Posts tagged ‘Nicotine’

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!

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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 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 7, 2013

OK ok ok…so day 5 (and really 6 and 7) sucked!

broken cigarette symbol

There is no better word… sucked!  I really wanted a smoke several times.  I totally freaked out my husband when I said, “I have to go and spend some money!”  And I meant it.  I was feeling manic!   Agitated and manic!  What truly looked to be a mixed episode!  Uggg

With the lack of nicotine in my system you would think I would be deprived of dopamine.  In other words you would think really depressed. Just down!  But in fact I had two days where I was up and agitated.  And to be quite honest I have been loud, had presured speech, been impulsive, been UP, and agitated a lot since I gave up cigarettes!

So here is the quandary… is this mental illness or is this just the normal response to nicotine withdrawals?

Are all of my fears coming true about quitting smoking?

Will I become unstable for the first time in almost 10 yrs?

Do I need to be medicated?

Even if I did would I agree to be medicated?

So I make a week… 7 whole days without a smoke!

By day 8 I am starting to feel more balanced, but………………………………………………

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!

July 31, 2013

Days 2 through 4 of my “quit”

Days 2, 3, and 4 were all about the same.  Actually that is not 100% true.  Days 2 and 3 were the easiest so far.  Day 4, yesterday, I weighed myself and almost fell over.  Somehow I gained 3 lbs in 4 days!  So I rode my bike 10 miles last night and 5 miles this morning before work!  I am going to have to pay much closer attention to what I am eating from today forward!

Day 5 which is today, however; has been OMFG awful!  I am actually better at the moment.  But I have felt some anger well up inside of me that actually scares me.  This day is not over……… so tune in!

XOXOXO to all you bipolar smokers and ex-smokers out there.  And to all of you “I have never smoked a day in my life” humans, well wth are you reading this for?  Oh I know, let this be a warning to you… if someone you love is bipolar and a smoker who is trying to quit – duck and run!

July 30, 2013

What it feels like to quit. Day 1 and 1.2

The first couple of hours I was able to keep telling myself what I was feeling was withdrawals.  I felt only slightly anxious or an even better description might be edgy and kept expecting it to get worse but it never did.  I used to think it was better to quit first thing in the morning, but now I think a couple of hours before bed is best.  This way you will have a good twelve hours of no nicotine and most of that you will be asleep.  Wooo Hoooo sleep through the worst of the withdrawals… hell yeah!  To help me calm down and relax before bed I took a nice warm bath in Epsom salt with some lavender and eucalyptus oils mixed in.  This was huge and I definitely recommend it. You can buy essential oils at HEB or your local vitamin store.  I have taken a warm bath every night before bed and it really takes the edge off.

When I woke up the next morning I made my coffee just like any other day and went outside to drink it.  I sat where I would normally sit if I were having my morning smoke. I took some really deep breaths in and breathed them out slowly in between each sip of coffee.  I relaxed my shoulders and closed my eyes and told myself “I am going to have an awesome day because I am starting a new adventure and it is very exciting!”  Instead of working to keep from smoking, I worked on being happier, excited, and carefree.  I did not allow myself to have the thought of “I want a cig!” Instead I kept thinking “Today is a  wonderful day, this is so exciting!”  Every where I went on Saturday I told people it had been x amount of hours since my last smoke and it was so exciting!  I was amazed at how good I continued to feel throughout the day.  A couple of times I felt that edgy feeling and but instead of relating it to wanting a smoke, I related to the excitement of this new chapter in my life!

Techniques to use when that edgy feeling comes:

#1 breathing exercises I really like this one in particular .   Using breathing techniques throughout the day does several things: it gives you a boost of oxygen, it calms you down, it simulates the same action that you might feel you are missing otherwise (you know – taking a big drag off a smoke).

#2 Tell someone new how many hours it has been since your last taste of nicotine.  Get excited and relate to them how excited you are to be free of your addiction.  Do this over and over and over and over and over…. you get the picture!  Every time I do this I also get emotional and find myself tearing up.  Sunday I made two total strangers almost cry as well!  Awesome!!!

#3 Read, read, read, read… but not just anything!  Read ex-smoker success stories!  Just google “ex smokers success stories” and you will have a wealth of information to read!

 

 

PS:  No depression or mania so far! And I am sleeping.  If you have learned anything else from reading my blog it is how important I believe sleep is!  If I am sleeping enough… I am not manic!  If I am not sleeping to much… I am not depressed!

 

PSS: It is good to be blogging again!  It is incredible to be blogging in real time instead of talking about my past!

July 29, 2013

Addiction! I am an addict!

I have been a smoker since I was 16 yrs old.

Nicotine – an addictive fast acting mild stimulant.

Oh I have tried to quit many, many times. My “quits” never last long.

My excuse to keep on smoking – I was afraid if I tried to quit it would send me into a manic spin!  Yes, that is what I have been telling myself for years!  Actually, that is what my addiction has been brainwashing me with for years!  My addiction, my nicotine monkey on my back would say, “Oh I hate smoking but I am just afraid that my fragile balance will be thrown out of whack and I have worked so hard to be `BIPOLAR NO MORE`.”

Well, screw that!  I am strong.  I am strong enough to kick that monkey off my back! I am 4 hrs from being

72 hrs into my “quit”!  And I feel fine….. I feel fine!   Quit meter

 

 

 

 

I really want to share how the first hours felt for anyone who is also wanting to quit!  But if you have any questions post them and I will answer!  Here is to the next big adventure!  Woot Woot!

 

Hugs, V

 

 

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