1 year tomorrow

I quit by using the e-cigarette. It was probably the beginning of August 2013 my husband and I both purchased an e-cigarette kit with the intention of trying to get off the real thing. I had been smoking at least a pack a day for 30 years and was really tired of not being able to breathe. The nicotine cartridge for the e-cig lasted me about two weeks. Seems I wasn't smoking as long or as much with the e-cig. I only changed the cartridge once from the time I bought it to the time I quit. On September 13th I came into work and stood outside with the fellow smoking co-workers and pulled out my e-cig, looked at it and just didn't want it. I put it back in the case and never took it out again.

With all that being said I hope someone out there is going through, or has gone through, the same thing I am. A good friend of mine is a psychologist who quit smoking a whole lot of years ago. She was on Facebook last Friday night when I couldn't sleep and I had a chat with her about how I was feeling....I had a whole lot of anxiety breathing going on, couldn't sleep, fighting horrible anxiety attacks when I tried to go sleep. So during my chat with her she remembered that my one-year anniversary was coming up in a week and told me that, like clockwork, the mind and body go through secondary withdrawal at six months and one year after quitting. Does this sound like something anyone else has gone through on this timetable?

I do have a very high stress job, I work in a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, and have to work closely with the participants in shelter as well as the hotline that rings all day long. I do realize that my "pattern" used to be that after a particularly bad hotline or a participant in crisis I would go outside and smoke with a co-worker and decompress. I notice now that because I'm not smoking I rarely leave my desk/phone/shelter office during the day. I'm afraid that if I go back to the "pattern" of decompression then I will go back to smoking.

I just can't seem to shake the feeling of being horribly afraid of not waking up in the morning. Intellectually I know that I'm breathing just fine, I'm not dizzy and my nail beds are very white, which tells me I'm getting plenty of oxygen so what I'm feeling has to be anxiety related.

Can someone please tell me that I'm not going crazy?!?!?

18 Replies

  • Hi ther mich2reno, first of all well done on reaching 1 year tomorrow. Pete and I had better get your badge shined up and sparkly ready for the morning.

    As for your anxiety I do know how you feel. The trick is to try take your mind off how you feel at bedtime. Try reading a book until you are really tired and cant fight going to sleep. I had similar feelings after my heart attack, felt sure I couldnt breathe. I have changed my routine and although not perfect i am coping much better. There is another community for anxiety with healthunlocked may be worth looking at. If you click on my communities on the green bar at the top of the page, then go into browse communities.

    Whatever you do remember your not going crazy, and your anxiety attacks are like that old friend Mr Nicotine and they can both be beaten.

    Stay strong and positive. :) xx

  • Hi Mich2reno, a big warm welcome to this lovely quit support site and a massive, ginourmous well done to you for reaching a Year quit very nearly :) :) Your new 1 Year Winners badge is now all shiny and ready for you to wear tomorrow :)

    Your asking if your crazy ?? hmmmm, well, actually, I think a lot of us go a bit crazy/nutty at some point in our quit journey :o :D :D mind you saying that, I think I've been nutty all the way through my quit journey and still am :D :D

    As for the anxiety, just wandering if yoga may help you at all :o it may just calm you down a bit :) Also, Emjay our Lovely quit support adviser has got a breathing exercise which may help you :) I will go a searching for it and post it for you :)

    Take care gal and be happyyyyyyyyyy :) :)

    Pete :)

  • Breathing exercise 3: To slow down a busy mind and help with a good nights rest...

    EmJay Quit Support Advisor a day ago

    Before you try going to sleep, think about your day, and try and clear your mind Is anything worrying you? If so think about whether or not you can do anything about it. Focus on all the positive things that have gone well for you, how good you feel about them or the things that have happened during your day. Any negative thoughts you may have collect them all together and have them ready to leave your body

    Once you have done this, close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

    Breathe in and out a few times, in your own time

    Next, take in a nice, long, slow, deep breath through your nose

    Breathe out a nice long sigh through your mouth

    Repeat this 3 -4 times

    As you feel yourself ready to relax, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears and then let them drop

    Focus again on your breathing, now think of the number 10 as you breathe in

    As you breathe out, see the number 10 leave your mind

    Feeling any tension leaving your body as you do this.

    Next, breathe in nice and slowly as you think of number 9

    As number 9 leaves your mind, breathe out slowly.

    As you breathe in, see the number 8

    Imagine every bit of worry within you being caught up in your breath and being pushed out

    as you see the number 8 leaving your body,

    taking everything that concerns you away.

    Continue to focus on your breathing

    Imagining with each breath in, you are gathering up every bit of tension from every part of your body

    Every breath out takes all this tension away.

    As you see the number 7 enter your mind,

    feel the activity within your head and thoughts starting to slow right down

    breathing in and then out, feeling more and more relaxed each time as the numbers leave your mind

    Your breathing should now be nice and slow, your heart and pulse will be more relaxed and your mind will feel so at eased.

    As you slowly count your way down the numbers, you should be feeling ever so relaxed and the days worries and stresses should be as far away from your mind as possible.

    The more you practice this breathing exercise, the easier it should become every-time.

  • Hi Mich2reno, your not crazy hun, we all go thru various degrees of anxiety at various points in our life. Your at your 1st anniversary and your brain is playing tricks on you.

    Your stressing yourself out because you have gone soooo long without nicotine and being smoke free that your brain is trying to trick you........ don't let it.

    You need to take a break from that phone/desk or shelter of yours, get up and go for a walk - even if its only to walk up and down a few flights of stairs... do you knit or crotchet? start making things..... maybe some of your friends could do with some nice woolly scarves for Christmas....crossword puzzles... as long as its not smoking :O :)

    Actually monky made a good suggestion re the yoga.... do you have a 'quiet room' at work where you could take yourself off for 10 minutes and meditate... listen to a bit of whale music (whatever calms and soothes you) or read a couple of chapters of a book :)

    You have come so far don't let this get to you :) take care and you know that we will help you as much as we can :) -x-

  • I'm about at the same stage as you & still have times when I think I struggling to breathe,I'm not,but my mind thinks I am.I used to have a fairly stressful job so I did the same as you and used nicotine as a way of decompressing, you absolutely HAVE to work your way around that which Isn't easy but even if you go outside for some air rather than a cig it's better than staying at your desk all day.

    You ABSOLUTELY have done the hard work getting this far & you sure aren't going crazy,You'll work this out and move on as a stronger person.Well done on an amazing quit.

  • Hey Mich2reno, loving that new bit of bling, monky has shined it up well and it really suits you :) Wear it with pride and every time you feel it coming on top, just have a look at it to remind yourself just how far you have come :)

    Well done hun -x-

  • Hi Mich2reno,

    Firstly - congratulations on reaching one year quit – a massive achievement. Coincidentally I will be quit one year tomorrow, on the 14th of September, although I used an e-cig for a good while after I quit cigarettes. It was interesting to hear what your psychologist friend said about the 6 month and 1 year secondary withdrawal phases. Maybe because these are major milestones to us when we quit smoking we subconsciously think about smoking a lot more close to these times (although I’m no shrink).

    I’m sorry to hear your having such anxiety attacks but I’m sure you’ll get over them – you’ve had the willpower to quit smoking – I’m sure you’ll have the willpower to overcome your anxiety.

    Myself, my main problem is concentration – not that I was ever brilliant at it before . I’m currently in my second year of a foundation degree and as its part time (as I work full time in an IT department) a lot of the work is done at home. In the first year, if the work was stressing me out, a cigarette break seemed to be the thing to kick start me going again but this year I don’t have that and I just can’t seem to concentrate for more than half an hour without thinking – if I still smoked I could kick myself going again. This then gets me stressed because a) I do not want to start smoking again and b) deadlines get closer and closer and I just can’t seem to get the work done. Oddly enough it seems to be worse lately, perhaps this is because I’m going into a ‘secondary withdrawal’ phase.

    Although my problem is different to yours, I think we and many like us are in the same boat. We’re in a position where we feel like we are suffering because we’re not smoking any more. But the more you think about this, the crazier it seems. The truth is, we’re not suffering because we’re not smoking, we are actually far better off now we are not smoking and if we did go back, even though it may very temporarily seem to relieve some of the stress, I have no doubt, that after being successfully stopped for this length of time, would regret that decision for the rest of our lives.

    So let’s pull ourselves together, and realise, whatever we’re going through, smoking will not cure it and I’m sure that, even if that doesn’t fix the problem, it’ll certainly help.

    PS – I’d better go and get on with my degree work now as I’ve put it off all morning – haha.

    All the best,


  • Hi Simon, got your new badge waiting for you, all shonedededededed up ready :) :D

    Have a lovely weekend and not toooooo much studying eh :o :D :D

    See's ya later pal :)

  • Cheers Monky - Can you do neon letters too? - haha :)

    I'm afraid I've hung about a bit too long on this one - got to finish a 5000 word report for Monday night - only 2000 words left to go!!! Soon as I've finished, it'll be feet up, kids to bed, match of the day on and a well deserved beer (or two).

  • Thank you Simon and congrats on YOUR 1-year....and a great day for your 1-year as it was my birthday as well!

  • Wishing you a belated happy Birthday mich2reno, hope you had a great day :) x

  • Hope you are having a good weekend Mich2reno, you certainly deserve one. Sunny relaxing good wishes and good vibes are winging their way to you :)

    There are effects to quitting, real hard sometimes, but i dont think any of us believe it would be better if we were smoking. Our heads do try and convince us of that sometimes, but were not quite that crazy :| Just a bit crazy, not that crazy. I hope some of the good suggestions above help. I'm going to add some to my strategies. Guess we get good at developing new strategies, and its good to share them. Every day's a new one. What a blessing! :) And it's weekend :) ! Whoopee!

    Good on yer Mr Edd! The quit is brilliant, and studying AND working is also sure something to be proud of! I think you're absolutely right, we are learning to adapt away from long learnt habits and sure it will pull us into thinking we need that quick old habit fix, to decompress, to concentrate...... We sure as hell don't. It is a long way to come, so much success, quitting smoking. You don't throw this HUGE achievement, and all the improved health, money, pride......etc. away. That really would be throwing out the baby with the bath water. No sirree.

    Wishing one and all a good weekend, whatever you're up to :)

  • Aup Betts, its lovely to see you gal :)

    Hayyyyy you seen your new badge yet ?? a big Whooooooopy flippin Dooooooooo gal :) :)

    Have a lovely sunny 8-) weekend :) :)

  • Your shiny one year badge is looking great :) :) that is a fantastic effort :) :)

  • Congratulations mich2reno, fantastic achievement, well done :) x

  • Congratulations!!!!.. One year is a massive effort ..Brilliant!!!!...keep it up and enjoy being smoke free


  • Juuuuuuust looooooove the looks of that flippin cake Lin :) :) xx

  • For sure you're not going crazy! But first of all, I would like to say congratulations to you for not going back to the habit. One year is a big achievement. You're seeing the result of your patience and willingness to change your lifestyle for the better, and yes, it's a great result. Congrats again to you and your husband!

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