When you read articles and books on how to overcome anxiety, many of them recommend removing and or limiting your caffeine intake. I did not think this was a necessary step in my recovery and overall improvement. That was until earlier last year when I had a panic attack on my way home from shopping with my sister and kids. We had been running errands and I decided to have a coffee even though it was later in the day, something I had been trying to stay away from doing.
We were heading home after an eventful day of shopping and I'm sure a few crazy moments with three small kids. This was a very typical afternoon for my family and me. I don't know what else could have triggered what happened other than the coffee. I was driving us home and I began feeling my mind racing as well as my heart. At no time did I feel that we weren't safe but I knew it was going to be a long drive home. I made the decision that night to finally remove caffeine from my diet.
Despite my mum's suggestion to go slowly with giving up caffeine, I quit that morning. I don't think it was even 4p.m. before the migraine started. I thought it would maybe last a day or two I could never imagine I would be so ill for five days. I was so stunned that something like caffeine could have such miserable withdrawal symptoms. You hear all the time how caffeine is a drug but until I gave it up it really didn't sink in.
Once that week was over I did actually feel really good. I was even surprised to find I had more energy than when I drank coffee. I had read articles in the past about increasing energy and always laughed at the idea of removing caffeine. I did though miss the actual drink. It reminded me of how I felt the few times I quit drinking for health reasons. I never missed how the drink made me feel I missed the taste. The only thing I didn't miss was spending the crazy amount of money at Starbucks.
I was caffeine free for about three months. I let the stress of the fire and my new job get to me and I started back on the caffeine band wagon. I wasn't sleeping with the insomnia from the fire and I needed something to keep me going. Did the coffee even help? I don't know but it was a type of comfort in a challenging time. In my mind it was better than binge drinking my feelings away.
I did attempt again about a month ago to give up coffee. I even was smart this time and took my mum's advice and did it slowly. I only lasted a week this time. I really like coffee!! I am not a big pop drinker or much of anything else but I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and an occasional latte. I have tried to limit myself to one cup and never after noon.
The last two weeks this has not been the case. My sleep pattern has been all over the place between my trip, work and the kids. Yesterday was a good example of why I can not have caffeine after noon. I was bringing my niece to dance class and grabbed a coffee on the way. I know these types of situations make me nervous and I was already feeling anxious with all the extra responsibilities for the week. I was a ball of nerves by the time we go to dance.
I sat over in the corner keeping to myself as I scrolled through Twitter. We then got called into the class room because they needed to try on their costumes. I made a joking comment about picking a crazy night to have to bring her to dance. The other mom's just stared at me blankly. I then had to attempt to convince my niece to try on her costume. I know dance costumes are small but this was beyond small. I mentioned to one of the teachers and she made a comment about tights and no underwear helping.
My anxiety was quickly replaced by anger. I am not stupid and I may not be a "dance mom" but her butt shouldn't be sticking out! I wanted so badly to say horrible things to these women but instead ranted via text to my mum and sister. I kept calm and even tried talking once again to a few of the moms but they ignored me. I will not be giving up caffeine even though I know I should. I will though not be volunteering to go to dance any time soon. I will enjoy her dance program only because I love her and she is an amazing dancer.