“I like coffee, I like tea,
I like the Java Jive and it likes me …”
A familiar tune, if you live in my head, and with good reason. Caffeine is a stimulant, and I need stimulation - well, okay, I don’t need traditional stimulation, I’m up to speed and beyond inside my head. But it turns out that substances referred to as stimulants actually cause a focusing effect. And I need focus! As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have ADHD.
I didn’t realize any of this a year ago, I’m learning a lot about myself and some of it isn’t pretty, but more on that another time. (See? Focused! Ha!)[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE69jBxZuXg]
Some of you may remember me before I sobered up. I apologize to you, if I haven’t already, for putting you through that. I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses here, I just want to offer an explanation. Apparently, without realizing it, I was self-medicating.
Flying without a prescription
The effect of alcohol was a calmness inside my head that allowed me to relax. I have to say right here and now that I miss that effect to this day. If I could control myself, I’d have two to three stiff drinks a day, spaced out perfectly and I’d be happy and functional. But I figured out that the only drink I can turn down is the first one. So I stopped. But did I stop self-medicating? No!
The sad truth is that I simply started using coffee and tea and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. In my search for peace of mind even nicotine played a role.
Full speed ahead (without Speed)
Fast forward twenty-six years. My lungs were threatening to come loose and go flying every morning when I lit my first smoke and started hacking, so smoking is no longer a part of my medication regimen. My stomach lining and my esophagus were in danger from the meds, so I’ve cut back on that, taking just enough to maintain my arthritis pain.
I gotta have some sins …
As to coffee, I was giving myself permission to drink my fill. Everything was fine at fourteen to eighteen cups a day, or so I thought. Although my prostate was making it’s displeasure known over the amount of caffeine in my system I could deal with that. (my favourite line was “What good is a prostate if you can’t tell its there?” My doctor had a different line, “When do you plan on having that removed?”) I started taking an herbal substance called Saw Palmetto. That stuff works!
But I had other problems to deal with so cutting back on my coffee would have to wait ’til I got everything else in order. I was having dizzy spells (are you done laughing?) and bad bouts of tinnitus. I finally went online and looked into these two problems together. Common causes for both these issues included a disease called Ménière’s Disease, I didn’t have that. I kept looking.
Most causes were for one or the other but not both. I finally came across a reference to Coffee and thought “Yeah, I need a cup of coffee.” I started to get up but the words on the screen pulled me back. Apparently, everyone knows that too much coffee causes dizziness and ringing in the ears. Damn! Everyone knows but me.
Restraint (for me at least)
So here I am, down to six cups a day. If I go below that right now I get a headache. I’ll try to cut down further in a while but for now, my dizziness is gone, and the jet engines in my ear are at a distance that I can live with. I still need stimulation, but I’m using endorphins along with the six cups of java for that.
And soon, I hope, I’ll have a doctor tell me that my self-diagnosis is correct and I will be working with that medical professional on a management plan that may include stimulants from a bottle that won’t have as many ill-effects as the alcohol, or the coffee, anti-inflammatory meds, muscle relaxants, cigarettes, etc. Keep your fingers crossed for me, things really are getting better, and I’m far happier than my sometimes acerbic verbiage would lead you to believe. Really I am. But right now, I gotta go get a cup of coffee, my heads starting to ache …