If I were asked to describe how I feel right now, the answer would be “I feel like shit”.  The first day was rough, but that was nothing compared to day 3.  I’m surviving, and still not smoking; just hoping that it gets better.  I hear it does after about a week, so I’m staying rather optimistic.

For those of you unaware of my journey to quit smoking, I started taking Chantix several weeks ago.  The initial side effects were absolutely brutal, but slowly wore off to minimal over time.  At that point, I decided to select a quit date, which placed my last cigarette on last Friday.

Old habits die hard

Several tasks have begun to feel a bit odd, such as sitting at my desk (which is a solid 80% of my waking hours).  All day, I find myself trying to concentrate and work out a complex issue, then immediately reaching for a cigarette.  I find it quite intriguing that my mind instantly goes to lighting up a smoke when faced with a difficult task.

With that said, concentration has become increasingly difficult.  My brain appears to be all over the place, even with the regular doses of Adderall.  Sometimes I’ll find myself staring blankly at my screen, completely losing my train of thought.  I’ve become aware now that cigarette have become my number one productivity tool.  Without them, my productivity has completely tanked.

Anger and irritability

Those who know me, see me as very laid back.  Usually, I’m not outwardly bothered by much and simply make changes when I feel the need.  I can be very particular, about things on an emotional level (thanks, OCD), but I can usually keep it under control when I need to.  I speak up when necessary, but never without meaningful purpose.

While I’m quite adamant about keeping my composure, it hasn’t been an easy task over the past 3 days.  I find myself becoming filled with helplessness. Because of my need to control my surroundings, this has caused me to lash out in an effort to regain control.  This has resulted in an overcompensation and self-imposed solidarity.  It’s easier to control my surroundings when I eliminate outside influences.

I’m keeping optimistic that this is temporary.  My OCD is manageable right now, but I’m definitely noticing an increase.  My wife does a wonderful job with keeping my triggers at bay, and I don’t want to push her patience with it.  If this continues on the same path for too long, I’ll be struggling.

Sleep is rare and sporadic

I haven’t been sleeping well in the slightest.  The first night, I didn’t sleep at all.  Subsequent nights have consisted of laying in bed for hours, then tossing and turning throughout the night.  I’m accustomed to not sleeping much, but this is a completely different level.

About halfway through my day, I’ll begin feeling a bit sick.  I’m thinking that the cause of this is because I’m not eating much either.  Thankfully, I’m forcing myself to eat on occasion to keep me alive, but that’s about it.  Accompanying the sick feeling, comes a wave of hopelessness in which will usually cause me to take a short nap.

Lucky for me, I have the flexible schedule to deal with things like this, but it’s getting annoying.

Finally getting back in shape

When deciding to quit smoking, I realized that I needed something to replace those urges.  When I was younger, I had a weight bench in my bedroom that I would work out on regularly.  I figured maybe that’s the direction I should go with this.

I dusted off the dumbbells that have been sitting around the house and moved them upstairs to my office space.  When wanting to smoke, I’m trying to direct that effort into lifting weights.  My arms may be sore as hell, but at least it’s a far more healthy habit.

I’m considering the idea of going running as well.  I used to be able to run for ludicrous amounts of time when I was a teenager, so hopefully that’ll come back.  If I didn’t live in an apartment, I’d be playing basketball throughout the day.  Maybe I can figure something out with that.

Overflowing encouragement

On Friday night, I channeled my anxiety about quitting into writing a bit of code to track my progress. Within this, I also created a method for individuals to reach out to me with words of encouragement via Twitter.  You can find that page here or the source on the GitHub repo.

Since creating the page, I’ve gotten overwhelming amounts of encouragement.  Without it, I’m not sure if I would be 3 days in.  You guys are awesome and I couldn’t thank you enough for your support.

Overall conclusion

Quitting smoking is a pain in the ass.  It sucks.  I suppose the best solution is to just not start to begin with, but I’m not that smart.  After smoking for about 13 years or so, it feels like I’m losing a part of me.  Smoking was a bad part of me, but a part of me nonetheless.

Here’s to hoping that these side effects subside soon and I can get back to normal life.  Wish me luck!