Quitting smoking = complete personality change???
I am writing this because I am trying to figure out a few answers. Please bear with me, I realize this may get a little long.
One of my nearest and dearest friends decided to quit smoking last June. I am so proud of her, she did it completely cold turkey. No patch, no gum, no ecig, nothing. Prior to her quitting smoking, her and I were inseparable. We were as close as two people could be. She is the kind of friend that you share your deepest, darkest secrets with, have fun with, and finish sentences for. My husband was even a close friend to her. I just cannot put into words how much fun we all had, how close we were, etc.
Once she quit smoking, she just totally lost her mind. It was like a light switch just clicked off. One day, she was my best friend. The next day, she just turned into a complete b**ch. Friends are understanding, compassionate, and totally accepting of bad days. I knew she had quit smoking, she was going to summer school, and I knew she was stressed out. Heck, who wouldn't be. So I let the snide remarks go. However, this phase never ended. It still hasn't. It has gotten to the point where she is just downright snide to nearly everyone in her life.
Her behavior has become so bad that people avoid her just to keep her from being so mean. She has gotten into trouble at work and almost sent home for being insubordinate and mean. My husband works with her, so I know this info first hand. She walks into work and tells people to get the hell out of her way, to shut up, and she has alienated the majority of people who work with her. Her boyfriend of nearly a year doesn't know what to do around her. He is a really sweet guy. She just bites his head off over petty little things. He overslept one morning and didn't bring her a coffee and she ignored him for a week!! She is negative, snotty, and pretty much intolerable to be around. If you ask her how she is doing, she is never good. She is having what I would consider serious somatic side effects of depression or other mental health issues. She never has a good day. And she always blames it on someone else. If someone cuts her off on the highway, she will use that as her excuse for screaming and belittling people for the next 2 days.
What I am wondering is this: I am strongly convinced that there are some underlying mental health issues that cigarette smoking suppressed. I cannot think of any other reason why someone would literally change overnight. I cannot stress enough how this literally happened in a matter of 24 hours. She went to bed one night as my best friend, and woke up the next morning as a completely different person. Unfortunately her mood swings are just getting worse. I am afraid that if she continues on this path, she will have noone left. She treats the people closest to her just horribly.
Sorry for the long post here. I just wanted to hear imput from other people who have so courageously posted on here about the positive effects that smoking had on mental stability. I am just trying to seek out some answers as to why this is happening with this girl. I really want to help her, but I do not know where to begin.
Thank you, in advance, for any help that anyone can give me.
MisstressNomad posted about this a while back... you might want to ask her...
Yes!!!!! Thank you so much for telling me who posted about it. I was racking my brain trying to remember who it was that was discussing this in a different post. I remember replying to that post. I hope she can reply. Thank you so so much!!
hiram13pm PM'ed me the link to this post. Man, that is terrible, for both of you.
Now, I'm not a psychologist. And she's not here. But I do know something about psych, from both an educational perspective and a personal one. And I bet on the inside she knows how she's being, but doesn't know what to do.
Your guess about an underlying problem is most likely fairly close to the truth. Just from an informational perspective, there's two things I'd consider.
The first is that the mentally ill make up 15% of the population, but 50% of cigarette sales. This isn't a coincidence. Smoking is the most effective self-medication against a myriad of mental illness that there is. It calms a variety of symptoms, while leaving ones cognitive functions intact.
MAOI's are in cigarettes. We also prescribe them to people for depression. The connection here is obvious - not only is someone with depression likely to be self-medicating with cigarettes because they have a known anti-depressant chemical, but someone coming off them is likely to experience depression from withdrawal. The big problem with depression is that once you're in that hole, getting out is pretty tough. So which came first is almost impossible to say. That'd be something she'd want to work out with a pro.
Nicotine also has a huge variety of psychological effects, many of them positive.
Another thing to consider, is when she started smoking. The younger it was, the longer it will take for her brain to figure out that tobacco is not a natural part of its chemical make-up. That's the problem with developing any addiction at a young age, when your brain is right in the middle of maturing - it can mistake the substance for a natural part of its environment.
The younger you started smoking, the longer smoking cessation-related depression is likely to last.
Locked somewhere inside whatever mess is going on inside her mind, is the your best friend. You know her very well. Take some time to think about what gets through to her, in moments of extreme stress and disorientation. Because it sounds like that's how she feels every day now. It can be hard to drag yourself along through that.
Whatever that thing that gets through to her is, use it to let her know you're worried, and encourage her to find some help of some kind. Anything is better than nothing. Maybe the first something she needs is to have a good conversation with you.
Enduring personality changes can happen for a lot of reasons. Removal of something medicating an underlying problem, trauma, puberty, life changes, nothing at all. It's hard to understand why it's happening, and it's hard to know what to do when you go through it. Unfortunately the most common thing that people do, is nothing.
They ignore it, or assume it will go away, or try to hide it, and of course that makes it infinitely worse 9 times out of 10. But what do you do when your mind is suddenly revolting? No one's ever written any sort of handbook for that.
What did I do? Well... due to lack of any other resources, I started smoking, and dragged my sorry butt through it for a year. Not what I'd recommend, though.
I think the best thing you can do right now is try to be as authentically human and exposed as you can be. She's in there somewhere. Find her, and tell her you're worried.
Last edited by Automaton; 12-28-2010 at 06:51 AM.
I am PM'ing you Mistress........