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    I'm a disabled Caretaker #ChronicPain #ChronicPancreatitis #LungCancer #DownSyndrome

    I've been recovering from a car accident I have abdominal wall denervation and a crushed vertebrae and three herniated discs. I talked morphine every day. I have anxiety and depression. I live and care for my Downs syndrome daughter as well as my 82 year old mother who has pancreatitis the beginning of dementia and has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. She is coughing up blood. My mother smoked all her life and I have tried everything to slow and stop her from smoking and she won't. It breaks my heart every day to see this so I stay in my basement most days I need help I can't cope anymore. How can I stop her from smoking ??

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    Reflecting

    Last night I was doing a lot of complaining about my diet struggles and quitting smoking struggles and lack of motivation to to walk/go to the gym… then I talked to my sister and she said stop complaining and act on shit. I did a lot of reflecting last night. I know I’m not gonna lose 30lbs over night or be able to quit smoking cold turkey or start working out every day. I’ve been struggling. I try hard, but I could put forth more effort. I speak with my psychiatrist tomorrow so I’m hoping he’ll lower my one med. I’m thinking clearly and feel like myself and am doing really good. I have a hard time falling asleep and then an even WORSE time waking up plus the weight gain and even worse my beautiful hair has been so damaged. This year has been the worst year of my life. I need to look at all the positive things too. I got a new car after totaling mine two years ago, I got a new job after not working other than be a caregiver in over 5 years, and they caught my cancer early. It’ll be a year this Christmas since I was last hospitalized. After 6 years of being in and out of hospitals I plan on never going back. Today I put make up on for the first time in I don’t know how long and it made me feel good. My mom had work so I helped my dad with his lunch before I left for work and I had a good day. Last night I realized I shouldn’t complain… it’s easier said than done. I hate many aspects of my life, but I feel so lucky and I’m so much better than I was a year ago. #BipolarDisorder #Depression

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    Interesting info to share with patients who smoke as a coping mechanism. From Neuroscience News

    neurosciencenews.com/nicotine-mental-health-21784 #CopingMechanism #MentalHealth #Smoking #healthyliving

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    Letter to Younger People with Anorexia Nervosa

    Part 1 of 2 I have been a fourteen to seventeen old anorexic. I remember having too much pain in the present to think much about any future, a confident despair that told me nothing but distraction would break the grip of physical weakness and fear, and that only for a few hours. I did not believe in any suggested motivations to recover. Now, in my mid-fifties, I have relapsed. My underlying health is broken and hope is much harder to come by. I don’t know what recovery might bring. The rewards will likely be less and the journey no easier.

    My going forth into #EatingDisorders recovery in my late teens was a very different journey than the release Isaiah describes. It began not in joy and peace, but from shame and grief when I could not donate blood platelets a close friend needed to prolong her life. Cognitive behavioral therapy with a sensible psychologist laid the groundwork and helped me make recovery a reality.

    Recovery itself challenged my body and spirit. Judging from the reactions of my parents, it was a stress on my family as well. When I was weak from malnutrition and running interference for my eating disorder, much of my energy went toward distracting and pacifying parents. I spent hours drilling myself into good grades and scores on standardized tests. My room was neat, I wore clothes my parents liked, and prioritized family events. When I did act out, the underlying need could be dismissed as part of my illness. In recovery, suppressed emotions burst out sometimes from a direct cause and sometimes randomly after being ignored too long. I even had tantrums until the worst rebound was over. I had the energy for a full social life with peers. I was no longer convenient and predictable.

    Then there was the matter of eating and weight gain. I began gaining weight on Christmas cookies and well-buttered bread. One family member, annoyed that I was having all this treat food after causing such trouble, told me plain bread and salads was a better plan. Carnation instant breakfast in milk was a good weight gain strategy not because I liked it (I didn’t) but because as I gained weight thought I could change to skim milk.

    In college, freedom to eat without censure, a physical need for enough reserves to convince my body it was safe to use energy on repairs, and a lower nutrient to calorie ratio than home cooking led to more weight gain. The year I began menstruating again a family member advised smoking to keep from gaining too much weight. Under pressure to restrict at home on breaks I did, and my weight fluctuated annually between the upper and lower limits of a healthy range. In the summer, dessert was off-limits except for family-defined special occasions, and even then how much I ate was subject to scrutiny and commentary. A packed lunch of two packaged toast pieces, ten raw peanuts, and three dried apricot pieces brought the comment that I was losing college weight, “without doing anything crazy”.

    Recovery was physically difficult as well. Weight came on unevenly; for the first half-year maternity clothes would have been a good idea. Dresses were easiest, jeans essential but difficult, and skirts impossible. My feet and legs were no longer used to energetic movement and carrying a normal-weight body; I had foot pain so severe I could only walk in padded boots. I had to rediscover bras that fit. When menstruation resumed, it was heavy and unpredictable enough that I could not always manage it gracefully. Going forth from anorexia did bring joy, but at the cost of peace.

    Please, you who are in the cold peace of suppressed emotions and a dying body, do not let this make you afraid. Recovery side-effects pass. During recovery I did manage to stay in school and earn diploma. I went on to a joyful career in teaching, marriage, volunteering, and mothering two children. I hiked, visited cities and museums, enjoyed books and music, and eating, as well as other activities, with friends. I studied a martial art.

    Recovery does not mean the end to all problems, even physical ones. I developed celiac disease and irritable bowl syndrome, making some measure of restriction in eating necessary and pushing my weight to the lower limit for physical health. Osteoporosis and arthritis do run in my family, but I have a more severe case of the first than my mother and grandmothers did. I have healed from a fractured pelvis and fractured hip, but still need to do daily exercises to preserve mobility. My liver function is not good and I have low blood sugar. Two bouts of pneumonia meant an interruption of eating and I never did resume anything close to sufficient calorie intake, so I am again underweight enough to directly cause physical and emotional problems.

    At this point, recovery seems much more of a gamble,

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    Team Gryffindor!

    A selfie from my trip to the doctor yesterday wearing a vintage jumper that reminds me of the Gryffindor house crest, which is convenient seeing as that’s my house!

    I’m slowly growing accustomed to doing more waiting, and less pushing myself to do things that result in PEM. And since my body sort of screamed at me to do less, I find myself noticing the small things around me I used to take for granted with renewed appreciation.

    I also find myself caring a lot less….so whoever was sat next to me smoking in the car with black tinted windows so I couldn’t see them, got treated to me singing along to The Fray (Happiness), Amy Winehouse (You Sent Me Flying / Cherry), Sia (Breathe Me), Sarah M (Adia), Coldplay (We Never Change), and Lou Reed (Perfect Day).

    I stopped short of Wild is the Wind by Nina Simone, because I feel like it’s a late night song that requires me to be pretend drinking red wine, in a Margo Tenenbaum state of mind.

    Now that I’ve made things potentially awkward, let me know what your Hogwarts house is and what some of your favourite Sing-It-Out-Loud-DGAF soul songs are 💛

    #HarryPotter #Fashion #SpoonieFashion #Postexercisemalaise #ChronicFatigue #ChronicIllness #CardiovascularDisease #Music #MightyMusic

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    Questioning My Voices

    It was the weekend, and my neighbor across the hallway was outside her front door with friends smoking and talking loudly. Sometimes I looked through my door peep hole to place the voices with the faces. I really do not mind when they are outside chatting and spending time together. On the few occasions when my neighbor and I have talked she has told me she works two jobs; she certainly deserves a relaxing evening.

    Suddenly I heard a voice, which I thought was coming from outside the door, say, “I want to know why he is alone,” and I assumed that question was directed at me. However, since I sometimes hear voices because of my diagnosis of #SchizoaffectiveDisorder, I was not certain if the voice was really coming from my neighbor or from my brain disease. It was a fair enough question. I am a decent, somewhat good-looking guy, so it might be reasonable for someone to wonder why would I be alone on a Saturday night?

    On this occasion, I went back to watching TV, but then another thought entered my mind… does my neighbor have feelings for me? Did she really say that? If she wanted to hang out with me, would she knock on my door, or would she not?

    The following evening, my neighbor was outside her door talking to her friends again when I thought I heard, “He is a schizo!!”

    I thought perhaps my neighbor had Googled my name and found my first-person accounts of living day to day schizophrenia. I am not a celebrity, by any means, but it is not difficult to learn about my mental health advocacy online. I had lived in my apartment for about a year, and I only told one person, an upstairs neighbor, about my medical history. I wondered, Did he tell my other neighbors I had schizophrenia?  Whether this voice was real or unreal, one thing was for sure… this was a learning moment. I realized that I could open up to some people, but I still need to be careful to whom or when I talk about my brain disease. No matter how many interviews I do, no matter how many articles I write, some people will still be ignorant about mental health and the stigmatizing words associated with it.

    “Schizo,” is not a good thing to be called. It is like the word “Psycho.” Some people think someone with my diagnosis should be out howling at the moon. In my years with this brain disease, I have found it is better to stay quiet and not react aloud to something unless I am sure where it is coming from.

    It is now Tuesday; my apartment building is quiet, and I am playing music at a reasonable volume. Earlier in the day on my walk I began to question myself about the voices I had heard the previous nights.  The “Why is he alone?” still seems somewhat real, but “He’s a schizo!!” does not. The “Why is he alone?” question seems very strange to me now. How would she have known that I was alone when I had not seen her the entire day? In the past, I might have zeroed in on those questions and ruined my day by thinking of them over and over. However, distractions such as TV, exercise, or music give me time to figure out if the voices are real or not, and then I can move on, and that is what I have to do, move on from these thoughts. I love my apartment and my neighborhood. I feel blessed to live here, and probably will live here for a long time. I live in a very friendly community where I feel very comfortable saying hello to people I meet when I am walking outside. Hearing voices and wondering if they are real is part of what I deal with because of my mental health diagnosis. My doctor is the best person to talk to about my symptoms because he is trained to help me examine and confront the unreality of them.

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    Examining the Life Course and Learning to Love Yourself

    Let’s look at childhood and how kids are a product of their home environment. Children are heavily influenced by the “vibe” of their homes and the way in which they are raised. Some children do not grow up in a safe and healthy home environment. This often leads to behavioral problems later in life, especially during the teen years when development is most crucial.

    Children are naturally inquisitive creatures. It is completely normal to search for friends or other like-minded kids to hang out with. Friendships are vital to children’s well-being and sense of self. We all need to be nurtured, loved, and accepted, and the friendships made in childhood end up being an especially important piece of self-development. Friends can offer encouragement and love, especially to those who may not experience these same affirmations in their home.

    Friendships made in childhood are great, especially as it involves creating your first social circle. However, there is a darker side to creating social circles, and this happens when children are desperate to fit into molds created by certain cliques of people. As humans, we are wired in a sense where belonging is a paramount element as we grow up and evolve as people.

    This can become harmful to a child’s self-esteem and self-worth when they are trying too hard to fit in and become someone they are not, simply for the sake of fitting in with the “popular group.” Some children completely change who they are just to feel like they belong with the crowd.

    This can lead to a child doing something they wouldn’t normally do like smoking cigarettes or exploring other harmful drugs because every other liked child is doing the same.

    Peer pressure can lead to many problems, such as suspension from school. Children can become so consumed with what other people may think of them that they begin to put on a façade or a mask that they begin hiding behind, just so they are not seen as weird or different. Being unique while growing up might as well be considered a crime.

    Once that mask has become a more permanent part of a child’s everyday life, they begin to change to fit the societal molds as far as what’s considered popular and cool. As parents, you may very well notice the change, but you decide not to mention it for fear that it could hinder their development even further, even though they are seeing life through a blurred and distorted lens.

    #Depression is a concern, especially in the later teen years. This is because society is structured in such a way that it would have us believe that every other kid has their life figured out. If they are struggling with their identity, this can lead to feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, which is obviously not a pleasant feeling.

    It is important to normalize self-care and self-love when we see that someone we love is struggling to believe or understand their purpose in this crazy world. It is essential to normalize mental health and to emphasize that it is OK to reach out for professional help. Life is tough, and it is normal to need a guide to help when coping with the many stresses of life.

    Once help is achieved and at its maximum potential, and you begin to venture into adulthood, it is important to work on “peeling off that mask” and living for your truth. It is not about becoming arrogant or over-the-top confident, but it is about truly finding out who and what you are meant to be and do with your life. It is about embracing every single flaw and coming to the realization that we are all flawed in some sense.

    It is about putting yourself first and refusing to settle for anything less; loving yourself, even when you feel like no one else is there for you. It’s about shouting joy from the rooftops on an ordinary Tuesday; learning to give yourself permission to bask in the sunlight on a summer’s day; fully loving the person and life that is unique to you and only you. It is not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be worth it.

    Once you begin to truly live for the person you have always dreamed about becoming, the rest becomes history and stays in the past for that very reason.

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    How Do We Talk About Mental Illness?

    Language matters. What we call things matters. Does language shape thought or does thought shape language? Either way, both are important when it comes to brains.

    The latest discussion in the debates over language is what to call #MentalHealth (which is what I’m used to saying). Many of the words and phrases that have been in use for years no longer seem quite accurate.

    Take mental health, for example. When policymakers talk about subjects like mass violence, they often speak of “mental health issues” and what should be done about them. The thing is, if someone is mentally healthy, nothing really needs to be done about that. But mental illness is a term that doesn’t sound so easily addressed. Policymakers are notorious for using language that soft-pedals actual problems. Not to mention the fact that when they talk about mental health, they’re usually talking about addiction issues or homelessness (though they still aren’t particularly effective in addressing those either).

    Mental health is still a better term than “behavioral health.” I remember when community treatment centers and insurance programs were called behavioral health plans. Again, there was a lot of lumping psychiatric illnesses and addiction together. It was also wildly inaccurate. It was not the behavior that was unhealthy (the way smoking is). Behavior may have looked like the problem, but it wasn’t the cause. Something to do with thought or the brain was. Also, there was no equivalent term “behavioral illness.” That wouldn’t even make sense.

    So. We have mental illness as the term currently most used, with SMI (Serious Mental Illness) often used for disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia. Lately, though, there has been a push to replace those terms with “brain illness.” (The companion term is “brain health.”) It hasn’t caught on yet with the general public, though it’s gaining some traction among practitioners, advocates, and those affected by assorted conditions. I’ve heard some people are frustrated that it hasn’t caught on more widely already. They feel the process is going too slowly.

    Calling schizophrenia, bipolar, and other disorders “brain illnesses” certainly makes one sit up and take notice more than “behavioral health.” And it jibes with the notion that these mental disorders (there’s another term) are caused by something going wrong in the brain. This is not without controversy, however. There are those who think that referring to depression or bipolar disorder as “chemical imbalances” in the brain or faulty neurotransmitters (or their receptors) is inaccurate. There are various theories as to what causes these conditions, all the way from childhood trauma to gut bacteria. To me, the most likely scenario is that there’s a combination of brain-related factors and environmental influences at work here. Nature and nurture, in other words.

    Brain illness is certainly an attention-getting term. That should make it more likely to catch on with policymakers, but I suspect it won’t. It’s not a comfortable concept and there are no easy-sounding solutions to it. I doubt that it will catch on with the general public either. We still haven’t gotten people to move away from crazy, insane, maniac, psycho, or even nuts and stop throwing them around indiscriminately. Hell, we haven’t even been able to convince people that psychiatric institutions don’t use straightjackets anymore.

    Does “brain illness” make these conditions sound more treatable? Is it likely to increase compassion for those who have them? Is it likely to make any kind of a difference? I don’t think we’ll really know until it penetrates the consciousness of the person-on-the-street. And I have my doubts about when or if that might happen.

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    What's bothering me today? Being single in 2022.

    I know its better to get it out than to keep it in so here it goes.

    This is a guy who "likes" me and I guess is trying to impress me. I no longer use medical marijuana because although it helps my anxiety it doesn't exactly help my depression so I've taken other routes to supporting my mental health that have been working. I know he's trying to be nice and "joking" but possibly because I know him, this rubbed me the wrong way and I'll tell you why later.

    Conversation on social media:

    Him: Makes post on social media of sweet treats.

    Me: You eat edibles now?

    Him: I'm getting better so I can hang with you.

    Me: I haven't done it in quite a while so you're way ahead of me.

    Him: What! Are you okay? Do I need to make a delivery. Lol

    Me:Wait...not doing eds means I'm not okay?? 🤔 Backwards nation we're living in lol 🥴

    Him: Whats up, why u not doin well? Bc you haven't had any

    Me: What?

    Him: Haven't had any weed? I'm not bein fresh

    Me:Am I suppose to have it? Lol I'm not being fresh either lol

    Him: So what do want? Drink, food or other?

    Me: I'm good. Thank you.

    Him: Np ❤️ smarty 😂😂

    Why did this conversation bother me?

    #1 : When you tell someone you're not drinking or smoking and they ask you are you okay? My question is," Why do YOU feel the need to drink and smoke and are you okay?"

    Nowadays when you choose to be sober in a drug addicted world, others see it as strange or you're the one who's not okay. 🥴 Weird.

    #2 : When you tell someone you're not drinking or smoking and they still offer or ask do you want some?

    This is my life and my journey. Of course I can always kindly and simply say no thank you but nobody should be put in the position to be questioned and to explain themselves as to why they don't want to do something that they don't want to do.

    #3 : I have a medical card and can get marijuana whenever I need it. I told him I haven't done it in quite a while but he still offered me some. I don't need a stanger dropping off weed to me. This bothers me because people who don't have access or money would have fallen into this trap and taken off their journey not to mention the safety and security concerns. I especially want women to be careful in situations like this but everyone should use their best judgment.

    #4 I get that I am who I attract and I attract who I am but come on universe what this be? Lol Right now I'm in my own little world, healing in my own little universe. I see situations like these as tests. I believe when you're moving into a new chapter in your life the universe will see if you're ready to move forward and im ready. Nothing is going to have me go backwards. Upward and onwards is the only direction I'm headed.

    #5 Why did I relate this to being single? Because we would have never met and exchanged numbers if I was in a relationship. We met twice previously and never even indulged in any weed together. He's not a bad guy but trying to impress me this way is a major turn off.

    Okay, rant done! Good night 🌃

    #Depression #MedicalMarijuana #Anxiety #Dating #weed #single #Life

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    Curve balls and relationships

    So I found out a couple of weeks ago that I am pregnant. That is one of the main reasons I got back together with my ex. I thought maybe he would change for a bigger reason than just me. But lately it seems like eeything is exactly how it was when I left. I still try to talk to him and make him understand how I feel especially now that I'm hormonal and even more emotional all the time. On top of trying to quit smoking and changing everything I do to make it benefit the baby. I am struggling with all the emotions and it seems like I can't even confide in him on how I feel because he just makes it worse. I'm trying not to stress out too much because that can be bad for me and the baby but I feel trapped in the same loop that I was in before and I don't know how to get him to be even a little empathetic or understanding on how upset I really am or wha I'm dealing with. I feel like I have one foot in ad one foot out because I don't see him wanting to change he still just expects me to. He was trying to help me quit smoking but all that's doing is making me even more grumpy and now mad at him because he's what's In-between me and cigarettes. There's a lot of stress and pressure on this relationship that is making me super worried that we won't be able to work things out as do this together because I already feel alone even with him there. I wanted him to have a chance to be there for our child but it just seems to toxic to even be worth it and I don't think I'm strong enough to do this on my own. I feel like I can't leave him but that I also can't be with him and it makes me depressed all the time and the hormones make it a thousand times worse. I cry every single day and am getting to the point I wish I never got pregnant to begin with because it was already super unexpected and now all of this is added on top of it. I just feel super crushed and sad all the time and like I have no idea what to do anymore. Abortion isn't an option for me because I have PCOS and wouldn't know if I could ever even have a child again but this is all just too much at this point. I need new coping ideas and things to help me release this stress and pent up emotions before I go crazy or do something stupid. Please help me.