For Lent this year, I decided to give caffeine the boot. Those of you who know me well understand that this is no small task. Coffee is a way of life for me, and caffeine sure is helpful when reading lots of homework or sitting through a three-hour lecture. Still, I know I depend on it too much. I have known this for a while, but it seems like a harmless vice, really.
Let me repeat that: I depend on it too much...as in, I am dependent...chemically that is. I am a caffeine addict. I went into this expecting a nasty headche and a good dose of yawning, but I've gotten way more than I bargained for! Several studies on caffeine withdrawal have actually led many in the medical field to recognize that a percentage of people experience very real and varied effects (for an example, check out this article by the American Chemical Society). When I read the words, "drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not-clearheaded," I let out a sigh of relief that I wasn't just going insane. I have felt so off-kilter for the last couple days!
One of the worst parts is feeling anxious and weighed down, but not knowing what to give credence to during this time. What am I really feeling, and what is just my emotions being weirded out by withdrawal? I feel panicked about some things...are they really panic-worthy? It is amazing to me that this thing, this subtle addiction, has the power to twist my ability to distinguish what is truth for a while. It totally clouds my perception.
It has got me thinking...what sorts of other things have that kind of hold on me? I didn't notice caffeine did, until it was taken away. What kinds of things are subtly building up the strength to totally impair my ability to recognize the truth someday? What am I dependent on?
These are the sorts of questions I plan to ponder more once that whole "difficulty concentrating" thing wears off.