My Love / Hate Relationship with Caffeine

The essay below was written in April 2013, shortly after I had made a commitment to conquer my addiction to caffeine (and just a few months after I started this blog).  I decided to document how caffeine was negatively impacting my life so I would never forget why I decided to break the hold that it had over me.  I decided to re-read what I had written today, as I have been backsliding into using caffeine as a prophylactic for my migraine headaches on a regular basis.  I wanted to remind myself of why it’s not a good idea for me to bring caffeine back into my life.

Caffeine Addiction

I had no idea how much my coffee habit was impacting my life.

Now I know that most of you probably don’t have a problem with caffeine like I did. However, I think you can read what I wrote and see other addictions or compulsions you may have in my words, including shopping.  I actually wrote about my compulsive shopping problem toward the end of this essay and share that conquering my caffeine addiction was giving me strength to better face my shopping demons. 

I never planned to share this with anyone. I had written it just for me, but I think it may possibly help some of you to read it. Also, if you have a problem in your life that you want to overcome, including overshopping, it can be useful to write about WHY it’s important that you do so.  This can be a very helpful practice, both for increasing your motivation to change and for reigniting resolve during times of relapse.  As many of you may be contemplating New Year’s resolutions, I thought it might be timely to share my 2013 writing and to encourage you to write something similar about an addiction, compulsion, bad habit, negative relationship, or life challenge that you would like to overcome.  I plan to share a similar essay soon about another issue in my life that I would like to face head on in 2016.


About a month ago, I made the commitment to dramatically reduce my caffeine intake.  I have made excellent progress in this pursuit and I’m about halfway to my goal of only having coffee in the morning each day.  I’ve made this journey before, but I’ve always seemed to backslide into excessive coffee consumption.  It’s a slippery slope, but I’m hoping that if I chronicle the negative effects of my caffeine addiction, that might stop me from going down that road again in the future.  Before these effects disappear and fade from my memory, I wanted to get them down on paper (or at least on screen).

History of a Caffeine Addict

For my entire adult life, I’ve enjoyed my morning cup of coffee.  I’m a “night person” who has difficulty waking up in the morning and the coffee has always helped to give me the jolt I needed to get going each day.  I also enjoy the taste and consider my morning coffee an enjoyable ritual and a part of my day to which I look forward.

If I stopped at just morning coffee, it wouldn’t really be a problem.  I’m usually home in the morning and even if I’m not, it’s generally easy to get coffee at one’s hotel or nearby when travelling.  My morning coffee fix has never really adversely impacted my life.  About the only problem I’ve encountered was when I had surgery and was given the “nothing by mouth except water after midnight” edict.  When I emerged from anesthesia after my January 2008 foot surgery, my first word was “coffee” and I had the requisite caffeine withdrawal headache that came from postponing my fix.

Caffeine and Migraines

Ah, the headaches.  Headaches are the main reason I’ve allowed my caffeine addiction to get so out of control.  I’ve suffered from migraine headaches since age eighteen and their frequency and intensity has increased since entering my pre-menopausal years.  Caffeine is a double-edged sword when it comes to migraines. In the throes of a headache, a dose of caffeine can cut or eliminate the pain, hence the inclusion of caffeine in Excedrin Migraine and other similar drugs.  However, a rebound effect can occur and migraine sufferers have more sensitive brain chemistry than those who don’t get migraines.  Increasingly more caffeine is required to keep the headaches at bay.

My fear of the intense pain of a migraine led me to consume increasingly more caffeine, such that I was ingesting the substance four or five times each day, to the tune of a 600-700 milligram daily total.  This is around three times the maximum dose recommended by most medical professionals.  Not only that, it wreaked havoc on many of my other physical symptoms.  The acidity of coffee is horrible for my LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux or reflux in the throat) and interstitial cystitis, plus the caffeine started to really interfere with my sleep patterns.  I’ve been living on less than six hours of sleep for months now, and the sleep I do get is not very restful due to my racing heart and mind.

The Impact on My Freedom

The physical effects of too much caffeine are bad enough, but my coffee habit has also dramatically impacted my freedom in life.  It got to the point where I was planning my life around coffee.  When I’d make plans with someone, I’d do a quick mental accounting to see if the plans interfered with one of my usual coffee times.  If so, my heart would skip a beat or two.  My first thought would be, “How am I going to get my coffee?”  I took to carrying canned coffee drinks in my purse, along with powdered coffee mixes as a stop-gap measure, just in case I needed more.  I’d mentally note the coffee establishments in the area where I’d be to reassure myself that I could get my “fix” at the appropriate time.  I’d sometimes refuse or shift plans because I just couldn’t see a way to get my coffee at the necessary intervals.

Caffeine Overload

This is what I used to consider “a cup of coffee.”

For a long time, I didn’t see anything wrong with planning my life around coffee.  I saw it as a “necessary evil” in my fight against migraines.   I’d try to decrease the caffeine, but then a migraine (I get an average of 7-8 per month) would lead me to increase my intake once again.  A vicious cycle ensued – one step forward, one step back, always ending up right back where I started or in an even worse place.  I was frustrated, but I didn’t fully grasp how much my caffeine addiction was running my life.

The Parallel with Alcoholism

A while back, a friend of mine dated an alcoholic.  She didn’t realize he was an alcoholic at first.  She just thought he was like her, a person who enjoyed having a glass or two of wine each evening.  It wasn’t until they became more serious that she noticed how much his wine habit was running his life.  It dictated so much of what they did together as a couple.  I remember her telling me that they’d always end up at a wine tasting or a wine bar every time the evening rolled around.  He’d turn down plans that didn’t involve drinking and sneak alcohol from her kitchen when he stayed at her house.

Since so many people drink alcohol in our society, it can be difficult to realize someone close to us is an alcoholic.  It can even be difficult to see our own alcoholism when everyone around us seems to be drinking as much as we are.  The same is true with coffee.  After all, isn’t there a Starbucks on pretty much every corner these days?   A lot of people drink coffee and I am definitely not alone in my caffeine addiction.  But even if I have lots of company in my dependency, it’s not okay.

More on Freedom and Caffeine…

A recent values exercise revealed “freedom” as one of my top four life values.  I’ve planned a lot of my life around this value and my need for freedom is a large part of why I haven’t had a “regular job” in a number of years.  It’s also a large reason why my husband and I live in a small rental apartment and don’t own expensive cars.  We don’t want to be hampered by debt.  It’s also part of the reason why I didn’t have children, although that decision was much more complex.

Yet this freedom-loving woman allowed herself to become both physically and psychologically addicted to caffeine.  My caffeine addiction limits my freedom as much as any job ever has.  I plan my life around coffee as much or more than many people plan their lives around their jobs, and at least the employed typically have weekends off!

The Decision and the Journey

I finally decided to end caffeine’s hold over my life, even if it meant I had to suffer during the withdrawal process.  After a month of concerted effort, I’ve reduced my coffee fixes from four to five times per day (even as late as 11 pm sometimes) to just twice per day.  I now have a cup of coffee in the early morning and the early afternoon.  My goal is to get down to just morning coffee by the end of May.   I now feel strongly that I will reach this goal!

I’m gradually regaining my freedom.   The hold that caffeine has over me is weakening.  I can make plans in the evenings without worry over when and how I’ll get my coffee fix.  I look forward to being able to do the same with morning and afternoon plans.  I’m somewhat impatient to reach my end goal, but I know I need to reduce slowly in order to avoid intense withdrawal pain.   Fortunately, the pain I’ve experienced thus far has been less than I anticipated. While I’ve experienced a few more headaches than usual, the frequency and intensity is far less than I feared.  I wish I would have done this long ago, but I’m glad I finally bit the bullet.

The Aftermath… and Facing Other Addictions

I’m proud of myself for reducing my caffeine intake.  I’m glad I decided to take the more difficult path instead of continuing on the easy road.  In truth, that road wasn’t really easier. I just didn’t realize how much caffeine was hurting my body and my life.  As my coffee intake decreased, the fog began to clear and my awareness of its impact increased.

I never want to go back to being a coffee addict again!  I’m also facing my shopping addiction and I’m beginning to believe I will slay that dragon as well.  My life is getting bigger as I clear the cobwebs that my compulsive behavior had built within my mind and my life.  While I miss both coffee and shopping and feel a void in their absence (or at least their minimized presence), I feel the possibility for “more” in my life.   I am stronger than I thought I was, and becoming stronger every day.  My life is about to become more exciting and my impact on the world is about to become greater. I can feel it, and it feels better than the best coffee or the best shopping binge will ever feel!

Epilogue

While I originally set out to decrease my caffeine intake to only morning coffee, I eventually decided to cut out caffeine altogether. I achieved that goal shortly before my 47th birthday in August 2013.  Through reading a book called “Heal Your Headache,” I learned that caffeine is really a bad thing overall for migraine sufferers, even in moderation.  Because my migraines had become so bad and I had also developed migraine associated vertigo (MAV), I was desperate for relief.

Sadly, I continue to suffer with migraine headaches (and actually worse than in 2013), but removing caffeine from my diet did help to reduce the vertigo.   Coffee is also bad for other health issues with which I suffer, including acid reflux, so it’s just better for me to avoid it. I do enjoy a decaf latte once every week or two, but I mostly avoid coffee these days. Surprisingly, I don’t really miss it anymore.  When I had to have an endoscopy and colonoscopy recently, I didn’t freak out about having to avoid my morning coffee, and I didn’t get a migraine that day, either.

I’m getting to the point at which I have almost no vices, but that doesn’t mean I’m perfect by any means!  I still have some bad habits that I need to address and I’m still a recovering shopaholic, although I’ve made some good progress there.   In addition to continuing to work on my shopping, wardrobe and style in the coming year, I will also be focusing on some life habits during 2016.   Stay tuned…

Your Thoughts?

Now it’s time for you to share your thoughts about what I have written or on your own issues and experiences.

  • Is there an addiction, compulsion, bad habit, negative relationship, or life challenge that you would like to overcome in the coming year? Why is it important that you do so?
  • Have you overcome any such issues in the past? What did you learn about yourself in the process? 
  • What helped you break the hold that a substance, behavior, person, or habit had over you?

I’d love to learn about your experiences, lessons, and challenges.  You never know who you might help with your sharing.   The comments section has been a little quiet as of late because so much conversation is going on over at the “End Closet Chaos” closed Facebook group, but I hope some of you will contribute here as well.   If you’d rather chime in over there, that works, too!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend.  I will be back soon with my style retrospective post, my December “grab bag” of useful links (see previous installments here), and another “story of recovery” from a longtime reader and frequent commenter.


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Comments

  1. Sharon Wright says:

    Hi Debbie. Gosh reading your reflections often clarify my own circumstances. I realise how coffee addiction is affecting my life. I too base my life around getting my fix. Yesterday whilst running around delivering presents to friends I considered cancelling as I was so desperate for a coffee (& had awful withdrawal headache). I’m very much a solitary drinker & I am very particular about my coffee so rarely drink in other people’s homes. My OCD requires a certain blend & even cup! I liken this behaviour to cancelling meet ups to wait in for deliveries. My priorities can often be a little skewed! I’m striving for balance & will add this to the list!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad my post was helpful to you, Sharon. I knew there had to be some other caffeine addicts out there, but I also thought that people would be able to draw parallels to their situations, like you did with waiting for deliveries. I think that balance is going to be my word for 2016, as my life feels very out of balance now. I remember those caffeine withdrawal headaches well. I used to get them four or five times a day. I am very sensitive to caffeine and pretty much everything, so I am better off with no coffee at all. I hope you will find a way to find balance with caffeine and all things in the coming year.

  2. Debbie, I am not a coffee drinker; but I do like coffee ice-cream and coffee candy. Anyway, my vice is chocolate, usually candy or cookies. Like you, I have LPR ( I kind of just have come to this conclusion, as I took a very expensive pepsin spit test, and have Pepsin in my mouth off the charts, very indicative of LPR. Plus a few other symptoms). I went to an ENT and am going to a GI next week. The ENT gave me a strict diet, and no caffeine and no chocolate were on the list of bad foods. I have been following Jamie Koufman diet for 2 weeks, and feel a lot better. So although chocolate was a constant for me, I kind of quit cold turkey. Easier than caffeine I admit. Wishing you better health in 2016. Read about Jamie Koufman diet online! (BTW, she recommends alkaline water which is my only beverage at this point, does help a lot!!!)

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Sherri. While it is good to connect with someone else with LPR, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s a horrible problem… I have been basically following Koufman’s plan for over 5 years, but now I adhere more to the recommendations from “Killing Me Softly from the Inside” by Jonathan Aviv. Chocolate causes me my worst symptoms, so I have to avoid it altogether. Occasionally, I can have something with a bit of chocolate in it (like some cocoa in a smoothie), but a piece of chocolate will cause my throat to close up and my voice will be hoarse immediately. It’s very sad… I don’t drink alkaline water, but I do only drink water and sometimes carrot juice. If you ever want to compare notes about LPR, feel free to message me. Also, I am in a great Facebook group for LPR which I have found very helpful (there are a few groups, but the one I like best is this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/756859594352929/ Best wishes to you and thanks again for writing.

  3. How interesting, I have never known anyone with that type of coffee addiction. My husband drinks coffee all day long but he does not act bothered when we are out and it is not available, and he just drinks any old black coffee, not particular about type or brand. He is a bit ADD and uses it like Ritalin, but he can go for many hours without it. I can’t drink it at all as it hurts my stomach. I have a large black tea every morning with breakfast but can’t have any more than that or it bothers my intestinal tract and gives me the jitters. If I don’t have it there are no consequences. My only addiction is shopping. 🙁

    I have stopped buying just about everything, but have recently bought some more perfume and bath products. It’s due to being bored and depressed I know… Once I get back to San Diego and some sunshine I am hoping I will feel better and more able to resist temptation. The SAD is kicking my butt this winter. It is cold and overcast every day here in Montreal, but no snow so no winter sports to enjoy. 🙁

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I think some people are just very sensitive to caffeine and other substances, Tara. It’s part of the “migraine brain,” I think. I doubt many are as sensitive as I am for sure. Coffee hurts my stomach and throat, too, so it’s best that I don’t drink it for multiple reasons. Shopping is my main addiction now, too, but I’m doing a lot better than I was. I agree that being bored and depressed can be big triggers. You really have been doing very well, though, even if you did buy some things recently. You should still be proud of yourself! Yes, SAD can be a big problem and I even get it here in San Diego. Taking a walk just before sunset every day has been helping me. I hope you get to see some snow before you leave Montreal. A white Christmas would be nice. 🙂

      • Sadly no chance of that – they are predicting temperatures in the 50’s and rain for Christmas. I am just hoping we see some snow before we leave on Jan. 12th. This is a crazy winter. Today we had alternating snow, rain and hail but I went for a walk outside anyway because I had such bad cabin fever. It did cheer me up to be outside, amazingly enough.

        • Debbie Roes says:

          That’s too bad, Tara. I really hope you will get to see at least a bit of snow before you head back to San Diego. It does sound like a crazy winter there… I try to get outside for at least a short walk every single day because it really does help to boost my mood. I notice a big difference in how I feel on walk days vs. non-walk days.

  4. Once again, you’ve shared a story that could be from my own life. I have had chronic migraine for 29 years, and have been in denial about caffeine for that whole time. I’ve even had arguments with my doctors about it, insisting that I needed the caffeine to keep the headaches at bay. (Do you think this might be a very common problem for migraine sufferers? I do!) Finally a recent explanation from my GP got through to me – the caffeine is helping “cure” each headache, but also causing a rebound headache each time. I’m not totally ready to give in yet, as I go some months with no HA at all, but other months I have as many as 25. As you know, there are dozens, even hundreds of triggers, and you can’t blame it on just one thing. But it makes sense to remove anything that you KNOW is a definite cause.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and being a huge inspiration. Good luck in your fight – I understand how hard it is.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      So sorry you have been dealing with chronic migraine for so long, Katrina. I have had them for 31 years now, so we are both in a bad boat with it all. I used to have those same arguments about caffeine. It DID help in the short-term, but I was getting rebound headaches multiple times per day, which was why I was drinking coffee even at 11 at night. Your migraines are more variable than mine. I always get at least 7 or 8 per month, but sometimes it’s more like 15 (25 would be sheer hell). Yes, there are SO many triggers that is can be very hard to figure it out, but I know caffeine was a problem for me. I use Excedrin again now, but I’m keeping it to no more than once a week so I don’t get the rebound. I’m glad my experience was helpful to you. Best of luck to you, too! I have read that 2/3 of women with migraines see them decrease dramatically or go away completely with menopause. I hope and pray that I am part of that group (and you, too, if you haven’t reached that phase already).

  5. Hi Debbie, wanted to add one more helpful idea for LPR. There is a product called Gaviscon Advance only available in Great Britain. Manufactured by a totally different company than the Gaviscon available in the US. It is available on Amazon sometimes, I just ordered it and have used it as needed. It really does work. Type in the product name and you will find many comments about it from various sufferers. Also recommended by an ENT group in Virginia and other websites. Here is the amazon site:http://www.amazon.com/Gaviscon-Advance-Aniseed-Flavour-250ml. Do not order mint flavor, as mint is awful for LPR. The aniseed flavor is not bad.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Interesting you should mention this, Sherri, as I just ordered it last week! Quite a few people in the Facebook group I mentioned above have used it and have reported good results. The shipping time seems a bit extreme (they quoted me mid-January), but at least it’s on its way. I’m going to start with trying at night, as I get a lot of nighttime reflux even with having the head of my bed elevated by 8 inches. I ordered the aniseed flavor. I can’t do mint at all. I don’t even understand why they made a mint flavor, but maybe mint is okay for GERD. I appreciate your suggestions very much!

  6. Wow Debbie, this is horrifying, I’m so sorry. I had no idea caffeine/coffee could wreak this kind of havoc on so many conditions. I’m a bit sensitive and do limit to 1-2 weak cups in the morning, but I was very lucky in that I dodged the migraine bullet from my dad’s side. I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with that on top of everything else when I hear stories like yours. It sounds truly awful and I wish you all the best in figuring out how to cope. Take care.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I think most people don’t have as many problems with caffeine as I do, Claire. I’m extraordinarily sensitive to it. I’m happy you dodged that migraine bullet. Those headaches have been the bane of my existence. They were on both sides of my family, so I didn’t stand much of a chance, sadly. I know you are going through a lot of your own issues, though, and are struggling to cope, too. Thanks for the good wishes. Right back at you…

  7. Hi Debbie! I recently came across this idea and think I may try it. I already have other piercings and am not afraid of them so I don’t really have anything to lose. I wonder if anyone else has experience with this? http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a35516/daith-piercing-for-migraines/

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Sarah! I have heard of it before in a migraine group on Facebook, but a few people there tried it and said it didn’t help them. But nothing works for everyone and it is definitely worth a try. I just may have to do it, too, as I am getting desperate. I keep thinking that menopause may save me (2/3 of women with migraines get much better with menopause), but I am almost there and no improvement yet. If you do this, please let me know how it goes for you. Wouldn’t it be great if something this simple would work?

  8. Oh, and I used to suffer from a terrible sugar and refined carbs addiction. When I went gluten free I went a little crazy finding “replacements” for all my breads and things. They were much more starchy. All the sugar and starch put me in a terrible cycle of craving and overeating. Once I cut carbs out, and focused on meats, nuts, cheese, veggies and fruits, I regained not only my physical health but also my mental health! My hormones and moods are more stable than ever. But it was HARD!!! Anyone trying to give something up— don’t give up! Keep trying!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I had the same type of addiction, Sarah. I have been gluten-free for about a year and half now and although I was going for all of the replacements at first, I really feel that I’m not as into carbs and sugar anymore. I haven’t completely cut carbs out, but I did do a period of grain-free. I have a lot of health issues and sometimes the diets for each contradict each other, so I am still struggling. I’m glad you are doing so much better! I am not going to give up at all. I am willing to try almost anything, but I get overwhelmed by it all sometimes. I would be overjoyed to regain both my physical and mental health. It’s about time!

  9. Oh, dear, migraines, Debbie. My momsuffered regular bouts of migraines most of her life. Fortunayely, I don’t get them. My brother does, though.

    I do understand caffeine over drinking though. I will get digestive issues if i overdo caffeine. After yearsof toomuch coffee and diet Coke, Ikeep it to two cups of coffee when I get up and hardly any diet Coke. Hard to resist cold, sweet fizzy drinks in ourhot weather in Phoenix,though.

    Thank you very mu h for your blog.
    Shamba

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Shamba. You’re lucky you don’t have migraines, but caffeine can definitely wreak havoc on our digestion, too. I was both a coffee and diet coke addict and I struggled to wean myself off of both. Congrats on tapering your coffee and soda intake. I know it’s hard. Yes, those types 0f drinks are what we want to have in the hot weather… Glad you like my blog!

      • For the sweet fizzy drink cravings, I mix a few ounces of fruit juice with carbonated Pellegrino or Perrier water and that is quite satisfying.

  10. Debbie,
    I recall on one of your posts you mentioned you have problems with your neck. This can cause incessant migraines. I don’t know what you have done regarding your neck, but once I had an MRI I could easily see where the headaches were coming from. To combat, I get occasional injections into the facet joints. It isn’t good for the discs, but it provides almost complete relief of pain for about six months. Thought I’d share in case you haven’t looked into the role that neck and shoulder pain can play in headaches.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing this, OCD. I am actually supposed to get an MRI of my back, mostly because I have been having hip and foot problems, but I’m having trouble getting my insurance company to approve it. I have had neck problems for years now and no one has been able to determine why. My pain is mostly in the front of my neck, which I guess is uncommon. I have had migraines longer than neck problems, but both give me a lot of trouble. I would love to find something that can give me relief. The orthopedist mentioned epidural injections as a possibility for my pain, so hopefully I will be able to get the MRI soon and pursue that avenue. I’m glad it has been helpful for you!

  11. I was once on a 3-week holiday with a friend who hates coffee, and he basically wouldn’t let me drink coffee the whole time we were together. Talk about going cold turkey! The craving for coffee was EXTREME! But after about 10-14 days the craving went away, and then I positively disliked coffee for about 2 years! I stupidly started drinking it again when my mother didn’t want to drink coffee unless I had some too, and am now back where I started.

    But on the subject of migraine, I just wanted to mention that my husband used to get migraines all the time, but now doesn’t. What happened was that I myself (never having had a migraine in my life before) developed what later turned out to be exercise-induced migraine, which was so bad I thought I was going to die, and had emergency MRIs and MR-angiograms of my head and neck. Eventually a specialist headache neurologist diagnosed me as having exercise-induced migraine, and he prescribed amlodipine 9-12 hours before exercise. That was a miracle cure. However, another thing he prescribed was 2 of the huge magnesium tablets (not oxide, not citrate) twice per day. He told me that people who suffer from migraines tend to have magnesium deficiency. I told my husband about that, and he started taking two huge magnesium gluconate tablets the moment he feels a migraine coming on, and to date (a couple of years), he has never had a migraine since! I just wanted to mention this in case if helps any other migraine sufferers.

    • This is interesting. I’ll have to tell my friend this, as she suffers from migraines as well. She started taking feverfew supplements though and got marked relief from that, but everything helps.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Wow, that must have been hard to go cold turkey on the coffee on a 3-week holiday, Wendy. Not exactly a recipe for an enjoyable time! I know it’s very easy to “get back on the horse,” so to speak, so I’m not surprised that you are back to where you started with the caffeine now. That’s the main reason why I wrote my essay almost 3 years ago. I wanted to remind myself of what it was costing me to be so addicted to caffeine. I know that most people don’t have as many issues with caffeine as I did, but I have a very sensitive brain with the migraines.

      Very interesting that you experienced an exercise-induced migraine. It sounds horrible and I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you found a way to prevent that from happening. I take magnesium every day (oxide powder) but for sleep and constipation. It doesn’t seem to be helping my migraines. I will look into magnesium gluconate, but I need to find pills that I can swallow. I can’t swallow large capsules due to my throat problem, but sometimes I can use a pill splitter to break up larger tablets. It’s worth a try to take the magnesium gluconate when I feel a migraine coming on. It might help… Thank you for sharing this with me.

  12. I’m a caffeine addict, although after reading your account I feel much better about my own issues. With a few exceptions I don’t drink coffee after about 1 o’clock. I don’t drink alcohol so if we go out to dinner I have a diet coke or iced tea. I’m a bit of an iced tea snob, I won’t drink that stuff that’s raspberry flavored and comes out of a soda machine.

    I think vices are relative. Caffeine is much less an issue for me than alcohol, and I’d say it’s preferable to nicotine. If I feel like my caffeine in take has gotten out of hand I start making coffee with half decaf for a few weeks and edge myself down. To be honest, it does improve my sleep to drink less coffee.

    I recently discovered that the occasional severe headache I had after having a little psychedelic display go past my eyes was in actuality a migraine. I’d read descriptions of halos but I always thought it would be like around the head of an angel and not what I’d been having. For me they’re more about lighting that’s too bright.

    I had a sudden surgery a few years back and the no liquids requirement is a disaster. I woke up with a terrible headache and it wasn’t all just the anesthesia wearing off!

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Ginger. I agree that vices are relative and not just based on the vice, but also on the person. I know that most people don’t struggle with caffeine as I did, but most of us have at least one vice that is a problem in our lives. Some of us have quite a few vices!

      Yes, migraines can be difficult to discern sometimes. Not everyone has a halo or aura and even those who do can have different manifestations of it. I hope you don’t experience migraines all that often. They are such a horrible thing and have been the bane of my existence for SO long. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy! I don’t blame you for not wanting to drink that super sugary raspberry iced tea. It’s not my bag, either!

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