the habit; there is no magic bullet.

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