Friday, December 14, 2012


I'm loathe to admit it, but I smoke cigarettes.  I've struggled with this all of my life and have even managed to quit several times.  I often quit for weeks, sometimes  for months, and twice I've been a non-smoker for several years.  But, I seem to keep coming back to it. 

from reynwrap582 Oliver and Enzo Chasing the Ball --

My smoking habit is really ordered:  I never smoke away from home (unless I'm out having too many drinks, ahem, we'll talk about that later); I never smoke in the car; when I smoke inside my house I only smoke in one place (indeed, one chair!) in the house and absolutely, positively, have to have a fire in the fireplace (which is next to the chair) and have a candle burning; I am incredibly fastidious about it (I never leave a used ashtray in the house, and I wash my ashtrays in vinegar); I tend to favor drinking tomato juice while I smoke, and I usually take a shower and wash my hair before I go to bed (and if I don't, then I change the sheets in the morning). And . . .  I tend to chain smoke.

My smoking bothers me.  Smoking cigarettes is one of the very worst things one can do to one's body.  It stinks.  It's expensive!  I have pets and anguish over what the second-hand smoke is doing to them.  I know all of these things, and I even think of them while I'm smoking.  But I still smoke.  I used to be able to just stop, to just quit, and was able to stay smoke-free for long periods of time.  But now, I'm just not succeeding with that.  As a result, I started incorporating some tools to help me quit.  I bought a whole bunch of visual imagery recordings that I listen to in bed.  Well, I have them memorized now . . . .  I made a book of facts and pictures discussing and showing the results of smoking.  Well, I have a cool accordian book about the effects of smoking. . .  I've thrown countless partially consumed packets of cigarettes away.  Well, now I know what it's like to actually dig through the garbage can in the driveway to find the trash bag with the half-packet of cigarettes. . .  I've even held a funeral for a packet of cigarettes in order to say goodbye.  Well, now I know where a packet of Nat Sherman MCD's are buried.

I've discussed smoking with my psychologist and psychiatrist, yet they seem to be far less concerned about it than I am.  Hmmmmm, "why?"  And, I know my smoking habits change as I cycle up and down -- I tend to smoke a LOT when I'm hypomanic, it calms me down, quiets the voice(s) in my head, and helps me focus.  So, I wondered if smoking is a part of being bipolar.  I sat myself down and did some research.  

A group of researchers in Spain conducted a scientific experiment to determine the rate of smoking by bipolars compared to the rate of smoking by non-bipolars (the control group)

According to their results, "The frequencies of ever smoking and current daily smoking were, respectively, 63% (32/51) and 51% (26/51) for the bipolar patients and 45% (235/517) and 33% (169/517) for the control group." Another study in Israel found the ratio of smoking incidence to be 63%:21%


Check out these statistics I found on Bipolar World that compares percentages of types of mental illnesses and incidence of smoking.

Bipolar Disorder 70%
Major Depression 60%
Schizophrenia 90%
Panic Disorder 56%
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 60%

Another Wow!

And check out this thread on  One post in particular really caught my eye, "I quit smoking for a moth... I have bipolar... and it sent me into a deep depression. I am finally coming out of it but felling manic. Its 6 am and I have not slept. I cracked and bought two packs of cigs! It feels great! My logic was I was feeling jittery and I think that is bad... knowing that the cigs relax me I decided it was worth it to smoke. I feel like they stabilize me. bring me to the ground both from bellow and above."

OK, so I feel a little better.  I know I'm not alone.  And, I have a good idea as to why my doctors seem so blase about my smoking.  

Gotta go now, I smoked my last cig writing this post and need to run to the gas station.

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