Thank you so much to the lovely Erin for this post. You can find Erin on Twitter and on her Blog. Erin blogs about anxiety, parenting, life and pretty much everything in between! Please check her out, she writes so beautifully and is such a lovely person. I really loved this post, I’m a bit fascinated by the link between food/drink and mental-health so I found this really interesting. It’s really good food for thought, excuse the pun. Let myself and Erin know in the comments if you have any type of similar experience with foods or drinks – it would be interesting to know :).
When you agree to go for coffee with a friend, most people won’t think twice about it. Especially now that I’m a stay at home Mum for the year, getting out and meeting friends to have an adult conversation is so important. Most of my friends know what I’ll order before I even do it: the options are tea or a medium skinny hot chocolate extra hot with white marshmallows.
What many people don’t know is that those choices are so rigid because my mental health dictates that it be like that. Rewind ten years and I was having so many panic attacks I could barely get through the six-hour school day. The exhaustion was rife, my lifestyle was difficult and I was plodding through life some days on 4 hours sleep. By the time I was seventeen I was existing on a combination of coffee, cola and a stockpile of chocolate. The panic attacks continued and they would for a long time.
It didn’t occur to me in that teenage mindset that the levels of caffeine I was consuming were making things significantly worse. Then one day I stumbled across an article that discussed the link between caffeine and mental health conditions: specifically anxiety. By the end of that article, all the pieces of the jigsaw came together and I decided, there and then, that I was no longer consuming coffee.
By no means was it an easy road: coffee shops had sprung up on every street corner by this point and it was difficult to explain why I was no longer buying a mocha. For nearly two years my drink of choice was water, quickly followed by a rare cup of tea. I cut out fizzy drinks, specifically Cola. To this day if my consumption of Cola is too high it will set me back considerably: something I’ve been brutally reminded of this week.
Peer pressure is not really something that has ever been an issue in my life but it’s hard to explain in social situations why you’re being the “boring” person. I’ve not got it all figured out and I’ve had a million setbacks but I know caffeine is a problem for me: alongside alcohol but that’s a story for another day. For me, removing caffeine was something I could take control of when so much felt out of my control. So if you’ve got that “boring” friend who orders tea instead of coffee, or water instead of cola, or orange juice instead of vodka: keep in mind that they might be making that choice not because they WANT to but because they NEED to at that moment.