I Quit!!

Giving up smoking when I was at the height of my Graves’ induced anxiety and depression probably seemed like quite a stupid idea to most people, but to me in made sense. I wanted to regain control of my life and in my head, stoping smoking was something I needed to do to do that.

Smoking with Graves’ isn’t good. If you smoke then you’re twice as likely to develop Thyroid Eye Disease and as smoking fuels the autoimmune attack on your thyroid, you’re much less likely to respond to medication. However, if I’m honest I didn’t really care about that. If I cared enough about the effect of smoking on my health I would have stopped a long time ago. I’m asthmatic and have the onset of COPD so I already knew full well what smoking was doing to me.

I was also spending £70 a week. £3640 a year on cigarettes. I couldn’t afford to be spending that but again I didn’t care. Smoking was my only selfish spend and I looked at the cost as an essential living expense. I always managed to find it.

Grace (my 13 year old youngest daughter) asked me how many ‘likes’ she would need to get on a post to make me stop smoking. I gave her a random number. But I knew it didn’t really matter. She asked me at a time i already knew I wanted to stop.

I may have under estimated Graces social media skills!

As you can see Grace got her likes. So it gave me that extra push I needed to start the process of stopping.

I didn’t want to stop smoking because of the effect on my health or because of the cost, those things bothered me but I always just see them as a concerns for the future. I wanted to stop because I had started to notice just how much cigarettes controlled my life.

It didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, the whole time I was anywhere I was working out when it would be acceptable to go and have a cigarette. At work I was rushing out to get the last one in before teaching a class, at a show or the circus I’d be rushing in and out to fit as many as possible in the breaks. Even when I was on bed rest after finding out I had hyperthyroidism and my heart rate was through the roof, I got Sean to put a chair in my little smoking room so I could still smoke then to.

I’m sure cigarettes had controlled my life for years but I’d never noticed it before. I’m not sure what highlighted the control cigarettes had over me but as soon as I started noticing, I started resenting smoking.

I convinced myself I was only continuing to smoke because I needed to. I was worried stopping would make me even more stressed and unbearable to be around.  I was also scared about weight gain. I can’t help it, I’m vain and my weight had just started coming down, I didn’t want to do something to cause it to shoot back up again.

I’d tried giving up smoking in the past, numberous times, I’d tried patches, vaping, gum, tablets and none of it lasted. I thought I enjoyed smoking so giving up always felt like I was missing out. I stupidly started smoking at 13 years old and the longest I’ve ever managed to stop in the past was during pregnancies.

The only photo I can find of me actually smoking! This is from 2012 and I was spending most of my time at my brother’s party outside with a cigarette in my hand, pretty much the same way I spent every social occasion.

A few people recommended a book for me to read. They’d said they had read it and they stopped smoking as soon as they had finished. My instinct was to think they wasn’t real smokers. I didn’t think there was any way I could read a book and stop smoking but I wanted to show Grace I was willing to give anything a go.

I’d like to state now that I have no affiliation with this book, I purchased it myself and my experience with it is my own. I get no commission for my review on it.

I purchased Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr in May 2019 but I didn’t start reading it until I was on bed rest after my hyperthyroidism diagnosis. Although I couldn’t read it straight away as my eye sight was shocking. I had to wait until medication started kicking in and my vision started returning to normal.

But I read it eventually and it took a few days to get through it. It wasn’t the most riveting thing I have ever read and I had to re-read quite a few chapters more than once because I didn’t really absorb it all, it was easy to get distracted. There were some interesting facts, there was a lot of repetitive and boring sections, BUT there were also some bits that made me stop, pay attention and change my views on stopping. Towards the end of the book, smoking naturally became harder. The book advised you to continue to smoke to the end and decide when you will have your last cigarette.

And I did it, I set a time for my last cigarette and I stuck to it. I stopped smoking, and four months on I don’t even think about smoking anymore. I forget I was a smoker until it’s brought up. I don’t feel like an ex smoker. I feel like a non smoker.

I didn’t substitute smoking for eating so I had no weight gain and having an over active thyroid possibly assisted with that. I didn’t use nicotine replacement products so the process wasn’t drawn out, 3 weeks after completing the book and I knew I’d stopped smoking for good. I didn’t give up anything – smoking wasn’t something I ever really wanted or needed to do. I made a change for the better and it felt good.

I think I was probably a lot more accepting of the books logic and suggestions than most people would be. Mainly because I had been pretty depressed and I needed to see the positivity in what I was doing. I needed to believe what the book was saying for me to take back control of my life. I needed a focus and the book gave me one. But saying that I think if you pick it up with an open mind and really read every word then it can work for anyone.

It wasn’t totally easy at the start. I was very conscious of my cravings. But I controlled them and accepted them for what they were. I did have a few stressy moment’s (by stressy moment’s I mean full on breakdowns with tears and tantrums and some screaming and shouting) but I’d been having those anyway so I’m not totally sure what ones were because of nicotine withdrawal and what ones were because of my thyroid.

Within a few weeks I noticed a huge difference in my breathing and I stopped needing my reliever inhaler at all, I also saved a hell of a lot of money.

But the biggest thing I noticed was how much spare time I had! Mornings were so much nicer, I stopped feeling rushed all the time. I realised I didn’t need cigarettes to manage my stress. And days were easier.

When I smoked my morning routine felt like a real effort, despite the fact I didn’t have to do anything except get myself dressed and ready to leave the house. Sean had to wake me up at 8am, I couldn’t do anything until I had a cigarette and I couldn’t have a cigarette until I’d made a cup of tea to have with it. My cup of tea always lasted longer than my cigarette so of course that meant I needed another one while I was still drinking my tea. I then got washed and dressed and rushed to make another cup of tea and have another couple of cigarettes before getting in the car to leave for work at 9. Now every morning I’m up at 7. On a good day, when my Graves’ symptoms aren’t to drastic, I wake up myself. I do a weight training session, get breakfast, relax and seem to have loads of time to get ready. Sean does all the school run stuff so I’m still quite selfish with my morning me time but he enjoys it and I get to play with Oliver before he goes to playschool.

Every time I had tried to stop smoking in the past it had been torture and then I ended up starting again. This time has been almost enjoyable. It felt positive and constructive and I haven’t felt like I’m giving up anything. It’s felt like I’ve gained. I’ve gained energy, time and the ability to breathe a little better. But most of all I’ve regained a little bit of control of my life.

Published by aerialemma

I'm a 40 year old aerial arts and pole dance instructor who has recently been diagnosed with Graves' Disease

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