In the past few years I have begun to feel the physical effects of smoking for over 25 years. These symptoms include:
- A pressure, heaviness, and often pain in my lungs in the morning.
- Morning cough.
- Loss of my singing voice.
- Breathlessness in my reading voice.
- Unpleasant irritation of the mucous membranes of my mouth.
- General tiredness and loss of energy.
- I realize that I need to take naps to combat the tiredness I feel because my body has to process all the poisons that cigs have.
- Cigarette hangovers after late nights out.
- The need to exercise early in the day, before having smoked a lot.
- Waking up at night coughing or with tickles in my throat.
These reasons are varied. When I smoke I feel like I live behind a literal curtain of smoke or inside a cave of smoke. It creates a condition in which I am separated from life and the people that I love. It is a barrier. I also feel:
- Complete self-hate and loss of self-esteem.
- A constant feeling of guilt at what I am doing to my body and the consequences that my smoking might have on my children, i.e. the care they might need to give me later in life.
I realize, because of the above, that cigarettes are more important to me than anything else and that this is the life of an addict. I find this sad. I realize that cigarettes have made me lose myself.
What I am doing to help myself: I swim, I started a yoga class, and I do the bicycle and treadmill three times a week. There is not a single day when I do not do at least one hour of exercise, but sometimes it is as much as three hours. I know that I need these endorphins and that this is a huge part of my quit. I also have one massage a week to keep the stress down and I take steam and sauna baths several times a week. I have not gained weight, although I could lose 5 pounds.
I have recently(two months ago) visited my OB/GYN and all is well(cholesterol is 150 - one thing to be proud of). I have not been to see a lung specialist. I plan to do this when I am 6 months free of cigarettes.
I started with a quit partner, but she caved in after two weeks. So, I am alone in this. However, due to this forum, I now have a lot of quit partners.
What I feel after not smoking for a month: I can already feel a sense of self-esteem returning. My lungs feel a lot better and I can sing again, although I still don't sound like I used to. It is still very hard and I am now on 14 mgs on the patch. I no longer feel as if I am in the minute-to-minute survival mode that lasted for two weeks. Now, I feel a deeper and more complex battle taking over.
Key things that motivate me:
- I want to quit on my own and not because a doctor has told me that I have to.
- I am terrified of all of the health consequences of smoking.
- I want a clean life and I no longer want to be a slave to cigarettes.
- I want my self-esteem back.
- I want to feel better physically.
EB (Quit date: May 6, 2003)
Pull up your socks. These are no small potatoes!
EB Celebrates 6 Months Without a Single Puff
EB's One Year Smoke Free Milestone Speech