Question: My current view is that not all who suffer from mental illness can
achieve a full recovery, though I've never surrendered hope for myself. I
less seek a full recovery and am more interested in gaining the tools
(of any kind) necessary to stop smoking. Can you help? That is my
Answer: If recovery means living without (bipolar) symptoms, then I would be classified as seven years recovered, but that isn't the nature of mental illness in my understanding. I'm convinced that it is a civilization-borne condition that affects the most sensitive pool of the population. Civilized society caters its questionable ideals to the least imaginative and vulnerable factions, essentially forcing extinction or evolution upon those of us who are marked as unconventionally wrought. To recover ostensibly from our respective afflictions would in essence denote a detachment from our true selves, not necessarily an improvement in our mental health.
Onset of mental illness is the tell-tale for most of us, a sudden dictation of our life limits, not a cool report of our latent brain chemistry imbalance as many onlookers choose to believe. That we were not mentally ill at one point and then unmistakably diagnosed, hospitalized, and branded is our link to the truth of what it is that we were up against then and what we must face day-to-day now. When we become wont to the ways of the conventional world, we are hopefully able to steer ourselves from the pitfalls of our youthful perspective. We didn't know that we weren't made identical to those around us, in the respect of our natural intolerance for dull sensibility.
Pure recovery is reclamation of our true selves, the non-bipolar/non-mentally ill children that we were for likely twenty years or more. I don't believe that we sufferers can simply ensue healthily after decades of symptomatic disposition. Medication certainly cannot deliver us to a new landscape that resembles the one we left behind after diagnoses; we merely become the keepers of second class citizenship, if we don't reclaim our constitutional freedom in the senses, that which potentially gets us into the most trouble and that which saves us from the damning self-identity as a mentally ill person.
Now, to quit smoking, in my estimation, is to take yourself to a time in your life when your tastes were not so influenced by the adult world around you. It is possible to be an adult and not to be seduced by any of the poison atmosphere, e.g. alcohol, drugs, vanity, violence, tradition, chauvinism, greed, profanity, escape, prejudice, that perpetually enlaces civilization. If you seek to reclaim your non-smoker self you may reclaim more than you ever imagined you were, more than you ever hoped you could be.
-The Blue Bear
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