7 Days Without Coffee: A Diary

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I’m currently on my 2nd week sans coffee. While I wouldn’t say it’s been the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to give up (I’d say giving up rice a few years ago for an experiment takes the cake. Yes, I LOVE rice. And yes, the experiment failed after two months.), I’d say it hasn’t been easy, no. I’ve been reading up on withdrawal symptoms and I’ve read a lot of literature about the struggles (it’s real) people have gone through in their attempt to let go of coffee. It is an addiction, that much is true. I wouldn’t call myself a coffee addict. I only consume 1-2 mugs of coffee per day plus 2-3 cups of tea the rest of the afternoon, but it’s still a far cry from those people whose lives seem to revolve around coffee. I have a friend who consumes 8 cups of coffee a day, no kidding. Now that’s an addict.

But after 15 years of drinking coffee religiously, 1-2 cups per day, 3 cups if I’m feeling extra needy, I’d say it’s taken it’s toll on me. For one, my dentist told me two weeks ago that my teeth are showing signs of coffee stains. Not only that, I’ve been, for the longest time, struggling with sleep. I’ve always thought that my insomnia was something independent of cause, but hey, what if my caffeine consumption is to blame? Yes, I’ve been slow on the uptake, hahaha. And those dark circles under my eyes? And what of the nervous tension and palpitations?

It’s time to take a break from caffeine.

Nope, not a short break. But a break BREAK.

So now, 12 days after the decision (yes, I dived in cold turkey), I’m happy to say I’m past the blasted withdrawal symptoms. My online friends have been very supportive (it felt like I have my own support group, yeah) and they know the difficulties involved because some of them went through the same thing.

Anyway, I’ve decided to put on record the things I went through the past week, with the intention and the hope that it, too, can help somebody who’s trying to quit caffeine.

Day 1: First day without coffee was surprisingly fine. If felt strange, of course, having breakfast minus the warm, comforting mug of steaming Colombian or Verona next to my plate, but I managed well. There was just this feeling of incompleteness, I suppose. And a minor headache, but overall, a tolerable day. Decided to run to pass the time, thinking my body would be able to adjust quickly minus the caffeine if I sweat it all out.

Day 2: The day when my irritability sensor went crazy. Yes, I knew it was going to be a difficult day the morning I woke up. Mueslix for breakfast and no coffee to buffer it all? So I decided to leave the house (because I didn’t want to wreak havoc in the household) to watch some movie. But the headache! Oh dear heavens. It wasn’t vomit-inducing like a migraine (yes, my migraines are always vomit-inducing. Literally), but it was debilitating nonetheless. I took a paracetamol before watching the movie, but an hour into the movie, I had to pop another one because the headache felt twice as bad. And you know that happened next? I slept halfway through the movie, fetal position and all. It didn’t help that I bought La-Z-Boy seats for my cinema experience, no. But for the money I paid for, what a waste to just sleep through the movie, right? Right. And no, the two tablets didn’t work AT ALL.

Day 3: The day when I took an afternoon nap in an attempt to combat the headache. I’m not one to take afternoon naps. I hate it. Always hated it, even as a kid. I would often pretend back in the day to be asleep because my yaya would come in my room to check, but of course, I’ve always been a good actress, hahaha. And as a grown up suffering through insomnia, afternoon naps are unheard of. Once I take an afternoon nap, then I might as well give a long kiss goodbye to sleeping in the evening. But Day 3 sans coffee surprised me. I went through this really terrible, awful, hateful headache. So I told myself, “what the hell. Bring in the big guns!” and took a pill of Naproxen. For the first time ever, Naproxen failed me. How sad. And since I couldn’t really function well, decided to sleep it off. Was out for about 2 hours the entire afternoon. And yes, I have to mention the stomach pains. This was probably the weakest I felt last week. But you know what I did two hours before dinner? I ran. Again. Why? Because I love to torture myself, hahaha. No, seriously. I had nothing else to do after my nap and I didn’t want to wallow in my state of sluggishness so ran I did. And then by 9 pm I was already yawning. By 930 pm I was already out. Now that’s the biggest surprise of all. Call me Frankie the Sleepyhead.

Day 4: The day when I was stuck at home with, ta-da, my faithful companion, Mr. Headache. Yep, Mr. Headache and I have become too close for comfort this day. And because I was desperate for a cure, I switched to Advil (ibuprofen). Again, to no avail. And the oppressive heat, my dear Lord. Once again, I was stuck in bed for about 3 hours in the afternoon. Once the tidal headache became manageable, I hit the treadmill and ran 5 kilometers. And yes, I felt GOOD afterwards. I don’t know but it felt like running was my form of revenge against Mr. Headache. I know it sounds twisted, but there you go.

Day 5: The day when Mr. Headache struck while I was on the train. The work I had to do was fine, easy, even. The lunch was fabulous, too. But the headache once the afternoon started to set in? Not fabulous at all. And guess what? I had no paracetamol and no ibuprofen with me.  How awful. And the train ride? Well, I don’t have to go into the details because I’m sure you know how the LRT works. And geddemit, the turnstiles are being upgraded so I had to fall in line that morning to buy a single journey ticket ride when my stored value card is still perfectly usable?!!  Well bollocks, buggery, and damnation! You’re all mind-blowingly idiotic, the whole lot of you!!!!! You all deserve to be burned at the stake!!! The working-class folks struggle everyday to make ends meet and you make it even more difficult for our lot to go to our workplace? And effing amazingly, you also make it difficult for us to go home! You have over 10 turnstiles but only 3 are working properly??!!! If this isn’t theater of the absurd then I know nothing. To the ninth circle of hell, all of you!!!!

Day 6: The day when I started to accept Mr. Headache as part of my day-to-day routine. I decided to change my schedule a bit and ran in the morning, then had a foot massage around noontime with hopes of appeasing what’s surely to come next. Right on the dot, he came. By 130 pm I was already readying myself for his arrival. He didn’t disappoint. I took an Avil, drank lots of water, and went to sleep.

Day 7: The day when I woke up restless. There I was, getting my unusual 8 hours, when suddenly, at 3 am, I woke up all physically agitated. I felt restless. It’s not like I was anxious or anything. It was. . . I don’t know how to explain it. Like my body was suddenly activated and that I had to do something. And it was so irritating since I was still very sleepy. I tried to go back to sleep (with my muscles still on its alarmed state) but after a couple of hours I once again woke up, this time to a weird pulsating sensation on my back. Like suddenly, my heart was on my scapula or something. Very strange. I also had a headache in the afternoon that lasted until around 5 pm, but it was a little manageable compared with the previous days’ headaches.

So, there you go. My one week no coffee diary. Let it be known that yesterday, my 11th day without caffeine was the first time in days that I didn’t suffer a headache. Today has been a good day, too. Can I safely assume that Mr. Headache has left me for good?

I can only hope.

F.

Withdrawal Symptoms

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Last week I made a booboo at work. Now that rarely happens. Modesty aside, me forgetting to do something work-related happens about. . . never. Well, almost never if last week is to be the new gauge. Anyway, as I sat there in front of my work desk, hoping that my booboo gets a turnaround, I made a little self-bargain (I know you do it, too); you know, along the lines of “I swear I’d give up (fill in the blank) if I get a second chance at this” or “I’d willingly not do (fill in the blank) if it means I’d get a reprieve from the mistake I made.”

Well, it so happens that the blank I was willing to give up that moment was social media. At first I thought, “I swear I won’t post anything for a day!” which, because of my desperation as a result of my work-related blunder, progressed into, “I swear I won’t post anything for the rest of the week!”

And you know what happened? The Universe heard my plea and right before I boarded the train going home, gave me a positive response.

A second chance!

Of course I was ecstatic. Of course it also meant I’d have to give up going online for the rest of the week. Which I did. And now I’m back with a vengeance, hahaha.

The thing was, this brief respite from social media allowed me to be more reflective and self-reflexive about my thoughts and my actions. What I would normally immediately share or post or say had to be reined in. I had to be constantly aware of putting on the brakes lest I violate my agreement with the Universe. It was difficult at first (especially in light of the things that happened the past several days, believe me. More on that later), but I got the hang of it as the days went by.

Funny thing was, it wasn’t so much taking a brief respite from social media that made the past few days difficult for me, far from it. It was a break from another thing that, until now, I’m still struggling with.

It was my break with coffee.

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Imagine taking a break from social media the same time I took a break from coffee. And it’s not as if I intend to take a break from coffee for a week, no. I intend to do it on a permanent basis.

WHAAAAAAAT????! (and the caffeinated crowd went wild)

Yes. I’ve decided to stop drinking coffee. Why, you ask? Well, it all started with a comment from my orthodontist, you see. She casually mentioned coffee stains on my teeth last week, during my latest dental appointment, and vanity of vanities, that got me thinking. I have spent so much, and continue to spend so much on my teeth, why would I let coffee ruin my set of pearly whites? Hence, my decision to stop drinking coffee. Of course it must be said that for the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to stop drinking tea (you might as well ask me to drop dead), so what I do now is to use a straw everytime I drink tea (I know, sacrilege, right?). Again, what price, vanity?

Then again, I realized that cutting out my coffee completely from my daily consumption can do wonders for me in so many ways. For one, that’s at least 100 calories out of my daily calorie intake. For two, I’d be finally spared from the unwanted palpitations I’ve been feeling of late (I know, I know, there’s always decaf, but that would be cheating). For three, that would be amazing on my wallet. Imagine the savings I’d make just by removing coffee from my lifestyle.

Of course, the withdrawal from coffee hasn’t been easy. I’ve been getting these terrible headaches for the past few days. At first I attributed it to Manila heat, then after taking several pills (to no avail), and staying put in gloriously airconditioned rooms (also to no avail), it dawned upon me. It’s not the heat, geddemit. It’s my body reacting to the caffeine withdrawal. I also feel a bit sluggish, but I’ve found ways to combat that.

Run, Frankie, run!

Yes, I’m back to running. That’s how I’ve been dealing with the sluggishness. It’s been months since I last wore my running shoes, yes, but now they’re back in action. I’ve been faithfully recording my progress vis-a-vis my daily calorie intake and so far I’m doing good. It was difficult the first couple of days since I actually sprained my right foot (it reminded me of an old friend’s mantra “If you don’t use it, you lose it!”) but now all is well. My personal goal is to run an equivalent of a marathon (that’s at least 42 km) every month, which means I need to cover at least 11 km per week. It’s been only a week’s worth of running but I can safely say I’m well within my target, having ran a cumulative of 15 km last week. That was just three days of running, but I intend to increase it to 5x/week starting this week.

Running and being healthy aside, another thing also happened to me last week which gave me palpitations stronger than those brought on by coffee.

I’ve been . . . oh how shall I put it? I’ve been having this email correspondence with my Idol (yes, MDL). It’s been a while since I last had contact with him (for a project that didn’t happen for some reason), and since I’m writing something else and had to verify an information about his father, I  took a shot at it and went right ahead, emailed him to ask for information that would help me in the writing. Of course I didn’t expect, didn’t even hope for a reply. But after a few days he did! Imagine my heart doing cartwheels as I read his reply. And oh, he even asked me if I already have a copy of his latest book and if I didn’t, he’d be happy to give me a copy. @#$!#$%! I thought I died and gone to happen. The most difficult aspect of trying to compose a reply was, of course, how to say “yes please gimme gimme gimme! And will you please sign it, too?” in a professional way. I didn’t want to sound foolish. Then again, I’ve already made several foolish things all in the name of my Idol, so what else is new, right? Ha. Ha. Ha. Anyway, I’ve been able to deal with the excitement as the emails continue to go back-and-forth. It now takes me a shorter time to reply, and an even shorter time to hit the send button minus the usual “oh did I say that right?” or “is that too desperate-sounding?” malarkey I usually say.

Anyway, that’s that. I’ve also seen Mad Max Fury Road last week and I loved it! Sorry, no time to write a full-length review but suffice it to say it’s the best movie I’ve seen so far this year. That guitar-playing moment was worth the price of admission, I tell you. Of course, the narrative was simple enough, but very engaging. The characters are amazing (love Furiosa!) and very badass. And the visuals are breath-taking. None of the CGI crap Hollywood’s been churning out for the past several years. This is real action, mind.

What else? I’ve also been playing catch up on my shows and my books. And also currently in the middle of thinking about a possible next project. We’ll see soon enough if I have enough energy left to do that. Will let you know if/once it happens.

F.

P.S. I’m still thinking of coffee, though. HELP!

Remember, Remember

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What follows is my 3rd lookback as we celebrate our three years here on this Pensieve. I wrote it June 2012, but the whole experience happened exactly three years ago, the 10th of May 2012. This particular entry was one of my entries that pushed a lot of buttons, I think, and even made a few teary-eyed. So with that, here it is once again, my recollection of what happened that day.

Remembering Hogwarts.

Cheers!

Frankie

Back to the Preface

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And so to continue with our “Best of” of the Fatespensieve as we three witches celebrate our three years as bloggers in this section of the ether, here’s one of my very early entries here on wordpress. I’d like to think of this particular entry as my way, three years ago, to process my thoughts about writing itself. Not sure if things have changed three years later (perhaps not), but my writing style still remains the same, I think.  It’s a quick and easy read; something palatable enough to start my whole mental time travel as I recall all the things I’ve penned for the past few years.

Preface to Lyrical Blogs.

Enjoy!

Frankie

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