About two years ago, I was waking up stiff and in pain. It would take hours for my body to shake it off. And those hours felt like days. Sleep deprivation, nicotine and caffeine weren’t helping. I wasn’t willing to change all three, but I knew I needed to make a change. I spoke with my chiropractor, who promotes a holistic lifestyle. I figured that all the chemicals in cigarettes were the worst thing I had going for me and I was certain that he would tell me to quit smoking. Instead, he told me to switch to decaf.
The caffeine was taking a toll on my nervous system. He estimated that it would take three months for me to feel the effect of the switch. It took a week. Within a week, the pain that radiated from my spine to the rest of my body receded and the stiffness was mostly gone. Such a quick turnaround might have been partly psychological: I wanted that pain gone, so maybe the act of switching to decaf had a bit of a placebo effect. I don’t know, but it worked.
Now, I am looking for a “decaf solution” to a similar problem. But this time, it’s my brain that aches and struggles with stiffness. It feels like old unkept clockwork. Dirty with dusty grease, it still keeps time, but loses too many seconds to be of real use. I feel overwhelmed and in a constant fog. I’m not the only one amongst my friends who feels this way. And while some of it has to do with raising children, I don’t believe that parenthood is to blame because I’m sure my brain worked a heck of lot better this time last year than it does today. Where have the clarity, the creativity, the forethought, the ability to learn something easily gone? Will I ever be able to think past the next meal, the next task, the next chore, the next traffic light again? My world has become so narrow that it’s scary, mostly because I know that I’m capable of so much more.
What do you think? Do you suffer from an unwanted state of mental sedation without the assistance of drugs? Have you lost your ability to think beyond the next ten seconds? Have you been in this position and found the light at the end of the tunnel? What’s the decaf solution?