Mental Health Support


I am a 48 year old man , two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer , had treatment and now back to work , I was a heavy smoker before but now stopped for two years , I believe that seeing my wife smoke is the trigger for my bouts of deep depression , I can be on the edge but this action sends me over the top, can this be true ? I feel like I am secondary to the smelly weed , has any one out there got any similar feelings , I need to know if this is possible before I lose my marriage

4 Replies

I can liken this to a situation with which I am familiar. My Dad has diabetes, high blood pressure, psoriasis and chronic lymphedema. He gave up smoking and drinking several years ago before, in his words, they gave him up.

My Mum, however, smokes and drinks very heavily. At least forty cigarettes and often in excess of half a bottle of whiskey a day. I think it's the smoking bit that makes my Dad the most cross. She refuses to cut down, and won't go outside to smoke, or even open the back door.

As a result they lead completely seperate lives. She sits in the kitchen and puffs away while he sits upstairs and sulks. The anger he feels is significant. In his eyes she'd rather this lifestyle to the company of her husband. In her eyes, she can't see the problem. It was an environment in the 1960s where people smoked, drank and took drugs that brought them together. Their common interest I suppose, except my Mum hasn't moved on from that lifestyle.

I'm assuming by the fact that that you're here, that you've talked through these feelings with your wife and she's not prepared to give up. If this is the case, could there been some compromise? What about a nice smoking area in the garden, which would limit the risks of passive smoking, as well as that awful stench on her clothes.

What about exploring some common interests that don't allow smoking? A gym membership for you both, or trying out an evening class? A lot of cigarettes are smoked out of habit and boredom.

Do you think you're angry because you can't smoke yourself, or because she's refusing to give up? There's a difference. I'm guessing you feel very angry and frustrated right now.




I am sorry you have been diagnosed with cancer, that will have been difficult to cope with. You now realise you had been harming yourself by smoking so it must be difficult for you to see your wife doing the same thing to herself. You may feel worried about the harm she is doing to herself, or you may feel despair about the harm you did to yourself for so long. Certainly if I had cancer and watched my husband smoking I would feel helpless and helplessness is a major cause of depression, so it is not silly to think seeing your wife smoke is making you depressed. I wonder what the communication between the two of you is like in respect of other issues. If there is an overall difficulty then it may be worth talking things through with someone from Relate where they charge according to means, but if you are generally able to talk then do tell your wife exactly how you are feeling, what you feel when you see her smoking.



Totally agree with Sue - try talking to your wife about it - it really doesn't sound in the least bit silly - if the conversations feel as if they are getting to frictional then agree with her to stop them but suggest that may be it would help to talk with someone more neutral so you can come to a common understanding and a common way forward.



In the past I smoked 60 a day from 1966-1976, I had severe lung infections and was told I was on my way out if I did not stop smoking. At the time I did it cold turkey. The way I stopped was sucking fishermans friends, the taste seemed to mimic the nicotine and managed to clear my lungs ov er a seven year period. Smoking has just been removed from my medical records at my last fit man check up because of lung damage.

For a long time now, if I smell a smoker in or out doors it seems to set me of and it seems to be the smell, even when I was living in a semi I could smell our past next door neighbour smoking, and it used too hang around for days after a heavy session, Now sadly I have no sympathy regards smokers.

Now we live in a detached property and my next door neighbour would smoke a pipe, now very ill. Even when He smoked I could smell it in their property and he was not allowed to smoke inside the home, now He smokes an E cigarette, that is passible.

If is really strange I get ratty if someone is smoking around me.

I used to smoke cigars and Capstan full strength, and sometimes Senior Service, so I was a hardened smoker.

So I can see where you are coming from.



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