Saturday, 28 March 2015

Slightly frustrated. Mood swings. Everything at once.

I'm - as the title of this blog post suggests with sledge hammer subtlety - slightly frustrated to be struggling again with nicotine withdrawals. 

Stupid me, huh? Indeed. My nicotine relapse after a week off the coffin nails (as some of us Brits have nicknamed cigarettes) was precipitated most by a relapse back into using porn after a 12 day abstinence from that. 

These things seem to be working together. I wonder sometimes if there's an element of subconscious sabotage in trying to do these things at once - my addict brain hopes the strain will allow me to relapse and get my fix. 

I do know I can do it though. I should be through most of the actual physical withdrawal symptoms tomorrow morning. They're slightly unpleasant, but nothing that can't be borne. I am eating a hell of a lot. 

It's the mental stuff that's more troubling. Today I feel like I've lost a couple of dozen IQ points. I've been using the wrong words, forgetting where I am and where I'm going. All sorts of nonsense. I'm struggling to concentrate on this - and nothing fascinates me more than myself. 

This being 2015 I've Googled "nicotine withdrawal symptoms" to see what I might expect. The most worrying for me is the warning I keep seeing that coming off nicotine can be a cause of depression. Naturally, I don't want that. Neither do I want knowing that to be an excuse for not giving up smoking. 

No, giving up smoking should be a cause of joy. 

The problem is that I feel as if everything is happening at once so I don't know what causes what. 

I've been sober for coming up to nine months, so I'm still well within the time limit for post-acute withdrawal syndrome, the symptoms of which are mood swings, anxiety, depression and so on. 

I'm giving up porn. Although it's not medically so well recorded, the withdrawal symptoms, which can last for months (though I think my use was relatively minor by the standards of some addictions, particularly among younger people who have grown up with the internet), include mood swings, anxiety... 

Then there's the fags... mood swings, irritability... 

In part of my quest to rid myself of anxiety I'd like to give up caffeine, at least for a while to see if it has an effect. That'll throw another bunch of withdrawal symptoms into the mix. 

Don't mind all this moaning. Put it down to mood swings. Yesterday I was super-positive. Today, at least this evening, I've been down and dispirited. I know I can get through these minor things and start seeing the positive again. 

I suppose I just wanted to make the point that we don't - and probably can't - like as properly controlled scientific experiments. 

I'm trying to keep on top of my eczema (also another driver of my anxiety) at the moment. Today I started using coconut oil on my hands. It seems to have had an effect. But I've also been trying to eat with eczema in mine - lots of avocado lately, for example - and I started to drink more water the other day and take fish oil. I've also made more of an effort with my standard moisturisers.

To know what's working in a scientific sense, I'd need to spend a set time period using just coconut oil and nothing else, then stop for a while... I don't think many people can do that. 

So we're at the mercy of scientists doing real research on this stuff. And they need to be funded. To be funded there needs to be some return, something to sell. 

I've seen this used as an argument as to why the Sinclair Method is so rarely offered as a treatment for alcohol abusers. The drugs used in the treatment are all out of patent, so there's little financial incentive in promoting them. Bah! But you've heard all this before, from people much better informed than I am.

I was daydreaming about who might fund proper research into coconut oil as an eczema treatment. Perhaps some of the governments where the nuts are grown, which I'm guessing aren't rich countries. They would then be running a risk - what if they get a negative result? 

I'm just drawling on now. I'm exhausted! Blame it on the nicotine, or the porn, or the alcohol or... or the lack of all or one of them or two of them or. . . 

Yours in confusion, 

Don. 

If you spent it, thank you for your time.