Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Perils of Caffeine: or How Stogie Upped His Game

For years now I have been fighting chronic fatigue. Oh I have enough energy to get out of bed in the morning and go to work, to practice bass, blog and smoke cigars -- all of the really important stuff in life. However, I would periodically feel really wasted and often depressed. I created a chart for my mood swings, and the best mood on that chart was "slightly bored." My worst was "in psychic pain." That degree of mental state was, thankfully, rather rare. The worst that I usually reached was number 4 out of 5: morose, depressed with overtones of futility. And no, it wasn't the fortunes of the Republican Party that put me there. I figured I had a brain chemistry problem, not enough serotonin. Lackanookie maybe. I don't know, I'm not a doctor.

A couple of weeks ago I think I figured it out. I drank way too much coffee. Sounds too simple to be valid, but I am sure that was the source of my problem. I would drink a pot of coffee in the morning, and another one before bedtime. I thought I was immune to the effects of caffeine. So when I felt fatigued I sometimes had an energy drink with...more caffeine.

Needless to say I spent a lot of time running to the bathroom. I was literally pissing my life away. Or maybe most of my electrolytes, I don't really know, not being a doctor. In any case, I got tired of being tired and running to the bathroom. The sloshing sound didn't help my image with co-workers, either. So one night I thought: I will forego my evening pot of coffee and just go to bed.

The next day I felt substantially better. I felt positively positive. Cheerful even. The urination was less too. No more sloshing sound. Okay, I just made that part up, but the rest is true.

Encouraged, I reduced my coffee still further and limited myself to 2 cups in the morning, or 3 being my dead max. My good mood has continued unabated for two weeks. I'm still cheerful at work. I had to work today (a Saturday) but even so, I felt good. Cheerful.

Now I think I know why I was always chronically fatigued. I was getting very shallow sleep at night. The caffeine affected me a lot more than I thought. Now I sleep soundly and awaken refreshed. Amazing. No more depression or sad and morose feelings. I just feel normal and normal feels pretty damn good.

My friend Carol at No Sheeples Here tells me not to self-diagnose, but I think self-diagnosis is okay in certain instances. Like if you are hitting yourself repeatedly in the head with a hammer and you figure out that it feels much better when you stop. This is in that category. I will still take my medications, Carol and I will discuss my caffeine eiphany with my doctor the next time I go in.

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