After my miscarriage this March it seemed that all the grief from losing my mother 5 yrs ago and all my numerous miscarriages since compounded into this big mound. I couldn't seem to look at it, or give it any acknowledgement. I didn't want to fall hard like the March before when we miscarried at 13 weeks.

So I did what is easiest for me. I started a new project: portrait photography with gusto. Full on attention and near obsession to keep my mind so busy it couldn't possibly settle on the grief in my heart.

Now this coping mechanism a major flaw: it is impossible to keep up nonstop 24/7. I needed something to fill the gap-something that was mundane and easy to do when my brain was exhausted. I stupidly and idiotically picked up smoking. Yes my mother died of lung cancer. Yes it seems the stupidest most idiotic thing. My silly rationale-which really is not rationale is that she stopped smoking 20 years before being diagnosed. That she got the type of lung cancer that is less linked to smoking. That because I smoked from age 14-26 the damage is already done. Wow writing it out-so silly. No sense at all.

Also smoking was a way to punish myself-or to affirm that I am a failure-it was a logical reason to pull away from my husband physically. Less hugs and kisses that may reveal my disgusting habit.

In retrospect I see that all I wanted to do was block myself off from receiving love-I felt unworthy. I felt terribly flawed for miscarrying a second time for a random reason, when there are so many established risks related to me already and that were the cause of all my other miscarriages.

There is something about being a failure at this fundamental biological womanly task that rocks my core, and taps into all my insecurities and feelings of unworthiness.

I often don't see the logic or can comfort myself with rational thoughts, but it doesn't take away the inside pain that rests beneath the surface.

Blogging love and support also was blocked out by my consuming task master grief brain. Every spare moment was spent on portriat photography.

So what happened to bring me to this post? To writing about this now?

I can't point to one thing. I think it was a combo of a few things:

~ self awareness that I can change my thoughts and how I perceive things. That my happiness is linked to gratitude and my thoughts.

~ because I have been open to and have nurtured connections with family and friends, I miss it when I block some of them out.

~ because I have started to see my own worthiness the past few years it feels less right when I go back to feeling unworthy. This often leaves me in a weird middle place but it is better than staying in unworthiness.

~ because I have seen others lift themselves out of this place I have strong and forever nagging :) reminders that I do not have to stay here.

~ because many of my loving nurturing friends are also parents to my sons friends I have been unable to completely block myself off, thereby leaving a perfect bridge back. Having a friend help me see that I was completely consumed with photography-and that she missed talking about other things.

~ Having a husband who found a cig butt-respond with frustration and love instead of condescention, reprimands and misunderstanding.

~ Having a friend share her own courageous moves to being more connected.

~ Seeing my sister in law on her steady path to better health

and truly the list could go on and on.

So this am I ventured back ....and started to open up my heart again to all the beautiful souls I have found in blogland.

I am on day three of being smoke free.

My husband said I may want to try journaling to get through the quitting urges-then I read a post from Jessie about (Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo).

So maybe journaling here and on paper is a good way to work through this. I know it is definitely going to be better to pick up a pen than a cigarette.

So I am curious if any of you have : a) been hypnotized to quit something b) used journaling to work through something after long resisting journaling c) have any tips on how you resisted picking up cigarettes again after quitting.


Blogger pERiWinKle said...

Hey Sweetie,

The only thing I've done that is letting go of was...

for years, whenever i looked in the mirror i would say something negative about my body... for years i've looked in the mirror telling myself i'm worthy! loved! gorgeous! beautiful! But the little voice still talked back when I looked in the mirror.

then we moved to another country, and I decided ok, i have no friends here, i have loads of time, i'm going to sit with every emotion! )that was my secret). and then one day, I realised looking in the mirror that that silly voice disappeared! It's gone... I actually went looking for it, as I was so accustomed to hearing it whenever I look in the mirror...

for me... to sit with any emotion that arised, to embrace it and love it... even if it was an emotion I did not like... was worthy of me.

i'm thinking of you in this journey... it is quite angrysadfrustrating when a person snap at someone / disconnect, knowing that it is not anything they did... knowing that you actually really know what it is...

Love it Sweetie... love every part of YOU! xx

6/22/2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...


Love you sweetie!

I have journaled (sp?) my way through several things, and it always seems to help. My favorite way EVER to do it though is my mask burnings :)


6/22/2008 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It made me teary to read how hard you can be on yourself, but I understand how easy it is to feel unworthy.

You are a beautiful, thoughtful person and an incredible friend. Although recently your focus and determination have left you pulling away from those you love, the realization of this, along with your focus can be your road back:)

I miss you and our many lazy days of watching Isabelle and Trey fawn over each other...lol...can't wait to visit you soon.


6/22/2008 4:44 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

This is such a great post. It sounds like you are really figuring so much out! You ask about hypnotics for quitting smoking...my father in law did that. He then quit cold turkey and never had cravings. I can't believe it but it's true. And he was a huge skeptic but thought anything is worth a shot. My parents didn't do that...they smoked until they each had one left and then put that in the freezer. They took it one day at a time together, but cold turkey. It's been 3 years now. They were pretty grumpy for a while...very jealous of other smokers...but it seemed to work. My Mom said she liked knowing it was there in the freezer. But she never used it and they finally threw them away. All my best and hugs to you!!!!!

6/22/2008 6:05 PM  
Anonymous nikole said...

What a brave, moving post. I have not used journaling to work through breaking a habit or addiction, but it sounds like a good idea [although I have done it when actively wading through my grief]. I hope you can continue to open your heart courageously and honestly in this space as well. You bring brightness to so many lives and I know that there are many who would be honored to support you on this healing journey.

Sending you warmth and love.


6/22/2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger Melba said...

Journaling really has helped me work through many issues in my life.
But I didn't really journal too much about changing my eating habits. I am finding the summer a struggle with so many food temptations. I think taking it one day at a time is always best.

Sending you love!

6/22/2008 9:48 PM  
Blogger Abra said...

My heart truly goes out to you.

I have not journaled to break a habit of smoking but something just as addictive and harder to break because it is not bad for you...eating...namely in my case, emotional eating. Journaling has helped immensely. Everytime I want to go to get a munchie, I stop and pick up a pen and just start scribbling the random thoughts running through my head. It is effective so don't give up on it yourself...and more importantly, don't give up on yourself.

6/23/2008 6:50 AM  
Blogger Frida said...

Good for you! You know our favorite Bournemouth babe has quit smoking as well?

When I quit smoking I used the Alan Carr book - no real magic in it but he does a great job of helping you work through all the thought patterns that try to tempt you back into a cigarette. I think it might be worth picking up - but mostly you just keep doing what you are doing. Decide over and over and over again that you are now a non-smoker.

I resisted journalling for a long time, I used it to work through the PTSD and other things and once I got going on it I never looked back. I think your husband is right about this - quitting smoking is 90% head work and the journalling can really help with that.

Write out the reasons you want to have a cigarette and they won't be as compelling any more.

I'm cheering for you!

6/23/2008 10:54 AM  
Blogger daisies said...

i quit smoking four years ago and honestly, i can't even imagine that i ever smoked, it seems like a million years ago ... i think that i had to relearn how to live in that first year and i discovered that i had so much more time to play with :) good luck honey, xo

6/23/2008 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Jeanine said...

Beautiful post. I think it was very brave of you to open up this way... and I think it's this post that will help you kick the habit when you feel like reaching for a cigarette. I know that for me, keeping it a secret was like giving myself permission to smoke because nobody had to know but me. Also, yoga helps me with habits. I feel so amazing after a class that I only want to do good things for my body and soul. Bon courage mon ami. You are worth every ounce of goodness.

6/23/2008 6:13 PM  
Blogger Eileen W. said...

Dear Lovely,
You are not a failure- you are brave and an inspiration. To keep trying at giving life is commendable- it makes me sad to know you have felt such pain.
I applaud and support your efforts to give up smoking- I know the need it builds in your heart and mind. What you said about being unworthy and smoking rang true for me. I don't smoke, but my sweetie does.
Journaling has been a longtime affair for me. I dip in and out of it as I feel compelled to do it. Recently, I started an art journal and a Louise Hay affirmation journal so I go back and forth between them and my blogging. I guess I have a lot to say. :)
You are in my thoughts and I am sending you love and support everyday. (((hugs))

6/24/2008 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anu said...

There was a recent episode of Oprah where they hypnotized someone and he quit smoking after many years. You can find the information on her website. It was the show with Dr. Brian Weiss I believe.

6/24/2008 12:07 PM  
Anonymous megan said...

This post is so familiar to me for so many reasons. I have recently fallen on the same path it seems. Unable to give up one addiction (emotional eating that has led me to gain 65 pounds since miscarriage #1) without picking up an old friend of comfort, a cigarette. No one buy my husband knows (he has picked it up too for different stresses). It's only been a month and I already feel so bad about it. I had it licked for a year! I will say that it has helped the scale stop going up up up, but that doesn't mean it's helped the problem.

But, I'm also trying other focuses. I'm trying to reignite my addiction to wellness, and take myself down a journey of healing. I've been more creative than I have been in years! I've been thinking journaling would be good for me....

maybe I should give it a try.

6/25/2008 11:26 AM  
Blogger Claudia said...

I lost my sister in July to an OD. Prior to her death, my first husband killed himself in 1999 and in 1995 my father died of cancer. Blogging became my salvation, even on the days I had to force myself to write, force myself to feel...to heal. I am very good at burying my emotions and blogging has forced me to face them, deal with them, give them face time. It takes time, perseverance and devotion akin to obsession to use this medium for healing, but slowly and surely I have begun to see the light in myself once more. Hang in there hun, lean on us, use us, talk to us, everyone here has their own demons and sorrows to conquer, it is what makes this venue so successful.


6/25/2008 1:39 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

This--"There is something about being a failure at this fundamental biological womanly task that rocks my core, and taps into all my insecurities and feelings of unworthiness." --- Aww, this makes me just want to hug you big. What can a person say who hasn't tangled with this kind of loss? But, you are not "a failure". That is the part I wish you believed. It is not like something you could control, but choose not to try your best at! That is how I think of a failure. You are just along for what has been this suck sucktastic ride...

I am a huge believer in hypnosis. I used it for both my births, and it was a charm. But more than that, I saw a hynotherapist about sexual abuse issues, and other things, and NO therapy has EVER helped me more. Ever. If you are open and have a good therapist, it can help you get to the root of, and let go of, all kinds of shit... Like the hard edges of grief, and guilt, and crappy mind-washing.

Try it, I say. Be open.

ox :)

6/25/2008 8:28 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

oh, my dear. you have made me sigh deeply with love and gratitude for you and for our friendship. i read your comment on the post you've linked to and it touches me deeply.

i have to admit something: lately i have been feeling very lonely. it's strange and i can't really explain it, but it is just how i've felt. but reading this made that feeling go away so completely. i am glad that you've decided to write about your journey. you inspire me to be be more committed to journaling my journey as well. sometimes i get so caught up in things that i lose myself. maybe we have this in common with each other. but it is good to be reminded how to step out of the swirl and find my center once again--through words.

as for quitting smoking...i smoked for many years, but quite about 2 years ago. my friend told me something that got me through it. it doesn't matter if it's true or not--but it helped me to deal with the anxious feelings that came along with quitting.

he told me that that feeling of panic, anxiety, irritation... what you are really feeling is OXYGEN. you're body just isn't used to it. thinking in these terms helped me get past those difficult moments because what initially felt horrible, started to feel GOOD when i changed my perception of it.

much love to you.

6/26/2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger I AM said...

I have never been hypnotized to quit something. I always just quit everything on my own.

I quit laughing, I quit creating. I quit challenging myself, I quit dreaming of all the things that could be. I quit doing the things that I think I love, I quit being brave. I quit remembering that I don't have to just wake up/go to work/come home & live a bland existence.

You are doing so well Thea. You can quit smoking and keep creating and live every single minute of your life to the fullest...even the bad ones. I know you can.

6/27/2008 11:45 AM  
Blogger I AM said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you. I picked up a fabulous book from the library this week. If you haven't seen it already, you might be interested.

The Tao of Photograph
Seeing Beyond Seeing

by: Philippe Gross & S.I. Shapiro

6/27/2008 11:46 PM  
Blogger mccabe said...

just hearing and loving you thea-
just as you are.

i love you
mccabe xx

6/29/2008 8:29 AM  
Blogger jenica said...

i just want to give you a (((hug))).

the way i've broken habits was to do something good for myself to get my mind off of it. drink water with lemon in it. call a friend. tickle your son. read the comics and find something worth laughing over. you'll find your way, and the fact that you can see the issues at hand and face them... you'll absolutely find your way.


7/01/2008 12:09 AM  

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