No Smoking Field Report/part 7/2 months
I made it!
I get to write my 2 month anniversary piece for you, but this time it’s not going to be all cupcakes and champagne bottles popping. Not that it ever really was, but the past month has been particulary trying.
As I wrote in the last post, Striving for Human 2.0, there are a few things going on in my life that are not – shall we say – autism friendly, but never the less necessary and having to be dealt with. Apart from that I have an SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that is creeping up on me by the day, meaning that for each day, I can physically feel my levels being taken down a notch. Adding that famous icing to the cake; it’s Christmas, one of the times of the year where routine and the nice order of things pack their bags and head for the dark side of fucking Pluto. I don’t want to be a Grinch but inevitably I find myself being one nonetheless. Christmas to me is to be shared with family.
Boom, that’s it!
I don’t care how, I don’t care what they wear, what we eat, I don’t care how big the tree is.
That one day of year is so ramped up on expectational steroids, it’s getting hard to breathe and I find myself occasionally dreaming about just celebrating Christmas ALONE.
I’m not though – I’m spending it with one of my older siblings and my mum. It’s going to be simple, easy, expectation-free and warm-hearted.
My beef with Christmas this year is having to travel across country on public train filled to the brim with people wearing too much perfume or no deodorant at all.
But this is not going to be about Christmas: I have a blogpost sceduled on How To Survive Christmas in which I will share some of my own little tips for anyone with a mental illness or condition that struggle this time of year.
This is about steering clear of the temptation to give in to cigarettes. Anyone with the combination of mental illness and smoking will know that those cigarettes have been functioning as pacifiers, when shit hits the fan. Hell, even people without mental illness who smokes, know how comforting a cigarette can feel like.
And when I roam around those interwebz for inspiration, it seems like the project of quitting smoking is really put to the test when the first down periods hit. It can be mentally related, as in depression, anxiety or stress.
Or it can be something external; like being fired, losing a loved one, going through a break up etc.
Those are the times, apart from the habit smokes (e.g. after eating, when waking up etc.), that are the worst – and they are made even worse by the fact that it is soooo easy to tell yourself that “Just one, to get through this”, it’s easy to justify taking up smoking again, because “you are going through a rough patch and you deserve comfort”.
You DO deserve comfort – but not by something that kills you slowly.
I’ll dare say, you deserve a lot better than that. Never ever, even when it gets hard, loose sight of why you quit in the first place; these things are slowly killing you and shortening your life. They may smile at you but they fucking stab you in the back. Would you want to surround yourself with friends like that?
Well, why would you consider smoking then?
I know it gets rough at times – I’m living it RIGHT NOW, even though I try to put on a smiley face – but nothing is worth throwing your hard work of not smoking down the drain – and like everything else, this too will pass.
I watched NCIS with My Lady last night, an episode where Ducky says (I’m quoting by memory):
“If you find yourself going through hell – keep walking!”
Clever words, that! And very suitable for an abundance of situations, psychological abstinence for a smoke included.
Because remember, this is 2 months in – any physical addiction is gone and has left the body. Any craving from this point forward is purely psychological.
So my cravings these days are simply because I lack an alternative to “comfort” myself, to take time outs – I’ve stopped taking breaks at work, because without smoking I really don’t know what to do with myself. And I get so annoyed and impatient if I just do nothing.
So I eat.
As written in Loneliness is the worst enemy I suffered from anorexia in high school, which later turned into an atypical eating disorder. This means that I eat to numb pain and self sooth (BED) but my mind still thinks like an anorectic, meaning that the past couple of months I have become increasingly vicious towards myself, but lacking the soothing of cigarettes, the food intake has gone up – so I’m pretty much working a downwards spiral here. And the darker my mood becomes, the more I need to soothe and the more I eat and the more I hate myself and the more my mood is affected….you see the problem?
I am not the only one going through this. But while some may cave, I’m extremely stubborn (and I hope that stubbornness can be contagious to anyone in need of such) – besides I can’t afford smoking, so that in some ways seals the deal for me – but I refuse to bend to what I know is just my mind making hiccups.
As said before: this too will pass.
It will be Spring again.
The craving with subside.
So my focus right now is on minimizing the damage:
- Trying to avoid high calorie foods and sweets
- Exercising more – starting slow and building up
- Minimizing any stressors
- Substitutes; mints and chewing gum instead of chips and chocolate
- Going for walks
I can’t say I’m being successful but in all fairness to myself, I just started last week with this focus list. And hopefully I’ll get there, hopefully I’ll put a break on the increase of weight and slowly get it worked a bit down again. Hopefully I will figure out a way to replace the “comforts” with something better.
If you find yourself struggling to stay away from those cigarettes then maybe it will help a little to think about this:
- The things you miss, will make you smell. If you have come two months in, you now know EXACTLY how smokers smell like. You also know that you may have had an idea about it before – but now you KNOW.
- Count the money you save – hell, put those money in a jar, if you unlike me can afford it and buy yourself someting nice after a month or two – something you’ll look forward to, something you’ve missed.
- You might have realised by now just how much tar and nicotine was in the air, if you’ve washed down walls, windows or doors, since you’ve quit. Not only think about how easy it will be to clean those things, but also think about that the yellow layer you’re washing away – is practically the insides of your lungs. Or rather, it WERE. Now you are good – so stay good.
- It’s abstract to think about, but as I said earlier; you are actually longing for that friend, who will smile and kiss your ass while you know he or she is plotting on taking you down. You want to invite someone home that will eat your food, trash your place and probably burn it to the ground – why would you do that?
- If you have any love for your life, why would you chose to slowly kill yourself? In what world and dimension does that even make sense?
Now, don’t get me wrong – I do know aaaaall the excuses, the cravings – hell even the fact that not smoking can make you feel like you lack a part of your identity. But it is what it is: a friend trying to butter you up, while plotting your downfall. (you can read a bit about the difference between excuses and reasons in my “Jane Fonda – On Your Left” post, about lifestyle changing).
And however rough the path gets, there WILL come a day where the sense of freedom is so strong, you can reach out and touch it.
So, dearest, if you are finding yourself on this rough path and struggling to hold on to your new smokeless life, then feel free to take my hand og hold on.
I’m not letting go – and neither should you.
All my best to you – you’ve got this!