18 December 2012

Quitting caffeine

Today is roughly three and a half weeks since I last had coffee or tea. After a brief hospital visit, I decided to quit caffeine for a while.

The hospital visit wasn't caffeine-related, and during my post-hospital five-day recovery I drank some coffee. But once I started feeling physically better, my head was still cloudy, and I was tired all day long. Yawn-a-minute tired, sleep-under-my-desk-on-breaks tired. No amount of coffee or tea helped. I brewed my tea stronger and stronger, then tried a shot of espresso in a brewed coffee, then tried two shots of espresso in a large brewed coffee—and nothing, no effect, still yawning and foggy.

I couldn't determine the problem. I had rested, and I felt better otherwise. No symptoms of any other sickness. I kept hydrated, I ate healthy. I ran down the list of potential issues until I settled on a likely culprit: caffeine dependency. So I quit.

Quitting gave me a 24/7 headache for three consecutive days, a horrible headache that moved behind, pierced, and throbbed my eyes, teeth and sinus cavity. But I didn't get better, my fatigue became worse and my head more densely clouded.

After another four days of sporadic headaches, my fatigue lifted. I neglected to notice at first, but I slept more easily and deeply than I had in many months. Two weeks in, tasks became more interesting, and I encountered bored where I would normally enjoy relaxing.

I don't blame tea for my dependency; in fact, I suspect a period of using workout supplements very high in caffeine played a big role in tying me to a need for higher and higher daily doses of caffeine.

Initially, I wanted a hard reset of my caffeine tolerance to boost caffeine's effect on me. Now, I've decided to moderate my intake, too.

I'll post an update when I begin to drink tea again, probably in the next two weeks.