When I thought I was dying but I just needed an americano


Last week I thought I was dying but all I needed was caffeine.

So this is what happened. I was a bit hungover on Monday. Since having a kid this is a state I do my best to avoid but sometimes a nice rioja is unavoidable. I had to pick my way carefully through the day and that included not ingesting anything, including my beloved coffee.

On Tuesday I got up and figured that since I had survived one whole day without coffee, I might as well keep going. I had CBT counselling a few months ago and my therapist had gently suggested that perhaps my caffeine intake was contributing to my insomnia. I told her I would think on it and went to Starbucks to do just that. Many weeks later I was still thinking about it, my sleep was still a mess and so I figured, why not give it a go? Oh, I slept, I slept all day. The only efforts I made were getting in touch with people to cancel plans. I figured I was just sleepy because I didn't have coffee to keep me awake but when my body adjusted, I'd be fine. 

Wednesday I woke up, of sorts. My head thumped and my limbs ached; I thought at first I was coming down with flu. I had no sore throat or dodgy tum, nothing to point to a virus; if I was sick, I was love sick because I could not live without my one true love - coffee. 

I didn't even start drinking coffee properly until three years ago; I know this because my son is three years old. Prior to his birth I would have the odd cup after dinner or if I was out for breakfast. Coffee was a 'nice to have' and not a 'need to function'. During that tortuous first year, where at one point my son was waking every forty five minutes through the night, coffee became my lifeline. I no longer have this excuse though, as my boy sleeps at least ten hours every night and the only thing keeping me awake is the autoplay function on Netflix. 

I made the decision to battle through Wednesday, meeting up with a friend who had herself given up the evil bean. She described the process as one of the 'best things I've ever done' and she has a nanny so I knew that sh*t was for real. She nodded sagely as I described my withdrawal symptoms, poured me a decaff and somehow convinced me it was all worth it. 

On Thursday I knew that I was definitely ill and possibly dying. I postponed all my plans and took to my bed, waking up several hours later feeling even worse than before. At that point I knew life was too short - I had a child to raise and I had a shed load of items waiting in my ASOS basket, I had to return to the world of the living. I boiled the kettle, I grabbed my favourite mug and downed two cups of coffee, stood at the kitchen counter and immediately I felt ruddy great. 

So what's the conclusion? I'm still drinking coffee, I'm drinking coffee as I write this; I suspect that a version of me who isn't reliant on coffee would be a better version of me but is it worth the journey to get there? As a single parent with limited time and resources, shouldn't I hold on to every pleasure I have? I hate the idea of being beholden to any one or thing but coffee will always be there and is it doing that much harm? Do you have a crutch that gets you through the day - coffee, sugar, a glass of wine? If yes, do you think everyone deserves a treat or could we gain more by letting go?

4 comments

  1. I am not a coffe drinker, but I do love a coke zero to get me through my day. I am sure I could survive without it, but its nice to have things we enjoy in life, right?! x

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  2. Ha ha I know exactly how you feel but I'm a Pepsi max addict ;-)

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  3. They told me the same in cbt and like you I ended up deciding life was way too short to give up on my beloved tea. X

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  4. Mine is definitely caffeine... whether that's tea or coffee or copious amounts of chocolate! lol

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