So I gave up coffee. This is a big deal, right? In our community here in Melbourne, and probably all around Australia, coffee pretty much drives the economy. It gets us out of bed in the morning, it increases our productivity, it helps us push through. We're a caffeine nation.
And it’s the pushing through that’s gone for me. I can’t push through anymore. It’s a staggeringly, alarmingly, beautifully different feeling.
Younger me, back in the olden days when I was starting a business, would relish a Saturday morning where I could wave goodbye to my husband and kids, drive to the office and liberally quaff coffee and chocolate to power me through. And power through I did – 12, 16, 18-hour days were the norm, especially on a Saturday when, blissfully, no one would disturb me and I could, well and truly, get shit done.
Older me, now, who has left the business and, amazingly, has left caffeine too, well, she can’t push through. Feeling the full force of my tiredness has been a blunt experience.
Sharing this experience with others has opened my eyes too. How many of us are fuelled by caffeine? It turns out that most of us are. Here are some comments I’ve received (no names, I promise) when I've shared the story of my detoxification:
“I’ll give up coffee when I’m dead.”
“Making a coffee is the first thing I do when I get out of bed.”
“I couldn’t function without it.”
That much is true: right now, I’m having a problem with basic functionality. My adrenals are in a bad way, and there are a couple of other health issues that I won’t bore you with but, without the coffee, I’ve lost my oomph. I’ve lost that drive, that rush, that stress, that constant need to work. It’s pretty confronting from a professional point of view.
The beauty of my situation is that I’m on sabbatical and I can take some time to come to terms with this. Right now, I can choose the matcha latte instead. Sure, it still contains a tiny bit of caffeine, but nowhere near as much as the soy cappuccinos I enjoyed in the past, with two sugars by the way.
Will this matcha latte phase last forever? I’m not sure. But I do know that wading through the detox symptoms was a pretty ugly experience, and I’m not sure I’d like to go there again. What were the symptoms, you ask? Here goes:
· retching, minor vomiting
· leg pain – oh my God, the leg pain – something super weird happened to my blood vessels, it was agony
· irritability (sorry, fam).
There were a couple of nights that I spent Googling caffeine withdrawal symptoms, thank goodness for those people who shared their experiences online because I don’t know if I could have made it through without their distant empathy.
The good news is that the really hideous symptoms only lasted about three days, the leg pains stayed around for about seven.
Why, you ask, would a person go through such a thing, voluntarily no less?
Well, as per the aforementioned boring health problems, I am trying to give my liver a rest. And I’m trying to overcome that somewhat mythical condition known as adrenal fatigue. I can tell you that it doesn’t seem so mythical right now.
I’m in my sixth week of a full detox and I like to believe that I’ll feel better soon. Certainly, my skin is clearer, I’m not craving sugar and I don’t crave coffee at all. What I crave is the drive. That get shit done gal, I kinda liked her. Perhaps she’ll return. But perhaps she’ll find her way to a life that’s more about being rather than doing, and finding value there.