Do You have “Ex-Smoker Disorder?”

Smoke Free 24 days!

Signs you may be an ex-smoker…

There are so many “Disorders” these days, I thought there should be one for all of us ex-smokers. Now that we have Chantix, there are going to be a lot more of us running around. Make it easy on yourself to recognize someone with the disorder, by reading the symptoms below.

  • A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. Never be able to smoke again. What is there to look forward too? No more smokers cough in the morning to wake up to. No more panic attacks because when I get out of bed and I can’t find my cigarettes or worse…a lighter. Yes, it is rather bleak to wake up in the morning with clean lungs and no panic attacks.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities–No interest in or ability to enjoy former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. OMG! You mean I can’t enjoy my former activity of being a couch potato. What about my favorite pastime of standing outside in a wind chill of -50 degrees trying to get a good hit off of my cigarette. Oh yes, that is a true loss.
  • Appetite or weight changes–Significant weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month. What can I say? Food never tasted so good! Unfortunately I now enjoy food with all my senses, I can smell it and actually TASTE it! Amazing. Not to worry though, this symptom will correct itself around 6-months to a year.
  • Sleep changes–Either insomnia or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia) Sleep is good! Our bodies are healing and they need the rest to restore all the damage we did to ourselves by smoking.
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation–Either feeling “keyed up” and restless or sluggish and physically slowed down. And this is supposed to be something new? I have always had this symptom, even when I was smoking.
  • Loss of energy–Feeling fatigued and physically drained. Even small tasks are exhausting or take longer. Time does seem to move in slow motion now. I used to get up and get ready for work and have a good 30 minutes to get on my computer and check emails or blog before I had to leave for work. Oh yeah, I would get up at 4:30 a.m. coughing my lungs up and craving a cigarette. Now that I’m not craving nicotine in the morning, I can sleep later. I don’t have to get up and have my “fix.”
  • Self-loving–Strong feelings of worthiness or pride. No criticism of perceived faults and mistakes. All of a sudden, we love who we are. Active, healthy,empowered people who are doing the single most important change we can make in our entire lives. We are proud of ourselves for overcoming many obstacles and not smoking. We have made it through many trials and tribulations and did not smoke! We are no longer beating ourselves up for not taking care of our health, for being perceived as “outcasts” in our society. Yes, this is a tough one to live with. More self-esteem is always a downer.
  • Concentration problems–Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things. Smoking a cigarette doesn’t help us focus or concentrate any better. It’s a distraction from the problem at hand. If I have problems concentrating, I take 10 deep breaths which gets more oxygen to my brain and relaxes me. It works every time. Or, getting up and walking around also helps. I think it does the same thing-get that oxygen flowing to my brain.
  • Irritability–Easily annoyed or frustrated and lashing out in anger or snapping at others. Unfortunately, nicotine withdrawal isn’t a good legal defense for murder. So, for now we have to learn how to cope with these feelings. I haven’t murdered anyone yet but, I have lashed out with some choice words to a co-worker. Before I quit smoking, I thought I was a saint, so lashing out just makes me a little more human and a little less perfect. I’m okay with that. It was a lot of pressure trying to be perfect.
  • Aches and pains–New or worse physical symptoms, including headaches, backaches, diarrhea or constipation. Feeling aches and pains makes me grateful that I’m alive and not lying in some hospital bed with a tube in my lung and hooked up to oxygen. I can deal with a few minor discomforts because my body is healing.

That’s it for now. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, get down on your knees and thank God for the blessing he has given you. A second chance at life and the power to choose how you want to live it, this time around.

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