Stories & experiences

Percy Verence

Day 15 - Tears, Tantrums, Hissy Fits and Mild Depression

Posted in Quit experiences 13 Aug 2021

The last two days have been pretty horrible.

I logged on here yesterday and was going to write about my body screaming for nicotine but as I wrote, I that REALLY the problem?

It dawned on me that I have never handled any situation in my adult life (good or bad) without cigarettes. Does that mean my capacity to control myself emotionally is still at a 15 year old's stage of development?

Smoking has always allowed me to 'step outside' for ten minutes when things aren't going the way I want them to. Whether it was a work problem, a bereavement, a relationship break-up - whatever bad news was delivered, my response was to "go for a cigarette" and suck down all the legal pain relief that nicotine had to offer before I responded.

Did you know that nicotine is stronger than morphine?

So it stands to reason that my emotional sensations are going to feel more...acute.

Can you imagine going to the dentist and him saying "Ooookay then - I've looked on your notes and you've had several fillings and root canals before so you know the ropes...let's give this one a go WITHOUT the injection, shall we?"

Life without smoking has more to it than just reaping the extensive health and financial benefits as you continue to abstain. Without the pain relief, everything feels sharper,'s like buying a new, state of the art TV and realising just how blurred and fuzzy you were seeing things before.

Becoming a non-smoker gives you absolute clarity. But we need to be prepared to deal with not liking what we see...and the life changes that might follow.

So, the last two days have been pretty unpleasant. Small frustrations have had me throwing toddler tantrums and getting near to tears. No, I haven't succumbed to a puff (which I'm proud of) but not being able to handle things in my usual calm way...flying off the handle and tearing my hair out? Horrible. I don't feel in control. I don't like my own behaviour. I don't like aspects of my life - and I didn't realise just how much until I stopped smoking.

So, no - I don't think these last two days have been difficult because of withdrawal or cravings. I think there is an adjustment period of getting used to your own emotions. Seeing your life with absolute clarity - perhaps for the first time.

I am sure that stopping smoking will be the catalyst to a series of life changes. If I can do this - I can do anything.

Why did I never believe in myself before?

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  • Jessfreeof, Northern NSW August 13, 2021 | 4:03
    Hi there Percy yes I can totally relate to the connection between smoking and emotional responses. For me smoking was a smoke screen to lots of things that were going on for me. I missed the lessons on how to articulate my thoughts and feelings in constructive healthy ways I'm sure the lessons were given i just mustn't of showed up. When I cold turkey the smokes BAM in come anxiety and crying. I do my best to stick with mentally and emotionally well people and limit my time spent with those I feel triggered around. The stronger and more mature I become mentally and emotionally the healthier the relationships are with my not so well friends and family. The cigarettes were the last thing to go for me so it has been an awesome self and more importantly spiritual connection for me. I think it was a great move by you to question was it really nicotine calling out or something else❤️🙏❤️
  • Jessfreeof, Northern NSW August 13, 2021 | 4:14
    When I thought my discomfort was myself wanting a cigarette I would question it and discover it was a sense of discomfort inside myself. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. It wasn't an urge for nicotine it was an urge to get out of myself but hey I ain't going nowhere. The fun part of it all is learning to be comfortable living inside myself there is nowhere else I'd rather be😊❤️
  • Percy Verence August 13, 2021 | 4:20
    Jess, your response means a lot to me.

    I wonder if there's an emotional profile for a smoker - are we highly sensitive people? People that have been wounded in life and used the cigarettes as a form of escapism?

    It's funny - I've noticed just how much some people irritate me now. This doesn't mean that not smoking has MADE me irritable...I was more tolerant as a smoker. I was only half-listening...puffing away in my bubble of protection, things washed over me one ear and out the other. But the question inevitably arises now - why am I choosing to spend time with this person or why am I settling for this situation when it doesn't give me pleasure?

    Jess, have you heard of Marie Kwondo? She's the guru of minimalist living, sorting and organising. Anyway, her philosophy is that you should look at something in your home and ask yourself two questions - does this thing give me joy and is this thing incredibly useful? Anything that fails on both criteria should be tossed. Well, I guess I'm looking at absolutely everything with those eyes now. I just couldn't see it all before through the smoke screen. x
  • Jessfreeof, Northern NSW August 13, 2021 | 4:39
    I have heard of her but have not put her philosophy into action I think I will give it a go in my next spring clean. 💃
  • Red-67 August 13, 2021 | 8:20
    HI Percy :)
    Fortunately, I did not have serious emotional issues during my quit. At least not any that anybody else saw.. :) It was over 2 weeks before my wife even knew.. I will tell you, my strongest withdrawal did come into week 2, about where you are now. Into week 3 I began to feel whole, or somewhat normal again.. But,, learning to do anything, or think about anything without that smoke did take several weeks. The stupidity of it is funny now. We started and ended almost everything we did with a smoke. And yes, it was a handy distraction, or break from whatever we were doing at the time.
    For me, once I could see the reality of it all, I could no longer be that smoker, and I can't even imagine ever going back to it :) Hang in there. You should start seeing some relief soon :)
  • Happiness August 13, 2021 | 8:41
    Good on you for thinking things through and wondering if it was actually a nicotine withdrawal problem. For far too long, it seems that nicotine withdrawal gets the wrap for causing discomforts when we stop smoking. I think many of us make other changes in our lives, just as you question things in yours and wonder why you continue to do them. We want a better ME and so we might exercise more, diet or simply cut down on caffeine or alcohol. These things all have effects on the body, the nervous system and the brain. I know I used to get a headache if I did not have an evening coffee before bed. On occasion I have had to make one in the wee hours on remembering that I forgot to have one. It is strange that I could have caffeine withdrawal, headaches and cravings for nicotine the first 3 days, but no physical withdrawal with the exception of feeling a little disoriented, lack of focus. Dopamine helps us focus, Doing pleasurable things gives us that jolt we miss.

    Living simply is awesome. Less burdensome somehow. Perhaps we out grow that materialistic stage of keeping up with the Joneses. You need very little to be happy and value more those things in life that are free. I worked for the stability and satisfaction and find that I want to have the kids and grandchildren enjoy life to the fullest. I stopped saving for their inheritance and help out now. I want for nothing. I am happy. It makes me happy to see them all happy and thriving.

    Count your blessings, surround yourself with things and people that make you happy and discard the unnecessary baggage. As they say, "Life is too short to sweat the small stuff".
  • Leeann , Central Coast August 13, 2021 | 9:10
    Hi Percy, what wonderful advice and support the quitfam have given you, I agree with all of the above comments.🙌

    Hang in there Percy, Day 1 is only a memory now and you are doing amazing🤍
  • softly40, Mid North Coast August 13, 2021 | 9:33
    A heartfelt and wonderful post Percy, I too went through these myriad of emotions, and realized it was a big part of my coping mechanism, in other words an avoidance of dealing with the problem at hand almost immediately.

    If you have realized this, it will help you to understand yourself more, and this is what you now need to do, with the help of many calming meditations or words, that can bring you immediate relief. I went for the food initially, but then that was just another fix and avoidance of what I was feeling.

    If you can deep breath to begin with, really breath from your diaphragm, around 3 or 4 times, this will bring you to a place of reality. It is then the perspective of why you are angry, upset, or fed up can clearly be seen.

    I was on a race of finding out more about my reactions, and found a great video called "How to be a happy non smoker" by NASIOS DAVOS, it is on Utube, the emphasis is the understanding of ourselves, and the happiness we need to attain this new position in our world...Believe me I have found out that writing out my feelings to the finest degree, and getting to the problem then working out whether your angst was worth the trouble. You are sifting through your own emotions to work out if this is really important enough to dwell on for a long time.

    Another method I used was after deep breathing or meditation, I would let my emotions float away, in a fashion of your choosing.

    This will ultimately bring you to a place of acceptance of yourself and others, more so than before. In effect will bring you to the peace you desire. the NOPE (not one puff ever) I still use, and brings me to this place of freedom time and time again. We are all human Percy, some wired differently than others, but excuses can no longer be tolerated by yourself You will win keep going and keep posting, we are all with you in our various ways.
  • NOPE-2021 August 13, 2021 | 10:12
    Hi Percy and friends. You have my sympathy. I have not yet gone through what you are experiencing and I hope I don't but these posts are great for me to tuck away in the event I might experience the same.

    I am on day 11 and have been (surprisingly) been doing well. I did hit a very low point last weekend. I was getting a house ready to be rented and I was cleaning and painting. It's when it came to the painting I noticed I reverted backwards.

    As Red said, "We started and ended almost everything we did with a smoke".. Normally, I would have a smoke before the project, during the project and (of course) after the project as the "reward". When it came to the "reward" time when I stood back and saw what an awesome job I did, was when it hit. I had a very hard time trying to explain to myself these odd feelings.

    I felt so down and lonely, like I was alone. I am not sure how I got myself out of it, but I kept thinking about changing my mindset. I even did softly40's favorite mantra "NOPE". In any event, I did survive and I know there will be more times such as what I went through that I will need to simply (or not so "simply")... get through.

    I wish you the best and I thank you for your honesty and most of all, for sharing with you Quit Family.
  • NOPE-2021 August 16, 2021 | 5:56
    Haven't heard a "peep" from you in a couple of days.... Hope all is well... Sending positive vibes your way...
  • Robn August 16, 2021 | 12:26
    Hi Percy, fantastic post and very helpful for not only others but for yourself. Sometimes when we write our feelings down, it makes it easier to make sense of them.
    The taking a break and having a smoke has gone, but you can still take that break, grab a coffee and chill for awhile. After awhile it is a new habit and coping mechanism that works. I haven’t smoked for just over three years, but I still grab a coffee and sit outside and have that chill time, it works for me. I think when we quit we do see things differently and much clearer. I am much calmer now than I ever was when I smoked. Life’s ups and downs are not as shattering as they once were, funny, the only thing that has changed is I quit smoking. I believe I used those moments subconsciously to go and smoke in the belief it would calm me.
    Smoking really does make us stupid. Stay got this
  • PuffNoMore, Southern NSW August 16, 2021 | 21:44
    Hi Percy,
    Thank you for your wonderful post and a genuine appraisal or description in your Quitting process.
    Your not alone in these feeling's and is very common, especially in the early days.
    I have picked up on some concern from other member's asking for you, maybe if you are OK?
    You have raised some great issues and we are eager for more! I have been meaning to put pen to paper for far too long and was scratching my head of what to write,,, until you joined us . Thank you.
    Anyway, I'm sure your fine and I may try write a story, what, now that half of Australia is back in "lockdown" Geez
  • Percy Verence August 19, 2021 | 9:08
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry to have worried anybody. I had a few days of feeling extremely tired and withdrawn. I just kept jumping into bed and reading and sleeping. It might just have been a catch-up on the sleep was very disturbed to begin with. I felt unusually quiet for a while but I seem to be back into bouncy mode again.

    It was so wonderful to read all your messages and experiences. It means the World. This site has been integral to quitting - it's supportive, understanding, uplifting and makes you accountable. Thanks to everyone who has left a message here -sooo appreciated.

    I'm thrilled to read that all 'us newbies' are hanging in there! This is IT - this is the LAST time we'll ever have to go through this! Yay!!!!!!!

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