Normal depressive reaction or a real organic depressive episode

The emotions that flow from nicotine cessation
Patticake (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

31 Oct 2001, 09:32 #11

Joel, I read my post of 7/17 and I guess I need to update it. I injured my leg last summer and didn't get to do any of the things I love to do. I'm fine now, still doing the therapy thing but am okay. August was a really bad month, nothing I could pinpoint just felt blue and out of sorts, no energy, no appetite, no nothing............had a whole lot of triggers. September was even worse, really thought I was backtracking. I had started teaching three days a week hoping some outside activity would help....didn't. Finally made an appointment for a complete physical and have been diagnosed with a chemical imbalance commonly labeled depression. Am taking medication and am beginning to feel much better. I am having no triggers and as a matter of fact was around a smoker the other day and absolutely thought I would barf. My doctor is thrilled I have quit and said he sees no connection between my quitting and my diagnosis. He said he felt my inactivity and confinement from the leg injury, considering I'm normally a very active person, probably has been the culprit. This is one more check to add to my reasons for quitting. To think I could have disabled myself from the nicotine addiction, and to think there isn't a pill in the world to have given me my life back only makes me more determined in my commitment to stay nicotine free. Hopefully around the first of the year I can again climb aboard my beloved horse, run through the pastures with my dogs, take the stairs two at a time, dance with my husband, other words live my life that I have been so blessed with to have a second chance.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Oct 2001, 20:00 #12

Hello Patticakes:

Sorry you have encountered depression but as your doctor has pointed out, this is not an uncommon situation when an active person is all of a sudden sidetracked to an inactive lifestyle due to illness or injury. It is great that you have been able to isolate your feelings toward smoking from your feelings of depression.

So many times people blame everything on not smoking, relapse in the belief that becoming a smoker again will somehow solve their other problems and be gravely disappointed at the eventual outcome--they have the same bad feelings as before and are stuck smoking again.

The real irony is if they did it in a case such as yours--where they likely became depressed because of physical limitations due to illness or injury--they almost assuredly increased their risks of having such limitations over their lifetime because smoking can cause crippling illnesses and even slow healing of non-smoking caused conditions.

So the way to a happier and healthier life is minimizing your risks of being impaired and being able to do life affirming and health sustaining activities over your lifetime--and the first and often the most powerful step in being able to do these activies is to know to never take another puff!

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

17 Jun 2002, 04:20 #13

"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."

Hello. This quote from the article by Joel that starts this thread touches
on an issue I'm really trying to deal with -- instead of hide from.

Also, this from JennyG, in another thread :
"But quitting is just the first step, maybe not even the most important one. What I mean is you can white knuckle your way through physical withdrawl but if this is all you do, in the long run, you are likely to fail. Why? You haven't fixed your thinking. Your body might be healing, but in your heart and mind you are still a junkie."

Nearly every day of late, at some point I find myself feeling lost and empty and wistful and sad -- and thinking about how smoking was so comforting at such times. And a friend has pointed out to me that this is the Nicodemon sneaking in sideways, putting little subtle lies in my head. In short, it's junkie thinking. I'm thinking of a quick fix, rather than wanting to address what's really causing these feelings in my life. Smoking kept me a prisoner, a slave to my addiction -- I KNOW this. But, still I'm wishing for the magic wand to make all my uncomfortable feelings go away. And I even know that I had plenty of uncomfortable feelings as a smoker -- it's not like smoking actually made me happy -- I was miserable. Image
I am much happier to have quit!!!!

I have no intention of taking a puff. I am happy in my quit. I don't feel in danger of relapse. But, I am concerned that I have this stunted, immature, junkie way of thinking about my life, and I'm wondering how to grow into mature patterns of thought. How do I stop thinking like a junkie, and wearing rose colored glasses and putting vaseline on the lens when I look at smoking? Is it just a matter of again and again and again making sure that I look at the whole truth -- reminding myself that there's no wonderful smoking experience waiting in the wings, that it's the whole smelly disgusting life in smoking prison that I'm getting so stupidly misty about? Is there some leap in understanding that will get me past this kind of thinking?

Sophy, nicotine addict in Day 37 of recoveryImage
1,058 sickerettes not smoked. $209.11 not burned up poisoning myselfImage

Toast (GOLD )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

17 Jun 2002, 05:58 #14

Hi Sophy,

As Richard points out, you're still pretty early on. Grieving can be a real surprise when you quit. Amazing process, no??!! Look how far you've come already!

You know, most of us started smoking when we were teenagers. And we know smoking tends to really neutralize some emotions, nicotine running in ahead of our own neurotransmitters and blocking so much of the chemistry of thoughts and feelings. In many ways, the You that is emerging from the smoke is a You that you haven't seen in a long time. She's a You that hasn't had much of a chance to speak up, cry out, or even grow up in some ways.

And the process of relearning how to live w/o cigarettes, just the routine alone, can throw us back into a very self-conscious position. In certain circles it's called "conscious incompetence." Remember when you start a new job and can't find anything and every day is a challenge of trying to bear a lot of new info in mind? It's the same process, except for w/smoking, you've had the chance to hammer the routine down 20+ times a day times 365 a year times ? many years, plus you get the chemical "payload" of nicotine.

So, you see there are many possibilities of things that could be affecting you just now - grief, conscious incompetence, and a surge in feelings in a way you haven't felt in literally years. Real depression is also a possibility. None of these things are bad or permanent, just possible and sometimes part of withdrawal &/or learning to live past addiction. If you have any concerns, your MD is the place to turn first.

Hope you're feeling better soon! 37 Days is a tremendous accomplishment!

Image Melissa
The Gold Club

blondie (green )
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:19

17 Jun 2002, 20:31 #15

Hi Sophy,
I just read your post from yesterday... I wanted you to know that I am feeling the same way. I have felt this way from the beginning and some days are much worse than others. And I think it's getting better although it's still present in my mind.

I also have no intention of taking a puff. But, have the same concerns about immature thinking, junkie thinking and generally being an unhappy person who doesn't smoke, rather than a person who should be thrilled to pieces that she's a non smoker. And, I am really. But, I still have these thoughts.

Do you understand? I think you do.

I believe that this is going to be a long, slow process for me to readjust my thinking. I need to reaffirm my belief in the "evils" of smoking and redirect my thoughts to the positives of non smoking which are many.

I'm fairly sure that I've always hid from problems and smoking just masked that. So now that the mask is gone I have to face problems head on. I'm 48 years old and now I need to learn how to be me. Wow, that's heavy. I think it's gonna take longer than a month and a few days.

I'm always being told I need to have more patience and so I think I can safe give myself that advice. I need to have patience. Maybe we both do.

I wish you well Sophy. I'm so sure that things will get better for us. They already have.

1 month 1 week now

My3Sons (Green)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:17

18 Jun 2002, 04:35 #16

Sophy and Blondie,

I've recently learned I can't really give you any advice but what I can tell you is that I was right where you both are 1 week ago (I think someone referred to it as the Green Wall). It's strange but I've noticed a lot of posts like this between green and one week, many of the other more experienced quitters have said the same.

I can only tell you that I am doing much better now and I'm glad I pulled through. Do whatever you would have done for depression before you quit smoking ie: walks, movies, etc... whatever worked before should work for you know and see if it gets better for you. If it doesn't, maybe talk with your Doc, I know a straight A physical cheered me up as well!Image

I'm at green and two weeks, things are looking much better for me now! Hang on!

blondie (green )
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:19

18 Jun 2002, 19:31 #17

Hi Colleen,
Thanks so much for your post. I hadn't noticed others hitting this "wall" at about this time. What a strange process... I just read another thread about becoming an ex-smoker. I can really relate to that as well.

Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I hope that I'm right behind you in getting over this bump.


misha (Gold )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

18 Jun 2002, 21:04 #18

I am amazed by the "green wall" thank God! I thought it was me!!!! I mean, I thought that it was something in me, like missing smoking, that was bringing back all those feelings I had when I first quit......
I know that I do not want to smoke, so I didn't know where the feelings were coming makes so much more sense now. Thank you for this thread. I always see something here that I need.
misha your quit sister
1 month 1 week 1 day
Last edited by misha (Gold ) on 19 Apr 2009, 04:23, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jun 2002, 01:09 #19

For a more indepth look at the concept of a "green wall," see post 39 in the string The Terrible 3's .
Last edited by Joel on 16 Apr 2009, 09:42, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jun 2002, 02:35 #20

Study: Smoking may be cause
of some psychiatric disorders
By Michael Woods, Toledo Blade For Scripps Howard News Service
June 17, 2002
Experts long have known that psychological disorders are unusually common among cigarette smokers.
One 2000 Harvard University study, for instance, concluded that almost half of all cigarette smokers in the United States have some form of mental illness.
The researchers found that many smokers have symptoms that fit neatly into the standard psychiatric definitions of major depression, anxiety disorder, phobias, alcohol or other drug dependence, and antisocial personality.
Other studies show that almost 90 percent of people with the most serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, smoke cigarettes. Individuals with mental illness also are among the heaviest smokers.
So what started first, the illness or the smoking?
Mental illness occurs first, according to the time-honored theory. People with mental illness start smoking, and smoke more because nicotine relieves their symptoms and makes them feel better. In addition, they may be more psychologically vulnerable to nicotine addiction or the allure of tobacco advertising.
New studies, however, are suggesting cigarette smoking is the cause - not the consequence - of some psychiatric disorders, including common conditions that involve depression and anxiety.
Tons of scientific evidence during the past 60 years have unmasked tobacco's role in heart attacks, lung cancer and other physical diseases. Cigarette smoking causes more than 430,000 deaths annually, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's one in every five deaths.
Suspicion that tobacco may cause mental illness arose in the 1990s. Yet it still gets little attention, compared to tobacco's effects on physical health.
Some of the first hints emerged from a 1998 study on teenage smokers headed by Dr. Naomi Breslau, a psychiatrist at the Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit.
Her five-year study of 1,000 young adults found that smoking increased the risk for developing depression. People who smoked before the study began had twice the risk of developing major depression during the following five years as nonsmokers.
Larger studies have bolstered the link. A University of Cincinnati study of 8,704 teenagers, for instance, found that mentally healthy teenagers who start smoking are four times more likely to develop depression than their nonsmoking peers.
Harvard University researchers studied cigarette smoking and mental health in 4,500 adolescents and adults. Mentally healthy teenagers who smoked at least one pack a day faced a 16-fold greater risk of developing panic attacks, a seven-fold risk of developing serious phobias and five times the risk of anxiety attacks than peers who smoked less than one pack.
How could cigarette smoking cause mental illness?
Experts don't know.
Some suspect that the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke may damage or change the normal activity of brain cells. Others think that nicotine and high levels of carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke work together to cause symptoms of psychological illness.
Nicotine's stimulant action keeps smokers in a state of heightened alertness. With minds racing, hearts pounding and blood pressure up, they are more likely to overreact to body sensations and situations in the environment.
Carbon monoxide may cause breathing disorders responsible for one sensation - a false sense of suffocation - that triggers many panic and anxiety attacks. One attack then engenders fear of others and causes changes in behavior.