People who follow me on Google+ know that I fell quite ill right after Christmas. By the time I recovered on the 2nd or 3rd of January I already hadn’t touched a cigarette for quite a few days, so I decided (after Mia’s suggestion) not to start again. After all, the first 3 days are the most difficult, because you are fighting the nicotine addiction.
This going cold turkey is a completely different approach than I had 20-odd years ago and as that period of abstinence lasted merely two years, chances are that this sticks better. I am very aware that obviously my current age helps a bit too.
Anyways, there are plenty of people that can/will tell you how wonderful life is after smoking. After a while your taste/smell senses improve, your skin will look healthy and not so grey, your general fitness improves and what not.
What they however don’t tell you about is that there are quite a few symptoms and withdrawal effects that can have a big impact on your life!
Right after my flu, my first week of not picking up smoking, I was constantly dizzy – as if stoned out of my head – just a lot less comfortable.
I have no explanation for it, although I think it has to do with the fact that your lungs all of a sudden have access to a lot more oxygen than before. That oxygen is absorbed by the blood and travels straight to the brain, hence dizziness.
Week two was mostly coughing my lungs out. My lungs were constantly irritated by dryness which resulted in a week long of uncomfortable coughing. Not a walk in the park at all!
Then came the days with the feeling like an elephant was standing on my chest. I actually still have some of these days. Absurd and it’s very easy to start panicking about this. I don’t have an explanation for this one, really no clue where it’s coming from, but would like to hear!
And during these days of discomfort I hardly had any feelings of missing my ciggies. As a matter of fact I had a full carton of them lying around and Mia also was still smoking. This was going to change though…
Looking at the relative ease with which I seemingly not needed to pick up smoking again, Mia decided that she was going to follow me in my footsteps. Her going cold turkey was not helped by a flu or something like that, so RESPECT for pulling through those first 3-4 days!
But it is weird. At first I just didn’t think of smoking, but when Mia has quit, it much easier became a topic in conversations. She also got some kind of metal cigarettes with a battery in there to deliver some kind of smoke and to give you the “nice smoking feeling”. Those are things, similar to patches, chewing gum and what not, that you just shouldn’t use! You shouldn’t even think about them to start with. After all it’s all between your ears!
So the third week there were some difficult moments.
And this last week has been quite ok, only every now and then the elephant on my chest. My skin looks nicer than before, I have a healthy appetite, but try not to snack too much and instead much on a carrot or cucumber stick.
We hardly have any problem with being around smokers and during the past week of Chinese New Year we were among plenty of those! Also we have said from day one to keep drinking wine/beer just like before. Lots of people use alcohol as the excuse to pick up a cigarette again, but of course that has nothing to do with it!
For me it is now one month ago since I had my last cigarette and I didn’t even know that after that one I would not pick it up again. Mia has just reached her third week. We have good hopes though that the side effects of not smoking anymore will soon wear off.