I smoked for a good 20 years.
Back in high school, I had no problem doing a skit in front of the entire student body.
Sure, I was a little nervous, and that’s completely normal for anyone, but I never had anxiety attacks or panic, and I certainly didn’t have any confidence or self-esteem issues.
That only began happening later on in my life.
I began to have anxiety attacks at work, and I really had no clue what they were at the time.
I just felt very off, almost in a state of panic, and for no reason whatsoever. It was hard to be myself during those episodes, and it certainly zapped whatever confidence I had at the time.
I couldn’t smile, couldn’t make conversation, and could barely make eye contact with anyone. I was in zombie mode.
I blamed it on nicotine withdrawal, first and foremost, which is correct, although I was in no frame of mind to quit all together.
After doing some research and going through multiple episodes, I concluded it was from smoking.
Anxiety attacks never happened before when I was younger, so it had to be from smoking.
I was smoking at least a pack a day at the time.
So as the years progressed and I didn’t quit or do anything about it, the symptoms became worse and I was living through withdrawal all day long.
I was having anxiety attacks almost everyday.
There was a time when I blamed anxiety on gluten, as that is a trigger for some people, but at the end of the day, that notion was just nonsense to the real trigger that was at stake, and that’s smoking.
When I’m constantly in a state of fear and panic, even at odd times and for no apparent reason other than withdrawal, it’s really hard feel normal.
I had gotten myself into that mess, and I was only making it worse the further on I went. I knew that every time I relapsed, I would have to start all over with all the anxiety again.
That meant crippling my everyday life, and it showed at work and in my social circles.
I really wasn’t rising to the top in my employment fields, or getting promoted.
Maybe they thought I was too insecure. Maybe they thought I wasn’t confident enough to handle a manager position. Maybe I was more of a follower and not a leader.
The grasp of addiction turned me into a slave of the drug, and nothing else.
Only when I quit did things start to turn around.
When I finally did quit, it was amazing how quickly things turned around. I’ll probably never be where I was before I started smoking back in my teenage years, but I get better everyday.
Each morning I wake up, I am more of who I am supposed to be. I’m more of who I am meant to be.
Sure, I have my bad moments just like everyone else does, but I’m certainly not living in panic mode like I was.
That was really a nightmare.
I blame cigarettes for it all.