Coping Skills From The Mentally Ill

Big breaths.

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Big breaths.

I have *insert applause here* officially become a non smoker. I’m aware some of you will think that’s no big deal, but if you have ever smoked, you’ll know it is.

I have eagerly and happily tried most illicit substances in my life. Not one caught me. Thank God. But this, this has been my bane.

Having worked in mental health for years, and having studied the psychological and neurological machinations of the brain, I decided to use the non smoking pill. It inhibits reception of nicotine and massages your addiction center or something, I don’t know. It seems to have worked. My brain is nic free. All I have left are habitual and stress induced cravings. For those, substitutions are required. I have no fingernails left, and I have eaten everything in the house. The dogs are beginning to look at me warily. I think they are nervous of being devoured in the frenzy. And I’m trying to be careful of my mood and reactions. Because yelling cheerfully at the neighbour,”Hey! Good Morning! Go fuck yourself!” is not really how I want to approach the world.

Then I remembered. Hubby and I watched a documentary on Bellevue Psych hospital in New York a couple of years ago. (We watch a lot of docs. We’re boring old weirdos.) Now as I’ve said, I worked with psych patients. It was fun for a while, but even crazy can get boring. I’m not the only worker who got jaded. “Oh, he poked his own eye out during a hallucination? Yawwwnnn.” (Don’t judge! You never worked there.) Consequently, I like my crazy good and crazy. You think you got something new for me? Bring it. (And this is why I no longer work in that field.)  But in this doc there was one guy who stood out from the others because of what I believe was his original ‘take’ on the crazy.

Every day at a certain time, he would start calmly yelling:

I HATE THIS PLACE! NOTHING WORKS HERE! THE MEDICATIONS DON’T WORK! I’VE BEEN HERE FOR 7 YEARS! I HATE THIS PLACE! NOTHING WORKS HERE! THE MEDICATIONS DON’T WORK! And so on. For about 40 minutes. They’d put him in a little room so as not to disrupt the other patients and let him go. He’d stop, clean his glasses, take a breath and be fine for the rest of the day. I. Fucking. Love. This. Man.

He has given me my “not smoking, I’m stressed about nothing, please slap some sense into me before I wax your balls in a surprise attack” mantra.

When I feel the slip, I look at hubby and start. He nods and redirects the boy. And I feel all better.

I’m happy to be a ‘normal’ person again. A non smoker. The world looks a little brighter. It’s probably because it’s not all hazy with smoke, but whatever.

If you hear yelling, you’ll know what it is.


I’ll be back in about 40 minutes. (Which is almost the same length of time it takes to plan a surprise ball wax attack. Just FYI.)

Big breaths.

5 thoughts on “Coping Skills From The Mentally Ill

    • I have those as well. At the same time. Have you ever tried getting spaghetti out of a keyboard? Not easy.

  1. So happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I quit smoking last October and am happy I did. Although in truth I do think smokers are more fun! Risk-takers you know! Great blog!

Go on. Talk to Mama Duck.

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