It feels like a sort of credit card where you can borrow energy that must be paid back later. You can keep making payments every day to maintain the debt, but as soon as you stop paying (taking caffeine) the borrowed energy is repossessed. Abruptly. You’ll pay back the energy, and then some, in the form of a prolonged crash. Just like with a credit card, what you pay back is always going to be a good bit more than what you borrowed in the first place.
I knew all of this, but I fell for it anyway. I’d been incrementally increasing my coffee intake over the last year. When a rough day came along I’d have an extra cup, which then became my new minimum payment. When the weather turned cold, I foolishly started drinking a little more each day because hot coffee is great for keeping warm. (A contributing factor to this was getting a coffeemaker with an opaque pot. It’s insulated, which saves energy, but it allowed me to up my intake without noticing. How many cups have I had again? Three? Yeah. Probably three. Hey. Why is the pot empty?)
A couple of weeks ago I realized I was in trouble when my wife woke up and found the coffee pot was empty. I’d demolished our entire 12-cup pot on my own. Oopsie.
I knew I couldn’t do anything about it right away (aside from brewing another pot of coffee) because I was knee-deep in a major project at work that was already demanding overtime. So I just maintained my habit. Last week I finished that project, and this weekend I got rid of the coffee. I hate being in debt, and by this point I’d run up quite a bill.
I replaced the regular coffee with decaf and endured the crash. I’m now on day four of the process. I’ve gone from having 1350mg of caffeine to about 50mg a day. (Even decaf has a bit of caffeine. ) My body has filed numerous protests in the form of headaches, lethargy, drowsiness, and a sort of generalized state of non-specific suckitude.
Yesterday I dashed off the snarky bit about the writer’s strike, and then as I read the comments I wondered WHAT IS EVERYONE’S PROBLEM TODAY?!?!? It was one of those, “everyone else is driving like a jerk” moments, where I realized everyone else was (probably) normal and “everyone’s problem” was that I was in a state of perpetual agitation.
I’m in a mess of my own making, the result of being careless with a habit-forming psychoactive stimulant. This is easy compared to quitting smoking (not that I would know, I don’t smoke) but it still sucks and I’m kicking myself for letting it go this far.
Other amusing symptoms:
- I’m not suffering from sleepyness, but I feel stupid. My memory is really bad.
- I’m clenching my jaw pretty much constantly. I don’t know why, but I can tell you it’s not because I’m enjoying it. Ow.
- My face hurts. Even when I can’t see it.
- My eyes hurt? Like, a lot?
- My memory is really bad.
Interesting experience. I think I’m passed the worst of it now, but if I seem unusually grumpy please humor me. I’m not really an awful person, I’m just punishing you for my mistakes. Is that so wrong?
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