By Russell Baugher
Three weeks ago, I was taking shortcuts to increase my energy because I wanted more from life, and two weeks ago—I crashed. I was enjoying one cup of coffee each morning and sugar-infused edibles throughout the day, but I realized after seven days that I just can’t handle stimulants and, to a lesser extent, sugar while in psych drug withdrawal. It’s tough, too, because my caffeinated thoughts are unequivocally precise, and swift.
My mind on caffeine is wholly capable and captivating.
But my mind on caffeine is not my mind. It’s part of a stimulant-fueled hive mind and I’m an insignificant worker bee, able to focus exceptionally well on the task at hand while struggling to think of—and possibly ignoring—more meaningful tasks. I’m doing the work of others while in an altered state of mind, and being rewarded with self-ignorance. On caffeine, I am not my own person; I’m an emissary of the coffee plant and/or tea bush.
Without caffeine, I’m an internal minimalist. I like the purity of the feeling and the rawness of the design, but it’s going to take some time to adjust. I’m forced to be present within myself with little distraction. It’s like my thoughts are suddenly living without electricity and other modern amenities. I feel mentally rural, with plenty of acreage between thoughts, and forty minutes of road between here and town. I took those earlier-mentioned shortcuts three weeks ago because I wanted more from life and I wanted it faster; I wanted my thoughts closer to town. I get impatient and feel too alone, or maybe too tired and a smidge hopeless overall—and I want to speed things up.
I find it easy to focus on the short term and what I could be doing instead of thinking and moving slowly, but there are ominous reminders of where moving too fast gets me that are hard to overlook. Caffeine is a stimulant. There is plenty of bad that goes along with stimulating the body past its current self-regulated limit, and one of those bad things involves the heart: my caffeinated heart feels like a Super Ball launched down a tight hallway by the infinitely strong arm of God, amplifying the bounciness of heart in psych drug withdrawal. But this is where I need to be—right now—focusing on my own life and thoughts, as simple and slow as they may be. I need to live outside of town and away from the hive. My body is telling me what it can and cannot handle.
I just need to listen to my body.
First published on Birth of a Patient — Russell Baugher’s blog
More by Russell Baugher on Beyond Meds