In university I discovered that I have a heart arrhythmia. It wasn’t difficult to do, you tend to notice when your heart lumps around in your chest to no particular rhythm at all. It’s a bit scary at first, but then it’s just uncomfortably annoying. In any case, I had to wear a heart monitor to test out to see what kind of arrhythmia it was. Turns out it’s the boring kind – absolutely benign, not threatening in the least, and very avoidable. In an exciting turn of events, I did find out that I’m allergic to those suction-y electrodes, though. SO. Itchy. I prevent my heart arrhythmia from occurring by getting lots of sleep (I go to bed at 9:30 – no word of a lie – though I do get up at 5:45. I’m on the same sleep schedule as my Nana.); avoiding stress (which is easy once you’re finished university and aren’t in a bubble of constant panic and essay-induced paranoia); and by avoiding caffeine. Ah. That one’s hard.
You don’t realize how much you depend upon caffeine until you go off of it. For at least ten days of my life I was THE crabbiest person in the world. As Hilary can attest, I’m not always a particular ray of sunshine in the a.m. Caffeine withdrawals turned me into a cantankerous grizzly that has been awoken early from hibernation by having a stick jabbed in her eye. It’s an elaborate metaphor, I know, but 100 per cent accurate.
Now that I’m off caffeine I function just fine a reasonable amount of time and am only the usual amount of surly. That is until I consume caffeine. Then all hell breaks loose. I tend to grossly overestimate just how much caffeine I’ll need to stay alert and end up with shaking hands, caffeine sweats and more often than not, a full body tremor.
One time in college (I went to both University and college, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me anymore) I had one large tea, hopped on the subway and rode it from my house near the ROM to a “lovely” Scarborough neighbourhood wherein I walked through a Burger King drive-thru (you know you’ve left the city when…) to a Staples to photocopy an assignment, then back to the Danforth to class, and was only 15 minutes late. I was also panting, sweating, jittering and chattering like a chipmunk.
Then there was Becca’s birthday… We got up at 3 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding and then I went to my internship. I grabbed a large latte, with an extra shot of espresso and quite literally displayed ADHD symptoms all day. I had so much energy I was just craving to put to good use, but could not focus on one task for more than 30 seconds before I was distracted by squirrels and shiny reflections from people’s watches.
And then there was the time, most recently, at work when I had two teas and a mocha. WHAT WAS I THINKING! I was jazzed up, my veins buzzing with caffeinated excitement, just blazing through my daily tasks. But the moment there was a (minor) IT glitch I spiraled into paraonoid delusions and a full body tremor. Thanks Yvonne for talking through my pure unbridled caffeine induced insanity.
The sad thing is, I never learn. I’ve had a tea today. My shoulders are all hoppy with happiness.