The Caffeine Report

I’ve been under the weather for the past couple weeks—nothing major*; more annoyance and discomfort and energy-sapping than anything else.** After about a week, I started cutting various things out of my diet to see if that would help the problems.

[Redacted rambly paragraph about the cost of food and the exhaustion of meal planning and shopping on a limited budget.]

I gave up caffeine, mostly gave up alcohol (annoyingly, wine actually helped one of my symptoms, although I knew it was exacerbating other ones. So conflicted…), and was pondering giving up dairy (although yogurt probably helps things). I thought some of what was going on was being triggered by food, so…

I did an experiment this morning, and determined that no, it didn’t seem to be triggered by food, at least not in the way I was assuming. So after 8 days without caffeine, I decided to have a cup of tea.

And let me tell you, it was glorious.

The thing I missed most was the ritual of making tea. It’s comforting, somehow; the electric kettle boiling, the pouring over the tea bag or strainer, the steeping, the milk. The warmth of the cup (my Styx mug! Thank you again, Anwyn and Cathy!) cradled in my hands, the smell of the tea. I drank mint tisane when I was eschewing tea (mint is, after all, calming to the stomach) but it just wasn’t the same.

Then…whee! The caffeine hit me.

Even though I’ve been trying to get 8-9 hours of sleep (after months of getting 6-7 hours), I’m constantly tired. I even sometimes wake up before a full night’s sleep (I put that down to the stress). Afternoons are the worst, because I’m a failure at napping, even though I try. (Latest stats: 6-8 minutes before I give up in disgust and despair.) That first cup of tea this afternoon, even though I was still tired, I was…alert for the first time in ages. Awake. My mood improved. I had more focus. Instead of looking at my To Do list and feeling like weeping, I just picked the next thing and did it, and felt good about it.

The second cup of tea, man, that sent me buzzing.

I’m still not feeling 100%, but at least I know I can drink tea again. And thank the gods for that, because maybe I can feel like a functioning, useful adult again.

*Well, except for a several-day bout of sciatica that was not only painful, but dredged up a whole bunch of emotional shit that I’ve shoved in a deep, dark corner of my psyche because I don’t want to deal with it. That sucked almost as much as the pain. Thankfully it took one trip to the chiropractor to solve the problem, although it reminded me that I need to get my ass out of the computer chair with greater frequency. And reminded me that regular chiro visits are a necessity, when I can afford them again. However, I did learn that half an expired muscle relaxant is enough to make me adorably loopy. (They were prescribed to me, and I took them only for a couple days. I don’t actually like being loopy, adorably or otherwise.)

**If anyone really wants more detail, feel free to contact me privately. But I swear, it’s really not all that interesting.

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