Friday, January 19, 2007

My love-hate relationship with caffeine

In my never ending chase of sleep and wakefulness, I seem to have developed a hatred of my need for caffeine to get through the day. That photomicrograph of a caffeine crystal is beautiful isn't it?
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder nearly two years ago, I had tapered my caffeine use to drinking one good size mug one half-caff/half decaf in the morning and the rare diet cola when I was out with family. Sometime around the time I met my husband a year and a half ago, the coffee habit had started to drift away to nothing and my caffeine intake consisted of occasional imbibing of tea, cola and dark chocolate. Though I complained back then of poor sleep, somehow I wasn't grabbing the external chemical stimulation of good ole C8H10N4O2.
Over the past several months sleep became a chore and the afternoon pick-me-up of a cold Green Tea evolved to Diet Coke to share with Dave while we were out running errands. Eventually a few times a week thing became a suggestion from Dave to just go ahead and add coffee to my morning routine again.
It's not the same. What was once a morning quiet time ritual of gradually meeting the day is gone. The coffee ritual is different when I roll out of bed exhausted and still half stoned from my medications at 2 in the afternoon. To swipe the cobwebs of sleep out of my brain, I gulp the stimulating chemical of caffeine into my system, resentful of the bitter brew I had once enjoyed without such need. I want my simple enjoyment of coffee back. Drinking coffee at 2 in the afternoon screws up my desire to get back to a normal sleep-wake cycle given the 6 hour half life of the chemical in the body.
My search continues for a better, gentler way to wake up a medicated woman with bipolar disorder and insomnia in the "morning" without interfering with the end of the day desire for sleep. Perhaps I'll stick to chocolate.