Why I Gave Up Caffeine and What Happened to My Body

My body is one of those bodies that reacts pretty violently to things. Bad smells give me a migraine. Humidity and heat give me a migraine (just gotta love those Midwest summers). My migraines sometimes make me nauseous and always make me sensitive to light. Lack of sleep gives me a migraine.

TL;DR: almost everything gives me a migraine. Except coffee. Sweet delicious dark juice of life. I want to ingest you in every form. Hot. Iced. Iced and blended. Black. With whip. Mocha. I want you French pressed, dripped, or freshly ground. Just. Get. In. My. Body.

Secret: The mugs are empty.
Secret: The mugs are empty.

The problem with my love for coffee is that my body doesn’t like it when I don’t have it. So on stressful days where I don’t have time to grab a cup of coffee or if we’re traveling and Starbucks is nowhere to be found, goddammit. Guess what happens? Yes! A migraine of the greatest proportions! I’ve vomited as a result of withdrawal from caffeine. It’s super brutal and probably painful for other people to watch. It’s certainly painful for me to live it.

So you can probably guess why I gave up caffeine. It clearly wasn’t making my life any better and the lack of it could turn a good day into an actual nightmare. (Truth: my mom actually made me give it up because she saw how my body reacted and I was just in denial about it and willing to continue down this destructive path)

The first few weeks of giving up caffeine were awful. I obviously got a migraine. I was sluggish and my brain felt cloudy. I didn’t know if I’d ever feel normal again and I just kept craving caffeine in any form. Soda, tea, chocolate, and of course, coffee. It didn’t help that my favorite place to hang out was a coffee shop.

Here’s what was happening to my body: my adrenal glands were suddenly without their jumpstart. They were trying to figure out how to work efficiently without the help of caffeine (you and me both, adrenal glands). So my mom found this supplement aptly named “Adrenal.” I took it a few times a day with meals and suddenly…I started to feel normal. I felt like a human being and that fog covering my brain was lifted. It took away my withdrawal migraines and I was sleeping easier. Oh yeah, caffeine definitely affects your sleep long term. So if when I gave it up, I started being able to fall asleep easier and faster and I stayed asleep longer.

Now it’s been about 5 years since I officially gave up caffeine. I’ve gotten back on the wagon a few times and fallen off (I was a dumb child and didn’t realize just how much caffeine was in black tea, oooh boy) and gotten the migraines again. As much as I love coffee and chai tea, I don’t let myself have it every day. If I have it a few days in a row and the day after I don’t have it, BOOM MIGRAINE. I can have the occasional coffee without consequences and I definitely do (I love me a Mexican mocha) and sometimes I just need a cup of coffee to poop while I’m traveling.

So what’s good about giving up caffeine? Well, for me it means fewer migraines. It also makes it a lot easier to wake up in the morning. I’m instantly awake now instead of fighting my alarm clock or wishing I could just fall back into bed. I can go to work without needing that “jolt” to get anything done. My body goes through a more natural circadian rhythm and I don’t get overly hyper. I’m calmer and more level headed. Overall, it was a good decision for my mom to make for me 😉

Of course, giving up caffeine was the best thing for my body. There are people out there that aren’t affected by withdrawal from caffeine (you lucky bastards) and there are people who just don’t want to go through the process of giving it up because they need it. That’s fine! You do you, squirrels.

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