Stories & experiences

purr elise
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25/01/2019
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16 days & shaky

Posted in Getting started 26 Jan 2019
11 Comments

Well, I'm 16 days in and struggling with low energy and depression. I use nicotine patches to curb my irritability and cravings. They really do help, although I hope I don't experience withdrawal from them when it's time to stop using them. I have such a hard time sleeping at night. I toss and turn, with or without the patch, and when I finally do fall asleep (around 3 or 4 am), I don't get out of bed until noon or after. Then I struggle with no energy or motivation the rest of the day, just to start it all over again. I feel a bit like I'm going slowly insane. I travel with my husband for his job, which makes me a bit isolated; however, he has been my supportive rock. If it weren't for him, I know i would've given in already. Of course I've tried to quit before, but I substituted vaping. That was always an unmitigated failure. This is my first time trying the patch, and I'm determined to make it work! Now I just have to get through this horrible lethargy. Has anyone else experienced this? Please tell it's normal.

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11 Comments

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  • Red-67 January 26, 2019 | 10:22
    Hi, and Welcome :)
    Yes, lack of direction, depression, sleepy, all normal.. But with the NRT, patch, it should not be that bad. I would suggest, leaving off the patch at night. You have made 16 days without a smoke, but, as long as you give your body nicotine, even in small amounts, there will be cravings. And, yes, when you get off the patch, there will be some withdrawal.. Let yourself accept the physical symptoms, as you would any other ailment, like a bad cold, or flu.. You can separate them from craving, or wanting a smoke. It is all in your mind, and you can take control. At over 2 weeks, you could be free of the habit. Now it is time to ease off the nicotine.. For me, and from what I have read, it takes about 21 days for the body to be completely clear of nicotine.. The problem is, we are, or were, addicted to SMOKING, not just nicotine. If you really let go of any idea, that there is anything to miss, or crave, or want, it can be as easy as you make it.. I was a 45 year smoker, and only really tried to quit once, almost 2 years ago now.. You can do it too :)
  • Grimbling January 26, 2019 | 13:29
    Unfortunately you won’t need to be reminded of a simply fact, purr elise; that quitting isn’t an easy process. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in a matter of hours, whereas the damage being done by drawing toxic, tar laden cigarette smoke into our lungs can take many years to become obvious. It’s all too easy to just have another ciggy because it’s easy to ignore the long-term consequences; it isn’t easy to resist a body that’s screaming for another fix by lighting up. So, congratulations on reaching day 16; it’s a significant achievement, as will be the days and years to come.

    How our bodies react when we stop drawing toxic, addictive, cigarette smoke into our lungs can vary significantly from one person to the next; our own particular mix of symptoms, and their severity, can be unique to us but individual things like sleep issues can be experienced by others and I certainly know what it feels like. That’s the value of this forum; the people in here know full well what you’re going through and some of the techniques they’ve used can be of great assistance to others.

    Although there were other factors involved, my primary reason to quit was to stop drawing that toxic smoke into my lungs on a regular basis and I’ve managed to do that for 29 days now. The mindset I’m constantly trying to adopt is that I don’t smoke and never want to; right now, as I was at day 16, I’m smoke free but not nicotine free. I haven’t even thought about how I’m going to become nicotine free yet because being smoke free mattered the most.

    Patches didn’t work for me so I’ve been using 4mgm mint flavoured nicotine lozenges. I found them much more convenient; if a craving started getting strong, I simply popped one in my mouth. If the craving started going away before I’d finished it, I took it out. After 4 weeks (finally!) those cravings have begun to ease, even though week 3 was torture. Perhaps, as those cravings continue to ease, I’ll just naturally wean myself off the lozenges. If I don’t, however (the packet does say it’s a 12 week course) then I don’t really care right now; being a nicotine addict via lozenges doesn’t even rate compared to sucking cigarette smoke into my lungs. The lozenges can be a bit rough on the tongue, too, and that’s providing some incentive to discontinue using them.

    It is possible to quit, purr elise, and you will get there. Do continue using the forum; it brilliant to see success stories unfolding.
  • purr elise January 26, 2019 | 15:34
    Thank you, Red-67 and Grimbling for your comments and support.

    Red-67, it was suggested to me that I use NRTs because I have major depressive disorder (MDD). Even though I'm on antidepressants, the fear was that the depression caused by my quit could throw me out of balance. Since I have been experiencing depression with the lethargy, I can't imagine how bad it would be without the patches. However, you do make a good point in that I could be past all this had I not used the patch, but I decided not to take the chance. I do wonder if after I've used the 7 mg patch for 2 weeks as directed, I could then cut them in half and then quarters to further help wean myself from the nicotine? Has anyone tried that? Maybe that sounds ridiculous. I know I've had to do that with previously tried antidepressants when they weren't effective for me and couldn't just be stopped cold turkey.

    I do like what you're saying, Grimbling, about how at least I'm not sucking in toxic smoke. The process of hacking up tarry mucous while my lungs clean themselves is quite a wake up call to the damage I've been doing to my body for the last 20 years. It's really gross but also sad that I've done this to myself for an addiction which has served no real purpose in my life.
  • purr elise January 26, 2019 | 15:34
    Thank you, Red-67 and Grimbling for your comments and support.

    Red-67, it was suggested to me that I use NRTs because I have major depressive disorder (MDD). Even though I'm on antidepressants, the fear was that the depression caused by my quit could throw me out of balance. Since I have been experiencing depression with the lethargy, I can't imagine how bad it would be without the patches. However, you do make a good point in that I could be past all this had I not used the patch, but I decided not to take the chance. I do wonder if after I've used the 7 mg patch for 2 weeks as directed, I could then cut them in half and then quarters to further help wean myself from the nicotine? Has anyone tried that? Maybe that sounds ridiculous. I know I've had to do that with previously tried antidepressants when they weren't effective for me and couldn't just be stopped cold turkey.

    I do like what you're saying, Grimbling, about how at least I'm not sucking in toxic smoke. The process of hacking up tarry mucous while my lungs clean themselves is quite a wake up call to the damage I've been doing to my body for the last 20 years. It's really gross but also sad that I've done this to myself for an addiction which has served no real purpose in my life.
  • Robn January 26, 2019 | 16:08
    Hi Purr Elise,
    When you say you can cut the patches in half and then in quarters, you are spot on. My daughter suffers from depression...which I might add is made worse by smoking and drinking. As you feel the cravings ease, cut your patch in half...take your patch off before going to bed each night. This way you are slowly reducing the nicotine that you are getting....my daughter would try a day without any patch at all..if the cravings go too much, she would put half a patch on the next day.
    It does not really matter how you do it...the aim is to get nicotine free. Her depression has improved since she stopped smoking...I wish you the sam outcome.
    Don’t forget how powerful the mind is...self talk in a positive way and you will kick the habit for good. You are doing really well so far.
  • purr elise January 26, 2019 | 16:17
    Thank you, Red-67 and Grimbling for your comments and support.

    Red-67, it was suggested to me that I use NRTs because I have major depressive disorder (MDD). Even though I'm on antidepressants, the fear was that the depression caused by my quit could throw me out of balance. Since I have been experiencing depression with the lethargy, I can't imagine how bad it would be without the patches. However, you do make a good point in that I could be past all this had I not used the patch, but I decided not to take the chance. I do wonder if after I've used the 7 mg patch for 2 weeks as directed, I could then cut them in half and then quarters to further help wean myself from the nicotine? Has anyone tried that? Maybe that sounds ridiculous. I know I've had to do that with previously tried antidepressants when they weren't effective for me and couldn't just be stopped cold turkey.

    I do like what you're saying, Grimbling, about how at least I'm not sucking in toxic smoke. The process of hacking up tarry mucous while my lungs clean themselves is quite a wake up call to the damage I've been doing to my body for the last 20 years. It's really gross but also sad that I've done this to myself for an addiction which has served no real purpose in my life.
  • purr elise January 26, 2019 | 16:23
    Geez sorry my comment keeps repeating. I don't know why it's doing that....

    Thank you, Robn. What you said really helps. I'll work on positive self talk. I'm not very good at that, and this is a great time to start. My husband has been really good about patting me on the back about my quit. It would do me a world of good to pay myself on the back as well.

    This forum is really helpful. I'm so glad to know there are such caring people out there who can help me through this so I know I'm not alone. I hope I, too, can help others along this journey of The Big Quit.
  • Debbie317 January 26, 2019 | 18:55
    Hi Purr, Sorry I dont know much about the patch or well don't know much about anything but I too quit smoking 19 days not for me (cold turkey) I can tell you its really messed up my sleeping as well. Moody is now my name in my circle of people. I would think being on the road would make it even more difficult. Congrats on how far you come, I think its important to pat ourself on the back for how far we have come. Non smokers have no idea what its like for us. Hang in there I do think the Light is near and it's gonna be an awesome new life for us.
  • WendyOhNo January 27, 2019 | 0:52
    Smoking is well known to mask depression and other mental health disorders - its part of self-medicating, much like drinking. Mental health issues are no worse than any other health issue, your brain is a part of your body that needs care as well. If this feeling continues, your may want to seek out soe advice from a physician.
  • Red-67 January 27, 2019 | 4:23
    Purr Elise; I was not putting down on the NRT, patch. Was just trying to answer your question, about withdrawal from them. What I meant by the 16 days, was, with the right mindset, and over 2 weeks without a smoke, you have beaten the ( habit ).. Now, you can deal with the nicotine, in whatever way that works for you.. I have even, successfully, recommended the use of the disposable E-cig, as a tool, to get off the cigarettes.. Not to be confused with switching to VAPING.. Just a temporary NRT, in an otherwise cold turkey quit.. You are doing great, and soon will be feeling much better :)
  • Nuts January 27, 2019 | 19:42
    Hi Purr. I am using patches to help quit. 21 days so far. You do what ever works for you. Break the habit first, then wean yourself off of the patches. Take them off at night. You dont need nicotine while you sleep. Well done for how far you have come. Be proud of every smoke free day. Hang in there. WE CAN DO IT. 😀😁🤗😊

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