I have smoked for 15 years. All those years I thought I very much enjoyed it and I thought it calmed me down. Up until about 6 months ago, I did enjoy it and never thought about quitting. It wasn't something I worried about. Well about a year ago I started having problems with anxiety and panic attacks. They came from out of nowhere, but it controlled my life pretty much up until about 2 months ago. I had my physical done in January and I weighed a 180lbs. After going through this anxiety rollercoaster I now weight 145lbs. So you can get a idea as to how much it took over me physically and mentally. I wouldn't eat for days, I was afraid to be alone. My husband had to eventually get on a program at work for FMLA so he could stay home with me on my really bad days. I could hardly take care of myself let alone my kids. I went and seen doctors who prescribed me medicines just to find out they were making my anxiety worse. Nothing worked except Xanax.(which I still carry in my purse as a security blanket). I think I have cried more in this past year than I have my whole entire adult hood. Going through all of this, my smoking went full boar. I used to smoke a little under a pack a day. I was up to 2 packs a day. All the while thinking the cigarettes were keeping me calm. I have had 2 EKG's in the last 6 months becuase my anxiety was turning me into a hypercondriact (sp?). I would constantly think I was having a heart attack. I went camping one weekend and the next day my chest hurt so badly I thought I couldn't breath. So I went to see my doctor again (my doctor now knows me on a personal level) and this time he ordered a breathing test. Well I did it and it didn't come back as good as I thought it would. He told me I had signs of the early stages of emphazema (spell again?). I lost it...had to call my husband at work and have him come home. I was a complete wreck. I didn't know much about it. I honestly thought I was going to die yet again that night. He came home and calmed me down, assured me I wasn't going to die but that I needed to quit smoking now while I am still ahead of the game. Well, try and tell a person who is scared of the unknown and has only thought that cigarettes was the only thing that could calm her down..try and tell her to quit smoking. This picture was a no win situation for me. I felt like I was stuck in a dark closet trying to get out but no doors to do so. So, I started cutting back my smoking quite a bit. I went from about 2 packs a day down to less than half a pack a day. Once I did that I started noticing that when I smoked my anxiety level raised. When I went half a day without smoking I felt great. I have done this for the past 2 months. I would tell myself, no more smoking and then I would start to feel good and that in turn would make me want to smoke. And then right back to feeling bad and axiety raising. Finally I told myself enought was enough. My anxiety won the battle and I can't tell you how great of a gift that was. To have anxiety and panic is probably the worst feeling a person could possibly have. To be afraid and not know why is a very bad feeling. I wouldn't wish it on anyone and I pray to GOD that I don't ever go through the severity that I have in the last year. They always say something good will come out of bad. This past year I have been asking and praying of what that was and why. I couldn't possibly see any good come out of the hell I have been through. Well, I am on day 5 of no smoking and this may just be one of my greatest gifts from that. I have not had one single anxiety attack. I haven't had to touch my medicine at all. To go through a day and not be afraid is heaven sent. All this time I thought the cigarettes were calming me down. Come to find out....they were a very big part in my axiety going overboard. Anytime I think about missing a cigarette, I think about how it would make me feel. And that is enough to keep me away from them. I am literaly starting a new life after a very bad year that I thought would haunt me the rest of my life!
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