Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Help! I'm turning into a pack of Marlboro Light 100s!!!

Originally uploaded by Sour Power.
No, that's not me. Just another sweet young innocent, as I once used to be, who thought that smoking was kewl...courtesy of Sour Power. Click on the pic and check out SP's photostream.

I started smoking at 16. Thirty-plus years later, not only am I still at it, but I think, esp since I started blogging, I'm probably up to about two plus packs a day. I tend to lose count, and just intermittenly glance down, only mildly surprised to see that yet another pack is empty.

This, along with the lack of exercise since starting this blog, is beginning to alarm me mightily. I actually stopped smoking for about 5 years long long ago, but after I stopped taking Lithium (I'm now on other meds) I went into another hypomania and started puffing away again, similar to the old "getting back onto the bicycle" routine.

I've read over and over again that those with mental illnesses are much more likely to smoke, and that perhaps the nicotine serves as some sort of self-medicating thing. I know it helps quell anxiety. And there's nothing more anxiety producing than getting admitted to the psych ward, where on top of everything else you can no longer smoke. When my b/f, who's been hospitalized too many times to count for schizophrenia, starts wondering if he should check himself back in again just for old time's sake, I remind him that not only is there no real help for him there, but the prison-like atmosphere will soon be made that much more unbearable by the absence of cigs. Used to be you could smoke your brains out in the loony bin--what the hell else was there to do, anyway?--but now, no dice. I was lucky that during my last hospitalization, in Payne Whitney, they allowed those with privileges to go out in a group several times a day in front of the hosp and have a cig or two.

Back when my employment counselor/liaison at my job--who was arranging my inpatient hospitalizations and other services--heard that I sometimes drank and smoked pot, she assumed I had a dual diagnosis and sent me to a twice-a-week rehab group. At that point, I was too psychotic to speak, let alone use substances, but I do remember her telling one pot junkie, after seeing his urine sample, that "we could smoke you."

That's kind of where I'm at right now--just light me up!

I was on the patch in the hosp, but when they realized I was also going out for the cig breaks, they took me off. It might have helped--hard to remember. After they banned us from smoking cigs in our private offices with the doors closed at work, one of my colleagues did the patch and the gum on top of the smoking (she had to go to long meetings without a fix). Now that really is crazy.

Anyone have any tips for me? Hypnosis, acupuncture, patch, gum, Zyban, cold turkey, cutting down gradually, putting myself into a sleep pod like in 2001 or Alien and just waking up a few months later when the nicotine has finally leeched out of my system?



At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Blackie,

I wish I knew something to say that would be helpful. I can't even really talk to Bethany about it. She's been smoking well over 10 years, and she is 27 now.

It's funny how things work out in families. Both of Sharon's parents smoked, but she does not. Out of her 5 siblings, only her sister, Mary, smokes. Neiher of C/my folks smoked, but everyone of the kids, except me, did/does (my sis did-C, M, and M do).

There must be a powerful innergene which gives one a predisposition towards the urge or habit to do it (smoke). Unlike what Dr B said about just having the willpower not to drink, I think smoking is not just a willpower thing. (Of course, I think he is also wrong about drinking-it's more than a willpower thing for alcoholics).

I believe it's much, much more complicated than just saying "no".
I've heard somewhere it's easier to get off heroin than it is to quit smoking.

What I do know is, somewhere in ones brain, you have a positive reaction, both consciously, &/or subconsciously to the cig itself. And, that's more than just the chemical addiction to it. Nicotine
and the dozens of other substances in a cig, is just the drug(s) that gets you "hooked". I think then, after a long time of smoking, you really enjoy the whole "nuance" of the activity of smoking itself. It can make one reach a new hightened sense of well-being.

Maybe that's the part that makes it so hard to quit. But, what do I know, I'm a non-smoker. If somehow you could get a new "high" from something other than smoking, maybe there could be closure to this problem. (Boy, if only all the problems we have could be so easily fixed).

The new high must have a level of reward that is just as powerful to the smoker. This new activiity must not only replace the "good" feeling smoking brings, but also create an ability to make the smoker(now a non-smoker) enjoy themselves as never before understood-a new discovery of ones self-being, seen as a non-smoker. The person must see themself as a non-smoker, sort of a self-actualization for the non-smoker.

To me, I see it only as a hassle to those of us who don't smoke,
and deal with smokers. But, truly, I really feel helpless in trying to assist anyone in stopping the one thing that I know very little about. I sure hope you find the secret in the closet, which gives you the key, which opens the safe, that has the answer you're looking for concerning this matter.


At 7:18 PM, Blogger Michael Bigham said...

I quit after 30 years. Actually, I quit a couple of dozen times before it finally took hold. I tried the patch,the gum (yuck!), hypnosis, support groups, cold turkey, cold showers, tapering off, Ultra Lights, non-stop non-filters and going backpacking and leaving my butts at home. Finally, I learned that my father was dying of bladder cancer and that his condition was connected to a 50 year habit of Camel straights. I tried the patch again and it worked for me. Good luck. I'm firmly convinced that nicotine is harder to shake than heroin.


At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Bibly said...

Hi Blackie

I started smoking heavily at age 13 and continued until age 20. Since then, I've made many lifestyle changes, but the first (and the most difficult) was quitting smoking.

Now, I am physically fit, regularly exercise and maintain a nutritious diet.

But how did I quit?

The main tool I used was associating horrific imagery with cigarette smoking. I looked up pictures of brain tumors, lung cancer, etc., and forced myself to think about that WHENEVER i felt like smoking. I would continue to think about those images while i smoked.

Eventually, it got so that smoking involved more pleasure than pain for me.

The first 7 days is the most difficult, but if you have willpower, you can get through it.

Exercising helps, if you stick to it.

You may find yourself eating heaps more for a while, too.

Anyway, all the best with the strugge.

At 1:24 AM, Blogger Walker said...

I would like to help you but it seems I got the same problem Have been smoking for 30 years and want to quit.I started blogging and sitting here writing only makes me smoke more. Ack I just lit another

At 4:25 AM, Blogger Claymore said...

dont smoke it will kill you and also causes you to be treated as a second-class human by non-smokers.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...

It's interesting how similar all smokers' stories are, isn't it?
I am a smoker too. It has been the bane of my existence for almost 30 years, on and off. I loathe this monkey on my back, but at the same time I really must love it. I am now up to almost 3 packs a day, and I'm only 42 years old.

As far as quittting, I have found that the intial stopping isn't so hard, it's the staying stopped that I have had problem with. Last year I stopped for 7 months, then my cousin came to visit. I forgot she smoked and the first time she lit up in front of me, I was like "can I have a drag?" Before that, I have stopped about 5 or 6 times--and like you did Elvira, once for over 5 years, when I was pregnant with my daughter. Another time I stopped for over 3 years during my pregnancy with my son. It seems to me that I have a lot less of a problem quitting for someone else, but when it comes to doing it for myself, I fall short of the determination required to stick to it.

I beleive part of the reason is exactly what you said--people with MI have a really difficult time not getting that rush of feel good hormones that nicotine releases in the brain. Actually smoking effects the brain exactly like an opioid (heroin and morphine) which is one of the major reasons it's so difficult to stop. Its no coincidence that doctors say it's as hard, if not harder to quit smokes as heroin--its because nicotine acts on the brain in the exact same way. Is it any wonder that they prescribe an anti depressant for people who want to quit smoking? Therefore, people who tend toward depression, (or any MI associatated with regular changes in mood), find it even more difficult than the average addict to quit.

What is needed then, is a substitute method of releasing those "feel good" chemicals in your brain-The behavior is less likely to stop permanently without substituting it with some other, more healthy beahvior.-excersise is a good way, like Bibly said. Ive heard acupuncture is good as well. I'm sure there are other methods but Im not very familiar with all of them--

I also found out that you dont even have to eat more to gain weight when you quit smoking. Naturally smokers gain weight when they stop, because of the automatic slowing in metabolism when nicotine is removed from the body. So if you dont wanna gain any extra pounds, excersise and a few less calories a day are warranted. At least for a few months.

At 6:36 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

BLLB: Thanks for the good wishes. Yes, it's hard to stand by helplessly as your daughter or other family member/friend insists on poisoning themselves right in your face. As for alcohol--well, "normal" drinkers probably find it much easier to put the bottle aside for extended periods. But once you really get into that nicotine habit, it's damn hard to just say no. Ain't it a bitch?

Michael: Mazel tov. So sorry it took something like your father dying of cancer to stop you. I'm somewhat heartened by the fact that you, like other successful quitters, at least made a prior attempt at various times. This often leads to eventually biting the bullet (that way you can't fit a butt in your mouth).

Bibly: Negative imagery, ay? Like self-hypnosis, I guess. I've also heard it's helpful to put all your butts in a jar of water and just contemplate them. Drinking down the bog-water would probably be quite effective too. One friend of mine just smoked and smoked pack after pack one day until she was so sick she never picked another one up. There's something to be said for negative conditioning.

Walker: Yep, the old blog 'n' write, blog 'n' write...two addictions in one. What kind of writers don't have a butt hanging out of their mouth while they're pounding the keys, anyway? My b/f suggested I blog, and then when I want to take a break, just stop and do a cig without returning to the computer til I'm good and done. I've tried this and it worked--for about two minutes. I can't seem to stop myself from lighting up as I write, even if it means I leave most of the butt smouldering in the ashtray. I just need to know it's there.

Claymore: yes, how true. I almost forgot about that whole second hand smoke thing. No wonder we smokers get treated so badly--it's not all about us! However, I just heard that they're thinking of banning smoking in NYC housing projects. I assume they don't mean just out in the stairways. If true, that's scary shit. I can just see the goon squads banging on the doors at 3 am for a strip search--then it's off to the re-education camps. PS: stay away from those cee-gars...

Brink: An almost 3-packer? I think that's where I'm heading. At this point I'm afraid to count and find out. Yeah, I heard about the way nicotine does a number on your brain receptors like opiates do. Yet another drug addiction on top of the psych meds.

But the sickest thing of all is that there's nothing quite so comfy cozy as hanging out with a bunch of smoker pals and puffing away together. It somehow seems to reassure me that hey--they're all doing this and they're still here. We're all in this together--we won't let each other up and die! Of course, the sad truth is that eventually, one's good smoking buddies may start to drop off the radar of life, one by one.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey hun, not meaning to dilute the point of your post at all, I just wanted to throw out there that I actually don't think smoking is cool. I know this doesn't have much to do with the meat of your post, and I hope you can find the strength to quit! I can't really say what caused me to try it out, but it definitely wasn't to be cool. I lasted 20 years without touching one, hopefully I won't take the habit back to America with me! Good luck!

The Girl in the Picture

At 3:48 AM, Blogger rob said...

Well, Elvira. I think that each one deals with her/his sh*+ the best way they can. The only thing I have to offer is this, “NO MISGIVINGS, REMORSE, GUILT”. I refuse to feel guilty of smoking, I may hack once in a while, and know that I may be better off if I didn’t smoke or that I may be killing myself slowly. But, I do so willingly, which is more than the asbestos I’ve been exposed to since 9/11 in the air conditioning system of the building where I work a few blocks away from ground 0, or the powdered crap that taints the snow a day after it has fallen, is in the air, coats all surfaces within and without. The fumes and smoke I’m exposed to daily on my trip to and from work. Then there is the familiarity of the cigarette we have with coffee, or the one walking to the daily commute, the one in my hand as I blog through the bloggings, the only concession I made after the last time I quit was to switch to American Spirit and hand roll my cigarettes, so at least I’m not bleeding the family’s treasury. I find that rolling my own has several benefits, I spend in a year what I would spend in a month buying smokes by the pack. I smoke less because it’s a hassle to roll your own cigarettes, I make them thinner than the regular cigarettes, and the tobacco is more humid so it’s not as compacted, it’s great that it looks like a doobie, because I know it’s not and there is no police who could convict you of rolling a cigarette. When I started rolling, I’d notice a policeman on the staten island ferry who would discreetly wait until I lit up go downwind and get a whiff. Of course it’s a cigarette. Then you can carry a real doobie in the smoke’s pouch and no one realizes that this is some special wacky tabbacki. Of course, I take care where I light that one up. Sorry, it doesn’t seem that I can help you in the quitting department, but then again...

At 3:22 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Hey Girl in Pic:

Yeah, smoking may have been cool back in the '50s before people really knew better, but now it's in very bad taste. I remember the classic Bette Davis/Paul Henreid tearjerker "Now Voyager." where frumpy momma's girl Bette gets her eyebrows plucked, drops a few, puts on some lipstick, and goes on a cruise for her "nerves." On board, she meets the suave and sexy Henried and they start chatting it up. As the conversation starts to get hotter and heavier, and their feelings for each other grow, Henreid does this thing where he lights two cigs at once and hands one to her. It's their little sublimated sexual thing. He's married, so shagging is a no-no. All very romantic and bittersweet...sigh.

OK. Gotta snap out of that now. I don't think I actually started smoking to be cool per se--more like my cool friend did it, and I emulated her. Kinda coolness by proxy. Anyway, can't think of any really logical reason to start such a filthy, potentially fatal habit. Both my parents smoked, and both died young of heart attacks. So go figure.

Yeah, excellent point about the stuff you have to inhale involuntarily on a daily basis. About the roll your own--when BG was very down and out and living in a flophouse on the Bowery, he often didn't have enough money to buy cigs, so he'd roll his own. Sometimes he'd be on the street smoking one, and someone would ask if he had an extra dooby. When he told them it was just tobaccie without the wackie, they walked away very, very disappointed.

But somewhere along the line, BG bought a little cigarette rolling machine that churns them out so they look just like an old Lucky Strike nonfilter. With the cost of cigs going up so high in NY State especially, that's one solution. But most of the time we just smoke the regular store-bought stuff.

Yep, when we go to the newly sanitized version of Central Park, BG always points out all the spots where he spent many a lazy afternoon smoking a joint or two with a sixer on the lawn. Those days are long gone, mostly for the better. But still, nothing quite like a nice doobie in the park on a beautiful spring day....

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Henry said...

My name is Henry, and I am a Smoker. (Hi, Henry!!)

I really would like to get off the nicotine though; it's a unhealthy, expensive, and unclean addiction. Addiction being the operative word here.

I point you to the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking. There are some pretty bold statements in there: Tobacco is just as, if not more, addictive than crack cocaine (Chapter 5), 9 out of 10 people who just try a puff or two of tobacco eventually go on to be full blown smokers (Chapter 4). That's some potent shit!

Physical addiction to chemicals is all relatively the same. There have long been theories about addictions having a strong genetic component. If this is the case, once addicted to something as powerful as tobacco, it's not a case of just using will power to stop. Dr B. sounds like one of those quacks who says that Depression and BP are just character flaws, or personality quirks that can be talked away, or zapped away with a few thousand volts. BLLB, your mention of all the smokers in your family lends credence to those theories of Addictive Inheritance.

Did you ever wonder why there aren't any government sponsored in-patient treatment facilities for nicotine addiction? One reason is the slow death caused by smoking is so gradual that no one really notices the detrimental effects tobacco is really having on our society; Seeing Is Believing. Another reason is the fact that the government subsidizes the tobacco industry up the butt. So, all the tobacco money is going to help produce the poison that's slowly killing all of us, and no one can get off the junk.

The Uranium and Polonium based fertilizers they've been using on the tobacco fields (they are all federally regulated) since the 1940's, after the soil was exhausted from mono-cropping it to death, really don't help too much in the lung cancer department, either.

Whoa, Brink! Slow down, baby. How can you afford 3 packs a day? I know what you mean about getting through the first few days, then you forget all about the smokes. Then, BAM, you catch a whiff and, SLURP, you're hooked again.

I know the second-hand smoke thing is a hot issue right now, and I agree that many indoor public places should be smoke free, but some of the Anti-Smoking fascists have gotten completely OC. Goose-stepping down to the local beaches and telling the only soul for miles to snuff out their $0.25 cigarette because someone a mile away might inhale a single molecule of tar from the smoke. Sheesh! Even at the dog park I go to every morning, we have a newcomer who thinks it's her business to tell me not to smoke there; you can read about it in my Smoker's Rights post.

You often hear about some old coot who's been smokin' since the age of four, and he's still turning cartwheels at age 98. This is the guy who does two shots of burbon to wake up in the morning and somehow manages to smoke 4 packs of Pall Mall Unfiltered 100's each and every day. He eats a half dozen eggs and a pound of bacon every day for breakfast, smoking 2 or 3 cigs while eating of course. You know why this guy isn't dead? He doesn't know any better. He's oblivious to the poison he's ingesting, so it has no effect on him. Isn't ignorance bliss? I wish Rob, and all of us who wish it, could attain this Zen state that is so naturally acheived by the Master of Mindlessness.

I have a friend who collected, and showed me, a bag of that magic 9-11 dust you speak so fondly of, Rob. I do not envy you having to breath that nastiness. Even out here on the Left Coast, we are subjected to a daily bombardment of petrochemical haze; they even have evening reports on it during the weather segment of the news. I LOL every time they announce, "The smog condition is Level Orange today. Please keep children and the elderly indoors, where the air is cleaner." Yeah, right, and Bill Clinton never had sexual relations with that woman either. I believe that like I believe a doobie of that magic 9-11 dust would cure me of BP.

All right Elvira, I think you know how I feel about TCM, but I've tried them all: Gum, Patch, Hypnosis, Zyban, Acupuncture, Cold Turkey, The BJ Method, The BH Method, LifeSign, and a bunch of other stuff. But wait, now they have new and improved methods: Habit Regulator, QuitKey, Super Stop, NicoBlock, and the list goes on. There is a little caveat, though. All of the above methods require one thing in common: the desire and commitment to quit smoking. There is no magic pill (accept maybe cyanide) or machine which can just make you a non-smoker. In this case, I guess it really is Mind Over Matter. Also, keep in mind that one way or another we all quit smoking...

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.


At 6:02 PM, Blogger Henry said...

I forgot to mention that Dr. Bill (it's his last name), my acupuncturist, said that Cig-Sation would be beneficial during my withdrawal during my next attempt at quitting cigs. Better buy two bottles, though. It's recommended that you take 3 tabs 3x/day for the first 10 days, then take 1 tab 3x/day for the next 30 days.

Good luck, junkie.

At 1:21 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:41 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


Uranium in the fertilizer? Oy vey, now we're talking turkey. That reminds me of a show I saw recently on the history of the cig industry. Apparently, one of the first brands of filtered cigarettes used an asbestos filter. Ironic, huh?

Tobacco subsidies? Who knew? Actually, I didn't, but it doesn't exactly surprise the shit out of me either.

When you mentioned Dr. B, were you referring to the illustrious DR. BOMB, wacko iconoclastic commenter to AA: Threat or Menace? Ugh, don't EVEN get me started!

Well, I did do something positive this week. I had my doc give me a referral for a chest x-ray. The technician was really nice; told me he was a smoker too. See, even looking at damaged organs all day didn't deter him from his cig break, which he took right after he took care of me. Although they're probably not supposed to clue you in, he said it didn't look like anything worrisome was going on, knock wood. Since lung cancer is supposedly highly treatable in the earlier stages, but very hard to tackle in the more advanced stages, it probably behooves all us smokers to check out the old lungs every now and again.

As addictive as crack, huh? Well, I guess in that case it would be inadvisable to become addicted to both, because that can get very pricey. I've chosen my poison, and I've stuck with it for decades now. One thing I'll say for the crackhead next door: he never did try to bum a smoke.

Well, maybe I'll try to at least slow down...I did actually attempt this for about a day or two. My rationale was to keep track of the number of cigs I smoked, and think about it before I lit up, and see how far I could go without another cig. I always felt that the smoke was much more satisfying if I hadn't had one in awhile, like after an hour in the dentist's chair or something. But I found it too hard to keep track of my cig intake, so I blew that off. But I may tackle it again. I guess a little less Uranium in my system couldn't hurt...

At 1:45 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:47 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:55 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Wow, that was a weird trip into the Blogger zone. I tried to post my last comment; it didn't take. I published it again; I got two. I deleted one; they both came out. Etc, etc.--which is why I've got three deleted posts now.

I think Blogger's mad inventors may be running experiments on human reaction to maddening blog snafus. How many will descend into the pits of despair and madness over the Blogger glitches? Only time will tell.

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous hypomanic said...

It's a shame that when we preview, spot a misspelling, and return a page we lose all.

In 1970, right out of Harvard Business School, we created the first drug abuse curriculum,and if you didn't already know it, you are poisoning your lungs, your heart,your bladder, your veins, your arteries because you're nuts enough to think that the little adrenalin jolts your hypthalamus gets from that nicotine, that makes the lipids in your blood coagulate for strokes and heart attacks, that squeezes your veins while forcing your heart to beat faster doubling the wear and tear and setting you up for that stroke, that you get by effectively leaning over a smokestack from a chemical plant and inhaling over and over again and - well, I may be hypomanic but that is so consciously self-destructive to be labled psychotic. That shizophrenics do smoke, and they do,is one more example of how crazy they are when they're off meds. It's as hard to giove up as herion, for soime, and I smoked for a couple of years and gave it up, but heroin isn't so hard to kick if you didn't know it. You're clean in a week. It's the Feds who make you think its such a horror so they can keep the drug war going but most junkies have gotten off a number of times.

I do however have a cure, and it will work if you're not just kidding around - many abused wives return for the beatings and you may be in that sad category of self-inflicted misery, sort of like a "cutter" slicing up your lungs instead.

When I was 20 I was diagnosed by Harvard's top shrink as a hypomanic. Ironically, the mood swings that sent me to his office were already starting to be mitigated by the only drug that will help you.

Since that time, I have never needed medication, and I have never required inpatient or outpatient therapy. Four years ago I complete a three-year lung study with St. Elizabeths Hospital which established that not only are my lungs well over normal in all categories, I was the most healthy of over 600 in several catgories (like how far can you walk up and down a corridor in so many minutes). The same year as part of another study under Dr. Harrison Pope at McLean Hospital it was established that my braon was also quite normal, although my well-trained left hand (guitar) gives me unusual right-hemisphere acuity.

I get my adrenalin the much more natural route, because I use the much more natural manner of kicking it out of my adrenal cortex by increasing the norepinephrine exchange in my upper brain, which nudges out the adrenalin in a way that focuses me in the beginning, and relaxes me in the end. I've been smoking cannabis daily for thirty years without any discernable side effects on my body or brain, except that I've never spent a cent on medications or therapists.

Incidentally, it was the Kent micronite filter that was made of asbestos, but by the same token, nearly all of the miners who suffered from black lung were smokers, so it's hard to know which was worse, the accidental or the self-inflicted. I actually knew Ed Bernays (still doing PR at 95) who convinced women to smoke and lived to regret it, and I can also tell you that your less-lateralized cerebral hemispheres, like all females, puts you at even greater risk because of the way your drugs will affect yout entire context more strongly and make it even harder for you to "contrast" the destructive and deadly habit you maintain with the healthier and cleaner, and effective method I would suggest.

Don't worry, you'll make it past the "stoned" stage in a few weeks, and in six months, you'll wonder why you ever used tobacco for your adrenalin when cannabis does it so much better.

Join the millions of baby boomers who never quit, switch to cannabis for your health, and you'll never have to complain again. I guarantee it. There's plenty of stuff coming in from Canada these days, so just ask around, and start on the road to health.

LMCK (Founder, Hypomanics Internationa)

At 11:24 PM, Blogger elvira black said...

Hi Hypomanic:

Interesting approach. However, my own experience is that I've had a taste for the herbal supplement on and off for 30 years, and a concurrent cig habit. I'm glad it worked its magic for you, but I'm not sure that pot would have cured me of my disorder. Basically, it didn't. I can smoke pot and drink and smoke cigs all at once. Pot does not alleviate my craving for cigs. Perhaps you have found that you've been able to smoke pot and through effort and will have been able to dispense with the cigs altogether. The only caveat being that pot smoke is also damaging to the lungs, but hey. Probably better than a two-pack a day habit. Also, tobacco is just as "natural" as weed, although I guess the chemicals they add to the cigs are not.

One thing you said did give me pause:

"That shizophrenics do smoke, and they do,is one more example of how crazy they are when they're off meds."

I think you're saying that of course schizos smoke, because it's a crazy thing to do, and they are crazy--esp. when off meds.

OK. As a BP, I don't like to diss other mentally ill folk who don't fall into my category of craziness. That old "don't take their meds" shit really fucks with my head, big time. That's the same stereotype you get on all the crime dramas. It's always those crazy schizos who just refuse to take their meds, and so they all go out and push people off subway platfoms, as well as babble incoherently, rock back and forth, drool, and so on.

In my experience, this is a broad stereotype. Schizophrenics in a psychosis may exhibit some of these symptoms, but in most cases are a danger to themselves, not others--if they are a danger at all.

Schizophrenics who are in remission, or not having an acute breakdown, can, as far as I can tell, appear "normal"--though their friends and loved ones and shrinks may be able to tell they're not. Sometimes you could even look at it, as one of my schizo boyfriend BGs doc's put it, as a personality quirk, rather than automatically labelling these folk with such a persistently maligned descripton. Some only need to take meds when they are having an acute episode. In any case, anti-psychotic meds are notorious for horrific side effects--which can include a potentially permanent Parkinsonian type of disorder. If they didn't look crazy before, devolving into a mass of tics, twitches, and other involuntary movements will certainly do the job.

Thing is, I'm not judging you because you don't "take your meds."--though it's possible you may be in a hypomanic state (esp since you call yourself "Hypomanic," and also since I am one, and it takes one to know one).

The last time I smoked weed after a 14 month hiatus, it threw me into a hypomania. It wasn't a bad one, but I think for some people pot may exacerbate their condition in a negative way.

Your website looks way cool--I've bookmarked it.

My love affair with pot is detailed under My reefer madness.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Henry said...

Oh, man! That guy is bat shit insane!

That's the website I was telling you about a while ago, E. He's all hooked up with Gartner, in case that explains anything....


All that weed you smoke costs just as much as the petrochemical meds. Even if you are scoring QP's for $1200 and smoking only 3.5 grams a week, that's still $150 a month (and I strongly suspect you are smoking more). Lithium costs way less, and works for 70% of BP's.

Yeah, that focused thing is good, until all you can focus on is how you can't get away from all the people on the street and you're afraid someone is going to actually talk to you, and you are madly searching for a dumpster to hide behind until the world stops spinning. Kinda hard to relax after a day like that....

While I am a firm believer in Medical Marijuana as truly beneficial for a variety of ailments, I'm not so sure it should be recommended to people with a genetic predelection to psychosis. When I asked my former shrink (yes, I am one of the many unlucky ones who actually paid for this "service") about MJ use for anxiety (here in CA it is legal), she could not recommend it due to it's paranoia inducing qualities. But hey, she's not Harvard's top psycho-shrink, so I guess she could be wrong. It's kind of odd that your Harvard grad, highest quality psyhrink diagnosed you as "hypomanic"; I can't seem to find that one in the DSM-IV, can you tell me what page that is on? My psychiatrist must have mistakenly called it Bipolar 2 Disorder.

Thanks for the tip about the ganja, dude. I'll keep it in mind... What were we talking about? Man, I'm hungry; got any grindage?

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Brink Craven said...


Thats one of the "benefits" of living in the south, Henry. Cartons of my brand are only 18.99 each. name brands- 24.99. maybe I should move to NY or Cali, there's no way I could afford to keep smoking if I lived there. Humm... no, I doubt that would work. I could actually see myself begging on the street corners, or prostituting myself for smokes money. A cigarette whore? No thanks. I better stay in Texas where thats not nessesary. At least for now.

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright, the magic formula...

A Zen vibe, sporadic and spontaneous cursing, and lots of vigorous masturbation.

It works, I swear!

Chris Largen

At 4:18 AM, Blogger elvira black said...


LOL, as usual! Yes, my pdoc also tends to think ganja may not be the most stabilizing influence for BP's, though he doesn't condemn or judge. Just based on his case info.

Shit yeah--forgot about the munchy factor. That's a biggie (no pun intended). Obesity is another health hazard, after all. Quitting cigs, with or without the illegal weed, will often result in overeating. As the AA'ers like to say, it's like switching deck chairs on the Titanic. Ain't it the truth...

Brink: OMG girl, if you do visit the higher taxed cig zones, pack a bunch of cartons to tide you over! Don't ever wanna see you become a cig whore! Although there are plenty of cig bummers here, most haven't yet resorted to prostitution to get their fix--or have they?

Anonymous/aka Chris: Wise words indeed. Do they have a class in my area featuring these techniques?

When it comes to substances, Chris knows whereof he speaks. Do check out his site, featuring rave advance reviews for his War on Junk, a satire on the fast-food/obesity wars due out this fall, plus info on his previous book dealing with medical marijuana. For those paranoid pot smokers: try not to get too frightened by the warning you must read before entering the site...

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous CK said...

I have a new addiction for all of
you: RFK Stadium. RFK Stadium is a
mile east of the U.S. Capitol
Building, on a direct line with the
National Mall. It was opened in
October of 1961 and was the first
ballpark designed for several
sports. Half of its roof is wavy,
and even when it is flat, it is a
special sight. Columns and beams
from the bottom of the roof and
from the stadium's outside hold it
up, with no poles that sit in front
of seats. I think you will like it! Thanks.



Post a Comment

<< Home