the road to mental health is a strange one. i guess that’s not a surprising thought, but at the same time, it’s a strange thing for me to think about.

i’ve been going to a shrink for seven months now. there are times i feel like a different person, a new person, well on my way to recovery. then there are other days when i don’t feel like any progress has been made at all. i guess that’s the nature of the process, but i can’t help but wonder what has changed in me to make me feel like different on those particular days.

my day to day life hasn’t changed: i still go everyday to a job i hate, i still tend to be a home body, and i still tend to stagnate in front of the television. my personal life is exactly the same, as well. there’s no girl in my life and i can’t help but resent those friends of mine who manage time and again to have one.

i also don’t really feel all that different about myself. i still wonder about those people who think i’m so great; i still can’t quite figure out what they see in me that i don’t see in myself. most days i question myself and my self-worth. i wonder what it is that keeps me down, what it is that keeps me from grabbing life by the horns. my thoughts are still plagued with fear and self-doubt.

still, something does seem to have changed. but what? friends and family comment on a marked change in me, but i struggle to see what they see. something is different, though. i feel closer to ‘wellness’ than i think i’ve ever felt. and i think that’s what’s changed. i can’t help but see light at the end of what has been a very long, dark tunnel. the appearance of that light, i think, might correspond to a glimpse of optimism in my outlook.

and with that glimpse of optimism comes an increasing sense of something else…. in recent weeks, my brain has been struggling to push to the front some idea, some though. i’ve been struggling to define this feeling and, until right now, have been unsuccessful. but here it is….

it’s anticipation. it’s the anticipation of being released from prison. it’s the anticipation of light being shed on a perpetually dar room. it’s the anticipation of years of darkness in my brain coming to an end.

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so, i’m thinking i’ll try to quit smoking. it’s a strange thing, i mean, i knew there would eventually come a day when i just got sick of smoking, but that day felt like it was a ways off. then, last night, after a couple of days of discomfort, it just occurred to me that it might be time to break the habit….

i started smoking on a whim, though only a couple of cigarettes a day. only during a time of high stress and depression did that number skyrocket to around a pack a day. for three or four years, cigarettes have served as a crutch of sorts. they would comfort me in times of stress, during periods of depression or frustration, and would give me something to occupy my mind in the car or at home alone.

i’m not sure it’s a habit i’m ready to give up. in some ways, i’m as adamant a smoker as i used to be an anti-smoker. i love smoking. i thoroughly enjoy smoking. i love everything about it… well almost. there are mornings i wake up hacking and with my lungs in a certain amount of pain.

and now i’m going to try and quit, not cold turkey, so to speak, but gradually. for the first time in years, i think i might just be strong enough, mentally, to give quitting a real chance. still, it might be some time before i give it up completely, simply because i enjoy it so much.

for now, i’m going to try to cut back to just five cigarettes a day. i’ll let you know how it goes.

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