Each of us has limits to what we can handle well. For all, there is a certain degree of stress we can manage before we "give way" under pressure. These breaking points are unique and vary from person to person. We do, indeed, have different abilities to deal with the environmental stressors and the emotional factors of life. What can "knock" one to his / her knees, may be seen by another as just an inconvenience. No two of us are exactly alike in response to these stressors (not even identical twins)...
As for me, my current feelings of being "at the end of my rope" -- and madly craving cigarettes today -- have to do with my years-long battles with loss. I just. do. not. do. well. with. loss.
The painful emotional losses I've been experiencing for over a week now have had an accumulative effect which reached its capacity this afternoon. I desperately wanted a cigarette, but I was worried about what I'd have to do with my cross that I put up as collaterol in this quit, and was afraid I couldn't / shouldn't ask for it back when I got back on the quit trail again.. which I felt sure I would, as after all, I will no doubt have a stroke should I ever go back to smoking. That is, IF I even have another quit in me... And, I struggled with how I'd fess up to my dear supporters on the EX that I had relapsed...
Even in the midst of my indecision, I decided to get onto the EX site and pledged to not smoke today and also shouted my stats. But I felt like a hypocrite... I was so close to heading out for cigarettes. I could just taste that deep draw... but I came here instead.
In retrospect, I acknowledge that I have played an active part in my current emotional state and will have to be on guard to take better care of my psychological self in the future.
I hope you readers will understand as I lay out my lonesome and somewhat long tale, but the truth is the truth, and I feel I must speak it:
For starters, I had recognized that I was feeling a bit "blue" this past week or so as I've been organizing old photo albums for my sons ; throwing out pix of unknown landscapes and such and labeling / dating / inserting the ones I kept. There have been some tears shed over the marriage that did not work out and a heartfelt yearning for "the olden days" when we were still a family and the kids were still kids and were still at home with me.
But, I ignored the warning that this project was "doing a number on me" and continued working on the albums. I just wanted to get them finished and packed up for the "boys". (And, I was also laying aside for another album all the pictures from out west during the 14 years I spent with my deceased second husband. Those memories and the truth that I'm now a widow, brought tears as well...)
Then yesterday, on a warm and golden Indian Summer kinda day, I did take a break from the photographs, and headed up north to have lunch with my dear friend Barb. As usual for my annual summer trek, I first stopped to check in with my ex, who has failed considerably since hit with post-polio syndrome. (he'd had polio in the 1950's). Although our former family home had always been kept in tip-top shape when we were married, it had seemed a bit weary on my last visit. Now, it was calling out desperately for a total paint job. It just looked so sad. What was once a glorious Victorian with crisp white wrap-around porch was now just a worn out building with faded and peeling paint.
But, I sucked it up, said goodbye to my ex, and drove a few houses down the street to bask in the sun and the love of a dear friend of more than 50 years. Barb and I chatted on her porch and then went uptown for lunch. Except for the social distancing of its tables, the Village Inn remained the same friendly place it had always been. And I even ran into some other old friends. Though hugs could not be exchanged, friendly words through masks were shared. I was feeling better.
On the way back to Barb's, we decided to take a run throught the streets of the small village which in many ways proved to not be familiar. People had moved out, others had moved in, some houses had been revitalized and others were forlorn. By the time I left town, I was again feeling a painful sense of loss over what had been but was no longer.
Once home, I decided a nap was in order. I felt emotionally drained.
Today, I only added more pain upon the pain already there. My neighbors Doris and Kay and Kay's daughter Kathy invited me to go with them to the cemetary to visit the grave of my recently deceased friend Debbie. (Kay is her Mom and Kathy is her sister.) It was my first trip to her grave since her death on July 31st. (Need I say more about this?)
Later, as my cat Mr. Flurry and I sat on my front porch, I saw Debbie's sister-in-law at Kay's home across the street. She was relaxing on the porch steps and smoking a cigarette. As I watched her, I decided I'd had it with this non-smoking crap. I would go to the store and get a pack; that's all there was to it.
But, luckily, I eventually came to my senses: smoking would not magically change any of the circumstances that were making me sad. And, I would not be happy with just one cigarette, nor one pack, nor one carton...
And, I chose not to smoke.