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Marlboro by SimonQ錫濛譙.

I just had (another) cigarette. I can feel it hit my system almost instantly. A touch of momentary vertigo. Mucous membranes shifting into overdrive. A bit of nausea. A slight headache. Immediate calm. Relaxation.

I don’t like this. I don’t want this. I don’t enjoy it. I’m not proud of it. But I had to do something.

I broke down this week and gave in, after 9 years smoke-free. I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I was obsessing over cigarettes, thinking about them all day every day, thinking about when I could buy them. I stuck it out for three months but the craving never went away (despite taking a drug that’s supposed to reduce cravings) and instead, it only increased. The anxiety just kept getting stronger.

It came down to nicotine versus THC or alcohol. I can’t screw up a clean drug record in case a new psychiatrist demands testing. I can’t stay drunk all day, and with my meds and blood sugar instability, drunkenness is a bad idea anyway. In spite of my better judgment, I picked the legal non-interacting drug.

I wish I could have made a more appropriate choice, but I couldn’t tolerate the anxiety any longer. I don’t yet have the “distress tolerance” skills that I’m supposed to learn in DBT. I don’t have medication that could help without putting me under for hours.

I hate, hate, hate that I’m reduced to self-medicating. It’s embarrassing, especially after I asked several times for a PRN prescription that would help, to no avail. That was incredibly demoralizing; the message was “shut up and deal.” I’ve been trying, and I can’t. That’s why I asked for help, which Hippie Dude had to push me to do in the first place.

I wish I didn’t feel like I need some kind of chemical intervention; the way the psychs have handled it makes me feel more ashamed about occasional acute anxiety than about the issues that led to daily mood stabilizers and antidepressants. At the same time, I realize that it may be due in part to biology. Which would explain why I’ve been on edge for as long as I can remember. High strung? Yeah, just a little.

I’m not a one-cigarette-every-once-in-awhile smoker. It’s like everything else – all or nothing. I’m a pack-a-day smoker. I can neither afford that (prices have more than doubled since I quit) nor can my body handle it. I picked up ultralight cigarettes so they wouldn’t knock me on my ass, but even from day one, it wasn’t just one smoke.

This needs to stop. I know I can quit. I just can’t do it without some other means of taming the anxiety.

Stubbed Out Cigarette by Trostle.