Anonymous Student Column: Ecigs

In 2010, when I started high school, things were different than I expected. Everyone thought I would be playing varsity sports and getting straight A’s, but that wasn’t my plan anymore. Getting injured caused me a lot of pain and anxiety. If your best friend died, how would you feel? That’s what losing sports felt like.

Eventually, I found my refuge in making art, but it never occupied my time or gave me the same joy that sports did. Everyone I grew up with was disappointed, and they made it very clear. Feeling worthless, losing something I loved, having too much time on my hands and not being able to change any of it caused me so much anxiety that my grades plummeted — and so did everything else.

By the end of my sophomore year, I started smoking. No, it wasn’t to be “cool” or to fit in. When I have bad anxiety and panic attacks, it’s so hard to get myself to breathe. Although I wasn’t inhaling something good for me, the fact that when I smoke a cigarette I have to consciously breathe deep, long breaths, really helped me prevent panic attacks.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with anxiety; it’s best to look for other methods of calming yourself before resorting to smoking (or any other destructive behavior). Unfortunately, sports were the thing that calmed me when I was upset, and that was gone.

Although I make an effort now to smoke as little as possible, what once was an occasional thing to help my anxiety turned into an addiction. Once you start, it’s very hard to quit. For me, it’s a comfort thing. If I knew my pack was almost gone, that alone could trigger a panic attack. Smoking does help, but certainly not in the long run.

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