Vaping and anxiety(14 Posts)
Hello lovely nest of vapers
I've been following your threads
lurking for some time and I feel really heartened by the positive, supportive attitude on here. I bought my first e-cig/vaping thing on Monday. It's an Aspire BCV.
I've been dual-fuelling as I still don't feel ready to stop smoking altogether but I'm a wee bit nervous. I suffer from an anxiety disorder and have used smoking as a crutch for years. On a good day, I only smoke 6/7 fags and never after work. On a bad day, I chain smoke. Like a lum, as my granny would have said. At weekends I wear nicotine patches (14mg). Sometimes I feel fine and confident on the patch, sometimes I feel desperate for a fag to the point of feeling sick with anxiety. Whenever I've tried to quit previously, I've had horrible anxiety attacks and have occasionally felt suicidal. I know that sounds really stupid, but my anxiety disorder has been really acute.
What I would like to know is, if you have had anxiety issues, do you feel vaping has helped you move away from cigarettes as a crutch? Are the 'anxious' craves as bad? I would like to go down to 0mg nicotine eventually, but am planning to take it slow. Any experience would be much appreciated.
I don't know if this will help you or not but I suffer from mild to moderate anxiety I would say & have been doing really well duel fueling, going for 24 hours without smoking, smoking 2 cigs in the am & then 24 hours again etc. My skin looks better already, no real cravings etc but the week before last i decided to go for it & just vaped from Sunday to Wednesday but by Wednesday evening my anxiety levels were up through the roof so I cracked & bought cigs again! i don't know if this was coincidence so I'm building myself up for another attempt! I'm still only smoking 2 cigs a day though which is obviously better than 20 so I'm no stressing about it. You could just give it a go? maybe have some cigs on hand incase? Good luck though!
My problem is depression rather than anxiety, though I do get the odd anxiety attack when things are bad. I found vaping really did help, as I had something to fiddle with in my hands - the habit can be harder to break than the nicotine addiction.
Some methods I found useful and you may too:
Don't treat the e-cig like a real one. Instead of vaping for 10 minutes every hour or so, keep it to hand & vape little and often. If you have a decent strength liquid, that should hopefully help you do without the patches after a while; and remember that you can't equate the nicotine levels in patches or fags or e-cigs as they all act differently and are absorbed different amounts & at different rates.
Keep the fags in a room you don't spend much time in, and keep the e-cig to hand all the time. This means when you might normally just light up without thinking, you vape instead.
Don't stress about the couple of fags you do smoke, instead count how many you haven't.
Try a few different flavours, especially those you relate to comfort. This may be dessert flavours, a favourite fruit, or one of the milkshakes like banana or chocolate for example. This means you get the added comfort from vaping the flavour as well as from the nicotine.
Thanks bestfriend and Allergic
I'm hoping this can help break the horrible old smoking cycle. I have felt a bit more optimistic these past few days re: vaping. This makes me feel less anxious than previous 'quits' because I'm not exactly quitting, IYSWIM. I can dual fuel more one day if I'm feeling rotten, but I know I'm setting out on a better path in general.
bestfriend, how long have you been vaping? It sounds like you're doing well.
Allergic, it's often the cravings for a fag which really blast my anxiety off the scale. Have you found the cravings for a vape and for a cigarette to be similar, or is one less than the other?
I've been tobacco free since February now, though it took me a while to get to that stage. I had to use a little will power at first to tell myself to at least try the e-cig when I wanted a fag, and found that much of the time it was successful in taking it's place OK. That's why putting the fags in a different room can help, because the e-cig is at hand so you can grab at that immediately and it MAY help the craving - it's as much the habit of grabbing a fag when you feel bad as it is the nicotine.
The craving is for a mixture of the nicotine & the comfort of the familiar habit, both of which are very similar with an e-cig. I found that little & often vaping would replace nearly all my fags, and the last 2 for me to get rid of (when I woke up, & went to bed) were purely in my mind.
What I HAVE noticed is that though I'm using the same strength liquid, I seem to be vaping a bit less now and because it's always to hand I tend not to get cravings despite often going an hour or so without using it.
I suffer from anxiety too, and my smoking was definitely tied up with the anxiety issue: the mere thought of stopping smoking would make me anxious and I'd smoke more This is why I only once attempted to stop smoking in 34 years, and the one time I did I was climbing the walls within a few days and relapsed.
I started vaping in March this year and I've now been fag-free for nine months. What worked for me was to remove the anxiety around the thought of 'giving up' by telling myself that I wasn't giving up anything. E-cigs mimic smoking closely enough that I was able to do that, and even now I maintain most of my old habits, like going outside with the smokers. In my mind I'm still smoking even though I'm not. I stopped smoking tobacco within a few days of starting vaping and it helped me to not build up the idea of giving up tobacco into a big deal in my head. I said to myself "what if you vape instead of smoking in the morning? See how that goes and you can always have a fag if you want to". I still can't quite believe that I haven't smoked a fag since that day and that the whole thing has been so totally painless.
Anyway, I don't know if any of this is relevant to you, but my advice is not to put any pressure on yourself as, if you're anything like me, that will only ramp up the anxiety. I had to trick myself into doing it really by removing the whole concept that I was giving up or losing anything. Vaping provides a replacement for smoking that hasn't entailed any jarring change in my routines, which for me has been key in keeping the anxiety around it at bay.
Very best of luck
Thanks so much for this, Raia - your experience of anxiety around smoking sounds a lot like mine. And I just hate myself for smoking more when I'm anxious, it's horrible. You have done so well, and hearing about your experience definitely makes me feel more hopeful. Thank you
And Allergic, that is brilliant about being tobacco-free since Feb. Well done!
I am feeling more hopeful about vaping and, oddly enough, I think I'm seeing more people vaping in the street than smoking quite recently. I might just be noticing them more but I live in Glasgow and we are, of course, the sick man of Europe!
The craving for a vape can be so easily satisfied.......I used to get jittery when DD had pals round, as I couldn't sneak off for a fag. Now I can have a cheeky wee vape without getting caught by children.
I stopped the fags in February, possibly at one of the most stressful times of my life ( 2014 has been shite ), but using vaping as my crutch instead of tobacco has actually made it a bit easier. Timewise, financially, health and being able to properly use my lungs and exercise.
I stopped in the space of a day,but maybe duel fuel to start with and as they say, count the fags you haven't smoked.
I've moved down from 18mg to 12mg, but have no plans to stop vaping.
Thanks Perihelion - I'm sorry you've had a shite year and I hope things are looking up. But I'm glad you feel better having moved away from tobacco.
Had a few issues this week with not knowing exactly where to pour the liquid - and it went everywhere. But I think I've got the hang of it now.
Ditto to what others have said. I also suffer from anxiety, it's quite well managed at the moment, but always an ever present consideration in my life.
I too was terrified of giving up smoking, the mere thought made me incredibly anxious, about not having my crutch, fear of failing etc.
I've been vaping for 13 months now an not had a cigarette since after smoking for over 20 years. I found that not telling myself I had to give up worked too, I would just try something different (vaping) whenever I wanted a fag and next thing I knew I was a full time vaper, not a full time smoker.
I know plenty of people vape and smoke in tandem, which is still a win to me, any reduction in actual cigarettes is great.
I found that making sure I aways had spare batteries, tanks liquid etc helped as there was never any fear of running out of vaping supplies. I no longer get that anxious feeling of "when can I smoke next" as I can always get a sneaky vape in! Good luck and congratulate yourself for having the courage to even think about giving it a go.
Thanks so much, Smurfing, that's such an encouraging story! You have done so well.
Honestly, this board has been so much more reassuring and positive than any of the dedicated vaping forums I've seen.
Meh, they tend to be mostly male posters so it's all willy waving "my mod is bigger than yours", and trying to show superiority by being rude to people who aren't as advanced in vaping as them. Stick with us girls, we just like helping others
I stopped in December last year - smoking around 15 - 20 a day, for 23 yrs.
My approach was the same as Raia's, I didn't class it in my head as 'stopping smoking', I just thought of ecigs as a 'different way to smoke'.
I have anxiety and depression, and have always needed to smoke at the first sign of stress - but now I don't. It has honestly been so easy - because I know that I can use an e cig whenever I want to and it still won't be actual smoking so I haven't failed iyswim.
Good luck with your endeavours! (E cigs / vapourisers are the best invention ever imo).
Thanks so much for your encouragement, everybody I haven't had any real fags today and am feeling pretty good. I don't want to jump the gun but I feel a lot more optimistic about this time tackling the fags than any other.
It's great to see so many other women taking control of their own health and being so generous with advice and support.
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