- Mental Health»
- Anxiety Disorders
What is your biggest phobia and how have you gone about conquering it?
I am not afraid of demons, heights, water, confined places or anything else but the biggest phobia of my life was “will I ever be able to stop smoking”. So today, I am going to tell you my story how I mastered this phobia and conquered it to the extent that now I sit and party with people who are chain smokers but there is not a single instinct inside me of smoking again. It was on September 1st, 2011 when I joined a new organization changing over to a digital publishing solutions group from a medical transcription organization. Everything was going on fine and I was smoking my 8 to 9 cigarettes per day for last 14 years. I always wanted to give my family a better future and at the time I knew that “smoking” is the foremost hurdle in front of me but I was afraid of “quitting smoking”. It was not that I never tried to leave this habit but I failed several times when I did it in the past years. The promises to my wife, every time I thought of quitting smoking, went in vain.
But when you start to think over for a better life, God helps you and the same happened with me. At my office, I used to take several breaks in a day to go and smoke outside and my new manager never liked it. This kept on happening on a daily basis but my really bad habit of smoking never stopped me from going out again.
One day on a weekend, I was shopping outside in a prominent shopping mall in Delhi when my wife stopped by at a chemist and bought a pack of Nicorette chewing gums (2 mg). She gave one gum to me and I chewed it when we were in a ladies footwear store. After chewing this gum for the first time in my life, I said laughing, “how this gum will help anyone leave cigarettes as they are good for nothing” but it was within 5 minutes of saying that I realized my chest and throat had tightened up and I started feeling dizziness and anxiety. Then another minute, my throat and chest area began to start burning inside like I am drinking some acid. After having this feeling, I thought to throw away that gum but stopped as I thought, “let me see what will happen now”. Just 2 minutes after this, I started getting “hiccups” and those were not light and were like when we eat really spicy food or something. I got outside the store, bought a bottle of mineral water, and drank it till the hiccups stopped. My wife asked me smiling, “so how was your first-time experience with this. In a depressed tone, I told her, “too bad”.
Believe me this was my first step towards quitting cigarettes. It was on October 5, 2011 a day before my daughter’s birthday. I wanted to give her this gift on her birthday so I didn’t break my wife’s promise this time. Next day, I got to my office and didn’t take a single break and whenever I felt like smoking, I started chewing that gum. I knew that if I will go outside, “I will buy a cigarette again”.
In this way, I stopped smoking cigarettes. Although the whole period of my “quit smoking campaign” was really troublesome but I love it now as I am able to break free of this fear. I went through involuntary eye twitching, calf pain, headaches, increased heart beats at times, cold and flu but I knew that all these will go away once I am able to leave this bad habit. Since that day, once I come to my office, I never go outside my office premises. It has already been 5 months now and I am happy that I am not only able to conquer but master the biggest phobia of my life. Plus I am able to give increased productivity at my office, copyediting maximum journals in a day which is helping me boost my career.