I keep going back to caffeinated coffee. She’s an alluring temptress. Innocently delicious. Full-bodied, strong, dark, warm … how can I resist? But today, I’ve finally come to the conclusion, that resist I must. Under the guise of her innocence, caffeine wreaks havoc in my life.
I have gone off caffeinated coffee for periods of time over the few years for various reasons, but it has always called me back. This time it’s going to be different. This time my eyes have opened fully to her wily and duplicitous ways. She comforts and energizes, to be sure, but there’s more to it. A dark side that is decidedly not delicious. She brings out the dark side of me.
It hasn’t always been this way, and of course, it’s not completely the coffee’s fault; something in my personal chemistry is just not compatible with the dose of caffeine that comes with the extra-strong coffee that I love. It’s true that I drank coffee for many years and never noticed any dark side to the wonderful, delicious habit. It’s been in the last year, though that the “other effects” have started to show. It’s swirled up in my autoimmune issues, I’m sure. Related to my troubles with anxiety and stress that I’m still learning about and healing. Under certain conditions, which seem to appear every day recently, caffeine hypes up my emotions and dampens my stress tolerance. It is not pretty.
Yesterday I had a lot of difficulty with irritability and got amped up at the slightest annoyance which didn’t need to be an annoyance. Everything was an annoyance, heck I was annoying myself. Mostly, I was disappointed in myself- severely. I didn’t understand what was going on. I could see my behavior getting out of hand and kept reeling myself in, but it kept happening … impatience, annoyance, sharpness when I wanted to be soft. I didn’t want to be the way I was being … and it just sort of hit me … the coffee. It was a hard blow. But a relief too- could it really be the coffee that is responsible for my outbursts of irritation?
I started typing into Google: Can coffee make me angry? Oh, momma. Yeah, I’m not the only person who has asked Google this question. That and several similar search queries auto-populated and reassured me that I was on the right track. I read about adrenals, norepinephrine, stress, anxiety, sleep, fatigue, irritability and well, … I knew it all before, but I needed the refresher to convince myself that caffeinated coffee is really tearing me apart. My system goes a bit haywire and oversensitive when I get “too much” caffeine. My poor body … what have I been doing to you? Have my adrenals been screaming out at me everyday? I told myself it was OK because I waited to have coffee at least an hour after I woke up … but it just didn’t matter. The caffeine makes this momma a monster. And this momma does not want to be a monster anymore.
So. I’m slowly backing down and away from the sweet, dark seductress in my mug. I’ll figure out what I can tolerate if any. I might be back to decaf only. I might have to go back to plain, dark cocoa or try out some other teas that can replace my morning comfort habit. Today was mostly decaf with just a sprinkle of caffeinated coffee to make sure I don’t get too bad of withdrawal symptoms. And guess what? This momma hasn’t been a monster today.