Saturday, 16 June 2018

Cutting Back on Coffee

To an addict, it isn't easy to do... 

A caffeine addict, that is. And yes, it is a real thing, especially among people like me with depression issues. I feel tired and 'exhausted' most of the time, and adult life takes a toll, so I self-medicate with hot, fragrant coffee.

Designed by Daryl Januszewski for Etsy

I should not be describing coffee in such a nice way though, since lately it feels like it's been trying to kill me! In May of last year, I had to go to the ER because of an issue likely caused by higher blood pressure, partly caused by too much coffee. You can read about it here. The Red Deer Regional Hospital is amazing, and their staff are the tops!

Anyhow, during this time of last year, I was scared enough (especially with my husband's advice) to cut back on coffee, and I did.... for awhile. Then, time went on, I slowly forgot about the seriousness of this issue, and I let stress take over my life again, and began self-medicating with one of my favorite warm beverages - coffee. 

As you can see, I've loved this beverage for so long now, that it's even become a muse in my art. This sounds like a really radical thing to say about a beverage, but it's actually become a huge part of my lifestyle, to the point that I purchase clothes based on it, have coffee shop loyalty/points cards, etc. 

However, now it feels like a sort of PSA time. I'd like to help you guys maybe not make the same mistake I did. The mistake I made was not drinking coffee - it an awesome drink, and one of the most popular, worldwide - my mistake, was not knowing when to stop. Here are some of the symptoms, side effects and behaviors that you need to watch for:

Feeling a 'need' for coffee to get through the day.
Not wanting to get out of bed until thinking about how coffee would help (depression).
Feeling really irritable without a recent caffeine 'fix' - then after having one, becoming even more irritable, cranky, etc, creating a cycle.
Having frequent upset stomach ('acidity'), heartburn, nausea, or indigestion.
Trouble falling asleep at night, or even being able to relax in the evening.
Finding yourself drinking upward of 3 cups per day.
Having 'jitters' or shakes, some of which severe.
Heart palpitations, racing heart or feeling high blood pressure.
Difficulty focusing, feeling tired or having 'brain fog'.
Having a 'crash & burn effect' when the caffeine wears off.
Being very irritable or even standoffish with other people (this was a huge wakeup call for me, when multiple people, including Rob, told me I came across as being rude & selfish when I've been drinking coffee).
Signs of dehydration, including painful kidneys, lethargy, infrequent urination, lightheadedness, even bad breath sometimes.
☕ Heightened blood pressure is dangerous, because in addition to possibility of strokes & heart attacks, there is also increased bleeding.

The above are all things I've actually felt, done and gone through. I want to share these with you to keep you from suffering some of these same issues. As you read from my article in May of last year, heavy bleeding (caused by higher blood pressure) could've ended my life, and thankfully it didn't. Also, I've caused my own misery on the nights I'm sitting in bed with a 'puke bucket' at 1am, as I shake violently. And the most personally painful, is the feedback from people I care about - I've become an unlikeable asshole. I really don't want to lose the people I care about most, so this is something I need to change! I've got the power to change, and so do you [if you're wanting to cut back on coffee]. 

Now I'm going to share 4 helpful tips with you:

1) Try to keep coffee out of your house, to cut back on the temptation.
2) Start your day with a refreshing cup of water (drink the whole thing shortly after waking).
3) When you do go for coffee, try to get it in the late morning (around your first work break of the day) and then 'nurse' it for awhile... keep it to just that one. When you enjoy it slowly (especially if you need to microwave it), it feels like more than one cup ;)
4) To keep energy up throughout the day, exercise! Or watch a funny video, dance, sing, go for a beautiful walk, laugh with a friend, or do some light chores to get your energy back.

Giving up our reliance on a substance, an outside source, is a step in the right direction for our mental health. You can do it!

Daryl J.

No comments:

Post a Comment