Today marks two weeks since I last inhaled my old friend nicotine (and about 4,000 other chemicals). I befriended the death sticks for five years. It was not until the last year and a half of my life that I would label myself a “moderate” smoker, meaning I usually purchased a pack of cigarettes every other day. To me, they were the ideal stress relief, a constant companion, and a mood enhancer. In reality, they were poison and a pointless money pisser.
Two Tuesday’s ago I came down with a cold. Despite how shitty I felt, I still forced myself to smoke (all logic goes out the window when you consciously choose to destroy your body’s functionality on a daily basis). Immediately after the deed, I felt ten times worse. That is when reason reared its intrusive head and said, “Hey dumbass, maybe you should not put more toxins in your body! That way, you will recover faster.” I decided that day to quit being moronic.
There was no “one last hurrah” for me. All the other times in life that I attempted to “quit”, I generally partook in a good-bye cigarette. However, by adding this “emotional layer” to quitting, you are inadvertently giving more power to the substance and making it more difficult to “break up” with it. If you’re going to kick the habit, you’re better off by being that dickhead boyfriend who leaves without saying a word.
On a more serious note, if you are considering quitting, I would highly recommend doing it while you are sick. You already feel like you are dying from the effects of the illness, so you might as well multiply that by your withdrawal suffering. The only cons about this are that it is difficult to discern your cold symptoms from your withdrawal symptoms, and it makes your sickness last a lot longer. You also begin to question if quitting was the right decision because you feel so god damn terrible. But do not despair—it is totally worth it!
A lot of websites only harp on the beneficial results of giving up smoking; not too many warn you about the misery that ensues. That is why I thought I would create a list of ailments that I personally suffered from. It is also important to remember that every BODY is different (men’s and women’s health differ); also, the longevity and intensity of one’s smoking determines the severity of their withdrawal. I apologize in advance if any of this seems like tooooo much information.
1. Swollen Boobs: Honestly, I never felt so much soreness in my breasts before in my life. I know that it is a common thing to experience during PMS but this was quite painful. A lot of women seem to have this issue after quitting, but it was hard to find any credible websites that highlighted this symptom. Therefore, it is my duty to warn women: your boobs will hurt.
2. Nausea/Diarrhea: In the beginning, you will lose any desire to eat because your stomach seems to reject the notion of digestion. There will be times when you are nauseated (and wonder if quitting smoking is similar to being pregnant); and then, when you actually decide to take a gamble with eating, whatever you consumed immediately shoots out of you. You will also be extremely bloated and gassy. Fun times are ahead.
3. Coughing/Vomiting: I linked these two activities together because there are times when the coughing can be so violent and incessant that it leads to you retching. This only happened a couple of times to me. Regardless, the coughing is terribly annoying but necessary in order to cleanse your body.
4. Panic Attacks/Dizziness: As sad as this sounds, your body is readjusting to the idea of receiving an adequate amount of oxygen. You will not be used to this at first. One night I started freaking out because my breathing felt incredibly different. My chest also felt lighter (an elephant was not squatting on it anymore). It is a strange sensation, but you will embrace it.
5. Insomnia/Exhaustion: Some nights you will find it impossible to fall asleep or that your sleep will be constantly interrupted. Damn you, oxygen! You will also feel like doing jack shit when you are awake. This is a temporary thing (unless you are innately a lazy person).
6. Cravings: You will crave a cigarette every now and then for the rest of your life. It sounds like a terrible torture, but you become accustomed to the idea. Cravings in general only last a few minutes. Mind over matter is the key. Do not let a substance rule your life. However, do not follow my example: I combatted my cigarette cravings by devouring desserts. I am on the path to becoming a fatass.
7. Depression: Going cold turkey is not easy. The chemicals in your body are all out-of-sort’s, and in turn, you start to cry for no reason and want to isolate yourself. You also morph into an introspective state-of-being and begin to question all your other life decisions (this may just be me being a weirdo).
8. Headaches: They suck, especially when it feels like someone is trying to rip your brain out of your skull.
My last word of advice to my fellow quitters: try to avoid getting angry. If you can, do not go to work the first few days (unless your job makes you happy, and if that is the case, I hate you). Withdrawal will turn you into a viper ready to attack.
To the non-smokers: try to not be so self-righteous about everything. Nothing inspired me to smoke more than to hear the judgments and lectures of everyone (and because I hate when people tell me what to do). Quitting a substance is a decision that only a substance-user can make; you should never try to force life choices in this aspect on anyone. Change to one’s self must be inspired by looking inward, not by pressure from others.
Anywho, on that note: quitting sucks but it’s the best decision for me. Woohoo! Amen.