It all started when one day I had the worst stomach and chest pains I’ve ever had and I got taken to hospital in an ambulance. It was a whirlwind of blood tests and ECGs to monitor my heart and see if it was anything sinister. Luckily, it wasn’t my heart or my lungs but probably something to do with my stomach. So I googled my symptoms (as you do these days haha!) and found that they seemed to point towards gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). I did some research to find out if there was anything I could do to help stop these pains from happening and eliminating caffeine came up every time!
I am a huge lover of diet coke, coffee, normal tea, green tea and to hear that I couldn’t have these anymore upset me to say the least! Just to put it into perspective, and this is bad I know, but I used to have around 3 cans of diet coke a day and then I’d mostly have coffee at the weekend. I found the nicest coffee by Little’s (pictured above) that my lovely sister bought me for my birthday and sadly I couldn’t drink it anymore.
Another piece of this puzzle is the fact that for the longest time I’ve had anxiety. I had panic attacks too and for anyone who has panics attacks you’ll know what it’s like, it feels like you’re going to pass out or have a heart attack or something!
So, anyway, I cut out the caffeine completely. I stopped drinking diet coke, I stopped having my lovely coffees *cries* and I started drinking more water. I’ve always drank at least 2 litres a day but I found myself drinking even more which can only be a good thing.
At first I felt really tired and soooo grouchy! I didn’t really put two and two together until my housemate said “maybe you’re having caffeine withdrawals?!” Light bulb moment… I was most definitely suffering from caffeine withdrawals!! That lasted for around a week I’d say and then once that passed I noticed something pretty amazing…
My anxiety has always been worse in the mornings, usually as soon as I wake up. It often has me fearing the worst for the day ahead and pretty much every fear I have decides to beat me over the head until I’m left in a bit of a daze trying to get ready for work. However, after cutting out caffeine these feelings were significantly lessening! I thought to myself “no way, this has to just be a coincidence” so I googled it (I think I should stop googling things so much) and found something quite interesting. There has been a lot of research into the effect caffeine has on anxiety. According to what I’ve read, caffeine stimulates your central nervous system and therefore can replicate the same symptoms as an anxiety attack. The heart pounding, the increase in breathing, the shakes etc. Interesting right?!
So basically I’ve been living caffeine free now for around 2 months and I can honestly say if you have anxiety it will do you the world of good. Obviously it’s not the be all and end all, but it definitely helped me. I get the odd day where I wake up feeling anxious but for the most part I am actually okay.
Thanks for reading.
Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly reexperiencing failure in advance. What a waste.
– Seth Godin