One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Far safer, of a midnight meeting
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.
Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.
Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror’s least.
The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
More near.– Emily Dickinson
I honestly don’t feel any difference after 5 full days without coffee and nearly zero caffeine most of those days. What I believe to be stress-related phenomena, for lack of a better word because I don’t want to say “symptoms” or “issues,” have not abated yet.
My theory here is, if emotional stress is impacting my body to the point where my physical therapist says, “You are the most tense person I know,” and I don’t sleep well because of muscle spasms and tension in my neck – not to mention nighttime anxiety, then too much of a stimulant like caffeine can’t be helping my situation. Thus the idea of eliminating caffeine, especially coffee, has been enacted.
And it blows.
Day 6: the stress phenomena continue, I’m tired, and I have a caffeine withdrawal headache still.
But I’m pressing on.
I got out for a run today. It had been too long again. I hadn’t run since the first of the month. 29 days between runs is probably too long of a recovery period.
There’s a 3-mile trail loop 1 mile from my house. I can take a few streets through a nice neighborhood to run there. But running through those streets annoys me, bores me, demotivates me. So I’ve been driving the 1 mile over to the trail and parking my car on the street. I do the 3-mile loop and drive back home.
This is what I did yesterday and it felt so good. Aerobically it killed me for the first 15 minutes. But, man, it did my spirit a world of good! Three steps down that trail and I already felt the cares falling off my shoulders. You know it’s been too long since your last run when the feel of dirt under your feet brings happy tears to your eyes.
I need to get back to more regular running. I still have big running goals to achieve. Today I’m just happy to have gotten a few miles in.
My thanks to Lynyrd Skynyrd from whom I’ve stolen the title for this post. Here’s a great video of it.
I’ve had a headache right from the start of the day today. It’s 10 AM now. That decaf green tea shit isn’t cutting it. Why am I doing this to myself?
And who the hell publishes such an unflattering photo of themselves?
I don’t care. My head hurts. I swear it feels like a hangover again. It’s amazing how a chemical can have so much influence over my body.
Yesterday I didn’t feel so bad. It was a pretty good day. But now I wonder if that’s because I took those migraine pills with caffeine. Plus I drank Coke later in the day. Maybe there was sufficient caffeine in my system still to keep me from feeling too bad yesterday.
But today? Ugh.
UPDATE – 10 PM
I got through it. Headache went away after dinner. Only one cup of decaf green tea today.
I have noticed that I’m extra tired the past few days. That could also be an after effect of the migraine on Friday.
I was going to title this post “Zero Caffeine – Day 3.” But then I saw the Caff-O-Meter on the box of decaffeinated green tea. Day 1, I had a cup of regular green tea. Day 2, I popped 2 pills loaded with caffeine. Today, I thought I successfully had zero caffeine. Wrong. Decaf has really 1 – 8 mg of caffeine. Still no coffee. But I did have a tiny bit of caffeine.
Here’s the thing. A cup of coffee has 100 – 120 mg of caffeine. I typical would have at least 2 and often 3 cups of coffee per day. Plus, I’d often have other caffeinated drinks: Diet Coke, green tea, 4th cup of coffee. So I’ve gone from 400 or 500 mg per day to 8 mg.
It’s too soon to say if I see any difference in my physical tension or my emotional stress level. I need to give this experiment a sufficient amount of time. I’m thinking 3 months. That means I can have coffee on Christmas day. Oh, Santa! I promise to be a good boy!