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Quitting smoking while struggling with mental health problems

AprilR

Well-Known Member
Is really hard. I have been trying to quit for a long time but some thoughts come to my mind whenever i try. "life sucks anyway, what if you don't live long? You deserve this"

So it is both self soothing and self harm for me. I feel good not only physically but also mentally bc i deserve poisoning myself.

To deal with these thoughts i have been thinking of my faith, and how it prohibits self harm. I see self harm as an evil act against myself so i should not do it. The same with the self destructive thoughts. Just like i see suicide as a sin, i should see self harm as well. But it will be hard i think. Because i feel like shortening my life is good in a way. But that should not be up to me.

Does anyone else struggle with an addiction like alcohol or smoking? How do you deal with it?
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Yes, I think it is a very common problem, for NT and ASD folks both. Studies consistantly show nicotine is a particularly difficult addiction to overcome. Besides the physical element there seems to be a mental boost both calming and stimulating at the same time. As such it probably is a kind of mental health self medication.

I was a smoker for 40+ years, and had tried quitting or cutting down, but always unsuccessfully in the end. Eventually I settled on E-cigerettes. The dangers of vaping are still being determined and it does not change the nicotine situation. But even the most rabidly anti vape medical groups concede that for heavily addicted long time smokers it is statistically the most succesful method to stop cigerette smoking and probably less dangerous overall. But they see it as the choice of last restort and only lessoning the health danger by degree.

I will say, in making sure I use only best quality, least dangerous products the expense is not much less.

There are of course other strategies and aids, but I don't mention them here as they were not effective in my case.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I watched my parents try to quit. I think after a year of trying they finally did it. I remember a lot of hard candies around to help with oral fixation.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
You have a 3 to 4 week nicotine withdrawal period, so some apps just have you just scaling back so the withdrawal period won't feel so adverse. Maybe try starting a new habit involving exercise. It could be as simple as buying a small trampoline, and weights and working out. Walking even in the building you work in. Get a treadmill and start using it. So replacing an expensive habit, with a healthy habit. Good luck. I believe you got this!
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
Staff member
V.I.P Member
Whether it's drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or something else, an addiction that is negatively affecting our health is usually meeting some sort of need that we have. The fact that it fulfills a need is usually why we keep at it even when we know we want to stop.

I think ultimately, you will have to work to really understand what need smoking meets for you and in the beginning, find a substitute. Like Aspychata said, maybe exercise could be it. Introducing new coping skills for anxiety and the possibility of talking with other ex-smokers may also help.

For smoking, I would also recommend getting some interesting and soothing fidgets. I didn't smoke cigarettes, but I constantly smoked weed and the craving for the physical routine of preparing a bowl and then smoking it lasts to this day (even when the craving for the substance is long gone). The repetitive motions can be addicting in themselves, but there are so many ways to substitute something healthier.
 

AprilR

Well-Known Member
Whether it's drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or something else, an addiction that is negatively affecting our health is usually meeting some sort of need that we have. The fact that it fulfills a need is usually why we keep at it even when we know we want to stop.

I think ultimately, you will have to work to really understand what need smoking meets for you and in the beginning, find a substitute. Like Aspychata said, maybe exercise could be it. Introducing new coping skills for anxiety and the possibility of talking with other ex-smokers may also help.

For smoking, I would also recommend getting some interesting and soothing fidgets. I didn't smoke cigarettes, but I constantly smoked weed and the craving for the physical routine of preparing a bowl and then smoking it lasts to this day (even when the craving for the substance is long gone). The repetitive motions can be addicting in themselves, but there are so many ways to substitute something healthier.

For me smoking is both an escape from anxiety and self harm. I wish i could find the time to exercise but i work 45 hours a week and get too exhausted to do anything after work. Realistically, i will probably turn to emotional eating in this process but even that is better than smoking which basically means self harm to me
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
Staff member
V.I.P Member
Realistically, i will probably turn to emotional eating in this process but even that is better than smoking which basically means self harm to me
I think there is value in the idea of "harm reduction." Smoking is better than cutting. Eating is better than smoking.

I spent a long time on the harm reduction path. From deadly drugs to alcohol to marijuana to caffeine. It's a slow and risky form of progress, but it is progress. As long as you keep on moving away from the harmful coping strategies. Each transition can help to break down self destructive patterns and habits.

Please don't be afraid to get help and support for this. You are up against something very strong and difficult to quit.
 

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