In The Midst Of Smoking, I Killed Myself has been edited by Suraj Zala.
Smoking is injurious to health. Smoking causes cancer.
We, smokers, have never cared about the warning labels on cigarette packs. We either ignored them or laughed them away, as though they were nothing but a mere formality. There’s no need to worry, though. I’m not here to give you any lectures on why you should quit smoking nor on how nicotine helps you in your tough times. This post is just about what happened to someone who was addicted to nicotine and suddenly decided to quit.
You know, there is something of a stereotype with writers, that they like to stay high whenever they’re writing, be it an article, a novel or just a thought. Some say they are addicted to smoking, or perhaps just to nicotine. Well, I won’t deny it, because I’m one of them. For me, nicotine was my lifeline and the reason for my survival. My addiction to nicotine was so severe, that my mornings began with nicotine gum, followed by cigarettes, and ended with nicotine gum.
To me, nicotine was like a friend, helping me cope with anxiety, frustration, depression, and anger. It all came at a price, though, as addiction often does. I never realised that I was that addicted. Nicotine had become my first priority, in happiness and in sadness. I’d forgotten that people exist. Nevertheless, there always comes a time when reality hits you hard.
Many asked me why I did both, why I smoked as well as chewed nicotine gum. I’d answer them casually, saying that during lectures or exams, I couldn’t smoke. I just didn’t want to see it. My body was addicted. I’d always felt that everything has a time for it, and with time things would be simple. But the tables turned on me. The craving and addiction increased to an extent that made it seemingly impossible to come back.
And then, one fine day, reality hit me so hard I was barely able to stand. At 9:45 pm on April the 3rd, 2017, I got a phone call informing me that my best friend was no more. My body started shaking. I wasn’t able to move. We’d met the day before, and he was perfectly fine. I tried reaching for my nicotine, but I don’t know what happened. My conscience refused it.
I decided to quit smoking from the very next day. It was something he had told me the day before, to stop it all. To leave it all. I’d taken it casually at the time, but now I know how much his words mean to me. It felt like I’d been ungrateful all my life, and I got one chance to do something for him. I decided to quit and, honestly, I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult. But now I see how deluded I was.
Over the next 48 hours, anxiety and depression hit me hard. Every passing minute, I craved a smoke. But I had decided not to. I kept telling myself, “You are a non-smoker now”.
It’s been a week since I last touched a cigarette. Now, whenever a friend sits with me and smokes, I stare at their cigarette. I can feel my senses, my nerves and my mind smarting, begging my conscience to let me smoke. But I’ve been able to resist it so far. Every passing hour, I feel like I am having a nervous breakdown. It made me know myself better. Now I’m afraid to look in a mirror. I wonder if I was always this short-tempered, irritated, and depressed. I find ways to avoid smoking. Sometimes, I stick a pen in my mouth and pretend to smoke. Sometimes, I cry out loud. It doesn’t help.
Smoking was killing my body. Weakening it so bad, that depression conquered it. Anxiety laughed at me, saying, “This is who you are”. Irritation and pain made me realise things that I’d always neglected. I have sleepless nights — nights that are scary, and as dark as my soul. Every morning I wake up feeling so tired I just pray that the day ends soon.
And amidst all of this chaos, I realise that I’ve never valued my body or existence. I’ve never valued the feelings I suppress and the people around me. I’ve realised that this dependency of mine is evil, and how it feels to be independent, to be free of it. This one week has changed my life and my perspective towards it. It has killed me, so I can get a new birth and live a life where depression can never conquer me.
To read more by the author of In The Midst Of Smoking, I Killed Myself, click here.