I dont want to smoke but...

iwannalive
iwannalive

May 5th, 2008, 10:52 pm #1

Please I need a pep talk. I have been quit for 6mths now and I seem to have anxiety now more than ever. Is it because the Spring is here and the urges are starting alittle? I feel like if i have just one I will beable to relax. I am so bad with anxiety and never have been before. I dont want to take pills. I'd rather have a smoke. Is this normal after quitting cold turkey for so long? I know your not doctors and everyone is different, but has anyone felt like this so far into their quit? Thanks
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Joel
Joel

May 5th, 2008, 11:34 pm #2

Why am I still having "urges?"

Thoughts that seem worse than the first days urges

"You said it would get better. It's just as bad as the day I quit smoking!"

"Just think about something else."

The Terrible 3's

Smoking Triggers

Avoiding Triggers

I want one ...

Thoughts - fixating on wanting a cigarette

Just one or two

Be prepared for holiday triggers




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"Will I ever stop thinking of cigarettes?"
10:47
11/20/06
Who wants to go back to smoking?
07:05
09/28/06
Dreams of smoking
06:28
11/10/06
"I want one!"
05:33
10/18/06
The only time I think of smoking is when I get one of your stupid letters
08:36
11/27/06
Avoiding situations where you used to smoke
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12:39
11/29/06
"I have to smoke when I talk on the phone"
2.77mb
27.6mb

07:30
09/27/06
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BattlingSprinkle4
BattlingSprinkle4

May 5th, 2008, 11:35 pm #3

Well, I haven't been quit as long as you have, not by a long shot. But I do know one thing: just one will kill ya. Oh, not right then and there...but it will lead to another and another and so on and there you are, stuck in the same junk you were stuck in before you quit. I have had a panic disorder for over 20 years and so I've dealt with anxiety both with and without smokes. With is a whole lot worse...then you're not only generally anxious, you are anxious specifically over what you are doing to your body and the repercussions that will come from it.

Not trying to sound preachy or anything. Like I said, you've been quit a lot longer than I have. But, with or without cigarettes, you're gonna get anxious from time to time and sometimes it might be bad. Just like everything else in life. This is your first Spring in a long time smoke free....could be some of your old yearly springtime routines or activities are triggers for you...things that you used to smoke while doing and now you don't.

You know you don't need "just one". You know that it won't do any good.....you know this. Just take a deep breath, count to ten, recite the Presidents of the United States in order......anything that will just grab your mind away from that urge.

You can do this. You have been doing it for 6 months now. Don't throw it away over some temporary junk.

Keep groovin' and NTAP!!!! Never, ever again.!

Lila-Free for 38 days and lovin' it!
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Joel
Joel

May 5th, 2008, 11:36 pm #4

From the string Life goes on without smoking

It is important for all people who quit smoking to recognize that life goes on without smoking. Over time after a person quits smoking there will be changes: medical, psychological, professional, economic, life roles, relationships, etc. What is important to recognize though is that most of these changes would have occurred whether you had quit smoking or not or even whether or not you ever smoked. As many of my friends are now in their mid-forties and fifties, it is amazing how we share stories of new ailments and new medications being introduced into our lives. Some of these people had quit smoking decades ago, some of them never smoked. None of the ex-smokers bring up a new disorder and say or think to themselves that it must be happening now because they quit smoking ten or twenty years ago. It would be like a person who never smoked who finds out they now have high blood pressure and then thinks to him or herself that it must be because he or she stopped using some product twenty years ago. As we age things happen-it is just the way things go.

If a person gets diagnosed with a smoking related ailment like emphysema or lung cancer years or decades after quitting it is likely that their mind is shifted to think about their past smoking. But medical and psychological conditions that are experienced by smokers and non-smokers alike, the concept of smoking or quitting should not be considered a primary focus anymore.

Smoking did not cause everything. It causes a whole lot of things though and many things that it does not cause, it makes worse. On the same token, quitting does not cause everything. Quitting is usually accompanied with many repairs, but there are also some adjustments (see Medication adjustments) that go on that may need a partnership with your physicians to get worked out.

My general rule of advice is whatever happens the first few days of a quit, whether it is physical or psychological reactions, blame it on not smoking. It is probably the cause of most early quit reactions. If it is a symptom to a condition that could be life threatening, such as severe chest pains or signs or symptoms of a stroke-contact your doctor immediately. While it is probably nothing and just a side effect of quitting, in the long shot that it is something else coincidentally happening the week you are quitting, you need to get it checked out.

Things happening weeks, months, years or decades after your quits though should not ever be assumed to be a quit smoking reaction. It is life going on without smoking. Some of these things may trigger smoking thoughts-especially if they are similar to conditions you did have in the past when you were a smoker. The situation now is a first time experience with a prior feeling where smoking was integrates thus creating smoking thoughts. But even in this case, the condition is creating a smoking thought, it is not that your smoking memories or your smoking past is creating the condition.

Life goes on without smoking. It is likely to go on longer and it is likely that you will be healthier at each and every stage than you would have been if you had continued smoking. Your life will continue to stay better and likely last long longer as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel

For people who are off for weeks, months, years or decades and who are cranky, nervous, depressed, angry, have sore throats, heart burn, ear aches, backaches, headaches, eye strains, poor vision, hearing problems, broken bones, have stubbed their toes, have financial concerns, job stresses, or any other extraordinary issues going on in their lives at the moment. Don't blame every feeling, bad or good in your life on the fact that you happened to have quit smoking. Life goes on without smoking and as the closing paragraph in this article states:

Life goes on without smoking. It is likely to go on longer and it is likely that you will be healthier at each and every stage than you would have been if you had continued smoking. Your life will continue to stay better and likely last long longer as long as you always remember to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joel

May 5th, 2008, 11:39 pm #5

I wrote the following letter to a member who had quit for 18 days and wrote a post saying he was probably going back to smoking that particular evening. This was my reply to him. I don't know if this member is off smoking or if he is even still a member. But the reply applies to everyone here who ever thinks they consciously really want to go back to smoking.

You are at a point that all of our members are at who are nicotine free for at least three days. You are free to choose now. You can choose to smoke nothing--you can also choose to smoke full-fledged again until it cripples then kills you. If your choice is to relapse and go back to smoking again you know what to do. Tonight will be as good as any time. Although, as long as your goal is to smoke until it kills you, why fret the rest of the afternoon, now is as good as time as to relapse as any.

So again--as long as your goal is to smoke till it kills you--you know what to do. As long as you know you will be smoking tonight, today would be a good time to do some estate planning too. Get your will, living will, durable power of attorney, organ donation papers signed in case there are any organs worth harvesting after smoking takes it tolls throughout your body, and maybe call your insurance agent and see about getting some disability insurance. Just in case cigarettes don't cause a sudden death scenario, you want to make sure to have money available in the event of a long disabling illness. Cigarettes can cause plenty of them.

One of the most common ways cigarettes accomplish this goal is to destroy your lungs and breathing ability. Who knows for sure there will be enough money to take care of your needs when you can no longer breath on your own. In fact, if money gets too tight and you can't work, affording cigarettes will be a real problem then. So insurance shopping will be a good way to spend the afternoon now. By the way, you will have to state that you are going for the insurance because you are planning on becoming a long-term smoker. Insurance companies need to know this so they can adjust your premiums accordingly. If you were to mislead them and say you are a non-smoker, when the disease strikes and you expect payments--you may be in for a terrible shock to find out that you will not collect for signing up under false pretenses.

Another good thought for today is maybe prepay for a plot and funeral arrangements now. You can save a bundle. Most of us don't like to think about such things but it sounds like you are planning for a life and death decision tonight so why not make a number of them.

So again--as long as your goal is to start your slow motion suicide into action, you know what to do. If by any chance you were not really considering going back to smoking till it cripples and kills you--you may want to have some contingency plans set up for tonight too. Maybe take the money that is going to be earmarked to smoking for the next month, which may be hundreds of dollars and go out and have a really good time treating yourself to things that wont kill you. You will be able to do a lot more of this as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
Video Title Dial Up High Speed MP3 Length Created
Who wants to go back to smoking? 2.61mb 25.9mb 3.22mb 07:05 09/28/06
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Joel
Joel

May 5th, 2008, 11:42 pm #6

From the thread "Is anyone else experiencing the symptom of...?"

Every now and then a person will experience a specific symptom and put up a post asking whether or not the symptom is one that is normally experienced by people who have quit smoking and if others here had experienced the same symptom when they had quit. As far as if a specific symptom is one that "can" occur after cessation, we have put together a pretty inclusive string titled Possible Withdrawal Symptoms.

As far as whether or not another member or numerous members experienced the same symptom, it does not really make a difference if they had or had not. It is like someone writing and saying that he or she is having a tingling sensation in his or her arm and wondering if anyone else experienced the same symptom when they quit. Then a person who had slept on his or her arm one night when quitting smoking and woke up with that particular arm tingling writes back and says that sure enough, he or she had a tingling arm the week he or she had quit. Now the recent quitter feels a sense of relief because he or she has seen that one other person had the same symptom. So the person does nothing.

The problem was that the person who wrote the question was not having tingling from having slept on his or her arm, but rather, was experiencing a symptom of a heart attack that he was now ignoring. This action could result in a fatal mistake of not seeking what was immediately needed medical attention.

Read the posts Giving and getting medical advice online., Possible Withdrawal Symptoms, and Life goes on without smoking. If you have a concern of a symptom that you are experiencing consult your personal doctor. We say it often here, that the only medical advice that we can give is that to reduce your risk of a host of illnesses and conditions is to stick to your commitment to never take another puff!

Joel

Also from that thread:
This concept doesn't only apply to physical symptoms. There are times where people have emotional issues stemming from family problems, work problems, actual organically based mental illnesses, etc, who will write on the board that they are having overwhelming emotional feelings. Then other people will weigh in saying that they had problems at one time or another when quitting but it got better.

While it may be true that the person offering the advice was just having a reaction to smoking cessation, it may not be true for the person writing now as to his or her mental anguish. Giving the person the idea that it is automatically going to get better when the problem may not be simply from not smoking may be doing the person a real disservice. It may prevent the individual from seeking the real professional help he or she may in fact need for problems that were not in fact quit related.

As it says in the string How do I deal with....

A quit smoking site is not the place to solve major life traumas. A quit smoking site may be the best site to deal with smoking, depending on the site, and there may be some other specialized sites that are helpful in dealing with other traumas too, but often people on an Internet sites may not have the best training or understanding or be the best prepared for dealing with the specific problem at hand. You may find people who really want to help but who may not in fact be the best people to deal with the problem you are facing.

If a member encounters real life tragedies they should seek help from professionals. Who would you call if your car breaks down? Would you call a friend who has no particular knowledge of car repairs and whose own car is currently broken down too. This person cannot help you fix your car and cannot even at this point in time offer you a ride. If your car breaks down you call a mechanic. If your computer suddenly dies you don't call a friend whose computer also died and has not been able to get it going again. If your home plumbing explodes you don't get right on the Internet and waste time chatting on a bulletin board about how bad everything smells without first calling a plumber to actually fix the problem. If your house all of sudden starts on fire you don't go to the Internet and compare notes with others who may have lived through a fire experience--you call the fire department. If someone breaks into your home while you are still there you don't go to the Internet to talk out your fears. You either call the police or try to escape from your home. If you are experiencing sudden chest pains or maybe all of a sudden lose vision in one eye you shouldn't spend time looking up symptoms on the Internet or chatting with others who may have had a similar experience at one time, you call for paramedics.

If something emotionally big is happening in your life and you find yourself spinning out or control you need to seek professional help too. It may mean calling your doctor, a professionally sanctioned crisis hotline in your town who can offer real live support, going to a local emergency room, calling 911 or what ever emergency number is set up in your area by local authorities, depending on the severity of the problem and how fast you can get action.

This list could have gone on but hopefully everyone gets the point here. If you ever find yourself in a medical or psychological crisis seek professional assistance, meaning, seek a professional in the arena of the specific problem you are encountering.

Again, depending on the problem you are facing there are professionals who can help. There are professional mechanics, plumbers, firemen, police, paramedics, crisis counselors, psychologists and physicians. Deal with emergencies head on when they occur. At the same time stay focused on the fact that whatever the problem, taking a cigarette will not help it.

Once you have dealt with the crisis, and your full attention is not needed to get out of the immediate danger, then is the time to come to a quit smoking site and reinforce your resolve to stay smoke free, either by reading or maybe even posting. Hopefully if you come back in to post, the essence of the post will be saying how you have proved to yourself once again that even under the most extreme of circumstances that you are able to stay smoke free by just sticking to your commitment that no matter what else is going on around you that you still know to never take another puff!

Joel
Video Title Dial Up HS/BB Audio Length Added
"Is this a symptom of quitting smoking?" 1.91mb 18.9mb 0.77mb 05:13 09/27/06
Does smoking cause my headaches? 2.69mb 07.4mb 08:32 03/21/07




Video Title Dial Up HS/BB Audio Length Added
"Is this a symptom of quitting smoking?" 1.91mb 18.9mb 2.36mb 05:13 09/27/06
Does smoking cause my headaches? 2.69mb 07.4mb 3.95mb 08:32 03/21/07
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Joel
Joel

May 5th, 2008, 11:44 pm #7

From the thread Depression - normal or real organic? I see we had some recent issues with quitting and depression and anger at the board. The fact is everyone who ever quit smoking faced these issues to some degree. I am creating a string here that covers depression from a number of angles. Some of these letters were written to my clinic graduates and others were specific answers to people who wrote questions with background histories. I think they will give everyone an overview of different physical and emotional issues around depression while quitting.

Again, some of the emotional reactions are a simple adjustment period. But some people have histories of emotional problems that may take more than the individual alone to overcome. The people involved may need to be working very closely with their doctors and medical professionals. These articles should give a little overview of those issues too.

Joel

The first letter here is in response to someone who wrote me a question regarding depression who had a past history of depression.

I take it from your post that you had been on medication for depression prior to smoking cessation. While becoming depressed upon smoking cessation is common, this depression normally subsides over time. But, when depression is a preexisting condition there are special considerations that need to be addressed. First, you may have been on a medication that initially took time to adjust, to find the right dosage for you. Now, when you quit smoking and stay on that dosage you can initially become depressed as part of the normal separation process from smoking, in a sense, feeling bad but not thinking anything is wrong. But when it doesn't subside over time you may assume that nothing can be done, its part of not smoking, you are already on an adjusted dose of depression medication and you just have to put up with it. This is a wrong assumption. Chances are even though you are on your normal dosage of medication, that dose was set while you were a smoker. This may not be the proper (normal dose) for you as an ex-smoker.

This dosing issue is not just about depression. People with many conditions may find that after cessation they must find what is normal for them. A person who is diabetic or on thyroid medications often find that the dose required as a smoker needs to be adjusted after quitting. Anyone who is on various medications that effect mood, hormonal and blood sugar levels needs to pay special attention to symptoms. Once through the first few days, and especially into the second week, if physical symptoms normally attributed to withdrawal are still manifesting, it is advisable that their doctor checks out those individuals.

I have put a few articles on the board here that I suspect you saw. There are others that I am not sure I put here or not, they were written to individuals who wrote with specific questions. While they may not apply to your specific situation, they cover a range of different depression issues. I am going to attach a string of letters here that were written to a few such individuals. If you have read part of them, keep going further down there may be more that you hadn't seen yet.

One other thing I would like to note that applies to emotions when quitting. If anyone lets emotions solely dictate actions, nobody would quit smoking. Part of the skill needed by all ex-smokers is the ability to override normal emotions, desires, impulses or urges, whatever we want to call it, the individuals wanting a cigarette or just a puff. Everyone feels it from time to time. It is going to be your intellect that is going to override the craving. That is where keeping your ammunition and focus of why you quit smoking is paramount. You have to keep remembering what smoking was doing to you making you sick and tired enough to go through initial quitting. Then you have to remember what continued smoking was capable of doing to you in the future, thoroughly capable of robbing you of your health and your life. When in emotional turmoil it is harder to keep that perspective. It is hard for everyone when in such turmoil but it is a skill that has to be honed day by day by everyone. Life will throw curves throwing people into despair. But smoking won't solve any of these curves. Smoking can cause problems that will throw your life further into despair and if left unchecked will throw your loved ones life into a premature loss of you.

Keep focused on this fact that quitting smoking is a fight for survival. It may be hard at times, but it is worth the effort. Bad times may make it harder to see this, but bad times will pass. You've experienced them before and you know they got better. Hang on to those memories that they do get better.

Again, talk to your doctor letting him or her know you have quit and have questions on the medications. Keep focused on your quit. One other thing to consider too, considering you were on medications before, you were depressed as a smoker. Never delude yourself into thinking life was always perfect before. Smoking didn't cure your depression before and it won't do it now either. For you, other medications were necessary to help with those feelings, smoking was not able to do it. Anyway, the following articles deal a little with the medication issues. Again, they may not all apply to you but kind of covers a range of reactions.

Hope this helps.

Joel

The following is another article written to a specific person who was experiencing a longer-term depression. This person was being encouraged by his or her doctor to go on an antidepressant but was resistant to the idea of needing medication.

Depression is normal in the cessation process. Almost everyone feels it to a degree, and the period of time that it lasts varies from person to person. Unlike the physical withdrawal, which is quite predictable in duration, the psychological reactions have tremendous individual variability.

I am attaching a letter here about the emotional phases of cessation. But since your reaction has been going for so long now, I would advise checking with your doctor. While quitting can be causing depression, it is possible that you do have an organic basis for depression that in a sense you were self-medicating with cigarettes for years.

If your doctor feels this is a possibility he or she may want to prescribe something for it. There are a lot of medications out there that are effective. As for safety or side effects, considering you may have been using smoking for this therapeutic purpose, a product that kills 50% of its users, the prescribed alternatives will pose minimal risks in contrast.

Or, the other hand, there may be some emotional conflicts in your life that have never been adequately addressed that are manifesting for the first time since quitting. I am attaching another letter I wrote to another person a few weeks ago that had some serious losses and was having some exaggerated reactions since quitting. I had more of a history on this person making me able to write this with some feeling that it really applied to this persons situation. I don't know if it applies to yours, but maybe in reading it you will see if it strikes a chord.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Joel

Understanding the emotional loss experienced when quitting smoking.

In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified five distinct phases which a dying person encounters. These stages are "denial," "anger," "bargaining," "depression," and finally, "acceptance." These are the exact same stages that are felt by those mourning the loss of a loved one as well.

Denial can be recognized as the state of disbelief: "This isn't really happening to me," or "The doctor doesn't know what he is talking about." The same feelings are often expressed by family members and friends.

Once denial ceases and the realization of impending death is acknowledged anger develops. "Why me?" or "Why them?" in the case of the significant others. Anger may be felt toward the doctors, toward God, toward family and friends. Anger, though, doesn't change the person's fate. They are still in the process of dying. So next comes bargaining.

In bargaining, the person may become religious, trying to repent for all the sins that may be bringing about their early demise. "If you let me live, I will be a better person, I will help mankind. Please let me live, and I will make it worth your while." This stage, too, will come to an end.

Now the patient, becoming aware he is helpless to prevent his impending fate, enters depression. The patient begins to isolate himself from his surroundings. He relinquishes his responsibilities and begins a period of self mourning. He becomes preoccupied with the fact that his life is coming to an end. Symptoms of depression are obvious to anyone having contact with the patient in this stage. When the patient finally overcomes this depression he will enter the last stage, acceptance.

The patient now reaches what can be seen as an emotionally neutral stage. He almost seems devoid of feelings. Instead of death being viewed as a terrifying or horrible experience, he now peacefully accepts his fate.

As stated above, these stages are not only seen in the dying person but likewise in the family members mourning the loss of a loved one. However, on careful observation we can see these same stages in people who lose anything. It doesn't have to be the loss of a loved one. It could be the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, and even the loss of an inanimate object. Yes, even when a person loses her keys, she may go through the five stages of dying.

First, she denies the loss of the keys. "Oh, I know they are around here somewhere." She patiently looks in her pockets and through her dressers knowing any minute she will find the keys. But soon, she begins to realize she has searched out all of the logical locations. Now you begin to see anger. Slamming the drawers, throwing the pillow of the couch, swearing at those darned keys for disappearing. Then comes bargaining: "If I ever find those keys I will never misplace them again. I will put them in a nice safe place." It is almost like she is asking the keys to come out and assuring them she will never abuse them again. Soon, she realizes the keys are gone. She is depressed. How will she ever again survive in this world without her keys? Then, she finally accepts the fact the keys are gone. She goes out and has a new set made. Life goes on. A week later the lost keys are forgotten.

What does all this have to do with why people don't quit smoking? People who attempt to give up smoking go through these five stages. They must successfully overcome each specific phase to deal with the next. Some people have particular difficulty conquering a specific phase, causing them to relapse back to smoking. Let's analyze these specific phases as encountered by the abstaining smoker.

The first question asked of the group during the smoking clinic was, "How many of you feel that you will never smoke again?" Do you remember the underwhelming response to that question? It is remarkable for even one or two people to raise their hands. For the most part the entire group is in a state of denial-they will not quit smoking. Other prevalent manifestations of denial are: "I don't want to quit smoking," or "I am perfectly healthy while smoking, so why should I stop," or "I am different, I can control my smoking at one or two a day." These people, through their denial, set up obstacles to even attempt quitting and hence have very little chance of success.

Those who successfully overcome denial progress to anger. We hear so many stories of how difficult it is to live with a recovering smoker. Your friends avoid you, your employer sends you home, sometimes permanently, and you are generally no fun to be with. Most smokers do successfully beat this stage.

Bargaining is probably the most dangerous stage in the effort to stop smoking. "Oh boy, I could sneak this one and nobody will ever know it." "Things are really tough today, I will just have one to help me over this problem, no more after that." "Maybe I'll just smoke today, and quit again tomorrow." It may be months before these people even attempt to quit again.

Depression usually follows once you successfully overcome bargaining without taking that first drag. For the first time you start to believe you may actually quit smoking. But instead of being overjoyed, you start to feel like you are giving up your best friend. You remember the good times with cigarettes and disregard the detrimental effects of this dangerous and dirty habit and addiction. At this point more than ever "one day at a time" becomes a life saver. Because tomorrow may bring acceptance.

Once you reach the stage of acceptance, you get a true perspective of what smoking was doing to you and what not smoking can do for you. Within two weeks the addiction is broken and, hopefully, the stages are successfully overcome and, finally, life goes on.

Life becomes much simpler, happier and more manageable as an ex-smoker. Your self esteem is greatly boosted. Your physical state is much better than it would ever have been if you continued to smoke. It is a marvelous state of freedom. Anyone can break the addiction and beat the stages. Then all you must do to maintain this freedom is simply remember, NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


The letter to the other person mentioned above.

Dealing with emotional loss has similarities to dealing with anger in regards to smoking cessation and its aftermath. When a smoker encounters a person or situation that angers them, they initially feel the frustration of the moment, making them, depending on the severity of the situation, churn in side. This effect in non-smokers or even ex-smokers is annoying to say the least. The only thing that resolves the internal conflict for a person not in the midst of an active addiction is resolution of the situation or, in the case of a situation which doesn't lend itself to a quick resolution, time to assimilate the frustration and in a sense move on. An active smoker though, facing the exact same stress has an additional complication which even though they don't recognize it, it creates real significant implications to their smoking behavior and belief structures regarding the benefit of smoking.

When a person encounters stress, it has a physiological effect causing acidification of urine. In a non-smoker or non-nicotine user, the level of urine acidity has no real perceivable effect. It is something that internally happens and they don't know it, and actually, probably don't care to know. Nicotine users are more complex. When a person maintaining any level of nicotine in their body encounters stress, the urine acidifies and this process causes nicotine to be pulled from the blood stream, not even becoming metabolized, and into the urinary bladder. This then in fact drops the brain supply of nicotine, throwing the smoker into drug withdrawal. Now they are really churning inside, not just from the initial stress, but also from the withdrawal effect itself. Interesting enough, even if the stress is resolved, the smoker generally is still not going to feel good. The withdrawal doesn't ease up by the conflict resolution, only by re-administration of nicotine, or, even better, riding out the withdrawal for 72 hours totally eradicating nicotine via excretion from the body of metabolizing it into bi-products which don't cause withdrawal. Most of the time, the active smoker more often uses the first method to alleviate withdrawal, taking another cigarette. While it calms them down for the moment, its effect is short lived, basically having to be redone ever 20 minutes to half hour for the rest of the smokers life to permanently stave off the symptoms.

Even though this is a false calming effect, since it doesn't really calm the stress, it just replaces the nicotine loss from the stress, the smoker feels it helped them deal with the conflict. It became what they viewed as an effective crutch. But the implications of that crutch are more far reaching than just making initial stress effects more severe. It effects how the person may deal with conflict and sadness in a way not real obvious, but real serious. In a way, it effects their ability to communicate and maybe even in someway, grow from the experience.

Here is simple example of what I mean. Let's say you don't like the way a significant other in your life squeezes toothpaste. If you point out the way it's a problem to you in a calm rational manner, maybe the person will change and do it a way that is not disturbing to you. By communicating your feeling you make a minor annoyance basically disappear. But now lets say you're a smoker who sees the tube of toothpaste, get a little upset, and are about to say something, again, address the problem. But wait, because you are a little annoyed, you lose nicotine, go into withdrawal, and before you are going to deal with the problem, you have to go smoke. You smoke, alleviate the withdrawal, in-fact, you feel better. At the same time, you put a little time between you and the toothpaste situation and on further evaluation, you decide its not that big of a deal, forget it. Sounds like and feels like you resolved the stress. But in fact, you didn't. You suppressed the feeling. It still there, not resolved, not communicated. Next time it happens again, you again get mad. You go into withdrawal. You have to smoke. You repeat the cycle, again not communicating and not resolving the conflict. Over and over again, maybe for years this pattern is repeated.

One day you quit smoking. You may in fact be off for weeks, maybe months. All of a sudden, one day the exact problem presents itself again, they annoying toothpaste. You don't have an automatic withdrawal kicked in pulling you away from the situation. You see it, nothing else effecting you and you blow up. If the person is within earshot, you may explode. When you look back in retrospect, you feel you have blown up inappropriately, the reaction was greatly exaggerated for the situation. You faced it hundreds of times before and nothing like this ever happened. You begin to question what happened to you to turn you into such a horrible or explosive person. Understand what happened. You are not blowing up at what just happened, you are blowing up for what has been bothering you for years and now, because of the build up of frustration, you are blowing up much more severe than you ever would have if you addressed it early on. It is like pulling a cork out of a shaken carbonated bottle, the more shaken the worse the explosion.

What smoking had done over the years was stopped you from dealing early on with feelings, making them fester and grow to a point where when the came out, it was more severe than when initially encountered. Understand something though, if you had not quit smoking, the feelings sooner or later would manifest. Either by a similar reaction as the blow up or by physical manifestations which ongoing unresolved stress has the full potential of causing. Many a relationships end because of claming up early on effectively shutting down conflict resolution by communication between partners.

As I said, anger is not the only emotion effecting urine acidity. Sadness does this too. The losses of your family members likely increased your smoking consumption at the time. By smoking you too may have suppressed numerous feelings and emotions during the losses. In a sense, not only did smoking impact your communication with others, but also maybe with yourself, coming to grips with certain feelings. In a sense, you may have interfered to some degree with your own personal growth at the time. And now, by quitting, these feeling are manifesting. While it may hurt at the time, it may be essential that these feeling are coming out. Beneficial in fact, making you face feelings in a way more constructive than smoking and suppressing them. And again, understand, if they are there deep seated all this time, if they didn't come out now, they were going to come out eventually. In what manner no one can predict. But the sooner you deal with the feelings, the less severe the reactions will generally be.

This above text doesn't resolve the feelings, it may just help you understand the possible problem. Talk with people here if that helps. Maybe there are more personal issues, you may find it more helpful to talk to a local professional, a doctor or therapist. Whatever you do and who ever you work with, understand, everyone will have greater interest in helping you than cigarettes will.

I know people who are afraid to take medications for mood disorders but will smoke in its place. No matter what drug would be prescribed for them, none of them would carry the risk that self-medicating oneself by nicotine carries. Smoking is lethal. Don't give cigarettes the legitimacy to treat feelings. They don't. They make them worse. They in effect minimize your ability to communicate and grow. Growth may hurt, but it beats carrying on unresolved feelings that slowly may deteriorate the quality of your life.

Hope this helps explain why it hurts so much but also helps you to understand why it is still so important not to smoke.

Will talk to you again soon.

Joel


Summary:

I don't want to give the impression that the majority of people become clinically depressed or need medications to deal with the normal depression phase that accompanies initial smoking cessation. The fact is that only a small percentage of people will have a full-blown organic depression occurring just after quitting smoking. But that fact is not important if you are one of these individuals. What is important is that if you believe you are organically depressed get checked out by your doctor.

Especially if you are a person with a past history of treatment for depression or if your depressive episode is lasting more than a week and is causing a real disruption in your life, get checked out. You may indeed benefit from treatment or maybe your physician will just give you the reassurance that you are really okay. Either way it doesn't hurt to get the situation professionally assessed.

Joel
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Joel
Joel

May 6th, 2008, 12:01 am #8

"I am so bad with anxiety and never have been before. I dont want to take pills. I'd rather have a smoke. "

From the thread "Wow, this new medication I am on has made me want to quit smoking."

...She was wondering if maybe she was maybe using cigarettes to self-medicate herself for her specific problems for many years. Is it possible? Well, anything is possible.

There are likely some people who smoke in order to self-medicate themselves for certain conditions that they have. What these people need to understand though is the problem with the "medication" (their cigarettes) that they have chosen to use to treat a condition. The medication (cigarettes) they are using has certain undesirable side effects. Think of it this way. Lets say that you have a medical or emotional condition that causes you some level of discomfort. Nothing life threatening, just a problem that is causing some minor disruption in your day to day function. You go to your pharmacy and look through the over the counter remedies and find one that says it "may" be able to treat your exact condition. You buy it.

When you get home you start to read the dosing instructions and contraindications of usage. The medication has the following standard warning:

Medication is habit forming. Medication leads to addiction to most people who use it. Medication known to be one of the most addictive drugs known to man. Medication contains the following ingredients, followed by a list of four thousand chemicals, some with familiar names like arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and many many others. Medication known to cause cancer in rodents. Medication known to cause cancer in humans. Medication known to cause heart disease, strokes, peripheral vascular diseases. Medication known to destroy lung tissue. Medication known to cause chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Medication is known to be the most recognized cause of premature death in the United States. Medication known to cripple millions of people worldwide every year. Medication known to kill over 4.9 million people worldwide every year. Medication known to kill one out of every two people who use it.

On top of this you calculate the cost of using this medication over your lifetime, which is how it is going to be used if you start it now, and you realize it is going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. No insurance company will ever cover its costs and in fact, most likely all of your insurance companies are going to charge you higher premiums for your lifetime because you use the medication.

Considering all of the above consequences--do you take the medication? One more thing--there are other medications on the market that actually can treat your condition, that have no known life threatening health effects.

I think any rational person would try to get a refund for the purchased medication. There is probably only one group of people who would take the medication considering the above implications. It is the ones who had been taking it for years already, who may have started before they knew or fully understood all of the problems the drug would cause. Now they may believe the warnings but they like most others who used it are caught in the active grip of the addiction of the drug. They believe that they have lost choice in the matter. They are users and they believe they are stuck that way for the rest of their life.

Hopefully, somewhere in fine print on the box will be an instruction that says, medication is addictive and deadly, but can be stopped if a person simply makes and sticks to a personal commitment to never take another dose.

Joel

Related readings:

"Quitting and depression"

From that thread:

People with many conditions may find that after cessation they must find what is normal for them. A person who is diabetic or on thyroid medications often find that the dose required as a smoker needs to be adjusted after quitting. Anyone who is on various medications that effect mood, hormonal and blood sugar levels needs to pay special attention to symptoms. Once through the first few days, and especially into the second week, if physical symptoms normally attributed to withdrawal are still manifesting, it is advisable that their doctor checks out those individuals.

Medication adjustments

Life goes on without smoking
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zoe
zoe

May 6th, 2008, 12:38 am #9

Hi I wannalive,

For me, anxiety means that I am either re-constructing my past (wondering why I did what I did) and/or wondering about the future (my expectations). I remember many a moment, as a smoker, ingesting nicotine to "calm" my anxiety. I was doing this oh let's say about every 10 mins. Nicotine is perfect for that... it's a perfect aid for not living in the moment. Most of all, nicotine fools us into thinking that we actually did something about our anxiety when in fact all we did was delay the inevitable. Many of us who gather here finally stopped the madness and decided to face ourselves and our lives and you did too.

I've been known to suffer from seasonal depression and am still not immune from that... As of now, I'm groggy, sniffly, tired and yes, have cravings for nicotine and I've been quit for four months and then some. But, I know something now that I never knew as an active addict, and that is one puff equals thousands. There is no one innocent puff for addicts like us. I've decided that I will not betray myself and I bet you feel the same way.

Keep up the great work!

yqs,
zoe

NIC free since 1/1/08 by never taking another puff one beautiful day at a time... yup. (-_-)
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iwannalive
iwannalive

May 6th, 2008, 1:03 am #10

Thank you everyone. I remembered the rule here. Come to the boards before you decided to light up. (or at least i think thats a rule here.) Anyway I did and I am glad I did. Not that I was going to light up, but was thinking about it. I am okay now ....sort of. I don't want to have to smoke and then cough up a lung every morning and take 20 minutes to stop the hack attack. Worry about lung cancer and many more problems caused by smokes. I am so thankful for the boards. All of you make sense and with Joels letter it has all hit home that yes maybe I was using smokes for meds. I guess its time to face reality and go to the doctors. Thanks for helping me safe my life. NTAP

Diane - Free and Healing for Six Months, Twenty Two Days, 2 Hours and 2 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 24 Days and 19 Hours, by avoiding the use of 7143 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $2,305.03.
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iwannalive
iwannalive

May 6th, 2008, 1:18 am #11

I am still reading the articles on this thread. but I was also wandering and have looked around this site , but can't find any information on how long or if the arteries of a smoker get back to normal? If anyone knows can you let me know thanks.
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Chipits GOLD.ffn
Chipits GOLD.ffn

May 6th, 2008, 1:37 am #13

Oops!
Sorry Diane, wrong name in post above, too much speed reading this morning, got my eyes and my wires crossed. (wrong name but right thread though)

W.
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Doc460704
Doc460704

May 6th, 2008, 1:39 am #14

Diane,

Read one of the articles that Wendy provided in her reply. The one entitled "A Heart-Loving-Heart....". There is a study further down in that thread that seems to indicate that it takes about three years for the arteries to get back to normal and I quote "Dr. Thomas Rea, a heart specialist at the University of Washington in Seattle, says the latest study shows nothing new: He and his colleagues proved in their own work that heart attack patients who quit smoking for three years can bring their risk of additional cardiovascular problems down to that of non-smokers." Hope that answers your question.

Keep NTAPing, YQB,
Pat (Free four months, four days, 11 hours, 38 minutes and 32 seconds. 3764 cigarettes not smoked, saving $752.66. Life saved: 1 week, 6 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes.)
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iwannalive
iwannalive

May 6th, 2008, 1:44 am #15

Yes it does thanks.
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iwannalive
iwannalive

May 6th, 2008, 1:45 am #16

This message has been deleted by the author.
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iwannalive
iwannalive

May 6th, 2008, 2:07 am #17

Thanks bunches everyone, but I think we should stop this thread now as I am doing much better and got my head out of the clouds now. I am sure but hope not, that there are others in need of support too. Thanks again!
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