The Caffeine Post

5 years ago, I had some anxiety issues while living in Chicago. I’m not sure if it was a result of the gloomy winter weather, living in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood (prostitutes behind our flat and generalized crazy) or just that specific time in my life, but it was a little frightening. I was underweight, had trouble staying calm in public places, wasn’t sleeping worth a damn due to my pounding heart and was convinced I was losing my mind. Thinking I was going crazy led to more anxiety which led to thinking I was crazy annnnnd we’re back to the anxiety. It’s a cycle, isn’t it?

I’m not the type to take the pharmaceutical route (said the retired pharma sales rep), so with the help of an amazing therapist and subtle changes in my day-to-day life, I pretty much eliminated it from my life. And since I’ve been in California, I haven’t had issues with it. (KNOCK ON WOOD, PLEASE DON’T JINX IT)

One of the most important changes I made was cutting out all caffeine in my diet. As my physician told me, I am naturally caffeinated as it is. No need for any of it in my body.

So for the past 5 years, I haven’t consumed caffeine.


In fact, I am the person at Starbucks checking and re-checking with the barista that my drink, in fact, does NOT contain caffeine. Like I will surely die if any espresso touches my lips. I will SUE you, Barista! Give me my DECAF vanilla latte! Don’t try to trick me! Are you trying to mess with me? Hello?

Since Wito was born, I have slowly introduced a teeny bit of caffeine into my life. You know, due to the fact that Babies = No Sleep. No Sleep = Tired. Tired = Baby Sent To Orphanage. Orphanage = Guilt (but some sleep!)

Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, I just consumed 2 cups of coffee. TWO! CUPS! COFFEE! My perfect sleeper Wito, woke up every hour screaming last night. EVERY! HOUR! I ended up putting him in my bed at 3 am. IN! MY! BED! I was a co-sleeper last night! And I’m drinking caffeine! And I am experiencing heart palpitations!

DON’T WORRY! I’M NOT CRAZY! I’m a new person! A new, yet haggard person dancing to Sesame Street! Singing “YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOUR HAIRRRRRRRRRRR”?! Do you know an entire episode of Sesame Street is about hair? Has anyone seen this?

I think I have to leave now.

UPDATE: After endless hysterical bouts this morning and a trip to the doctor, ear infection it is. BOO.

  1. SAJ

    May 9, 2007 at 8:45 am

    I was singing and dancing to “Hair” also this am… everything’s gonna be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

  2. Jenifer

    May 9, 2007 at 8:58 am

    *Hug* I’m sorry that you had to resort to drinking the dreaded “C-word” but all will be well.

    I hope that tonight you’ll both sleep soundly. If not, I prescribe a margarita. A BIG MARGARITA.

  3. Donovan

    May 9, 2007 at 9:00 am

    Raising a child without caffeine would be like sailing without a boat.Can’t be done.Welcome back to the sanity of your morning coffee and huge kudos on surviving this long without it.
    I love Sesame Street.

  4. Mary O

    May 9, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Sounds like Wito’s getting some teeth! Don’t worry… he should be back to normal after a day or two.

  5. reluctant housewife

    May 9, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Sure! Sebastian just watched the “Hair” episode this morning while I tried to sleep because Benjamin was up between 2AM and 4:30 AM.

    “Hair” is not the best episode to try to sleep through because Sebi thought it would be cute to “comb Mama’s hair.”

    Welcome to the sleep deprivation club. We all look like shit.

  6. Tere

    May 9, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I come from a culture where the people drink extremely strong coffee (affectionately called “liquid crack”) a minimum of 4 times a day. After growing up watching all my relatives, teachers, friend’s parents, etc. constantly making/drinking it, I decided to never drink coffee and thus save myself the addiction.

    It lasted until my mid-20’s, when I entered a high-stress job (including potentially crashing planes and bomb threats), and I finally caved and started drinking the stuff just to survive the workday. Plus, it allowed me to bond with my co-workers.

    Cut to 5 years later: I’m addicted to coffee, don’t want to quit, and just hope I can keep it at 3 cups or less per day. But I survived pregnancy and BF with just one cup a day, so I have high hopes for myself.

  7. rebecca

    May 9, 2007 at 10:41 am

    My caffeine obsession has been in overdrive ever since my kid was born. And, um, yes that was two years ago. I guess I’m officially addicted now. Pains me to admit it, but not as much as it would pain me to quit. Coffee = too damn delicious.

  8. Emily

    May 9, 2007 at 10:57 am

    “Does a mailbox have hair?”

    “Does a horse have hair?”
    “Yeeeeeees. But not THAT kind of hair! Horse hair!”

    I think the hair episode was on THIS VERY MORNING, was it not?

  9. anna

    May 9, 2007 at 11:02 am

    i wwas a coffee junkie and quit (gradually) before getting pregnant. i still haven’t had ONE CUP and my baby is now 8 months old. i am still b-feeding, so that is what is keeping me on the straight and narrow.

    but the main thing i wanted to say is that i also had insane anxiety issues and DID go the pharmaceutical route. i also got off THAT a long time before getting pregnant. i was FINE. anyway, my big point is that i think being a mom has triggered a lot of my anxiety issues again. there’s a lot to worry about and the fear of all the horrific things that can happen to the baby, etc. really does affect me. i think it’s natural. i think if you are prone to anxiety, it can get a little out of hand, but i think part of the fear is that you’ll be right back where you started, pre-therapy, pre-medication, whatever. but i don’t think it’s like that as long as you just cut yourself some slack and accept that mothering=anxiety. my two cents.

    also, i wanted to say that i this was the funniest thing i’ve read in a long time:
    Babies = No Sleep. No Sleep = Tired. Tired = Baby Sent To Orphanage. Orphanage = Guilt (but some sleep!)

  10. little miss mel

    May 9, 2007 at 11:55 am

    hyland’s teething tablets

    orajel nighttime formula

    and/or motrin



  11. Sheryl

    May 9, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Sorry your wee one isn’t sleeping. I don’t drink much caffeine either, (or alcohol either for that matter). Which makes it that much more fun and effective when you really need it. “Woo, look out Elmo, mommy’s on fiiiiire!”

  12. 180/360

    May 9, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    I think moderation is the key. Consuming excess of amounts of anything is never a good thing! I indulge in one, strong cup of coffee every morning and then drink tea whenever I need a “boost” later in the day. It never makes me feel wired or anxious.

    Regarding tv- wait until you start watching other children’s tv programs. Some channels play the same exact episodes every day for a week. I used to think I was going crazy until I realized that I HAD seen it the day before, and the day before! :)

  13. winterwheat

    May 9, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    Oh boy, I hear you. I gave up caffeine 7 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease. For two years I was misdiagnosed with an anxiety disorder (trembling hands, weight loss in spite of ravenous appetite, sweating, heart palpitations), then switched primary care physicians and immediately got a thyroid test. Surprise! I make my own caffeine, and then some. Since hyperthyroidism depletes the body of its tissues (muscle AND bone), I stopped caffeine, not only because I couldn’t tolerate it but also because I want a straight spine when I’m 70, thanks. Fast-forward to the months after having a baby. Guess who’s back using caffeine, albeit in teensy doses (1/2 Diet Coke)? The way I deal with baristas on auto-pilot is to say, “I DID say decaf, right? Sometimes I forget, and then it’s bad news.” Half the time, they go, “Oops,” and pour out the heart attack in a cup they were about to give me. Life would be so much easier if we didn’t love the taste and nurturing warmth of coffee, wouldn’t it…?

  14. Kiki

    May 9, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    I come from the land of coffee- the Starbucks mothership is in my backyard. I can not glance outside without seeing 3 Starbucks, or Tulley’s or Seattle’s Best on the same street corner. All these delicious brews around me and I get to work and even choke down the ashtray my company calls coffee. I am addicted. Completely.

  15. gorillabuns

    May 9, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    now you know the reasons behind my “redbull” and vodka evening sessions.