Searching For The Decaf Solution


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.

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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?

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  3. #3 by Tina on September 22, 2012 - 5:48 PM

    My doctor has put me on a caffeine free, sugar free diet after suffering adrenal failure. I’m eating tons of greens, and had to switch to a powdered multi vitamin/mineral supplement. I’m new as a reader to you, but have you been tested for Candida or Adrenal Fatigue? You don’t have to answer, but it turns out my state of mind was not ALL in my head afterall, sharing many of the same symptoms you listed ….. And I drink Rooibos Tea to kick my caffeine turned decaf habit! Cheerios!

    • #4 by Patricia Caviglia on September 22, 2012 - 9:04 PM

      After all the advice I received on this post, I decided to do some research and did find that often physical illness will affect mental abilities. Since, I have scheduled a physical with my doctor. I started relaxing and walking a little more and have added an omega-3 supplement to my diet. I do find myself thinking more clearly.

      I hope your adrenal failure is a thing of the past. Keep taking care of yourself Tina.

  4. #5 by Kim Griffin on August 31, 2012 - 10:15 AM

    I agree about the vitamin B ~ dark leafy greens, smell a lemon or maybe a good old dose of morning sunshine for like 10 or 15 minutes.

    How about some yoga or a little meditation?

    • #6 by Patricia Caviglia on August 31, 2012 - 10:39 AM

      I went for a 4K walk last night. That was invigorating. I’m going to try everybody’s suggestions. Thanks Kim.

      Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  5. #7 by Caroline Kaiser on August 29, 2012 - 8:20 AM

    I can appreciate the mental edge that caffeine gives you. Although I don’t consume great quantities of it, It can really help me be productive on days when I need an extra boost. If you’ve gone cold-turkey off caffeine, this mental fog might be some sort of a withdrawal reaction, and you might start feeling much better soon once your body has had more of chance to adjust.

    Have you tried exercising before you sit down to work? I always take my dog out midday, and try to move at a pace that really gets my blood flowing and heart pumping. Then I feel alert and ready to focus. Here’s another thing that may help: get an aromatherapy burner and use a few drops of rosemary in it. There’s something about the pungent aroma of this herb that seems to cut through fogginess, and I swear it helps me to concentrate better than I do otherwise. I’m sure you’ll find a solution that works for you, Patricia.

    • #8 by Patricia Caviglia on August 29, 2012 - 5:02 PM

      I have read that rosemary helps with concentration, so it’s not your imagination, it is helping you. I think I might try that too.
      Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  6. #9 by Barbara Forte Abate on August 28, 2012 - 10:40 PM

    I did give up coffee for a time last year in quest of a healthier lifestyle. The first few days were torture–intense headaches that hung tight over a general sense of dopey, draggy, stupidity. Aside from the goal of “clean living” I kind’ve wanted to prove I could give up my number 1 favorite beverage. After a couple of weeks of success in assuring that I could survive quite nicely, thank you very much, I went right back to drinking it.

    Have you tried vitamins? First suggestion would be a good B-complex supplement can work wonders on a sluggish body.

    • #10 by Patricia Caviglia on August 29, 2012 - 4:58 PM

      I’ll look into the vits. Thanks for the suggestion!
      Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

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