Hello. I'm new here I'm so happy to be able to be here on this board. As of this evening I am 8 weeks Quit. But it really has nearly cost me my mind and although the physical cravings have long gone, mentally I have never ever felt so despondent and disconnected as I feel now. I am wondering if this is within the range of normal or my experiences are worse than most?
I have been a smoker since my mid teens which was over 40+ years ago. Of course like everyone I just didn't start smoking a packet a day but I have never stopped and yep, ended up smoking a good packet (between 20-30 cigs) every day. My husband smoked too. We have been married 35 years and we have never known each other without smoking. I knew my husband had some health issues from too many decades of drinking and smoking and he had been undergoing tests on his heart and whilst we were waiting for the latest MRI results of his heart, he had a cardiac arrest here at home. He had just lit his latest cigarette - and would turn out to be his last. This was 10 weeks ago tonight. Luckily I had just got home from work and even more luckily the CPR I did on him (pure beginners luck) was enough to get nudge his heart back into a rhythm and he came around. The ambulance came and so started a pretty big event in our lives culminating in open heart surgery for a double by-pass and also a defibullator inserted into his chest. He is only 55.years old. He spent 5 days instead of the normal 2 in the ICU due to the added complication of pneumonia (his lungs clearly weren't in great shape) and he spent a total of 19 days in hospital. OK so I wasn't ignorant or living under a rock, this really didn't come as a great shock to me, I know about consequences etc of poor life choices so what could I expect?- I knew this day would come when we would HAVE to give up. I think if we smokers are honest, that's true for most. Well for me that day HAD come. I had to stop just as hubby had too. We were in this together.
I started out with patches but I couldn't get them to stick on me. I even tried band aids and then sticky tape over the band aids but to no use. I think my body rejected the glue or whatever it is that sticks them to the skin. After about 4 days I just gave up and thought I'd do it cold turkey and that's what I did. Just waited and actually found out it wasn't quit as unmanageable as I imagined it would be. It was tough for sure and I was tested but I felt strong in my resolve so all in all the first week wasn't too bad. The second week however was hell. I felt like I had a bad flu, with everything aching and no energy and not being able to sleep. I started to unravel and felt so horrible but I just rode it out. But then the depression hit me around week 3 onwards and I seriously started having some very bad thoughts. Without wanting to sound dramatic, I questioned if life was worth living. All of a sudden my world that had been in colour was grey and bleak. I became a stranger to myself. I have always been happy and optimistic by nature so the change was dramatic. I read up where depression can be normal so I just waited for it to pass too, for me to turn a corner, for things to get better. But they didn't. I felt worse each day and the dark thoughts persisted. I knew I was in trouble so went to my Dr's for help. He gave me a script for Zyban and I was relieved that there was something that might make this hellish ride a bit smoother for me. I was taking two tablets a day and didn't really notice anything in the way of feeling different but then after about a week to 10 days the despair I was feeling began to subside but in it's place was anger, resentment and rage. I have never ever to the pit of my stomach felt such anger. I persevered for another week on the tablets but the anger never left and I couldn't believe what a horrible person and how hate filled I was. So I stopped taking them. I am now 8 weeks quit and I am no longer angry but I am sad to realise that I have absolutely no joy in my life. It is ironic but I feel that something inside of me has been extinguished. I have lost something and I feel lost. I am so hoping that this is not my forever. I don't like this at all. I can't believe that smoking actually made me feel and act happy by the pleasure I got from smoking and now I have to adjust to that loss of pleasure and maybe that is why I am struggling so much. This quit for me is all mental, and I think I was so worried about the physical withdrawals and never really thought about the mental side of it. But this is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I have been through chemotherapy for breast cancer and hand on heart I would do that again over this, but I never want to go through those first 3-7 weeks post quit again in my life and I know if I smoke then the time will come where I have to do it again. That is my motivation to stay quit.
I'm sorry to have rambled on so much but this has all just been going round my head for so long and I have needed an outlet where I know I will be understood and not judged. I have just been real and honest here to try to have feedback from others as to if this is somewhat normal and will pass and that soon I will be in a world of colour again. Thanks in advance. PSx