Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
Once again, I worked with a nice lady today who has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and still smokes. It's unfathomable. Of course, this situation isn't very different than that of drinkers with neuropathy, obese overeaters with diabetes, heart disease patients who don't work at healthy lifestyle, etc.. Some people are so depressed that they've given up and stay on the road to a slow and painful suicide. Others are victims of inertia and just don't know how to scare themselves straight into change. They're waiting for a push or a kick in the butt. Their doctors just pile on the pills. They may seek counseling but either don't like it within a session or two or can't afford it (or think they can't but they could if they quit smoking or drinking or something). They're frustated, hurting and lost within their despair.
If only they would change one little thing, like waiting a few minutes before giving in to the obsessive urge to do what hurts them, then waiting more minutes, more, more and eventually enough time to break the pattern. Or, they could join a group, take up a small hobby that replaces a bad habit, accept support from family or friends, contact an agency which provides training, listen to music, exercise a little, mediate, change TV shows to something which opens their world, play a game, think a different thought. Anything but the usual will help them to look at themselves and life with more energy and feel less in a rut.
All it takes is one small step forward to start. The trouble is that people don't start because they think of the big changes they need as an impossible overwhelming obstacle, like losing 200 lbs, going from 2 pks. of cigarettes to nothing in one day, moving from fear and withdrawal to facing people regularly. No, that is usually too hard. One little step at a time in the right direction and then another and another works best in these cases to move from repetitive self-destruction to a healthier, more sane lifestyle.