How Coffee Ruined My Life

Thursday, August 20

By Ariana Noghreh

I love coffee. And I only like a specific way of having coffee: Nescafe's 3-in-1 coffee paired with milk in a 1:1 ratio. (Trust me, you should try it) An important fact that I should also mention about me is that I have anxiety disorder. So coffee and anxiety are not the best pair, and I had to make my peace with it the hard way. 

Before I realized I had anxiety (2.5 years ago), I'd have 2-3 cups of my special coffee per day and I'd love it because I didn't drink it for energy (I never got energy from drinking coffee, no matter what kind of coffee it was) but I drank it for the taste. The creaminess from the milk and the sweet-but-also-bitter taste from my coffee gave me a kick of serotonin and I enjoyed drinking it as I studied and worked. 

My body was pretty much used to that amount of coffee, or so I thought. After a while, I realized that my fingers would sometimes shake uncontrollably every month or so, and then the frequency of that would increase. From that point onwards, I believed with all my heart that I had early-onset Parkinson's disease after checking every medical website there was. (Tip: Don't do that.) Now I don't know about you, but I always wanted my "Anne Hathaway" moment to be on the same line of The Princess Diaries, not her character in Love And Other Drugs. (spoiler: Her character in the second movie had early-onset Parkinson's disease)

After more and more research, I saw that uncontrollable shaking CAN also result from high coffee intake. I didn't believe it at first because I have been having the same amount of coffee for over a year. But my inner scientist and logical person wanted to give it a try, so I begrudgingly gave up coffee for 2 weeks. The first few days were the same, with me having palpitations and my hands shaking the life out of them. In the next week and half, I was EXTREMELY cranky (could you blame me?), but the palpitations and hank-shaking stopped. I couldn't believe it so I extended the no-coffee experiment to an extra two weeks, and by the end of the experiment, I stopped being cranky and my body parts were finally behaving and cooperating.

I stayed off of coffee for months, about half a year. I was still good and functioning properly. But as Taylor Swift once sang, "Just because you're clean don't mean you don't miss it". So I dove back into the coffee life, with only a cup every few days. I thought controlling my intake would help protect me from the shaking but boy was I wrong. After a week of things being a-okay (AKA the calm before the storm), the heart palpitations and hand-shaking were back, and I had also experienced several severe anxiety attacks in the same week. I took all of that as a sign that maybe I should finally give up coffee for good. 

It was a hard thing to do, believe me, but it's "for my own good". Ah, I hate that saying. Don't get me wrong, me getting off of coffee WAS for my own good, but dammit I still want coffee, even though it made my body go cray cray on me. But I'm stubborn enough to not give into that  because I had promised myself to stay off of coffee, so that is exactly what I'll do. If you're someone who has anxiety or gets really bad palpitations or whatever "side effect"  it is that you may have, maybe you should give this a thought and take a break from coffee. You might be grateful of doing that one day. (Keyword: MIGHT.) 


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