(First published: Aug 12, 2007)
I like coffee. Scratch that. I LOVE coffee! But coffee doesn’t always love me back.
This is such a common enough item in most people’s world that I figured I’d better throw some info your way.
The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can make some progress towards feeling better, getting relief.
That covers a whole lot of territory so today I’m just sticking with coffee. It’s ever present and a favorite amongst the disturbed.
Here’s the most obvious: the caffeine in coffee can be enough to push you into mania or weirdness or panic all by itself.
That’s an easy one to get in bed with, right? It’s a stimulant. Too much and you’ll get jittery.
Well, normal people would get jittery. Bipolar people face system wide shutdown as the main furnace runs out of control.
I listen closely to my body and my inner voice. I’ve had many days when I just knew if I had more coffee or sometimes any coffee, I’d become panicky. I just knew it.
Some days I’d ignore the inner voice and be rewarded with frazzled nerves, racing heart, and the fear that we bipolar folks have cornered the market on.
All from a cup of coffee.
If you’re bipolar you have to come to grips with how delicate your nervous system is and plan accordingly.
Now, if you’re depressed (as bipolar people often are) this can go another way.
Anyone who’s had the training will recognize the comparison I use of when you do coke and feel the crash when you run out. (You never stop coke for the day. You run out.)
You sink lower than where you were when you took your first snort.
Coffee does the same exact thing if you are pounding down cup after cup.
It’s a vicious cycle.
You feel depressed and down, tired, fatigued, lethargic, so you have some coffee.
You keep having coffee because it’s not really helping but it’s a habit and it tastes good plus you don’t feel like cooking or eating anything else.
All that coffee starts making you more depressed! You are now feeding your depression!
That’s the caffeine part of things. But coffee has another dark dimension to it.
It turns your digestive tract and later, your blood stream, acidic. That is very bad. Our bodies function best in a slightly alkaline environment.
When your body gets acidic, viruses and all the other oogie boogies become powerful. You get sick much easier.
You’re basically damaging your defense force.
In your gut, food stops being broken down right and other malfunctions arise in that area.
You have to do everything possible to maintain a healthy digestive tract.
It is the start of the whole process right? If it fails, how can anything else in your body work right from there?
The caffeine also leaches valuable minerals from your body as it uses them to counteract the acidic environment it’s created and to push put it out of your body.
Your body will flush itself with things it needs elsewhere and if you’re not eating right on top of it, there is no replacement of the valuable nutrients taking place.
So now your body will cannibalize itself, based on priority. It will start robbing Peter to pay Paul.
The caffeine in colas presents the same problem but even worse, the colas will drain you of nutrients even faster.
If you’re drinking diet colas on top of it, you’re killing yourself.
The fake sweeteners are disastrous to anyone’s health but especially those with nervous system disorders.
But that’s another topic. Just don’t drink soda. ANY soda. Trust me.
So, must you quit drinking coffee to avoid this seeming War of the Worlds scenario from taking place in your body? No. Not at all.
But keep your intake low. Maybe one or two cups a day, max.
And if you’re not feeling well, if your nerves are on shaky ground, don’t add fuel to the fire. Skip all caffeine for that day.
My chiropractor has been telling me for years to stop drinking coffee altogether but I can’t. Or won’t. I like it too much.
But I’ve definitely had times where I left it alone for many days at a stretch.
Moderation kiddies, moderation.
The photographer of this post’s featured photo: Emre Gencer