I once read somewhere that every cigarette you smoke takes seven minutes off your life. Being that I’ve grown up battling depression and, thus, have held a despair for existence on levels that have actually encouraged me to harm myself in the hopes of ending my misery just a little bit sooner. Fortunately, my current medication does a great job of helping me fight off such terrible thoughts, but certain times of the year tend to trigger a side of me that will never go away. The side that just wants the agony to end a little sooner.
I always write about being a birth mother (you can read the entire story here if you so desire) because of how deeply this experience has impacted me. Now that my birth son is celebrating his sixth birthday in just two months, the typical mood dive I experience has begun for the holiday season. I never talk about it much as it is happening but after so many years of this torturous cycle, I need to let every bit of it out somewhere.
I need to break myself out of this.
It’s November, and the stores are already displayed in full with Christmas decor, gift sections, special cereals, and seasonal treats with tons of peppermint and chocolate covered cherries abound. Yet despite every ounce of happiness I draw from the festive environment, a part of me aches with no remedy.
I miss him. I miss my birth son.
He should be here with me, dammit. Maybe I shouldn’t be this happy. How could I possibly deserve happiness when he is so far away?
With thoughts like that, I fall. I drown in the sorrow. The agony of missing a piece of my heart, a beautiful creation who is growing into everything I could have hoped for. I feel like the Devil for having chosen to give him that life — and yet, had I not, he wouldn’t be thriving like this. What a complex web of emotions it is to consider.
And it’s this that makes me want that cigarette.
Seven fewer minutes of having to feel this way.
Yet, I chose this, and I chose right. How could I hate myself for this?
But oh, I want that cigarette anyway.
It’s not fair to any of my children, the ones I raise and the one I do not, that I’d want my life to end sooner rather than later. It’s not. I’ve been fighting to stop smoking because I know in my head that it isn’t fair to anyone (including myself.) Yet I cannot escape the longing urge to feel a punishment for something that was so right and felt so wrong.
I know I must break free of that cycle. And so, I choose to share the harsh reality of this life — I choose to put the smoking down and focus on how to make it better. Writing is our therapy as much as it is our jobs, hobbies, passions, etc. I need to utilize that.
I am better than that.
I hope I believe that soon.
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