When you wake up do you stumble to the pot of coffee? Do you stagger to the refrigerator to grab a Coke? Do you drink caffeine to get through your day?
80% of the population use caffeine on a regular basis.
I used to be part of the 80%. I used to drink a lot of caffeine in the form of Diet Coke. When I went out with my friends, I continued the caffeine love and had Vodka and Red Bull. I constantly was buying Rooster Boosters during the day as that was my favorite energy drink. I loved the way that caffeine made me feel. I felt like I was on top of the world and could go anywhere and do anything. I felt like I was the best and the brightest and could do no wrong. I never realized that it wasn’t good for me until I had my massage instructor tell me that caffeine was a drug and if I couldn’t handle myself on it, then I shouldn’t take it. He also made sure to point out that he thought I had some mental illnesses working behind the scenes and I specifically shouldn’t use caffeine. At the time I was angry and thought he was stupid (this was before I decided to admit that I potentially did have some problems). Looking back now, his comments took a while to sink in, but they were the catalyst toward me realizing that I did need some help!
Later down the road, I had a wonderful therapist, Lynn Wonders. During our sessions, she, too mentioned that I probably should avoid caffeine. Again, I wasn’t ready to hear it. After all, I needed my caffeine to live my life. It was very much a part of who I was. I would drink several Diet Cokes in the morning and then go get my afternoon energy drink with my best friend at work. I love the feeling caffeine gave me.
When I got pregnant last year, I gave up my beloved caffeine. My midwife, would frown at me every time I mentioned having some. I traded to Sprite. I did that at 3 months pregnant. When she got here, I intended to go back to drinking caffeine and I did so…until I learned that she is super sensitive to my caffeine intake and gets very fussy. So I still have not been drinking caffeine for the most part. I really think she has been saving me from myself.
Yesterday, I was super thirsty and didn’t want water. I didn’t have any Gatorade (my new love since my daughter was born), so I grabbed a leftover coke from the fridge and drank it. It was delicious. Flash forward to a couple of hours later. My mind is running 100 miles per hour and I can’t get anything blog-wise accomplished because I cannot focus on one thing at a time. Also, it hasn’t been mentioned in this blog before, but I also have OCD. My OCD manifests itself as compulsive skin picking. Embarrassing to admit in writing and this is the first time I have admitted it. So anywho, after my mind slows down and it is almost time for bed, I realize I have rubbed a large raw spot near my elbow.
It is then that it hits me and maybe I am slow or thick in the skull that I didn’t get it before. All the advice to quit caffeine in my past. Caffeine makes me more tense and anxious. It doesn’t just give me energy. Caffeine can make someone bipolar manic and over wound up. Caffeine can also make someone with OCD more compulsive. Caffeine also can make anger worse. This is why I am supposed to leave this stuff alone. In my journey for mindfulness, this is a very important realization.
If you have OCD, Bipolar or deal with anger, do you find that caffeine makes it worse? Maybe, like myself you haven’t noticed a link but I challenge you to investigate any connection between caffeine and a worsening of your symptoms. You might be surprised at what you find.
Next I have to look at sugar as I have been warned to get away from that too…but I just can’t fathom that right now!