Thursday, October 09, 2003
Ah, chemical dependence...
I started drinking coffee in the summer of 2002. I blame/credit Jones McClure Publishing, my then-employer. Mornings were difficult, and coffee helped. I also discovered around that time that coffee tastes good. I usually had two cups throughout the day at work. Around that time, I also acquired my own coffee-maker, which resulted in additional home coffee. Soon thereafter I discovered the joy of Starbucks and other caffeine vendors -- and let's not forget the best non-alcoholic beverage in the history of civilization, ca phe sua da, which is the only bit of Vietnamese I know (iced coffee with condensed milk). One day, for some odd reason, I didn't have any coffee, and developed a terrible headache. I determined with a bit of shame and a bit of excitement that I was addicted to caffeine in the literal, physiological sense. There are worse things that could happen. I just remembered to have coffee a lot, and to reach for a cup if I started getting a headache and hadn't had any in a while. This worked for a long time. This fall, coffee started being a little less nice to me. For the first time, it made me jittery, and also seemed to upset my stomach. I decided it was time for a change. I stopped making coffee, and I stopped going to coffee shops (for which I also had an independent financial reason). I tempered the non-coffee with a couple different kinds of caffeinated tea, and those only when necessary. I went nearly an entire week without coffee, starting last Friday. It really wasn't anywhere near as bad as I'd feared. By yesterday, I'd gotten to the point where I could consume zero caffeine and not suffer a headache. Today I decided to re-introduce some moderation, and I bought myself a grande nonfat no-whip hazelnut mocha before my Thomas Reid seminar. The seminar was fun, and I made both good points and jokes. I'm now in a much better mood than my recent average. It seems I failed to consider the fact that there are other potential effects of caffeine withdrawal than number and severity of headaches. I think I prefer it this way -- if one's going to be slightly depressed, it's best if it's for an easily-remedial chemical reason.
Posted by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa at 10/09/2003 04:06:00 PM