You Might Feel Like Crap

Just one step at a time!

Everywhere you look, you will find information supporting the fact that nicotine is out of your system about 3 days after your last cigarette. For some reason they associate that timeline with how long people will experience withdrawal symptoms after years of heavy smoking.

You will hear it over and over again, that if you can just make it through the first week or two, you have it made! I am convinced that this particular misinformation plays a major role in why so many people fail in their attempts to quit smoking.

The truth is that if you have been a heavy smoker over a long period of time, you might feel like crap when you first quit.

The problem is that very few people will warn you about this part. They are so busy talking about all of the wonderful things, that they don’t mention that you may experience sadness or depression, and have absolutely no energy. Activities as basic as getting off the couch may require an act of congress!

Your gums, tongue and throat may be extremely sore, and some folks will begin coughing more than ever. You may feel achy all over, as if you are coming down with something.

Although you will hear about people gaining a few pounds, how come no one talks about the never ending ravenous feeling of hunger that nothing seems to fill?

When the doctors mention that you may feel a bit airheaded for a few days, why don’t they come right out and tell you that you might feel so distracted for a few weeks that you may do stupid stuff, like sit at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green? Or, lose the truck at Wal-Mart because you can’t remember where you parked?

Did anyone bother telling you that you may react VERY differently to caffeine after you quit smoking? You may very well have been able to swim in pots of coffee any time of day or night before, and now all of the sudden, just thinking about coffee keeps you from sleeping at night, even though you spent the entire day barely able to keep your eyes open!

Guess what? Some of these things can last well beyond a few days.

If you are not prepared for this, it can be overwhelming. You may start to ask yourself if it is all worth it.

Here is the deal though, it doesn’t last forever.

You will start feeling better.

The alternative is that if you continue smoking, you won’t get better.

Do I want you to know all of this so you will get scared out of quitting? Heck no! I just firmly believe that if you know exactly what to expect, and for how long, you can prepare yourself to face and deal with everything, one step at a time.

I have now been 100% nicotine free for three weeks!

Cricket Walker

(147) Comments

  1. Paul
    PaulMar 09, 2012

    Just to update, I posted here about two months ago. I’ve been feeling loads better! I’m on day 69 smoke free, and I feel like I’m finally over the hump! No more fatigue, normal appetite, and best of all no physical cravings for nicotine. I still think about smoking once in a while, but it’s more of reminiscing about the times I used to smoke. So all of you feeling like crap, it will get better eventually! Just remember to keep in touch with your doctor and hang in there!

  2. Maxie
    MaxieMar 22, 2012

    I quit smoking Jan 1 of this year. I am 55 and have smoked since I was 13. The price of cigs and the treatment I recieved as a smoker drove me to quit. I have no support other than internet. I felt soooo bad physically. My stomach hurt, my head hurt, I was spinny like I was a little drunk. No energy and I cried over everything. I have had some terrible experiences with Dr’s so going was out of the question. I have read and studied how to quit for 2 years. Joined support groups, ect. I had no idea all these symptoms were related to quitting. That sucks! I smoked again to see if that was why I felt so bad. I felt a lot better. Aha! Thanks for putting the truth out there! I am back on my quit, with no hopes of it getting better for at least a year. Such is life. SRSLY, Thank you! You gave me hope that it will get better someday!

    • Eddie Johnn
      Eddie JohnnApr 04, 2012

      Maxie I smoked for 45 years and then gave it up aged 63. I went through hell. Doctor was a total waste of space and like you I just seeked help off the net. Yeah I had every sympton going, headaches,bloating,short of breath, anxiety, mood swings, tiredness. I got to the stage when I thought I would never ever feel right. It took over a year for me to feel better and in all honesty maybe 18 months before I felt I was over it. But everytime I felt like sh*t it was even more reason to stay off the things. I am now 65. Last week I did walks totally 15 miles and rode my bike 53 miles, one trip of 15 miles and one of 38 miles, never got short of breath once. You will get better, just dont give in. I never think of the dirty things now. Stay strong. Best of luck

      • Nick
        NickJun 13, 2015

        I’m on day 42 smoke free after 37 years of a pack (or slightly more) a day. Yes. Today I felt like crap and wondered why things are so fuzzy and depressing. Also, I am on a very short fuse. Real pissed over everything, good and bad. I wanted to punch a horse unconsious. Thank you for helping me understand….this too shall pass.

        • Tina
          TinaJun 16, 2015

          Your not alone Nick….you took the words right out of my mouth… oh cannot wait till this passes….

      • zee
        zeeDec 03, 2015

        eddie John-thank-God that I saw your post. I am 58 and smoked since I was 14. I have been off cigs for 8 months and do not feel as bad as I did but I still have a very short fuse, stomach aches and a hard bloat in my upper stomach that makes me look like I am 6 months pregnant-glad that you said it took you a year to feel better-all I saw were weeks from everybody complaining about it-I had an endoscopy cause I didnt know about any of this and it was normal-does the bloat go away after time too-how long did you have the bloat or did it go away basically, when everything else did? please write back-I am desperate to have any info-thanks-Zee

  3. Lisa
    LisaApr 02, 2012

    I quit smoking 17 Jan 2012 . so pleased with myself.
    only problem no longer feel like my old self, felt like i was the only-one feeling the way many other ex-smokers do ” crap” most of the time.
    the other problem is that i have gained over a stone in weight and nothing fits, funny thing is i’m not aware i am eating more or more often. please can someone tell me when this problem will settle as this is what bothers me the most.
    on a brighter side i have beat fags for now. reduced my blood pressure and had my teeth whitened.
    thinking of all exsmokers don’t stop now x

    • Eddie Johnn
      Eddie JohnnApr 04, 2012

      Lisa I think weight gain is a problem we all get when we quit. Apparrently your body works when you smoke and uses up sugar or something so that doesnt happen when you quit.
      You will have to review your diet. Stuff you could just get through before may now be out. But it may lead you to a healthier lifestye. It did with me. I must admit I used to enjoy fried stuff and a few beers. Gave that up but found other foods to eat and really enjoying them. Stay off sweet stuff as if the body cant use it then it will store it as fat. Try to avoid alcohol if you can and greasy food.
      Try fruits etc to snack on. I never was a fruit lover but enjoy it now, and its is healthy. It will be a case of trial and error to see what suits you but at least you have stopped killing yourself. I have been smoke free two years now after 45 years of the things.

  4. Joe
    JoeApr 25, 2012

    I have to wonder. I quit smoking a couple of different times. None have been as bad as this one. I quit about 8 years ago, that lasted for 4 years. I was dumb enough to start again, still don’t know why. Anyway. It’s been 6 years since and now I’m using the E-Cigarette. It seems to work for a nicotine perspective, but I’m still experiencing all the symptoms you have described here. Light headed or airy feeling mostly. It tends to be worse in the mornings. Fatigue is a big one too. Are these symptoms largely from the ~400 OTHER chemicals in todays cigarettes?

    • mona
      monaJul 06, 2012

      Hi Joe
      I quit 9 months ago , I like you am using the e-cig… And I have the same systems as everyone here… Tired big time gained weight .. just feel like crap … I told my doctor about this 3 weeks ago .. She said it is a doctors dirty little secret that people do feel like crap when they quit smoking … She told me the e -cig is fine and she doesn’t care if I stay on it forever she said the Nicotine isn’t the bad part of smoking it is the 400 something other chemicals that are bed.. I said to her I always thought it was the nicotine she she NO that plays just a very small part of it …

  5. Barry
    BarryMay 20, 2012

    Hi, I quite smoking 9 Nov 2011 with champix, I am 47 and have smoked since I was 13. Six months on I have never been so unhealthy or felt so shit. I used to do 10k runs without getting short of breath but now struggle to complete a 5k, I have put on almost 2 stone, am suffering from gastritus, get constant headaches, bloated, tired and listless. Please tell me this will end!!! Doc has been worse than useless…..

    • Bud
      BudOct 03, 2014

      im with ya, ive felt horrible….very bloated to the point I look pregnant, headaches, dizzy, its been 4 months, im trying so hard to not smoke again….hang in there….it cant be this way forever

  6. Eddie John
    Eddie JohnJun 06, 2012

    Hey Barry,
    You smoked for 34 years. It is not going to be an overnight cure. See my other mails here but yes it will get better. I smoked for 45 years and went through about 18 months of hell.
    Now I never even think of the things. Yes I had the short of breath and weight gain and also had horrifying bloating…all gone now. I had to change my diet to shift the weight…. believe me there is life beyong steak and chips. It will get better so dont give in. As for my doctor, a total waste of space.
    Stay strong, one day you will rejoice, but it takes time.

  7. amy
    amyJun 29, 2012

    Hi, can anyone please help me. I’ve been smoke free for nearly 6 weeks & I am still feeling light headed. Does anyone else have this also & if so how long did it last. Its an awful feeling & is just getting me down & worried it is something else, although the same thing happened the last time I quit, which got me so down I ended up taking up the habit again.

    • Bud
      BudOct 08, 2014

      hi Amy, I quit almost five months ago, and I still get light headed almost everyday….its a really weird feeling….I hate it…..but im gonna hang in there, it cant last forever…..
      wish I could have told you something you’d wanna hear….sorry

  8. Eddie John
    Eddie JohnJul 22, 2012

    Hi Amy,
    Yes it is a side effect. I used get it, sometimes felt a bit dizzy and floaty but it went.
    I would say I smoked for about 45 years and it took me over a year to get over it but worth it in the end.
    If it really concerns you best to see a doctor, just to be sure.
    One thing is for sur, even if it isnt to do with smoking, going back isnt going to make it any better…stay quit.

  9. hannah
    hannahSep 24, 2012

    I smoked for 32 yrs ,I’m 46 .I quit the day I ended up in ER 04/02/12.Could not breathe and felt like a knife in my lung.after cat scan and having the shit scared out of me (I had pneumonia) .I feel like complete Hell, some days are better than others but I will never smoke again.After that happened I have convinced myself I’m dying.I think I have panic attacks because it feels like someone is squeezing my throat and I can’t breathe.
    I am not coughing but I do get phelgm with brown spots (not alot).I think about death and am depressed.When I smoked I laughed about death and never had depression.Please God make this stop,this is awful.wish me luck

  10. tasha the pregnant one
    tasha the pregnant oneJan 08, 2013

    Well I must admit this journey I am one is a toughy . Im 5 and half months pregnant. I,decided to stop( with the constent nagging of the father) a few weeks ago. I feel like sh#t. I find myself crying all the time, mad at the world for no apparent reason and ready to kill anything in my path. I have no support group as im doin this alone. I am tryin this med given to me by my doctor and its alright i guess. I cant say that i havent smoked, but i can honestly say that i cut back dramactically. I was at half a pack a day now im at half a cig. And that’s after the med. Im waiting for the day i dont smoke at at all. I know its healthier for my unborn, and im really really really trying. I was told to find a support group but that been a little difficult. I wish everyone the best of luck, and pray for me.

  11. Judith
    JudithJan 28, 2013

    Well, I’m so glad to find out I’m not losing my marbles! I have been smokefree for 10 days after 16 years of smoking. My husband and I have both quit and we’ve had to hide all the kitchen knives, seriously we’ve come so close to divorcing about three times a day EVERY day since we’ve quit. Also feeling lightheaded /dizzy, can’t sleep at all, full of restless energy and sweating loads, and I did mention that I wanted to kill my lovely husband? Thank you guys for being honest. Just makes me more determined that I will never have to quit smoking again for me and for my baby and for the life that I want to have. Please keep the stories coming, I’m so glad I’m not alone!!!

  12. Ula
    UlaJan 31, 2013

    I am so happy I found this website. Reading your experiences helps heaps! I am on my 5th day of not smoking and thought surely it will become easier. Well not at all. And I thought if I use e-cig at least I won’t feel craving for cig, surprisingly I do. Hmm and I thought the nicotine addiction is the hardest to over come. Well, there is that mental thing that I cannot explain and I agree doctors are useless. However, I have to admit it is first time in my life that I am 5 days smoke free. I tried so many times and never go even one day totally free. I must be the weakest person in the world as I read so many people quit. This time with help of e – cig it is at least happening for me. But why on hell I still feel craving? Amazing. It is easier though to puff that e – cig and feel at least a bit of comfort. Like most of you guys I have prepared myself by reading reading reading. But everyone tells that after few days it become easier. WEll I haven’t noticed yet that ‘easier” Worse are night when I wake up and want cig badly. Anyhow, keep guys good work….whatever it takes. :) I believe that I will manage too this time. Wasn’t prepare for over year but well if it takes 1.5 year before I will feel free…I take the chances:) I smoked 40-60 cig a day for long time. I started smoking about 35 years ago so will take me awhile to get used to different lifestyle.:) Thank you guys for starting this topic and honesty! It really helps.

    • Eddie John
      Eddie JohnFeb 17, 2013

      Hi Ula,
      We are all different and some have an easy quit and some dont. I didnt. I smoked for 45 years and went through hell for a year. But I am now three years quit and it is one of the best things I ever did in life. Now I nver ever think of the ******** things.
      Reading is good, it relaxs you but going for a good walk is also great. It doesnt have to be up a mountian, just somewhere that is pleasant and away from it all is wonderful therapy.
      No matter how hard it is you will get there in the end.
      I went through phases when I wondered if I will ever feel good but eventually the struggle ends and its all worth while.
      Good luck to you and all the other quitters.

  13. Anthony
    AnthonyFeb 17, 2013

    It is so good to have found this website because I have been in a state of panic ever since I quit smoking. Reading the struggles of everyone else helps me feel that I’m not alone and calm my nerves, because I can’t use a cigarette to do so anymore. I had my last cigarette on February 5, 2013 after 7 years of smoking American Spirits (a very dense smoke) I would smoke roughly half a pack to a pack a day.
    Today after 12 days cold turkey I still feel like complete crap, my lungs feel constricted and heavy. I’m almost always nauseous. I know that it’s my body detoxing the poison. I didn’t realize how poisoned I was.
    My mind and body is feeling easier after reading through these posts, and I wish everyone the very best in their detox. Exercise, eat veggies, and stay hydrated

  14. Arica
    AricaMar 15, 2013

    Im so glad i found this site i smoked a pack and half a day for 14 years.i made myself quit cause i could hardly breathe. That was jan.30,2013 i can beathe better but now i feel aggervated lightheaded forgetful and half crazy. I also have a sore throat.ive been wondering why cause i didnt feel this bad when i first stopped, this started bout 2weeks ago.i never imagined i was still withdrawling. Thankx for letting me in on this now i can tell my dr. Im not nuts maybe even fire her she should have known this…

    • cath
      cathApr 12, 2013

      I’ve stopped smoking now for two years……………it wasn’t easy but my friend died as she had COPD. It really brought it home to me that smoking was killing me. I read Alan Carr’s book which really made me realise that unless I stopped smoking I would end up dead too.

    • Alex
      AlexApr 17, 2013

      Glad I found this, everywhere I look I see After 4 weeks you should feel better. I DONT! I feel like crap, light headed, like ive been drugged or im drunk, headaches, sleepless night, I keep thinking im not right and that something has happened to my brain after taking champix. Something that did actually make me go half crazy. But just happy to read that this is all normal and that my doctor is utterly usless and dosent care.

  15. Renae
    RenaeOct 02, 2014

    I quit three days ago. I feel like freaking crap. I am using the e-cig, but I’m still nauseated, light-headed, and can’t sleep. I feel bloated, and even though I am taking fiber supplements, I’m still stopped up. The only thing that is taking the edge off is going to the gym. If I can’t make it to the gym, doing sit-ups (or something physical) at my desk helps with the cravings. I started smoking when I was 13, and smoked about a pack to a pack-and-a-half a day for twenty years. I’m glad I found this forum – I thought I was dying. I still feel like I’m dying. I’m absolutely miserable. But, as a singer, a teacher, and a mother, smoking is no longer an option for me… How long does this crappy feeling last? Seriously, I don’t want to throw up, but I feel like I’m going to…

  16. Pamela
    PamelaOct 18, 2014

    I quit smoking June 29, 2014 and am still smoke free, not even one cheat! I had surgery on June 30th so I had decided to just not buy anymore smokes so they would not be in my home during my recovery and maybe I could be done with them. I think that is why it actually worked for me, I basically slept for four days after the surgery so I really didn’t feel those first couple days of really bad withdrawls and I new they were going to be bad after smoking a pack a day for about 20 years. I still feel crappy all the time but at this point I have the eating under control and the bloating is getting a little better. The lightheadedness and dizziness just showed up in the last couple weeks. I hope it gets better but no matter what never gonna smoke again

  17. Renae
    RenaeNov 07, 2014

    I stopped smoking almost three months ago. I smoked a little over a pack a for 23 years. I stopped smoking cold turkey, as I read about NRT. The dangers of nicotine alone are terrifying. I feel as though I am losing my mind. No one could have prepared me for what I am going through. You only hear about how difficult it is to quit for the first month. It gets worse! I never would have imagined this. I feel like I am in a nightmare. I feel dizzy most of the time, I am angry and frustrated, and for the most part, I am angry at the world. I cry about everything, and feel like my life is over. It is an amazing, yet scary feeling. I never would have believed that cigarettes were this vital to my life, and everyday living. The loss I feel is actually like the loss of a loved one, yet… is the loss of an executioner. Go figure! I am still fighting, and don’t want to ever look back at be a smoker. I just don’t want to die a painful death like what I have read about. I love life, but not right now!

  18. braziliand
    braziliandMar 21, 2015

    I have been thinking about quitting for about a year after my husband had a heart attack and my brother died of cancer at age 41, both smoking. I had a bad cold and just went cold turkey about 30 days ago. So far it has been a breeze. Now my body seems to have gone completely haywire. Really glad I found this website. I too was a closet smoker so I can’t really share this with anyone.

  19. Bonnie
    BonnieApr 17, 2015

    This sight is a God sent… I quit on Feb 2/2015! I have had a terrible time with all the crap my body and mind has been going through. I feel frustrated all the time,angry at the world. I went through the sore throat and dizziness. Almost fell down a couple times. I have a terrible taiste in my mouth that will not go away,big bags under my eyes and i can cry or freak out at the drop of a hat. My skin has never looked so uneven and gross,i have gained 20 pounds..I just feel totally not myself. All i know right now is that this site has shown me a light at the end of this terrible tunnel. I didnt realize that i was so addicted. My poor body deserves a fighting chance at this life and now is my chance,I’m not turning back :) Thanks Again everyone :)

    • Cassie
      CassieDec 02, 2015

      I feel ya! I quit using a vape on 10-21-15 aftet smoming for 28 years and I have never felt worse in my life.. I have had the feeling of a popcorn kernel on my tonsil for weeks and I can’t think of a part of my body not affected. I’ve gained 20 pounds, my skin is HORRIBLE. I have always had really nice skin and now I have pimples everywhere, dried skin, dandruff, and blotches. Thankfully the crying is going away but I still feel like i’m just not interested in much.. I will keep chugging along because it has to get better. This is the first time I have made it past a month and I don’t ever want to be a smoker again. I want to say thanks for posting. It’s scary when your told this will kill you so you finally get the nerve and gumption to quit and then feel like your falling apart. It’s great not to feel alone.

  20. Ken
    KenMay 11, 2015

    Smoked for 30yrs . I’m 8 months in and not 100 percent better yet. Anxiety and sometimes breathing issues but a lot better then when i first quit. It kicked my Axx for a good 2 months.

    • tim
      timMay 28, 2015

      9 month non smoker after 35 years and a pack a day. Cannot get rid of the anxiety so not sure if why I feel bad is the anxiety or non smoking. Tried 3 puffs last week but no damage or interest in resuming smoking. 58 years old and wish some improvement happens soon. I walk, try to eat right but need feedback from people who got through this tough act. Thanks

  21. Paul
    PaulMay 14, 2015

    I found this site by searching the exact phrase as the title. I m on my 7th smoke free day and, feel like I am starting a bout with the flu but, in the middle of May!
    It’s hard to get moving in the morning and, it doesn’t take much to wear me out but still better than smoking.
    I smoked for 35 years and hacked away every morning the past 4 years. You can say I was sick of being sick so, I’m a quitter now.
    Best of luck to all !

  22. Alle
    AlleMay 23, 2015

    I put exactly how I felt just turned 60 on 5/14/15, quit smoking on 4/11/15 and I feel like shit. I want to say THANK YOU ALL for your help. I will keep this site as a favorite to go back to during this trying time in my life. I WILL NOT START SMOKING!!!!!!!!!!

  23. John
    JohnNov 08, 2015

    I quit smoking Jan 20th 2013. It will be 3 years soon. It is the best thing I ever done. I smoked a pack a day and more if having a beer. I hope to never smoke again. I still get the urge to have a smoke at times however It only lasts a second now and is easy to resist. I know I can’t even have one or I would have to go through the quitting ordeal again. I still have the odd dream of smoking a cigarette. I even woke one morning pissed at myself for having a smoke but realized it was just a dream. I was depressed, little things pissed me off, trouble sleeping, dreaming, etc…
    Anyways enough about that, what I want to say is I can relate to all the weird feeling you are experiencing. Yes I gained weight, but I have lost half of what I gained and will lose the rest. My breathing got worst for about a year. It is fine now and continues to improve. I still need to clear my throat and sometimes get a dry cough but I no longer hack in the mornings.
    My smelling senses have sharping to the point I can smell cigarettes from people that walk past me. At first I liked the smell but It does smell gross to me now. I am becoming one of those people. haha
    I could go on and on but there is no use, everything you are feeling is normal.
    As a person once said to me. It will be your greatest accomplishment.
    Wish you all the best.

  24. Guy Le Claire
    Guy Le ClaireNov 08, 2015

    i decided to stop smoking tonight after the last cig. that was about an hour ago. i feel like crap. i’m thinnking i feel this way because i told myself i would. i’m a stroke survivor, how friggin dumb is it to get back on the piggies, telling myself i ain’t got no money etc. when in fact i have chanting and a new book . + a lovely partner, to have a stroke, or some horrible cancer just ain’t worth it. i’ll pray i can get over this with my kung fu, take care y’all

  25. Jason
    JasonJan 05, 2016

    I am 35 and I quit 14 months ago after smoking since 12ish. I have went threw hell and continue since i quit but I keep pushing on. I still have days where I want a smoke, and catch myself telling people if smoking wasn’t bad for you Id still do it. So I know I still have a long fight to go yet. Since i quit smoking theres foods that i did like and can’t even stand the smell of it now. Oh my god anger issues wow, and feeling like I was going to die with every ache and pain. Depression still is hell for me seems like I am always worried about every little thing that happens to me. Quitting has made me a hypercondriac so i am trying to learn how to deal with that. I have been told that will go away just takes time. I have really bad allergies now since i quit the doc. told me I had them when I smoked but I didn’t notice them as bad. All and All I will continue to not smoke and talk to people that is trying to quit and help them during there hell. I wish I felt like I did before I quit seemed like nobady could keep up with me then, only time will heal me and have to push everyday to win this fight. And I swear to god I will never look at webmd again that site isn’t good for anyone trying to fight this fight. I have tried to talk to people about what I deal with since I quit but nonsmokers can’t relate with what your going though. It has been really comforting being able to read everyone elses fight and realizing I am not the only one that is feeling like this. Thanks for everyone that has shared there experience online. I encourage people to continue and read about peoples stories and push on for better life.

  26. anne kelly
    anne kellyFeb 13, 2016

    Thanks for all your comments I am smoke free now 3 weeks got an awful cough and sore throat but I know I will feel better as each day goes by I hope I have the will power to never smoke again.

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