Posts Tagged ‘caffeine’

Rewiring

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

So I’m a little caffeine sensitive.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read any of this, or is familiar with my medical history, or has, you know, exposed me to a permanent marker.  I like to think that my body is just enthusiastic.  It likes to go all in with things.

When I was younger and not a regular caffeine drinker, I used to get absolutely high off of one cup of coffee.  I called it “happy juice.”  That flood of extra blood to my brain made the whole world a brighter technocolour place.  I still get a little of that, which I’m treasuring these days.  …Despite the difficulty of trying to plan my day so that everything happens within the span of an hour or two after breakfast.

Anything with caffeine in it is pretty much guaranteed to leave me a dry and shriveled husk afterward, but it’s generally worth it.  I actually have to be careful not to drink too much in any given day (like, two drinks rather than one), because I’ll get a bit of a caffeine hangover the day after.  Not kidding.  Tongue made of cardboard, throat parched, raspy phone sex voice, the whole bit.  Warm caffeinated beverages also have the side effect of making me poop.  Immediately and dramatically.

(That was fun on the days that I was running late and decided to have my coffee at work.  Extreme Poop Challenge!!!)

In the last year there have been periods in which I needed to stop having caffeine temporarily for various medication-related reasons.  I’m currently doing tea rather than coffee most mornings, as the perk is definitely more than enough, and it tends not to give me the over-the-top jitters.  I am alert, but not quite ALERT.  …Which is probably for the best.  Anyway, my experimentation has led me to the official and very scientific (and by “very scientific,” I mean that there was both a ruler and calculator in the room with me when making that determination) result that my body is now trained to poop only when I have tea or coffee.

Tea or coffee + ten minutes = dramatic pooping

No tea or coffee + five days = no poop at all

I’m like a Pavlovian experiment, except with less salivation and the occasional need for a fan.

I am generally okay with this so long as nothing comes between me and my tea again, but a few days ago I ran into somewhat of a problem.  I was going about my morning routine as usual.  Took my pills (which, through a combination of medications and supplements, have now progressed to the level of granny pill organizer.  …Or two.  It’s epic.  We had to clear out a cupboard), had a bit of food, and a mug of Orange Pekoe.  Leisurely sauntered at full speed to the bathroom.  Er…”painted the toilet.”  And then as I was getting up to flush and preparing to go finish my tea, I noticed something small and white floating in the toilet bowl.  That pill went right through me.   In tact.  And with amazing speed.

So of course my first reaction is to Google all manner of things involving pills and poop.  …Well, okay, my first reaction was “That’s SO weird!  I have to tell my husband!” followed shortly by “I should totally blog about this,” but at least the third or fourth reaction was definitely Google.  And lo and behold, I am not the only one passing pills.  In fact, it’s apparently becoming a bit of a problem for the New York sewer system.  Weird.

Anyway, they all attest that some pills just aren’t as dissolving-friendly as others, which is easy to see with a quick vinegar test.  Dang, I think.  My pills aren’t dissolvey.  Will have to find new ones.  I plop a couple different ones in a small glass of vinegar just to confirm. …And don’t they start happily dissolving.  Dissolve, dissolve, dissolve, like that’s just their favourite thing in the world.

So now I’m not sure if my stomach fluids are made of milk, or if the coffee really does fire things through me as quickly as it honestly has always seemed to.  But I have determined that I’m probably better off taking everything with lunch rather than breakfast, just in case.

Because had I instead chosen to skip the tea this morning, this entry would have been more along the lines of “Eeeeeeeeeenh.  Poop pill.  Uuuuuuunh.”  …Which gives me the overwhelming urge to start up a zombie blog, but would be otherwise uninformative.

Also, how come “shit” and “crap” can both be commonly used to refer to general “stuff,” but poop cannot?  Yo, dude.  This poop is awesome.

In general news, things are happening, and I feel stuff about it.  Er…feel poop about it.  Still feeling mostly like crap.  Er…poop.  I’m fighting the balance of trying to try enough different things to give me a good chance of successful recovery without trying so many things at once that I won’t have any idea what I need to continue with if something happens to work.  This is annoying, because to see any one change through to the end takes multiple months.  Have gone off my birth control pills.  Am taking SAMe.  Am redoing the meditation course I took on my own (all ten-weeks-of-hour-every-day of it) and kicking myself now and then for having ever stopped doing the much more manageable 10-15 minute “maintenance” sessions and requiring a full fresh run at it to change my brain pathways again.  Am resisting the urge to launch into other forms of treatment, but am probably still doing too much at once anyway.  Cannot bring myself to care, as I don’t know that I could tolerate waiting months to see if the birth control makes a difference, followed by months to find a suitable alternative, followed by months to do the meditation, followed by months to investigate the SAMe, followed by… Not happening.  I’m trying to time it so that changes in my emotional state will still be as informative as possible, but it’s rather like a really bad science fair project in which I’ve chosen to report on volcanoes and space and mould and salamanders in one large bright cardboard display.

But really, who wouldn’t want to see an experiment involving moldy space salamanders in a volcano?  That poop is sick.

How Ritalin Works Differently On People Who Do Not Have ADD

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

When you have ADD, Ritalin is supposed to sort of “normal out” your brain. Not so for others. Ritalin is a stimulant, like coffee. When you have caffeine, it lights up your whole brain a little brighter for a while. When you take Ritalin, it lights up the part you’re focused on more brightly, and dims down everything else. This is why when people who take it without a prescription for things like study cram sessions (which honestly, from what I’ve read seems like not the best idea) don’t know what they’re doing, they can spend their whole study time with their brain unintentionally fixated on the music they’re playing in the background, and at the end of the night their dopamine reward centres will have helped them decide that they REALLY love that song…but have no idea when the IRS was founded.

I illustrate:

Me: (with a dramatic build-up, signaling that an important conversation is about to begin) So…

Husband: (raises eyebrow) …

Me: ITCHY FOOT! ITCHY FOOT!!

Husband:

Me: (now staring happily but blankly, wondering what activity we should do next)


(The participants in that clip are not actors)


…Okay, so to be honest this isn’t ENTIRELY unlike my normal daily behaviour. I did, in the recent past, immediately get up from my kitchen stool and run to grab the laptop upon realizing that neither I nor my husband could produce a mental picture of a live scallop (he was making scallops as an addition to his half of dinner. …I do not as a rule enjoy eating things that swim.). And, after Google images had put me at ease, was completely boggled at how he could just calmly go about his business when there’s a sea creature out there are HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. It’s like how he can sit there for hours doing other things while an unopened birthday present for him sits on top of our regular mail. Is the man made of iron?

(incidentally, scallops are creepy looking little things. Many, beady little eyes. …Not appetizing)

At any rate, the habit does seem to be rather…emphasized…when the medication’s at its peek.

…What was I writing about?

Hey! Two cats talking!


…Those crazy cats.