where is this stress and nervousness coming from?

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I have had an unending desire for cigarettes since Sunday morning. I quit smoking about three years ago, cold turkey. I never smoked two packs a day (or even one), but I was definitely addicted, and I’d definitely formed a smoking habit. One day, it just didn’t make me feel good. And so I quit.

Every now and then, a desire to smoke falls over me. I overcome it by taking deep breaths, by distracting myself with other activities, and as a last resort, running away from the nearest cigarette. I am not sure what brings on the craving, it seems random. But I know it started when my husband left town. Maybe it’s what I do when I’m lonely. I know that I used to smoke a LOT more when my husband went out of town years ago–if only for the fact that he HATED that I smoked and so I could only really indulge myself when he was gone.

Paired with this cigarette craving is an incredible upper back/neck muscle pain. Bleah. I mean, really sucky. It was so unbearable this afternoon that I pondered whether or not I could make my business trip this week. How could I sit on an airplane with this pain? Shmooze at a tradeshow? Grrr.

Impulsively, I made a deep tissue massage appointment. I was desperate! And they had an opening. Before the lady could finish saying “We have an opening this evening,” I said “YES.” Ohhhh, pure relief. It didn’t get rid of the neck pain entirely but for that hour and a half, I was finally in a state of relief, as the pain was kneaded out of muscles.

When you’re in unrelenting pain, any relief is heaven. Now I’m sitting on the couch, with salon pas patches slapped all over my neck, wondering where all this stress is coming from.

Why the unhealthy craving? Why the neck pain?

At least–my allergies/cold/flu have lifted.

And look above! Those are trees lining the streets with white blossoms like snow. Today, they were falling like snow, too.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “where is this stress and nervousness coming from?

  1. The cravings are psychological, probably triggered by the stress and nervousness. Stay strong!

    I quite almost three years ago, too. I still get random cravings from time to time.

  2. Eric

    You know, I never have cravings for ciggies except when I’ve had a few cocktails…
    The smell of them just turns me off so much now – something I never thought would happen…
    Keep getting those massages honey, it should help!!

  3. arirang

    I had smoking and drinking cravings while I was pregnant. And then postpartum, for a long long time.

    Now I have kimchi cravings. The bloat continues…

  4. Eve

    Jade, are you coming up on an anniversary of some sort? Maybe the anniversary of a trauma, such as someone’s death, a near-death experience, etc., or some other loss?

    Over the years I’ve observed and experienced first-hand that often times stress that seems inexplicable is unconscious at first. If I start thinking about what happened around that time of year, or in that type of weather, or what that smell brings back, etc., I will nearly always find that my body remembered before my brain did. This happens quite often with abuse survivors and so I see it among several of our adopted children, too.

    Just a thought.

  5. Sometimes I dream that I’m smoking a cigarette – and then get horrified, because of health issues that require me never to smoke ever again.

    In waking life – I quit drinking all alcohol last September, again because of a serious issue in my liver. Had no desire to drink for the longest time. However, if I’m hanging with my writers’ group and the wine glasses are sitting around within my reach, I look at them. Is that one mine? Can I have some?

    Not exactly a craving, but it’s the reappearance of an old habit. Wine and writers…we had a very good time drinking wine together at grad school. I miss that feeling sometimes when I am with them.

    I’ll just see if I can get giddy anyway.

    Take care and be well, Jade. Sleep as much as you need to in these days.

  6. anonwupfan

    Leila: Yes! I have that dream too (I quit 6 years ago). Smoking in your sleep feels sooo good. And I love the ephemeral flush of guilt as you wake up–what have I done!?–oh, I was sleeping–wheh, good.

    JP: I remember hearing somewhere that people smoke cigarettes to replace human interaction. Maybe there’s something to that.

    Sometimes it helps to have a coping regimen in place. You should get a message when your husband goes out of town (neck pain or no neck pain.) When I quit I made a deal with myself. I decided that since I was done with my old buddy smoking, I should be able to eat ice cream whenever I want for the rest of my life. (My dad was my inspiration, he quit shaving after he completed his army service and has sported a Grizzly Adams-style beard for the 35 years.)

  7. Kimchihead: And the cravings did pass, but they were a major pain. You stay strong, too, my friend. 🙂

    Eric: I hate the smell of cigarettes–nothing deters me from wanting to smoke as much as the smell of cigarettes. Weird, huh? And yes–drinking and smoking go together!

    arirang: don’t you wish we had cravings to exercise? 😛

    Eve: you are so on-point. More than you realize. My body recognized the day and time before my brain did. It was the anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death and my body did not let me forget.

    Leila: I’m definitely doing the sleeping.

    anonwupfan: Yes–smoking cigarettes did replace human interaction for me…but yes, I should pamper myself more, especially when I’m by myself. The massage did me wonders.

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