I somehow managed to make it to thirty years old without knowing that the panic, racing thoughts, irrational fear, and emotional outbursts were all related to anxiety. I thought I was just crazy. Well, it's not just anxiety, you can throw obsessive compulsive disorder in as well. Still, it was gratifying and healing being able to put a name to what was happening to me and with that name followed solutions. I started medication, therapy, and began practicing meditation, albeit not in earnest. In spite of my laissez faire attitude, life got better within a week or so and I expected ahead of me would be smooth sailing.
I've always enjoyed taking pre-workouts because they give you an added boost of energy to push your workout. Eventually, I grew bored of the powders and stuck to just energy drinks, specifically Monster Energy. I bought them by the case and sometimes drank two a day. It was a glorious time. However, my energy laced bliss would last for a limited time only.
I began noticing that my anxious behaviors were resurfacing and at near meltdown levels. I casually googled meditation and anxiety, but over and over again I saw that caffeine should be avoided. Caffeine is not anxiety's friend. The convincing point for me was that caffeine is known to increase stress hormones by dramatically increasing the amounts of cortisol and epinephrine in your blood. All I could think was "Holy crap, I was drinking two Monsters a day for the fun of it."
Now I can't pinpoint that it was the Monster Energy that drove me into a tailspin, but I don't want to take any chances. It's worth the experiment to find out. I want to know that I am always doing everything I can to create a peaceful environment for myself. So I'm giving up caffeine "for good" and provided all other variables remain constant I should hopefully see improvement. I emphasize the for good because it has a double meaning in this context. I'm letting go of caffeine permanently and for the benefit of my overall health.
Since I heard that withdrawals suck, I'm going to keep track of my first three days sans caffeine. I won't consume any energy drinks, coffee, or pre workout from this point going forward. Let's see how this goes.
Day 1 - Saturday
I woke up at 5:45 am, but without my Monster I drifted in and out of sleep for the next four hours. The rest of the day was mostly normal, no headaches but I craved candy and sweets BIG TIME. I zombie walked through the remainder of the day then I crashed at 9:00 pm.
Pro-tip: If you give up caffeine, your body will look for other energy sources until everything regulates. Carbs, and especially carbs of the sugar variety may become extra appealing as a result. JUST SAY NO!
Day 2 - Sunday
Remember those headaches that were nonexistent yesterday? Well, they're here now! Holy moly am I tired, and my head is pounding. My alarm clock went off at 7:30a, but I dozed in and out of sleep until 10 am. I finally got out of bed at around 10:30a and fed my overly aggressive-hungry animals while squinting. I can't see myself working out today, no way. My cravings are out of this world; I want pizza so badly and I know why. Pizza is high in carbs and fat which are both energy gold. What's worse, I feel incredibly anxious, which is the exact opposite of my goal.
Side note: It would've been wise for me to look up caffeine withdrawal symptoms so that I'd know for what to prepare. However, according to WebMD, typical caffeine withdrawal symptoms include headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
Day 3 - Monday
I feel okay today. My headache has subsided, and I no longer feel exceptionally exhausted. I would describe today as a blase haze. Yeah, that sounds about right. I feel like I have more control over my cravings, what little there are. I can't help but think that yesterday was the worst of it and I'm home free. Now that the hard part is over, I can focus on the even tougher battle, and that is my anxiety. I feel optimistic and ready.
Quitting caffeine sucked, but it certainly wasn't debilitating. It's too soon to tell what role if any my caffeine consumption played in exacerbating my anxiousness. Therefore, it appears I owe you all an update in the coming weeks or months. Stay tuned friends and in the meantime wish me loads of peace!