Emotional repression, stress, and smoking

The story, the excuses

I’m not an emotional person.

I think most people who know me, if asked to describe me in one-word answers might call me dependable, reliable, sensible, and so on. (Occasionally “Good singer” would probably slip through).

When other people break down, or their world goes to shit, mine tends to stay dependable. I keep my emotions hidden away in the dark and only let them out in lumps, normally late at night, normally when something has happened that has burst the dam and spilled everything else over. I cry, I rant, I tell David how everything sucks, and the next day I’m back to stability.

This is a good system. It’s served me well for many years. But now, I’m not coping well. I’ve never learned how to actually deal with my emotions.

Right now, I’m in honours year at Uni. I have a research paper (dissertation) to write. I have to create a half-hour radio piece, and it has to be perfect. I have to create a trailer for a game show (or other factual program) and do a 20 minute presentation to present it.

I have to read academic books, something I’ve never been able to do. I have to do work every day, instead of the night before; something I’ve never done.

I have to deal with having no money. I have to pay the rent and the electric bill, as well as all the hundreds of little expenses that come along.

I have to do radio shows, and I have to do them well, or I feel guilty. I have to do scheduling for the station, and help people when they need help I have to deal with grievances when I do something badly, or when someone else needs to talk to an admin.

I have to write a novel. I have to record an album. I have to record interviews with creative types.

I’m choosing my words carefully here, because I know many of you are thinking “She doesn’t *have* to do any of these things.” And you’re right. I don’t technically have to do them. But if I don’t do them, I can’t look myself in the face and explain why.

I have to deal with hundreds of little injuries and the fact that I want to leave everything to the last minute. I have to try and keep the house clean, if not tidy.

I quit biting my nails in February. I started eating healthily the August before. I quit smoking the March before that. March 2010.

Except, in August 2010, when I was starting Uni, and I hadn’t been properly enrolled, and my life looked like it was about to come crumbling down around my ears, and I couldn’t cope. I had a cigarette then.

Except in July 2011, when I discovered David had lied to me for about the 8th time and had been smoking again. I took his cigarettes from his hiding place and smoked about a third of one on the front step.

Except today. I’ve had a cold for two months. My creative project needs to be scrapped and started again. I haven’t done the research for my research project that I needed to do. Whenever I come home I never do any work. I’ve skim-read one and a half books of the twenty-odd that I need to for my coursework.  Since I quit biting my nails I’ve put on a stone and a half. Half my family is ill or depressed, and I have no friends (in real life, the sort of friends whose house I could go to or who I could phone up).


Last night, lying in the bath sniffling with the cold and crying because I –can’t cope- I decided it would be okay to have a cigarette. All day today, I’ve been fighting the idea, and then, half an hour ago, I went in to the student shop in the Uni, bought ten Richmond Menthol King-size, and a box of Bluebell matches, and walking home from Uni, I smoked two of them.

I felt guilty, I smell awful, my mouth tastes like crap, but I also felt relaxed and slightly stoned.

And I’ve convinced myself that as long as I wait a week or more between them, to let my system get over it, I can have one from this packet if and when I need it.


The Rebuttal

My problems are all first-world problems. Let’s call the whaaambulence. So I have to deal with coursework? Everyone else manages it. So I’m emotionally repressed? Not breaking down in classes and at the drop of a hat is a good thing. So I have to read academic literature? Suck it up and see the above “Everyone else” point. I’m skint? And? I’m a spoiled brat. I’ve never gone without like others have, and I’ve a house and food. Radio? Novel? Album? Interviews? All voluntary. Don’t do them. Pride comes before the fall, and that’s all that is. Pride and stubbornness. Injuries? None of them are life-threatening, I’ve had worse before and got on fine. I have to clean my house? Fuck’s sake. Show me someone who doesn’t, and I’ll show you someone rich or clatty.

Not smoking is a case of just not doing it. Eating healthily is mostly a case of not buying crap. Well done on still not biting.

I have a cold? God forbid. I’ll cancel the Whaaaaambulence and just call a hearse.


This is how my brain looks on the inside. The excuses, the reasoning, the bitch who won’t accept either of the above.

And… that’s all I can say.


I'm not in the mood for teh funnies.
I tried to make this a funny wee drawing, but I'm not in the mood.