I'm sort of all over the place today, and I realize that this post probably won't make sense to anyone but me. I've been trying to think around corners for most of the evening; looking at things head-on, the point still seems to elude me somehow.
I'd been ambivalent about taking Chantix after it seemed to open up a whole new world of aggressive tendencies that are, by and large, not in my nature. Not to this extent, anyway. I'd called my clinic, and my med/psych case manager told me to stop taking it and call back in a week to see about getting nicotine inhalers instead. The very notion of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) seems ludicrious to me. I've been on all of them except the inhaler so far, and the core concept behind them is inherently flawed. The idea of tapering down or weaning yourself off nicotine isn't likely to work any better in patches, gums, or mints for those who can't do it with cigarettes. Maybe I'm the abheration. I don't know.
Anyway, I went off of it until last Friday, when the new therapist I'm seeing said something to the effect that since the anxiety meds I started taking at about the same time had lowered my anxiety levels, the aggression just seemed more noticeable. She said it's fairly common and likely had nothing to do with the Chantix.
A week later, I'm back where I was before, just REALLY wanting to throw a temper tantrum, throw and break things. And I realized this afternoon that while I still WANT cigarettes, they don't do anything for me anymore. Supposedly, Chantix works by turning off the nicotine receptors in your brain, depriving you of the pleasurable sensations of tobacco. It seems to have done its job, but I think I've tied smoking to so many other things that I still think I NEED it.
There are some who have maintained that for casual smokers, it wasn't the first drag of a cigarette that gave them the immense feeling of relief, it was the deep breath they inhaled along with the smoke. That it was basically 5-10 minutes of deep breathing that calmed them, not the cigarette itself. There is also the excuse to get away from stressors. Getting up from your desk at work to go outside for a cigarette. Sitting on the back porch, or whatever. Just getting away from things for the time it takes to smoke.
I get none of that now. I think I want cigarettes just because they used to make me feel calmer. It doesn't work anymore, but it used to. I don't need them, but I want them. I don't want to want them. That was the whole point of putting up with the jacked-up nightmares and transient rage that is Chantix. I am anxious and irritable. I am tempestuous.