Monday, May 22, 2006

Day Fourteen or whatever and I feel... um... SOMETHING...

Thanks to those of you who have lent your support and words of encouragement on my quitting smoking. It was two weeks ago today that I officially quit and with the exception of a couple of slips, I've been smoke-free. With those brief lapses, I was reminded of one reason I wanted to quit. The smoke was harsh and the taste was bad; it just wasn't a joy anymore.

In the past, in more half-hearted attempts to quit, I couldn't deny that I loved the taste and enjoyed how good a relaxing smoke made me feel. But in the past six months, all the pleasure was gone, none of the taste, none of the bliss, just a heaviness in my lungs that usually led to a hacking cough. More often than not, I'd find myself lighting up only to experience an existential dilemma, "Why am I doing this? Why do I have to do this?!?"

Looking back over the past two weeks, I've been blessed that the cravings have been minimal and brief. Putting my mind to not lighting up by seeking some distraction has helped me work through the worst. The stop-smoking supporters I've heard from in the comments and in emails have assured me that I'm past the worst of it. Agreed, the cravings are less insistent and persistant. Oh, there's still the two or three dozen times a day that I think about having a cigarette (especially when I see someone smoking) but that's better than the two or three dozen times an hour a week and half ago.

Cravings aren't the problem. What's bothering me (and the reason I haven't written much the past two weeks) is the loss of concentration. I swear, quitting smoking has lowered my IQ by 30 points. As someone who has always prided himself on a better than average vocabulary and decent grammar, the past couple of weeks has been a haze of stupidity, slack-jawed and drooling, like I'm some NASCAR numbskull or Republican. With my head full of clean air, I haven't been able to write an independent clause, much less a coherent sentence. I grasp for words that I know but the tip of my tongue seems to flail helplessly in a futile search. Conversations with me go nowhere; chances are, I'll forget what I was going to say. This senility is driving me crazy.

So, supporters of the non-smoking me (and who are ex-smokers), have any of you experienced this? Does it get any better? Tell me it does, please... if not, I'm going back to smoking.


landismom said...

Well, as a caveat, I should mention that I seemed to have somehow signed up for a NASCAR email list lately (how did this happen? I dunno). But let me just say I quit smoking almost 13 years ago, and I did go through a brief period of muzzy-headed-ness, but I'm back to bitching as I vote for spineless Democrats, and reasonable clear-headed-ness today. Congrats on day 14!

karen m said...

The fuzziness will clear up - just give it some time. I've been smoke-free for about 10 years now, and it took about 3 months for the fog to lift as I remember.

Both Evil Dad and I still have cravings, but they clear right up when we think about his grandmother dying of lung cancer. Hang in there, Jim. You can do this.

alala said...

Yep, I'll second (third?) that, it was very distracting at first but I think now my brain works as well as it ever did. Well, maybe not, but I'm fuzzy-headed for different reasons now, notably age, excessive college, and motherhood.

LouLou! said...

I quit in 1987...and...uh...I think that everything is pretty much back to - uh - what is that word? Normal. Yeah. That's it.

To this day, once in a rare while, usually when I am horribly stressed, I still have a craving and, should I pass by where someone is smoking a clove cigarette, well, you may have to pull me off of them. BUT, you can do it. It's better than giving yourself another way to get dead sooner.

aka_monty said...

I must be a remedial ex-smoker...because I quit Christmas day and STILL find myself frequently stuck for nouns. There are a lot of thingies and whatsits...I do hope that my nouns come back soon.

Perhaps it's only senility. :)

Congrats on the two DOES get somewhat easier; I only think of cigarettes like three or four times a day now. :)

panthergirl said...

If you need a reminder as to why you are doing this, just look at your children. Then, think about my son whose father didn't quit smoking and is now dead.

Stark, but true.

With Father's Day on the hoizon, know that you are giving your CHILDREN the best Father's Day gift ever. Your presence.