I know, I know, I’m probably in the minority here, mostly because of the fact that we all have IBS…but, yes, I smoke. Or, I did, until three days ago. Yup, three whole days without a cigarette…yeah…well don’t go patting me on the back just yet. I would like to share my trials and tribulations with smoking cessation for those of you that do smoke…it’s ok, I won’t tell anyone ;) Smoking is obviously one of the worst things you can do to your IBS. It’s also one of the worst things you can do for your overall wellness. And I mean, OVERALL. Smoking affects not only your physiology, but your mental health as well. Yes, we all know this, so why is this so hard? Let’s get into it a little more.
Smoking does not help with mental health
I have quit smoking twice before, each time for around 15 months. Not bad, not bad…not good, either. Both times I relapsed were due to stress related issues. Found myself in line at the convenience store to buy some smokes without really knowing how I got there…not sure the cravings ever go away completely. I believe the reason I continued to smoke through an IBS diagnosis and mental health issues was simply that I believed that it made me FEEL BETTER. Cigarette marketing always alludes to the idea that cigarettes will help us RELAX. And we do…while we’re smoking the cigarette. I seriously ask you to take a good, hard look at how you are feeling five to ten minutes after smoking that cigarette. Tense? Tight? Little bit down? Yes, yes and yes. I will not bore you with my probably very poor explanation about what nicotine does to the chemicals in your brain, but I think it goes without saying that it does not make anxiety, depression or anything else…BETTER. Quite to the contrary, actually. Oh, so easy to say, so easy to write…
I decided to quit again (you notice I didn’t say TRY to quit…positive affirmations, man) because I have been going through a really difficult time in my personal life recently and I wanted to try to do EVERYTHING I could do to not only make sure my mind was working on all cylinders; but my body as well. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes when LIFE happens, we have a tendency to drop the things we normally due to keep ourselves healthy. What happens then, is that we are in no shape, mentally or physically to manage the pain, anxiety or sadness that may accompany any one of life’s many snares.
I’m using the patch. I did the Cold Turkey thing on my previous attempts, which did work for me…then. Now is not then. My self-awareness tells me that I need some extra support this time, regardless of how I feel about the product. I’ve tried gum, lozenges, Wellbutrin, etc.. What works for me may be completely different for you. I can’t handle the gum or lozenges because I end up almost killing myself due to nicotine overdose…yes, oral fixation. Each of the cessation methods works for someone. This is true. There are also many other options. Figure out what works for you, but don’t believe it will keep you from smoking again. Once an addict, always an addict. You have to find your own reason to stay quit. Mine, is my mental and physical health. That may sound overly simplistic, but what I mean to say is I want to be in the best shape I can be to live my life to its fullest…not because of some scary picture of my lungs turning black when I’m sixty. That doesn’t hurt the program either, does it?
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?