I recently posted about how my anxiety had reached new heights. Last week I felt terrible, unlike anything I can remember feeling before, mind racing and panic setting in. I have yet to figure out what exactly triggered it – maybe it’s because my oldest turns three in a couple weeks, or maybe it’s because I have only a few weeks left on my maternity leave – but whatever the case, something ignited my anxiety flame and it burned for four excruciating days.
My oldest got sick with a cold and really hadn’t been acting like himself for several days before. His appetite and thirst doubled, and he was having trouble making it to the bathroom in time. This was after several months of being potty-trained, including staying completely dry at night. This perfect storm brewed the idea in my head that he was exuding type 1 diabetes symptoms. I’m on high alert since I’m type 1, so I typically try to check his blood sugar a few times a year. And I was convinced he had it this time. My brain wanted me to believe it.
Turns out, he is fine, and I’ve come to realize I will always have T1D in the back of my mind. But I’m not going to let the “what ifs” consume my mind.
From the hell that was last week, I finally decided to listen to my husband and quit the coffee. You see, I LOVE coffee. I think I started drinking coffee when I was 12 years old, and it was a regular habit once I hit college. I love everything about it – the bitterness, the warmth, and obviously like most addictive substances, the way it makes me feel.
But over the years and a couple kids later, coffee had become less of an indulgence and more of a necessity. Lately, my consumption looked like this: 2-3 cups in the morning to get me going. I would get a nice burst of energy to get things done for a few hours, then start feeling the crash around lunchtime. Try to squeeze in an afternoon nap, then drink another 1-2 cups around 3 p.m. to get me refueled enough to make it through the evening after I pick up my high-energy toddler. Then come crashing down into an angry ball of exhaustion around 8:00.
I also noticed that when I drank excessive coffee, my anxiety was higher. I could practically feel my brain buzzing with all its thoughts. And Friday evening it took hours for me to come down from that anxiety high, and I realized I needed to do something about it.
So I made a promise to kick the habit. That’s right, cut my beloved coffee out of my life.
I am on Day 3 of no coffee and I am honestly feeling pretty good. I’ve wanted to find a way to drink more water, and this has forced me to do that. I’ve found staying hydrated has helped keep my mind clearer. And I honestly do still get tired, but it’s not that utter exhaustion that I felt coming off my coffee high.
Fortunately, I enjoy tea, so I have switched to caffeine free herbal tea a couple times a day for something with flavor.
Obviously, I don’t believe that quitting coffee is my total anxiety cure, but it seems to be helping at the moment. When I have anxious thoughts come into my head, I’m able to quickly recognize them and dismiss them. I have also been trying to listen to the Headspace app on a fairly regular basis. And today I meet with my therapist for the first time, so I am excited to see what other coping mechanisms she can suggest.
I’m learning that motherhood is full of challenges that I never imagined, and it is forcing me to reflect and figure out who I am, what makes me tick, and what kind of mother I want to be.