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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.

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