Archive for ‘Chapter 6 Bipolar No More’

October 4, 2013

The tank

Would I proudly enter a restaurant, a grocery store, a doctors office attached to my tank?  Would I paint it orange and decorate it with flowers? Would I name my tank like a pet that is with me all the time?  Would I embrace my tank, knowing it is my life – my breath? Would I thank my tank for being there for me when I just needed breath? Would I buy the perfect wagon to carry my tank, maybe a little red wagon or a garden wagon painted orange to match my tank? Would I tire of my tank?  Would it be a burden to heavy to carry? Would I wish I had just fucking quit smoking years before, years before I was attached to my tank? Would I rather die than carry my tank?  Would I, one day while sitting alone listening to the breeze, light up while sitting by my tank, listen to the oxygen hiss, and inhale my very last smoke?

 

 

September 30, 2013

Cravings 101

We all crave sometimes.  We crave love, attention, sweets, Mexican food, and our vices or our addictions that we have  walked away from.  My addictions are no different.  I crave them at times.  I even, very rarely – but still, crave chaos (or the excitement that comes with it).  But I never feed that craving, EVER!  Because I know what it leads to, MORE and MORE chaos!  This is why I know that I cannot have even one cigarette!  I will want more and more and more!  Having nicotine only makes you want more nicotine!

I have been smoke free two months, three days, 22 hours, 4 minutes and 1 second.

I still crave a smoke every now and then, not nicotine, just the action of smoking.

Cravings are like hiccups, just breath!

September 19, 2013

It’s been almost two months!

One month, three weeks, two days, 2 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds. 811 cigarettes not smoked, saving $236.65. Life saved: 2 days, 19 hours, 35 minutes.

And I am still smoke free! I am also very stable again. I was hoping I would be before school started and I am. I was working very hard to be as stable as possible before the pressure of school. I am taking three (yes 3!!!) math classes and a sociology! I am driving over and hour each way to school four days a week and working about 30 hours a week.

But I am sleeping a full 7 to 8 hrs every night and riding my bicycle every morning about 7 to 8 miles.

After reading this I am not sure how in the hell I am able to squeeze all of this into one day, but I do. It is amazing how much you can do if you do not watch TV or play on a computer.

I love being a non-smoker. It allows me to be a free spirit. To wonder into areas that I would have never dared. To do things I would have never done! OK OK so maybe that is a little over board… but really that is how it feels sometimes!

August 31, 2013

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing you will hate that you never did!

Yep, that’s right I said it. Quitting smoking is very easy. Oh yeah you are going to have some moments where you will be like – wow I would really like to smoke right now, or uggg I feel so uncomfortable not smoking at the moment, or I feel really anxious this second…..

Right now, at the moment, this second! It passes that fast.

I have heard for years that cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin.

Withdrawal symptoms for nicotine:
Anxiety
Depression
Drowsiness or trouble sleeping, as well as bad dreams and nightmares
Feeling tense, restless, or frustrated
Headaches
Increased appetite and weight gain
Problems concentrating

Withdrawal symptoms for heroin:
Agitation
Anxiety
Muscle aches
Increased tearing
Insomnia
Runny nose
Sweating
Yawning
Abdominal cramping
Diarrhea
Dilated pupils
Goose bumps
Nausea
Vomiting

So I am thinking where in the hell did the whole fairy tale about nicotine being harder to give up than heroin come from?

I have been smoke free One month, four days, 3 hours, 59 minutes and 41 seconds. 527 cigarettes not smoked, saving $153.76. Life saved: 1 day, 19 hours, 55 minutes.

I am rockin this shit! Love being nicotine free!

August 21, 2013

Not smoking and alcohol.

One of the hardest parts about quitting smoking for a lot of people is drinking alcohol.  Of course if you are on meds you should probably not be drinking alcohol period, but lets be honest people do!  I tell people, especially people I see smoking,almost everyday, sometimes several times a day, “I just quit smoking” or “It has been X number of days / weeks since I have had a cigarette.”  It is one of the ways I help myself stay constantly accountable and it helps me to not smoke!  But I also want to share my experience with anyone who might want to quit.

People often ask, “How did you quit?” Or “What made you stop?”  And most smokers say, “I wish I could quit!”

But what is surprising is the reason most people say they can’t or won’t quit is alcohol.  Yep, alcohol.  I have heard so many times, “I would quit but I have to smoke when I drink a beer.”  What I want to say is, “REALLY, if that is why you do not want to quit you have bigger issues than smoking!!!”  But I don’t.

Why?

Because I get it!  That is why I have not had a beer in three weeks, four days, 3 hours, 17 minutes and 48 seconds (and yes that is accurate).

Oddly I have found I can drink a small glass of wine, just one, and be OK.  I do not feen for a smoke with just one glass of wine.  Ironically, or I guess you can call it that, research shows one glass of wine is also good for you!English: A glass of red wine.

****UPDATE on mental health.  I am leveling out.  My brain and body are both getting used to not having nicotine.  I am sleeping a full 8, not grinding, and driving like a normal person.

 

Keep checking back!  Thanks for reading!  And for all my bipolar – smoking readers……… take care of yourself!

August 18, 2013

I did not smoke!

I did not smoke.  I locked myself in the back bedroom with my computer and I did not smoke. I went to bed early, but I woke up wanting a smoke!  But I did not smoke.  I went for a 10 mile ride in the first cool crisp morning air that hints of fall coming soon and I did not smoke.  I went to work, I did not smoke.  I am home from work, and I did not smoke.  I will continue with my day… and I will not smoke!

As much as every cell in my body was screaming for nicotine, my heart was breaking at the thought of lighting a cigarette.

My heart has been broken so many times throughout my life by almost every person I have ever loved.  My Mom, my Dad, my sister, my ex-husband… But damnit I refuse to break my own heart!

I did not smoke!

August 17, 2013

Oh shit, I forgot to title this post!

After doing a ton of research I found that if you increase the release of acetylcholine it can decrease manic symptoms but may worsen or induce depression. In other words, smoke and you will decrease your chances of a manic episode.

However, you increase your chances of depression. In the article How Nicotine Works ( http://science.howstuffworks.com/nicotine4.htm ), it shows that nicotine “increases the release of acetylcholine from the neurons, leading to heightened activity in cholinergic pathways throughout your brain. This cholinergic activity calls your body and brain to action, and this is the wake-up call that many smokers use to re-energize themselves throughout the day. Through these pathways, nicotine improves your reaction time and your ability to pay attention, making you feel like you can work better.”

So why did I (and still do) want a cigarette? I am certainly past any physical withdrawals!  Am I feeling manic?  Will I become manic?  Do I need to give all my credit cards to my husband and restrict my driving to absolutely necessary? Do I need to fear the other side of mania… depression?

ALL BECAUSE I QUIT SMOKING!!!!

Hell no!  First thing is first!  To reduce the chances of a manic episode the number one objective is sleep! I woke at 3:30 am this morning.  My first instinct was to get up and come get on my computer!  But I stayed in bed!  I dosed back off about 4:00 and woke again at 5:45 am. Then I got up, fed my dogs, and went for a bike ride. Next objective – watch my driving.  Many years ago, when I would start to become manic, I would find myself driving like a maniac.  Today, I found myself to be driving well over the speed limit.  I immediately slowed down, took some deep breaths and relaxed. Lastly – watch for grinding!  When I am becoming manic I grind my teeth!  No signs of teeth grinding yet. So the big question is will the chemistry in my brain level out? I guess we will just have to wait and see.  But I am not going to have a cigarette to stay level!  Even after ten years of no meds, no extreme mania or depression episodes.  I will not let nicotine win this war!  And let me tell you… IT IS WAR!

August 17, 2013

At 21 Fucking Days!

This happens: Brain acetylcholine receptor counts that were up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence have now down-regulated and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.

So what does that mean?  Well I can tell you one thing, I want a cigarette!

Up until today, this has been so easy.  Today… not so much.

I will be doing research into the acetylcholine and bipolar connection in the days to come.

Stay tuned… I might just have a smoke tonight!

Yeah here are my stats at this moment:  Three weeks, 4 hours, 56 minutes and 9 seconds. 318 cigarettes not smoked, saving $92.72. Life saved: 1 day, 2 hours, 30 minutes.

August 12, 2013

…but

The R Wines 2007 Bitch Grenache

I am OK!  I made it:

Two weeks, two days, 5 hours, 9 minutes and 15 seconds. 243 cigarettes not smoked, saving $70.90. Life saved: 20 hours, 15 minutes.

For those of you that are interested the statistic are courtesy of SilkQuit.org!

The physical cravings are GONE!  The memory of smoking is still there  however!  This scares me, so I am still avoiding all situations where smoking is involved.

I am not manic, depressed, or having a mixed episode.  I will tell you that the first week feels very much like a mixed episode – at least it did for me.

If you are bipolar and quitting smoking it is important to be very in tune to what you are feeling, how you are acting, and where your emotions are.  If you are on meds talk to your doctor but make sure to tell him or her where you are at in your quit.  If he or she is not familiar with nicotine withdrawals educate him or her.  Emotional withdrawals last much longer than physical withdrawals.  But the physical withdrawals are the ones that will really screw with your mind!

I am sure I am a quitter!  I am a nonsmoker!  I am one bad ass bitch!  After everything I have been through, lived through, etc… this is the moment in my life that I have truly become ONE BAD ASS BITCH!

August 1, 2013

The bipolar, nicotine, and dopamine connection

The brains of humans with bipolar disorder, according to current reasoning, cannot regulate their dopamine uptake.  To much dopamine = mania.  To little dopamine = depression.  This is why medication adjustments are so common with humans that are bipolar.

I have discovered that I can regulate dopamine production on my own.  By living a life where I get plenty of sleep and I do not create chaos (ie… create lots of dopamine).  I also make sure I have enough dopamine to not become depressed, I find value in my life (go to school, do dog rescue, etc.), have wonderful friends, and have healthy relationships.

Now all of this being said lets talk about nicotine.  Because cigarettes are a nicotine laced with ammonia delivery system they are able to supply the body with so much nicotine with one smoke that dopamine production is increased and then the brain becomes dependent on nicotine to give it that pleasure feeling. Eventually making the human feel – No nicotine = no pleasure.  The reason people become chain smokers is because this dopamine effect wears off so quickly!

So now that I have quit smoking what in the heck is going on with my dopamine?????

Well, I feel less pleasure for sure.  And I know that I am much more vulnerable to depression.  In order to compenssate for this I am riding my bicycle twice a day instead of just once a day.  I have added about 6 mile a day to my current route.  I am eating healthy but as much as I want.  However, I am not depriving myself of simple pleasures.

I am doing my breathing exercises often! I will be getting a massage this weekend!

To increase dopamine production I am eating more eggs, broccoli, cauliflower,bananas, and apples!   I have read that beet juice and watermelon juice are good as well.  I guess I need to make a trip to the health food store!

I still need to post about yesterday!  It was awful!  Today is so much better!  My next post will be all about day 5!

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