29 November 2013

Facebook status update.

Today I promised myself I would stay away from facebook. It's only 11:02 a.m. and I can safely say I am adhering to my intrinsic desire to keep my distance. Thus far, I have only been on the site a total of four or five times. There is some really shady ish going on at times on this site. For starters, I got this very strange friend request the other day when I was using my Kindle Fire and accepted it, yet the person didn't appear on my friends list. I keep seeing the person's profile over and over, but am still unsure as to what that was about since the friend request came through but when I accepted, he didn't appear on my list of friends.

Then I went on a family member's account (with his permission of course) to see what my profile looked like from an outsider's perspective. When I logged back into my account, there was a friend's request from the family member's account, even though I had been on that account moments prior and did not send the request. When I went back to check the activity log of the family member's page, there was no indication of any friend request having been sent. Very weird. This got me thinking, what if random friend requests are being sent to those profiles I've looked into regularly? This idea made me panic a bit inside, but I realize if it's happening, it's out of my control, so there's no sense in worrying about it. I just reallllllly reallly hope the guy at work whose site I've checked a few too many times has not received any notifications pertaining to my page. How embarrassing would that be? Oh well, again, I can't worry about this stuff.

Facebook friends..um, not.

As a continuation of my last post, so I messaged my friend several hours ago sarcastically thanking him for deleting my posts (After sending the message, on impulse I deleted him from my friends list. Acting impulsively has seemed to serve me right as of late, so I thought why the heck not?) Then I compulsively checked my FB page for the next four hours, mostly awaiting his response. Funny how if I don't respond to him right away when he contacts me, he'll continue to contact me obsessively to solicit a response as soon as possible, yet I have to just deal with his casual placing me on the back burner and making me an afterthought. He writes me back stating that my posts were not relevant to the topic at hand. He thought they were more appropriate for a private message, and he intended to talk this over by phone the next time we talked. Is this for real? So you're going to censor me, of all places, on facebook? Then you want to have an in-depth discussion about my posting to your wall or timeline or whatever? What happened to being playful and appreciating spontaneity? What happened to your sense of humor, your ability to lighten up and have fun? It's freaking facebook. It's not that serious. In fact, it's not serious at all. Something else that just got serious however, is your over analysis of stupid ish like what I post on your timeline in good fun, and your desire to have a detailed discussion about it.

This facebook experience over the past few days has really opened my eyes, for starters, to this so-called friend's major insecurity issues. He's got 500+ friends and shows up as a friend of nearly anyone who pops up on my screen. The fact that he has more than 500 virtual friends, yet doesn't get out much, is very telling in terms of how he views himself. I actually feel pity for him because he has so many virtual friends and hardly any real ones. I would rather be real and post comments on a whim and not give a crap about what the 500 hundred virtual friends think, because they're not real friends nor do they matter in the real sense.

As for my facebook friends, I currently have three total after ditching this insecure one. Currently, I am contemplating deleting two of the remaining three as one of them was suggested by the aforementioned person and his posts don't do anything but annoy me, and the other one is someone with whom I was friends with during my college years, yet we drifted apart, and despite trying to reconnect since having joined facebook, she's not that responsive. All in all, there's only one facebook friend whose posts make me laugh and who I could see hanging out with, in the real world. That person is actually one of the only reasons I'm giving this thing a chance, to see if other connections could potentially be rekindled or created, not in the artificial sense, but as an addendum to my reality. I'm all about being real, and if someone can't accept that and decides my posts aren't good enough for his FB page, he can move along. Keep the facade going with your facebook friends. See what that does for your life.

28 November 2013

Whyyy facebook, whyyy?

Why did I rejoin facebook? Although I only joined five days ago, I'm already contemplating deactivating my account. I literally feel the impulse to check it every five seconds, for no other reason than to see who comes up on the search bar when I type every letter of the alphabet, to check on whether anyone has sent me a message or submitted a friend request, and to review my ever stagnant timeline. Nothing is happening, yet I continue to go back in the hopes something has changed. Each time I sign it, I feel like I lose a piece of my soul. It's a soul-sucking vortex, I tell you. Even tonight, I signed on a few times, despite being surrounded by family in celebration of the holiday, and felt guilty each time I snuck away for a another facebook peek.

When reviewing my activity log, I discovered that a friend had deleted several posts I had entered into his timeline. That pissed me off. Aside from sending him a message voicing my thoughts, I then deleted him as a friend, reducing my overflowing group of friends from four to three. I'm cool like that. I'm not getting much out of facebook other than the hope that something potentially good could come of it in the future, like expanding my social connections. At the present time, the inactivity is not sitting well with me, and I have the urge to escape. It feels like I'm at a party, sitting in a corner, hoping for someone to reach out and initiate something with me, to throw me a bone. I sip from my cup slowly, peering up at the crowd before me, preparing for my exit. It feels right, this getting ready to leave. It's that awkward moment when you wish you never showed up and wonder why you did.

It reminds me of a party I went to a year or so after college. It was either a birthday party or a graduation party of a friend I used to be close with in high school but lost touch with in college. I was not very well acquainted with her group of friends and though I debated attending the event, I ultimately decided to go, out of respect for my friend and wanting to be a good sport. It was such an uncomfortable experience. I remember feeling so out of place and not knowing what to do or say. All of her friends knew each other and were grouped together chatting, and I just could not bring myself to maneuver myself into the conversation, so I sat off to the side. A boyfriend of one of my friend's friends sat beside me and talked to me a little bit, but even that was awkward. At one point, I talked to my friend's mom and at another point, I tried talking to two other girls who were engaged in conversation and I got the feeling they didn't want me to be included. It was such a feeling of not belonging that I felt and it so parallels how I feel on facebook. Even my friend, who I considered to be a close confidante, can't be bothered with me. 

27 November 2013

Running on pure emotion.

There's this game I play when I'm doing something I know I should not be doing, yet continue to do it (or at least don't try to fight it). What happens is, I assure myself that 'I can stop... when I want to... I'll get around to it.' This, of course, is never a good game to play. Okay, so it feels good, and I really like it, because I realize that I'm freaking human and I can always begin again, later, when I recover from being in a funk. Let's take facebook for example. I just reactivated my account. In reality, I just activated an account, as my old account has been obsolete for the past seven years. It was junior year of college when I deleted the damn thing, vowing never to return. Oh wait, didn't I do that with coffee five years ago? Wait, didn't I do that with... yeah, I can think of a few more things.

Anyway, regarding facebook, over the past few years, I have toyed with the idea of becoming a member again and I finally bit the bullet this past Sunday. (I broke all kind of rules this weekend; drank coffee after nearly three weeks of refraining from it. Okay, so that's only one other rule, but it was a big one and led to me binging on chocolate all week.) So aside from compulsively checking my facebook since having joined once again, because I'm an addict like that, I keep happening to catch a glampse of what's-his-face's profile pic (you know.. the guy I thought was into me, who ended up being *cough* *ahem* *cough* MARRIED). Wtf?! Okay, so I ate two rows of chocolate brownies tonight (half with walnuts, half without, for those who want the full deets). Definitely not beating myself for that or for the fact that when I type in the first letter of what's-his-face's name in the search bar of FB, his profile pic pops up. Like damn, can't a girl catch a break?

Rather than beat myself up for feeling how I'm feeling, I'm going with the flow of these emotions, with the understanding that I'll get around to getting over this shiz when I get around to it, as with all things. Setbacks are the nature of being human. Disappointment is inevitable at times. Emotions can overtake us and make us give into our old habits. Chocolate and coffee make things better, at least temporarily, and that's good enough for me. 

26 November 2013

Another chocolate bar bites the dust.

The amount of chocolate I eat (or caffeine I consume) is directly proportionate to how emotional I am feeling. Therefore, one can estimate my level of emotion given that I downed an entire bar both today and yesterday. I must say Trader Joe's Organic 72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar beats the heck out of Green & Black's. Just sayin'. That's my humble opinion. Anyway, I had two freaking cups of decaf coffee this morning. Yes, I drank decaf like it was my business, when in fact it was not good at all. It was way too acidic and made my head feel a bit weird, so there will be no more of that. Furthermore, the taste was not on par with the real thing, despite being a reputable brand. So screw the decaf. Not having it any longer. First and last day of that ish.

Okay, so I was feeling drained emotionally at the end of the (work) day and therefore lost all inhibition and went for it (the chocolate) full board. Why, you ask, was I feeling this way? Well, for starters, as I mentioned in my last post (if you happened to pave your way through all the rambling), I just found out recently this guy I have been crushin' on really bad is married. Yup, not purely taken, but married, as in off the market, permanently. How's that for a cold dose of reality? At least I had the weekend to soak in that realization. Then of course, came the surrendering to caffeine. Okay, so I overheard him speaking today and caught a very minor glimpse of him, which kind of set off a trail of unexpected emotions. Over it much? The fact that I felt myself shaking made me realize.. not quite. Couple that with the fact that I didn't converse with any of my coworkers today (save for a few minor pleasantries in passing), and my boss pretty much talked to everyone but me, and I was left feeling left out, and like I was in solitary confinement (without of course the benefit of not being surrounded on each side by people who don't care to communicate with me). It makes me sad thinking about it. Every day at work it's the same in that regard. The lack of human contact spurs in depth analysis, as if there were a way to 'think' myself out of this situation and corresponding feelings of rejection.

You see, we have this new office set up where I sit in the far corner of a cubicle division, composed of four separate cubes. I am flanked on either side by two male coworkers. These two guys are friends with one another. They hang out and go places together like Wawa and sometimes walk over to each other's cubes to chat, yet they never initiate conversation with me. No 'hi,' 'bye,' nothing. Hell, I'm lucky if I get a 'God Bless You' when I sneeze. I truly made an effort to reach out to the guy sitting nearest me by retrieving some of his faxes and placing them on his desk for the first week or so in this new office set up, yet he barely acknowledged me in doing so; thus, I gave up on that. I've also said 'goodnight' and 'have a good weekend,' yet the last time I said this, he sounded perturbed, so it's made me stop making an effort in that regard also. The thing is, I enjoy a sense of quiet. However, in this environment, there's something so awkward and uncomfortable about it, because I sit so close to these two people, yet they hardly say a word to me, and of course I internalize it and it sets of a flurry of negative self-deprecating thoughts. It makes me feel like an outcast, like I did something wrong, even though logically, I know I can't be blamed for their keeping mum and choosing to exclude me from their interactions. It doesn't make me feel any less isolated knowing this, though. 

Some days it feels like I'm invisible, like I'm a fly on the wall that everyone would prefer to swat away. Today, I tried not to let it get to me by telling myself that my shyness is a positive and if they can't appreciate me for me, it's their loss. With that said, I can't shake this constant feeling of isolation. There is one guy, who doesn't sit close to me, but rather on the other end of the room, who will occasionally initiate conversation with me, and it's like this small beam of light in the darkness that I can't help but admire and savor, while it lasts. It's like he perceives me feeling left out and tries to offer some sense of connection. For that, I feel grateful. As for the people who pass in the hall who might offer what seems on the surface to be a platitude, to me, it means so much more. 

24 November 2013

I was twenty one days into this caffeine free life, when things went a bit wrong. Okay, things went very wrong. So last night, I went to the city to visit a close friend. It has been ages since we have hung out and I have been looking forward to this moment. Two months ago and I would have been truly present in the moment and focused solely on our meeting, but last night, I had some other things weighing on my mind, namely this guy at work, who I have been into since September, when we connected and I first felt the sparks and saw the signs that meant he was interested, or so I thought. Anyway, so even though I have not seen him in nearly a month, and was in the process of making every effort to move past him, thoughts of him continued to pop up even during my train ride downtown last night. It kinda put a damper on my excitement, not fully but partially, as my mind wasn't fully focused on the impending get together with my friend. So I take the train down to Market East in Philly, and meet my friend at the loading dock upon exiting. We exchange pleasantries. This involves me jumping up and down and freaking out about finally seeing him and telling him he looks like he did in college, and him responding that we need to stop at CVS on the way to his place. He seemed stressed and was nowhere near as hyped as me, which made me feel kinda bad. I ask him what's up and he tells me he's just been very busy all day, cleaning his place and preparing for tonight. We then go to CVS, where he purchases some toiletries and a few cleaning products. Afterward, we stroll to the subway, taking it to the stop nearest his place, and then walk the remainder of the way in the cold, passing by the hospital where he used to work, on our way. Upon entering the house he's currently renting, with two other roommates, he shows me through the space, and then we sit down at the dining room table to talk over champagne. All is going well. He then introduces me to his roommates, who also enjoy some champagne with us while we discuss relationships for a bit. At one point, something reminds me of the coworker I've been thinking about, and I can't help but drop him into the convo. No one seems to care and it makes me wonder if I should have just kept my mouth shut. His roommates then go out to the bar and we agree to text them later in the evening, after we get a bite to eat. My friend and I, at my urging, sing 'Everything has changed.' So then some crazy ish goes down. Basically, my friend is on facebook, and I have this urge to tell him to look up my coworker, after feeling a slight hesitation to make such a request. He had previously told me he'd searched for him weeks prior, but was unable to find him. After scrolling down, I immediately see a photo of him and a woman and say 'He has a girlfriend.' My stomach sinks. My friend opens the page,'That's him?' 'Yes, he has a girlfriend.' He clicks on the guy's main page. My friend says, 'Oh my gosh, he's married!' I try to maintain my composure, while my stomach is doing acrobatics. I confirm it with my own eyes. 'Oh my God.' My friend says, 'He just got married, yesterday.' 'Or at least, recently,' I respond. We sift through the photos, depicting said coworker and his wife and friends. Shame washes over me in droves. I sit in disbelief before getting up and exclaiming that this is crazy, how did I misread the signs, this explains why I haven't seen him in a month. This explains the vacation. This explains why a coworker congratulated him for an inaudible reason, which I half-jokingly assumed was due to an engagement or marriage, but hadn't been able to secure any concrete proof. In fact, I've been analyzing the situation for a month, wondering what the heck went wrong, why everything that had at first seemed so right had fallen through and stopped making sense when I'd stopped seeing him around the office. Seeing his facebook page provided closure. However, I felt so torn over the whole situation. I needed time to think. I wanted to go home and reflect on it further, but my friend and I had plans. I came all this way and didn't want to ruin the evening, but was feeling quite emotional. Shortly thereafter, despite my internal struggle to accept this new reality, we went to dinner, followed by two bars. It actually turned out to be quite fun. More on that later. However, I didn't get the sleep I needed and felt I deserved to implement some leniency on myself just for today, so I had a few cups of coffee and had a box of double chocolate cookies. Problem solved. New beginnings. Also, I rejoined facebook for the first time in seven years. I figured, ah what the hell. There's not much to lose, but much to gain with some potential future connections and I consider it a new little hobby. My instinct was demanding that I do it, so I followed through as soon as I returned home, while sipping my first cup after the twenty-some day hiatus. It felt good. Overall, I'm just happy to have uncovered this critical detail about my 'crush' sooner rather than later, despite it still hurting a bit. It mostly took me by surprise. However, as my friend put it, 'Better to have a few weeks of moroseness over the whole situation, than months upon months to a year or so without knowing and then experiencing extreme hurt in the end, and wasting all that time, because you weren't aware.' Another tidbit of advice he gave me, 'Be sure to check out the hardware' as that is my flaw. I fail, every single time, to check the digits for a ring. In this case, it likely would not have resolved anything as I don't think he was wearing the ring, and do believe he just got married before I stopped seeing him around the office. However, it's good to keep in mind. Sparks or not, facts are facts, and better to go in with all the details than be blindsided and experience the blow. So that's my lesson learned this time around. Also, I realize that if I'm questioning things too much (ie. overanalysis in overdrive) or making excuses, that's never a good sign. Another positive: everything happens for a reason and for one's greatest good. If it's meant to be, it will be.

23 November 2013

Back on Gluten

After 17 days of being gluten-free and noticing my skin seems to be worsening and I'm more hungry than ever, I have decided to halt the gluten-free diet. I have previously been tested for celiac disease and tested negative. Now I know that there are false negatives, and you can be gluten-intolerant despite not having celiac disease. However, I just don't feel satisfied with this gluten-free diet. Although I have noticed I'm more 'regular' since having gone gluten-free, it hasn't completely eliminated my digestive issues.

Also, I have been losing weight, which I cannot afford, and I feel a lingering sense of hunger all the time. I want to be able to live my life and given that there's no definitive proof that I have celiac disease or am gluten intolerant, I don't see a reason for me to deprive myself. So that's it. I made a valiant effort, greater than two weeks. I would think my skin wouldn't be getting more rashy if this gluten-free diet were right for me. I could hold out the full three weeks, but I don't think 4 days is really going to make much of a difference, so I don't see the point. My body is telling me to bring back the gluten, so I'm listening.

One of the instigating factors to me having started this diet was the fact that my Uncle has celiac disease and my Grandmom was recently diagnosed, so I began to ponder my risk for it. However, as stated above, I have tested negative in the past year or so, and so without any concrete evidence to demonstrate that I should abstain from gluten, I feel I should continue to have it.

21 November 2013

Still goin' strong... caffeine & gluten free.

Not to sound all mushy, but I feel like this detox or cleanse or whatever you wanna call it, essentially this beginning of a gluten-free, caffeine-free lifestyle, is truly a renewal process for me. It's been really difficult for me, these past few weeks. For anyone who is concerned about the numbers, today marks my 18th day off caffeine and my 16th day off gluten. To be honest, I actually like to count the days since I started because it makes me feel like despite the lows I've experienced since the start, I'm making progress. I'm accomplishing something at least.

As far as my cravings, today I didn't really crave caffeine at all. I haven't had much of a yearning for glutenous foods either. However, earlier this week, I was feeling intense pangs of hunger for the coffee. Yes, I wrote hunger because I was ravenous for it. Every fiber of my being called out for it. Thanks be to God, I made it through. It arose the other day at work when I overheard a coworker commenting on how he had to review five hundred pages of medical documentation and needed the pick-me-up and he was asking a coworker to accompany him to my favorite coffee joint in the world --- Wawa. I listened and of course could not help but cue into his voiced need for coffee, which in turn triggered mine. The coworker with whom he was speaking asked him if he'd had any this morning and the guy who wanted to go to Wawa said he had some on the way to work but really needed some more to become motivated to review the medical documentation. As I was listening to their conversation, I realized how lethargic I felt and recognized my need for coffee. Just do it, I told myself.

However, then I thought further about it. In a frenzy, I sent an email to my friend begging him to save me from the calling of the cup of Jo. He didn't respond. It took me a while to work through it but ultimately I decided to push through the feeling of lethargy. When lunch came around, I figured it was too late, I wouldn't be able to savor it to the extent I would have had I bought it earlier, so I figured the following day I could always get it. However, last night, I researched 'how long it takes to regain energy after giving up caffeine' or something to that effect and was relieved to uncover that it can take three weeks or more. This provided me with the encouragement to press on as the rewards do not come instantly, but take time. Also, why give up now when I'm so close to the 30-day point? Who can't get to 30 days? I'll be damned if I can't.

What I've learned is that, I can do this, just as I did it before, and it will benefit me in the long run. Already, I've noticed I'm much more even-keel mood-wise than when I was consuming a cup to one and a half a day. For the first time in a while, I slept the whole night through, dreamed, and woke up only ten minutes before my alarm sounded. This is what I have so wanted, for a peaceful, lengthy slumber. At this point, I don't even see myself considering having coffee. Something about this 18th day has really solidified my decision to keep away from it. The cons of coffee, for me, far outweight the temporary goodness. That's not to say I won't indulge on the rare occasion. I just don't like to be addicted to things. It doesn't feel good. Add in the side effects, and that's enough to keep me from making it a habit once again.

As far as the negatives I've been experiencing, the most prominent negative aspect of this cleanse, aside from a purging of many unpleasant emotions, has been my skin. For some reason, every inch of my face is covered in a very pinkish/reddish rash and I can't seem to stop it from persisting. Each day I wake up to it and with certain foods, it seems to flare. For instance, tonight, I had a chicken and cauliflower dish along with brown rice pasta covered in tomato sauce. Then I followed this meal with a snack of Mary's Gone Crackers Black Pepper crackers, and I feel worse for the wear, complexion-wise. It just feels sooo freakin' irritated and rashy. I'm going with 'it's purifying itself,' although I'm sure it's that I've been stressed lately and certain foods exacerbate it (namely packaged items). Whatever it is, I hope it sorts itself out stat, because it's making me self-conscious.

18 November 2013

Today... day 15 (coffee detox), day 13 (gluten-free)

A few changes have occurred in the past two weeks, since giving up caffeine and gluten. For starters, I've noticed that despite the fact that my anxiety still kicks into high gear when I am at work, the annoyance I typically experience when things go unexpectedly does not linger and logic kicks in more easily. For instance, last week, something came up where I was told that I did not need to be on a conference call as a person from a different unit was assigned to handle it. However, an hour before the call was scheduled to take place, I received an email from the party who would be taking the lead on the call as he had wanted to confirm my attendance and thought I would be the only person on my company's behalf involved in the call. Of course, this upset me as although my boss had told me that I need not partake in the call and that another coworker would be assigned, he failed to communicate this to the other parties involved.

Although I did become a bit up in arms and panicked for a good ten minutes, as the call was only a half an hour from taking place and my boss was at lunch and the coworker who was supposed to be assigned was not in the office, I finally resolved to just let whatever happen happen and to simply see what my boss wanted to do when he returned. It ended up not being a big deal, as I presumed would be the case after reflecting upon it. Had I been caffeinated, I'm sure this would have played out a bit differently. At least, I know my frustration would not have dissipated as quickly and I may have dwelled on it a bit longer. My thought process was much more clear and composed in this situation without having had caffeine.

Also, today I received a criticism from my boss, and rather than take it personally and harp on it in my mind, I realized it wasn't all that bad. I didn't feel as defensive about it, and just rectified the issue and moved on, with no hard feelings towards my boss.

Another change I have noticed for the better is the fact that certain actions or attitudes of others do not anger me as much. They still hurt me though. For instance, if I feel ignored or I'm insulted, of course, I feel hurt. The most marked difference is the fact that I feel more sad and emotional than angry. I am able to cry. This is a weird one, as I have been able to cry on occasion, but it's been rough these past few months and it's been difficult for me to break through that emotional barrier throughout the work week, when I've really felt I've needed to purge the build up tension. Since eliminating caffeine, I have been able to release the built up pressure by crying (outside of work). The strange part is that I've been feeling rather down in the late afternoon at times and a bit teary eyed on occasion, which is a new feeling for me. I'm used to feeling extremely anxious after my lunch break, but not sad/depressed. However, I'm feeling more down lately. At the same time, I can at least more clearly reflect on why I'm having those feelings I'm having when not wired with caffeine. It seems to correlate with the stress going on in my life outside of work and the pressures I'm putting on myself in many aspects, work and otherwise. I'm no longer escaping and/or suppressing those feelings with my caffeine habit. Could be a result of eliminating gluten too, who knows.

A few things I've noticed with my anxiety and sadness throughout the work day is there are those activities that exacerbate my feelings and those activities that mitigate those negative feelings (Again, going caffeine/gluten free can be accredited for my achieving this clarity):

- Meditation - When I meditate regularly, I feel better on the whole, more equipped to cope with whatever is thrown my way

- Interaction - The more people with whom I come into contact throughout the day (aside from telephone calls), the less 'down' I feel when the late afternoon rolls around and the more motivated I feel

- Music - This can have dual effects. If I'm trying to concentrate, it's an interference and can trigger my anxiety. If I'm feeling overly anxious and need a release from the quiet tension at work (since it's so quiet you could hear a pin drop and for some reason this makes me feel that any and every movement I make is pronounced), music in this case can be quite the relief I need. If I listen to music throughout the majority of the work day and then try to unwind without it later in the afternoon, I feel anxious. Fast music particularly triggers my anxiety at work.

- Monitoring others - There is a way to check the status of others' work loads in my work environment. When I check on the status of others' tasks, it causes anxiety, without fail.

- Email checking - Checking my email frequently leads to anxiety. It is difficult however to resist the urge! Sometimes it helps if I keep a tally so I don't overdo it, but I struggle with sticking to this method of self-control.

- Voicemail checking - For some reason, whenever the voicemail indicator (a red beady light) is on, I become anxious. It worsens when I retrieve the voicemails as I hate to have any background activities requiring completion and I'd rather get everything done at once and not have to worry about menial tasks, like phone calls, popping up as I then feel like I need to handle them immediately or they just prey on my mind. The beady light and the actual voicemail messages are a deadly combo for my anxiety.

- Deep breathing - Helps me calm down a bit (or very much so, depending on my diligence)

- Focusing on the present - Listening to those sounds in my environment and really attending to the present moment helps relieve some of the fears that contribute to my anxiety. The one problem is when I listen to others speak, there's a lot of internal comparing going on which of course affects me negatively, so I obviously need to work on that aspect.

Coffee detox day 15.

Today will mark the 15th day of my coffee detox process, and I so still want coffee, like right now. It is, to me, an escape, from the intensity of emotions I feel throughout the work week. Last night, I was lying in bed, reading through my past journal entries, from June through this month, and recognized that my craving for coffee had returned full force. As I lay there, reading one journal entry after another, and enjoying myself -- sounds kinda self-centered, but there is something really therapeutic about reading your thoughts from several months ago on daily life -- when I recognized a resurfacing of my coffee craving. How could this be, I pondered, given the fact that I thought habits were supposed to die out after two weeks; that is, that cravings dissipate given a two week hiatus from the source of the craving. Guess that's where the other saying comes in -- Old habits die hard. They truly do. I resigned myself to drink coffee the next morning (today). I was determined to have one cup, nothing more, and then continue back on track with the elimination process. However, when I woke up this morning, I realized this might not be such a great idea. My moods have been so much better since giving it up and having coffee at this point I feel would set me back. Am I still craving it? Absolutely. Could it be because I smelled it several times last night after dinner, just as a feel-good mechanism? Not sure, possibly, because I have not be craving coffee this intensely since the first few days of quitting cold turkey. About the gluten free diet, I'm not sure if this is contributing to the persistent rash on my face. It's making me want to just have gluten to be rid of it, but I think it might be part of the healing in removing it from my system. Could also the hot showers I've been taking be a factor? Most likely, yes. It's a combination of really dry skin and a red rash. Anyway, that is the one element of this whole detox process that has perturbed me the most. While all other aspects seem to be improving, my complexion seems to be headed in the wrong direction, and that to me, is frustrating. My goal is to give it maybe another week to see if there's any improvement.

16 November 2013

12th day of detox.

Yesterday was my 12th day off caffeine and 10th day off gluten. Throughout the day, I still had the desire to go to Wawa, but resisted doing so. I had a mini breakdown session at lunch, as I was feeling emotional about unrequited feelings and other elements of work, yet the day ended on a good note. In the late afternoon, I enjoyed chatting with a bunch of coworkers. You could tell Friday was in the air and everyone was gearing up for weekend mode. At about 5 p.m., I was ready to hit the road. On the way home, I reflected a bit on my feelings before jamming to some more Chaka. Then I went to Wegmans and loaded up on several gluten-free items so I would be able to make it through the first full two weeks.

It's not my preference to eat many pre-packaged gluten-free items as I would much prefer to eat whole foods that merely do not contain gluten in their natural state, like rice, sweet potatoes, nuts, fruits, veggies, etc. However, for the longest time, I have wanted to test out GF pizza. So I purchased some GF pizza, GF flour (for pancake making), some lime corn chips, a box of Mary's Gone Crackers, and maple syrup. The GF pizza, which I ended up having for dinner last night was not so good, and by that I mean it was terrible. Oh well, it was worth a try. The fact that it contained skim milk should have been my first clue that it would not sit well with me. The lime corn chips were not so hot either. We shall see what happens with the pancakes.

As far as my coffee addiction, I have been good in that department. I have continued to take a few whiffs every now and again, as it makes me feel good to just smell it, even if I don't fully indulge in the caffeine experience. My energy levels are returning as I feel much more awake in the morning and my moods are much more stable throughout the day.

I cannot attribute my feelings of betterment completely to the lack of gluten and caffeine, however, as I feel meditation has also been a key component to improving my sense of wellness. This past week, I have been slacking in my mediation practice, but yesterday and the day before I meditated and felt much better for doing so. I notice on the days in which I meditate, I have more of an inherent sense of optimism that I'm lacking when I don't. Sometimes, I become so preoccupied with other aspects of my life that I put meditation on the back burner, and the negative voices in my mind seem to take hold. So I guess one could say this 'detox' period is about more than just eliminating caffeine and gluten. It's about healing all around, and I've experienced how meditation plays a major role in this effort. This makes me more motivated to make it a priority, having seen how it benefits me on the whole. Of course, I have my ebbs and flows, which is normal. There are times I don't want to do it, and I don't force it upon myself at all times. I feel like with meditation, you have to be flexible and go with the flow, just as with all aspects of life, including this entire detox journey.

14 November 2013

Day 11 of coffee detox.

You know what makes a bad day better? You know what lifts the spirits when all else fails? Chocolate. Coffee. Pick one or the other. They both do the job.

All I wanted tonight was chocolate. Endless pieces of chocolate called my name from the Enjoy Life bag, sealed and unopened since I purchased it several weeks ago. It called me on the drive home from work and it calls me now as I sit here at 8 p.m. typing. Cue Usher, 'You got it, you got it bad.' I feel like it would do me so good, the deep, dark sensual flavor melting in my mouth. Yet, I will not go there. Over it. Okay, not really, but at least I'm making an effort, so that counts for something, right? I'm eleven days into this thing. Eleven freaking days without a single sip of coffee. A few whiffs, yes, but not a single sip.

If I had chocolate, it would undo all the good. After the initial delightful high I would experience while eating it, there would be two inevitable negative side-effects: difficulty falling asleep and heightened anxiety. What I have noticed as a result of doing without chocolate and coffee, is that I feel much more emotional. I have noticed in the late afternoon at work, I feel a surge of anxiety and feel depressed and on the verge of tears. As mentioned before, I still have anxiety and lately I have felt a desire to escape my emotions because they are so intense. Without the caffeine, I'm realizing I used it as a sort of crutch. Feeling emotional or having a crappy day, reach for the bag of chocolate. Eat as much as your heart desires. Feeling on edge after lunch and need something to make it better, go to Wawa and get some coffee. You deserve it. The only problem is the benefits are short-lived. It's a band aid on a scar that needs air to heal. Sure, I'm on top of the world as I savor the 12 oz. Wawa regular and yes, each bite of the chocolate seems to soothe my soul. In reality though, I'm merely suppressing the unwanted emotions that I am supposed to let be. Maybe that's why caffeine makes me so tired, irritable, and anxious later. My body rejecting the suppression. It wants me to feel, no matter how uncomfortable the feelings may be.

While I still feel awkward when talking to some people at work and anxious for the most part when forced to speak in front of others, there has been an improvement. I'm more communicative and not as apt to run away from conversations that I would otherwise if I were jacked up on caffeine. I'm still waking up early, but it's only about an hour early, which is not bad and is much better than waking up at 2 a.m. and not being able to fall back asleep.

No one said it was going to be easy to quit caffeine cold turkey. For me, it was the only way to do it as I don't do moderation well. No one said the positive results would be instantaneous. I almost caved tonight due to my impatience. I thought to myself, 'Why not enjoy life and just have some chocolate? You're not that much more energetic and it's been eleven days. If there hasn't been much of a change by this point, why not just resume eating it.' Yet when I reflect on how awake I felt on my way to work this morning and the fact that I was singing and dancing to Chaka Khan on full blast and having a good old time... when I think about how I initiated more conversations at work today than usual... when I think about how my appetite has returned to normal... I realize I want to continue on this path.

Day 10 of coffee detox.

This coffee detox, while I've made it past the week mark and am well into my second week, I guess it's getting harder for me to stick to the topic of coffee. Since I have removed it from my repertoire of items in which to indulge, my focus has turned to other things, like the guy at work, food that doesn't contain gluten, exercise, and condo hunting. Although I still crave it, like this morning in the shower I thought about how nice it would be to have a morning cup, the urge is short-lived.

This morning I did an inventory check on myself to see how significant the changes have been in terms of my no coffee life versus the coffee-laden one, and must say I don't miss the snappiness, waking up in the middle of the night, and the heart palpitations. I have more energy in the morning and don't feel half-asleep during my hour long commute to work. It feels good not to have to rely on caffeine to bring on the alertness. Since I've cut it out, the alertness comes naturally.

My moods have improved as I don't feel as on guard as often and/or as short-fused. Also, I have only been waking up an hour early, compared to awakening just a few hours after going to bed and tossing and turning trying to abate my ever-heightening anxiety caused by being unable to experience restful sleep. Even though my anxiety hasn't left me, it is more tolerable. The panic I experience in the late afternoon at work still frustrates and overwhelms me at times, but it is still many notches lower than where it was with the coffee intake. Overall, I'm content with the improvements and do not have an intention of caving any time soon.

12 November 2013

Number 9 - John Lennon. In other words, day 9 of detox!

Okay, I had to post a John Lennon song title as the headline...why? Because it's day 9 of the detoxxxx. Number 9. Let's repeat that fifty times fast. I can't believe it. Okay, maybe I can. Okay, maybe I really can't. I returned to work today. The first half of the day? Wonderful. The last half (ie. lunchtime, onward) not so much. There are multiple reasons for my fluctuating feelings throughout the work day, but for the purpose of staying on topic, I will state that I did crave chocolate and coffee today, but only after lunchtime, mainly on the way home as I had an outpouring of emotions that I was able to unleash at that time. There were a few moments strewn throughout the day in which I thought to myself, 'hmmm, could use some coffee,' or 'hmm, that feeling of pure bliss, how I could use some of that in my life,' particularly as I felt struck with exhaustion and sadness in the late afternoon, unable to focus on much other than my feeling completely done for the day, ready to pack it in and say peace and cry me a river. If I reflect on the day and break it down into manageable pieces, it would appear something to the tune of:

8:00 a.m. Feeling great, ready to conquer today, refreshed and ready to go. A bit anxious and excited to see a certain coworker -- mostly excited.

9:00 a.m. Arrive to work. Condemn the cold weather under my breath as I march toward the building. Why does it have to be so cold? The anxiety and negative thoughts start to take hold. Damn, did I really miss this? The stress I feel when realizing I had 15 voicemails! The emails, the paperwork, the fifty other inbox items, all demand my immediate attention. It is too much. I sit frozen for a few minutes. Chat with a coworker about his assistance while I was out for the past three work days. This comforts me a bit. He didn't realize today I was set to return. He thought my return date was tomorrow.

9:10 a.m. Still a bit unsure as far as where to start. Hell, totally scared and feeling like I'm drowning in a deep, dark abyss. I panic as I fight to claw my way out, as fast as possible. I attack from all angles.

10:00 a.m. Things are not going bad. In fact, they're going better than good. Not only have I returned all of my voicemail messages, but I notice my complexion has improved somewhat and therefore, have a little pep in my step. That, and the fact that I have had off a few days has rejuvenated me. I'm feeling confident. I've smiled and chatted with a few people.

10:15 a.m. Against my better judgment, I spy on a certain coworker's inbox for probably the 10th time today. I use the term 'spy' loosely. I peek, just to ensure his presence is nearby. Hell, I deserve to look. I'm not allowed caffeine, I've eschewed gluten from my diet, and I've nearly gone through an entire cycle without chocolate? His inbox is screaming for my attention. It's my little deviance. He's definitely backkkk at workkkk. I'm pretty sure I do a little celebratory dance in my seat. How do I know? His inbox started at 77 activities and was quickly reducing to the 50s, then 30s, then 20s. I'm feeling rather competitive as I attempt to catch up and reduce mine down from 50 to 30. I'm making progress. Yay for me.

11:00 a.m. Still making headway in getting caught up on my workload. Having an imaginary race with that certain coworker, trying to accomplish inbox items faster than him. Wow, my face is looking not too shabby. The redness isn't as visible. My lips look a pretty shade of pink (I catch a glimpse in the bathroom mirror). I feel confident and look fresh and lively. I return to my desk after a bathroom break and make some more phone calls, reduce my inbox activities some more, still attempting to catch up with the 'certain coworker.' I wonder if he's competing with me. Doubt it. Well, maybe... (the idealist within me surfaces).

12:45 p.m. I notice 'certain coworker' has reduced his activities to about 24. I'm a bit jealous as I haven't gotten mine that low as of yet, but I'm getting closer. The adrenaline rush has worn off some. Why haven't I seen so and so? Doesn't he miss me? I'm not really hungry as I had a huge bowl of GF oatmeal with raisins and lots of fruit for breakfast, but it's getting closer to when I take my lunch. I keep checking his inbox, like I'm on an assembly line, routinely packaging one box after another. Check inbox. Take a break. Enter his inbox yet again. I can't help myself. It's become a bit of a compulsion. I grow a bit dismayed at the fact that his inbox activities remain at 24 after about an hour. The sinking feeling starts. The coffee craving strikes. Lots of emotions starting to circulate. I could really use a cup of bliss right now. He probably went to lunch... (the realist says).

1:15 p.m. It's lunchtime, but I'm not that hungry. Hell, it was lunchtime 15 minutes ago, but I decided at that time to stick around in case I miss the certain coworker. At fifteen minutes after, I have a change of heart. Too much obsessing over him. Still holding out hope he will manifest himself at some point between now and the end of the day, I figure, why not pass some time in my car and eat to expedite the process. I sit out in my car, chomp on some peanut butter rice cakes (not consciously--in fact, it's only when I peer into the plastic bag I brought with me and see one remaining, that I realize I must have eaten the other two as I know I had made three), and stomp back to the office in the cold, tightening my coat around my body and shunning the cold, wishing it away even before exiting my car, as a woman in passing curses the weather along with me. 'I'm not ready for this,' she comments. 'I know, it's so cold.' A few steps later and I'm inside. Back to work. Bummer.

3:00 p.m. Lethargy. Low energy. Feeling a bit down but still hopeful as I embark on the two hour journey to destination 'end of work day.' Minutes later....why am I feeling so emotional? Wait, are those tears coming on just now? I pull myself together, in an effort to curtail the crying session. My anxiety is mounting every time I hear footsteps near my cubicle. I check so and so's inbox unintentionally at this point, not wanting to do myself any more harm, but I can't restrain myself, so I give in to my misery, and notice his inbox is still stuck at 24. This can only mean one of very few things: a) he has left for the day... maybe he took a half day?, b) he's doing work outside the office the latter part of the day, c) he was never in the office and merely worked from home the entire day , d) he didn't have work today and merely got caught up on his last day of vacation, e) he's fooling around and not doing anything (but still in the office) -- unlikely scenario -- doubtful, or he would have visited my area or tried to see me, no?, f) FML. I can only speculate on options 'a' through 'e.' The only option I am certain applies, is 'f.'

4:00 p.m. Taking slow strides to the finish. Trying to use what little effort I have to move forward with tasks that need to be completed. Feeling unmotivated, tired, and sensitive. Sad because I never got to see the guy I've been thinking about nonstop.

5:00 p.m. Show's over. Thankfully, I can cry on the way home. Contemplate having some chocolate when I get home. Rationalize why this would be acceptable: serotonin benefits, dairy/gluten free option, merit. Go back to why I have eliminated caffeine in all forms and review the benefits.

6:00 p.m. Arrive home, eat some chili (perfect for today's weather--would have loved to talk to the guy at work about the weather given our conversation a few weeks ago regarding same--so unfortunate).

So that's what today looked like. There were of course many complex moments and emotions I didn't share, like the fact that I have dark circles under my eyes and still feel medicated from the thyrogen. I still feel 'off' given the treatment, and not totally myself. There's the fact also that I ripped a realtor a new one (okay, not really, but sorta) in email format because he wouldn't allow me to see a property without pre-approval, even though I didn't want to incur the fee of getting the pre-approval and would prefer to do so only after determining whether or not I'm interested enough to put in an offer. There's the fact that I feel like I'm overextending myself at work and not giving myself enough respite or credit, and despite knowing this, I continue to overextend myself and lately, have felt like crying in the late afternoon for the last few weeks. There's the fact that thyca is a you-know-what and I just wish I felt better. There's the fact that I'm craving intimacy, and the object of my affection is nowhere to be found, and I don't know how I'll feel when I finally see him. Oh wait, I do know. I'll be shaky and crazy happy, even though I'm silently trying to block him out of my mind right now.

11 November 2013

End of thyrogen, on to better things.

Okay, so it's day 8 of the detox, but my main purpose for posting today is the fact that I'm done with my thyrogen testing, finally! I'm soooo excited right now to be done with the injections and blood work. It seems I underestimated how taxing this treatment would be. Given that the final component of the treatment (labs) were completed today, I can finally turn my focus to those things that bring me pleasure, like reading, exercising, going out (walking, shopping), etc. I literally have been fantasizing about biking, even though I usually have no motivation to exercise as of late. Having undergone this treatment has renewed my vigor to get out and about and to work on getting in shape. My anxiety since undergoing this treatment, along with the other side effects, have made it difficult for me to concentrate and do much. I spent most of my time perusing the internet. The amount of time I spend online is directly proportionate to how bad I feel. I spent a lot of time online, so that sums up my state of being Thursday through today. This is understandable considering the treatment side-effects, however.

I did get out to go to the library on Thursday but felt very ill and stayed for a very brief period before collapsing with weakness upon returning home. Saturday, I attended a monthly meetup group event, and Sunday I went to church, so at least I did not stayed holed up at home the entire time. The treatment involved appointments Thursday and Friday of last week along with blood work today. Today, aside from getting my labs done, I made it halfway through a novel and avoided the internet altogether until now. I wanted a break from the computer (and all technological devices) before starting my work week. With the final item checked off the thyrogen testing to-do list, I feel a bit of relief and am actually excited to get back into my daily routine. May the healing process begin (or continue).

I am suffering from a bit of a headache as of right now, and still not feeling fully recuperated, which is to be expected. Still tired, but it's eased up somewhat. The adrenaline is flowing for sure, given that I'm able to check off the final item of the thyrogen testing to-do list. Having just completed the blood work component of my treatment today, I am not sure if the thyrogen has completed dissipated from my system, but each day that passes, I look forward to improving and getting back on track. It is so bizarre to me that today is Monday. My time clock is totally off kilter right now. It feels like a Friday. I don't recall ever having taken off a similar sequence of work days (Thurs, Fri, Mon), nor have I ever felt the sort of excitement I currently feel, to return to work. I am truly happy to be able to get back in the swing of things, mostly to get my mind out of 'treatment mode' for a bit and to be able to be active rather than just laze around and not do much. My goal this week is definitely to mind my emotions and physical symptoms so as to aid myself in my recovery and to not let my needs fly by the wayside, as commonly occurs once I enter my fast-placed work mode. Another goal: to have fun and get outside.

10 November 2013

What I would give.

What I would give for some chocolate right now, wouldn't you like to know? I am truly craving Enjoy Life's brand chocolate chips. I can taste them right now. I refuse to turn back at this point, however. I've come so far. My goal is to make it at least 30 days. I definitely feel like my craving is attributed to the fact that I'm on day 4 of my cycle and I'm majorly emotional today. Couple that with the lethargy I feel as a result of the thyrogen and the caffeine craving has gone from minimal to full swing. Maybe I'll have an orange or some other sweet fruit to counteract the need for it, though I doubt it will satiate me like chocolate would. Oh well, I'll need to ride this out somehow. Wish me luck.

Day 7 of coffee detox.

I can't believe it's day 7. I can't recall the last time I made it this far into withdrawing completely from coffee. They say it takes 14 days to quit a habit, so I'm halfway there, but it feels as though I'm further along, as coffee has become an afterthought at this point. I guess it's given what I've been through this week, with the thyrogen. It's taken the focus off coffee. The craving seems to only hit when I'm near someone drinking coffee and I catch a waft of the aroma. However, I don't feel the compulsion to indulge. It's more of a passing fancy, like 'ohh I would really like some,' but upon further thought, I realize I don't need it. In fact, I quite like how I feel without it. I am much more calm and nowhere near as easily agitated.

I went out yesterday, briefly, to a meetup group in which the topic was numerology, and I did converse a bit with those seated at my table, and the difference between how I felt at this month's meeting compared to the last was rather pronounced. Last month, I recall being more irritable, not being in the mood to talk, and feeling tempted to leave in the middle of the discussion. While my feelings were in part due to the manner in which the topic was presented and also the fact that I felt the speaker seemed to me to be pushing her political views, I also attributed my negative feelings to the after-effects of having had my morning coffee. You see, thinking back to even a week ago, I can recall feeling a surge of happiness that would last until the last sip, yet feeling incredibly crappy even just an hour afterward, and this feeling would persist the remainder of the day, and on top of feeling just a general sense of crappiness, I would also be more on edge. To me, it's not worth the momentary happiness to then suffer the side-effects.

The number of ill-effects far outweigh the good, at least for me, as I am so sensitive to caffeine. It doesn't help that I have had thyca and take synthroid. I have noticed an increase to my already delicate sensitivity to caffeine, since having had my thyroid removed and having been put on synthroid. As I have stated in previous posts, it's not just limited to coffee, these effects. It's chocolate too. Chocolate gives me heart palps and revvs me up to the point of discomfort. As far as sleeping hygiene during this detox period, I have noticed a great improvement, particularly in terms of dreaming again, not waking up in the middle of the night, and falling asleep much more quickly. I'm just glad I have made it an entire week without caving, but I know it's because I'm focused on the end result and know it's better for my well being. Here's to the upcoming 7 days. I'm excited to keep it going.

09 November 2013

Day 6 of coffee detox.

Although I have been off coffee for a total of six days, I feel like my postings these past two days have been more about what I have been going through having received the two thyrogen injections on Thursday and Friday of this week. Yesterday and the day before were really rough, in terms of me feeling physically worn down and unwell. I am in much better spirits this morning. However, I could you a nice cup of coffee. I'm not going there of course, but I am craving it. One thing I have noticed is the fact that it seems my cravings surface most when I am feeling emotional. So I guess you could say even though my mood has been elevated this morning, given that the drowsiness and overall sick feeling I was experiencing yesterday as well as the day before has dissipated somewhat, I am feeling quite emotional.

I feel like it's understandable given the circumstances and the time I have had to reflect on what is going on with my life. I'm feeling a bit anxious about moving to a new place, yet not knowing where I will end up, and the fact that I wish my decision on where to go were finalized when it is far from being so, triggers my anxiety. It feels like there are a lot of loose ends that must be tied up for me to get moving out of my current living situation. I know these things take time, however, so I need to be patient and just continue with my diligence in searching, once I have had adequate rest from my treatment. This year's treatment is so different than last year, it seems. I feel much more restless, and yet also I experienced nausea this time around, which was a new symptom of the thyrogen, as well as more of a flu-like feeling of crappiness combined with exhaustion.

I felt the urge to laze around Thurs and Fri, yet wanted nothing more than to get outside and play around, exercise, or just go shopping. I have this desire to do anything that requires me to be active, yet I'm lacking a bit in strength right now, and I'm listening to my body which seems to be telling me to take a break until next week. The bright side is, I at least may look forward to stretching my legs on a stroll outdoors, or going to the mall to look around, when I feel a bit more energized next week. I feel so happy that I have finally made it to the sixth day without having surrendered to my coffee habit. I'm not as irritable and snappy, though I still feel anxious at times. As far as my third day of gluten, the skin rash on my face seems to be fading a bit. My digestive system seems to be working more smoothly as well, as I had mentioned in a previous post.

08 November 2013

Day 5 of coffee detox.

Today has been going very well with regard to cravings. I only craved coffee once today, when I smelled coffee on someone's breath. That was it. I'm mostly feeling the effects of the second thyrogen injection I received this afternoon. It makes me feel really tired. I'm not experiencing nausea right now, but I just don't feel well. It makes me feel sick, just a general sense of unwellness. I feel like lying down but I feel like writing more, so that's why I decided to come on here and share some of my thoughts. I'm a little restless, yet so worn out at the same time. I'm just really glad I made it through the second injection and it's over and done with, and now I'll just be eager to get the results of my blood work on Monday. Other than that, I am trying to take it easy today. There are a few deadline driven items I must attend to, but having had a rough past two days, I need to give myself at least today to decompress to the fullest extent. No bill paying, no searching for a new place to live, nothing that is too taxing. Just relaxing.

Of note, today is actually the third day being off gluten. I feel like I'm accomplishing a lot this week, or at least, it feels like a lot is going on, in a productive way. I'm all about making healthy changes in advance of the New Year. I'm giving up gluten because not only does Celiac disease run in my family, but I have some symptoms (rashy face and some bumps on my chest area as well as anxiety), that I think could be exacerbated, if not caused, by ingesting gluten, and I hope to rule out it's contribution, after taking a break off gluten for a few weeks. The only challenge thus far has been watching out for cross contamination, particular with the toaster and peanut butter. Thus far, I don't have any complaints about it being difficult. It actually feels good to know it could manifest some positive changes. I'm excited to see what the future brings, with my 'pre-New Year' resolutions to exclude caffeine and gluten from my diet. The last glutenous food product I consumed was pizza on Thursday, and I wrote previously about how I woke up with the area around my eyes being noticeably affected (Not sure if I blogged about this or just wrote about it in my journal), but in essence, I awoke to these deep circles beneath my eyes and my face just looked a bit inflamed and irritated. It also caused some digestive issues. Oddly (or coincidentally), my stomach has been doing worlds better without the gluten, even in only three days. That's not to say I don't feel nauseous from the thyrogen, but aside from that, my stomach bloating has dissipated significantly and I'm not noticing the weird gurgling sounds I've heard in the past after consuming gluten-containing foods.

However, the other change (yes, another!) that could be a contributing (positive) factor to my better digestion is the fact that I have been watching my food combinations. That's not to say that I always adhere to the proper food combining standards (ie. starches and veggies, proteins and veggies, but no starches and proteins and no fruits combined with either starches or proteins), but I'm paying more attention and trying to do my best. Every little bit helps.

Anyway, so that's my progress so far in a nutshell in terms of coffee detoxing, thyrogen, gluten-free eating, and food combining. Now for a bit of down time and peace...<3

Day 4 of coffee detox.

Yesterday was day 4 of the coffee detox. Due to feeling lethargic and out of it, not so much a result of the detox, but due to other health-related reasons (ie. thyrogen injection #1 and first day period), I was not able to post last night about the day's experience (as I was worn down to the max and ended up spending the late hours chatting w/my bestie which gave me a much needed boost and took me away from the madness going on in my life right now), but thought I would catch up this morning, before another 'fun' day of thyrogen #2.

I did notice that mostly yesterday in the morning hours, I had a yearning for coffee and it persisted as I sat in the waiting room for my doctor's appointment. However, given my determination to persist with the detox, with this blog being one of the reasons pushing me to continue, I maintained my vow to not give into temptation. Posting about my progress on a daily basis has encouraged me to keep on and to not just give up as I have many times before. The blog itself is therefore a motivating factor for me. It helps me organize my thoughts and stay focused in terms of my purpose for continuing onward with this journey to a caffeine-free existence. I'm obviously not just giving up coffee for the sake of it. No ma'am, I am no martyr. I'm just looking for freedom from the chains to which I am confined by caffeine. The energy crashing, the anxiety skyrocketing, the addiction, I want to be free from these effects.

In addition to the morning coffee craving, I later in the evening last night felt tempted to have chocolate, particularly given the way I was feeling as a result of having received my first thyrogen injection (ie. nauseous, lethargic, and somewhat irritable). It was that feeling that 'I deserve just a bit of chocolate, I've been through a lot' that almost had me going for the chocolate chip cookies with reckless abandon. However, in my mind I went back to the reasons that I intend to stick with this caffeine-free diet. I don't want to do a repeat of last week's failed trial or the former week's attempt. I want to press forward and keep this thing moving at a steady pace. I've been doing so well thus far. Four days coffee free is a feat, however few days that may seem to some. Each day I make it without, is a small victory. I know I'm capable of getting past these cravings. They're just cravings, after all. They don't constitute an actual need other than to get a caffeine fix, from which it's difficult to detach myself the instant I become hooked again, at first sip. I'm trying to load up on other healthy fats and nutritious foods to make up for the benefits of caffeine and chocolate. Keeping focused on what I can have versus what I cannot, is the goal.

06 November 2013

Day 3 of coffee detox.

Today was officially the third day of my coffee detox. It was another rather rough day, anxiety-wise. I thought the sweaty palms were long gone until I started wondering where they went and not long after I had sweaty palms. Is that not how it works? All is well and good, but if you fear something will occur, it rears its ugly head. Headache-wise, however, all was good, thank God. I still feel a bit foggy and just not completely myself, as in, my body is in a bit of shock wondering where in the heck the caffeine is. I have been noticing some strange tingling sensations in my face. Sometimes, I'll feel it in my nose or my chin or cheeks. It comes and goes, this sensation.

Another difference I noticed today is how my laughter has been affected by caffeine. Now, I actually feel it from deep within, as in, it's coming from a place of calm rather than a caffeinated high and I am able to fully experience it.

It's currently getting a bit late and I am feeling rather drowsy. Tonight after work, I went out and purchased several gluten free items to get me back on track in that regard, since the goal is not just to quit caffeine but rather to improve my all around health. Just to give a run down on my eats from today, I had a banana to start the day followed by oatmeal covered in cinnamon. For lunch I had an evol teriyaki chicken dish and for dinner I had chicken soup and a separate chicken breast on the side. As a snack I had an entire box of gluten free soft baked cookies and an open face avocado sandwich on gluten free bread.

The restlessness I have been experiencing still persists and I notice it most when I am talking to others. I seem to want to interject every second and railroad over the other person. It's rather unsettling, this feeling and I hope it soon passes and is part of the coffee withdrawal. It is after all, only day three, so I should not be so hard on myself. As far as coffee cravings, today I did not really have any intense desire to have any. The only craving I had was when I went food shopping and came across several chocolate chip cookie options and wavered a bit on whether or not I should buy a package and if it would even be healthy not to treat myself to chocolate during my period. I feel like it's a necessity, chocolate, during that time of month. I can't remember the last time I went without chocolate during my period. I guess it is kind of weird that I have this fear that if I don't have chocolate during my period, it will do me harm. I doubt it will. I will just have to be sure to load up on the nutrients it provides, in other forms.

Another side effect to quitting coffee has been the changes I have noticed in my hair texture. Will have to keep an eye on that, as I'm not sure what's going on there.

Day 2 of coffee detox.

Yesterday was my second day off coffee, and all caffeine for that matter. An eye twitch manifested itself and I still felt tired and unmotivated, but there was no brutal headache or an absolute need to go to bed early, which I had the first day. However, I still felt tired and could have used a bit more rest, but I decided to stay up a bit longer than expected last night. One thing I have noticed is that my anxiety seems to have worsened a bit, which is rather unpleasant, especially when I am at work and wound tight as ever with my heart beating all out of whack. It has been difficult focusing and I feel restless overall during the day. However, I have been falling asleep much more easily and dreaming! It's been quite some time since I have dreamed. I am pretty sure coffee is the culprit for my lack of dreams as I had a very vivid series of dreams last night as well as the night before. Also, I have not been awakening in the middle of the night, say 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. which is of benefit to not have to stress about not getting sufficient sleep. I have been merely waking up a half and hour or so before my alarm goes off, which is nothing major and not nearly as bothersome as the tossing and turning in the middle of the night.

Aside from giving up coffee, I have also given up dairy and gluten; that is, until yesterday when I needed something...something to help me make it through this detox period. While caffeine is totally off limits and I refuse to go there because I have gone back and forth so many times and given in to the point of madness and I really want to give it up for a decent time period to see how I feel when I'm off it for a while, I decided giving into the dairy and gluten fix for a day would not be the end of the world. For me, dairy and gluten are not nearly as addictive as my coffee. A few days ago, I decided I would not have my usual Tuesday pizza but all bets were off after a grueling work day, and I could not resist temptation. While it felt good going down, it ended up not being such a great idea, as my stomach was gurgling and making all sorts of weird noises (as is the case when I ingest something that is unacceptable to my digestive system) and I became bloated. Today (Day 3), I woke up to facial flushing and huge circles under my eyes. Therefore, I think it is clear I have some sort of sensitivity to gluten and/or dairy and will be refraining from items containing same. The other tidbit I wanted to add is the fact that yesterday as a snack, I had some corn chips and mango salsa and noticed my lips became inflamed as I was eating these foods, so I am wondering if it is the corn that could be another item I do not digest well.

I am definitely enjoying the fact that eliminating coffee has made me want to revamp my entire diet, so as to clear out any toxins, or anything that is of detriment to my immune system. So starts day 3 of the caffeine detox and back on the gluten free train... will see how it goes. To report back later.

04 November 2013

Day 1 of coffee detox.

The migraine is setting in right now. Okay, maybe it's not quite a migraine, but it is a pretty intense headache at this point. Today, I felt really out of it. I was lethargic and had difficulty concentrating at work, and was not motivated to do much. Aside from feeling tired, I also had an ever so slight headache. This has seemed to intensify within the last hour or so. It will likely not dissipate until tomorrow. I am pretty sure sitting in front of this brightly lit monitor is not doing me any favors, but I would be doing myself a disservice if I were not to document my journey through the withdrawal period and beyond, because I am determined to make it this time and think it will benefit me to be able to reflect upon my successes in making it through each day. My appetite returned with a vengeance today. I basically inhaled my lunch, that's how ravenous I was. I had oatmeal and a banana for breakfast. For dinner, I had chicken soup, followed by popcorn coated in olive oil and salt as a snack. Lunch was a lentil dish poured over basmati rice. Finally, I had blue corn chips with mango salsa as a treat to top off the night. My main focus this week will be to take care of myself and give my body what it needs, so rest it will be for the remainder of tonight. I'm about to take a warm shower to decompress and then maybe I'll continue to plot my novel. The one facet of my routine I have been neglecting these past few days has been meditation, so I need to definitely carve out some time for that, if not tonight, tomorrow for sure, even if just for fifteen minutes.

Side note: The one difference between my perusing the internet tonight versus the other night, is that I am not focusing on finding solutions to those questions in my mind but rather am going online for entertainment purposes. More on why this is good for me, later.

03 November 2013

Caffeine detox.

Tomorrow is the first day of my caffeine detoxification. I have been attempting to do this for weeks now and have had limited success, which I hope to expand upon beginning tomorrow. This past week, I managed to not have any caffeine Sunday through Tuesday, but I felt the urge to go to Wawa on Wednesday and grab me a cup of coffee, not only to boost my mood. I was tired and a bit down, and needed a pick me up and the act of doing something devious filled my heart with glee. I was literally on cloud nine as I headed to Wawa on foot, and was unable to contain my excitement. No lie, it kind of felt orgasmic. When I got there, staring at the beautiful jugs of assorted flavors of java, I grabbed a 12 oz empty cup and went for that jug which was labeled 'Regular.' Empty it was, as were the other three with the same label. Maybe that was a sign to stop while I was ahead, but I disregarded it and requested that a 'Regular' container be refilled and in one fell swoop it was replaced with a full one, and I proceeded to fill mine, covered it with a plastic top, and slipped a red straw inside and headed for the register.

The woman who replaced the empty coffee containers proudly responded that they had full containers on hand, when I expressed surprise that they were ready to go, as she said at 'this hour, we go through them so fast, so we have many pre-filled' This made me feel less guilty for my deviance. After all, everyone else was filling up to the max at this hour. Who would I be not to join in on the fun? As I stood in line, and the line was rather long, I had some time to contemplate my decision to curtail the caffeine withdrawal period. However, I figured I made it this far in filling up the cup. There was just no way I would let it go to waste. So there I was, at the register. I swiped my card, and beamed as I headed out the door and all the way back to the office. I was like a kid in a candy store on a shopping spree. Everything I could ever want was at my fingertips and I was allowed to revel in the joy of the present moment to the fullest extent, because I knew that I would soon taste the richness that I so longed for, and would be able to savor it throughout the remainder of the day.

Of course it then became pointless for me to resist the urge to consume coffee the remainder of the week, as I could not very well start abstaining again when only a few days remained until the end of the work week and the weekend was approaching. Furthermore, I just didn't feel like having the first day headaches smack dab in the middle of the week. At least if I started earlier in the week, my self control would be more intact. I figured, just a few more days and I would begin again. An unfortunate part of this story, is that I do not do well with moderation, so of course, this momentary caffeine fix led to me later purchasing a pack of mint patties and some chocolate bars and indulging in those as well as coffee the rest of the week, through today. The resultant side effects of such caffeine consumption on my part has prompted me to re-evaluate why exactly I wished to halt my caffeine intake in the first place and I now feel a renewed motivation to start this detoxification process tomorrow. Another reason I am documenting these adverse side effects is to hopefully remind myself why I need to limit my caffeine intake to the occasional treat rather than make it a regular indulgence. This is because in my case, it seems to do more harm than good. Sure it's a delight and a pick-me-up, and heightens concentration, and has health benefits, but it also has its detriments, which I will detail below. This is not to say these are side effects everyone will experience. I think I am particularly sensitive to stimulants, such as caffeine, so these side effects are simply more magnified in my case:

My list of reasons as far as why I wish to abstain from routine caffeine consumption:

1. Anxiety: This is probably the most concerning side-effect. It causes my heart to beat at what seems to be lightning speed and my thoughts to race also. Other anxiety symptoms which surface include excessive sweating, increased pulse rate, and an inability to fully wind down and relax. At times, when I have too much caffeine, it's a definite feeling of discomfort in terms of the manner in which my heart beats.

2. Restlessness: I wake up at odd hours of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep. Going along with the first point, my mind is on overdrive to the point that it is difficult to rest, period. When I eliminate caffeine, my mind is more calm overall and my mind and body feel much more at ease, thereby making it easier to sleep soundly.

3. Hair thinning: The hair at the top of my forehead area thins when I consume caffeine. My hair as a whole seems to thin, yet it is the top of my forehead where it is most prominent. This thickens as soon as I discontinue the caffeine, so I know it is the culprit.

4. Moodiness, irritability, shortened fuse anger-wise: Enough said.

5. Energy crashing: I will feel a surge of energy while consuming the caffeine, yet it all comes tumbling down within a few hours and I then feel foggy and like crap. This causes me to become unmotivated and less productive in the long run. The energy crash effect seems to be cumulative, I have noticed. For instance, four days into a regular caffeine consumption routine, I feel much more lethargic and foggy than I did the first day. Granted, this is likely also given my lack of moderation control. For instance, today I had a cup of coffee and tonight, about a half of a chocolate bar, so I have upped the caffeine, causing my energy level to become less stable.

6. Skin issues: During my withdrawal period this past week, my skin took on a more dewy appearance and looked more hydrated. When I drink coffee, I notice my skin becomes patchy and less even toned.

7. Dry mouth: My salivary glands do not function properly when I consume coffee. They dry up and my mouth becomes so noticeably parched. It also contributes to me becoming dehydrated and diminishes my desire to drink water, further exacerbating the issue.

8. Decreased appetite: The longer I get hooked on caffeine, the worse my appetite becomes. Like my energy, my appetite also becomes less regular/stable.

9. Physique: I look better when I drop the caffeine from my diet. I look more shapely, whereas caffeine makes me lose some of my curves, namely in my hips/buttocks area and breast area.

10. Clean teeth: I don't have to worry as much about acid build up and enamel erosion when I do not consume caffeinated products. My confidence in smiling subsequently increases, which is of course an added benefit.

11. Obsessiveness: When I get into the habit of drinking coffee, getting my fix becomes a primary concern rather than just a background choice. I find myself thinking about coffee often and feel like I need the fix and cannot get enough of it, whereas when I do not drink coffee, I wake up feeling refreshed and not so focused on my need for this particular pick-me-up throughout the day.