Wednesday, April 8, 2009

America's drug of choice

I've been experimenting with caffeine lately & feeling wistful of the days when it could give me a lovely pick-me-up with none of the anxiety producing side effects. I remember going to student health after my first panic attack & being told to give up the bean. Give up caffeinated coffee? How was I going to finish grad school without caffeine? Dutifully, I switched to decaf, still loving the flavor of a dark french roast with generous amounts of cream & letting the ritual of it help wake me up in the morning.

Since then & for years, when I've tried drinking anything caffeinated I've definitely felt my heartbeat speed up & feelings of anxiety and dread seep in. It's amazing how strong the effects of caffeine can be after not consuming it for years. I just resigned myself to being a decaf girl & it came in handy during years of pregnancy and nursing.

As I draw close to 40 & am still a sleep deprived mother, I've started experimenting with caffeine again. Many of my friends swear by their morning coffee & afternoon tea to get them through the day. Maybe I would have more energy, be more efficient if I jumped back in?

So, I've given it a shot here & there. Green tea is lovely and doesn't seem to bother me at all, even giving me a small boost in the afternoon. Sometimes a friend will have brewed regular & I'll have 1/2 a cup. Other times, I'll make coffee at home 75% decaf, 25% caffeinated. The results have been mixed with no seeming rhyme or reason. Every once in a while, I'll try it & feel the euphoria that makes caffeine America's (legal) drug of choice. And, other times, that little bit of caffeine will make me feel edgy into the afternoon.

What's the answer? I'll still experiment now and then, knowing that it's a toss up how I'll feel. But, I think the days of loading up on coffee & enjoying the extra energy are gone. What Grandma always said about a good nights sleep, healthy diet & plenty of fresh air/ exercise will have to be my prescription for now.

1 comment:

Brigitte said...

Hello Anxiety girl. Wow, why haven't we connected before. From the little bit that I scanned on your site, I see we could chat for hours. Not sure how to email you direct so if you can reach me then please do so. Have lot's to share. And on that plane ride, I've given myself permission to do whatever it takes to get from point A to point B and includes meds. Meds taken appropriately are a good thing. Look forward to hearing from you.