The World According to Renee

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The World Without Caffeine

Technically it’s three years next week… but since it’s only just occurred to me (and baby is asleep, giving me a minute to write), I thought I’d write a bit about it. You can read the original blog post here.

I recently rediscovered my diary, which hadn’t been written in since August 2013. I was reading some old entries and January/February 2012 really sucked for me. I was desperately unhappy in my job and general life. I hated everything I did and everything I was. I doubted myself, I doubted my writing (even though I was scoring High Distinctions for me uni essays) and I was doubting my direction. Most entries were written during bouts of PMDD.

It’s been a whole three years since I gave up caffeine. In that time, I have not had a single episode of PMDD. I didn’t suffer any symptoms of depression during or after pregnancy (I was pregnant during most of 2014 and am now a first time mum to Cecily, 7 weeks old today). I’ve felt generally happy and well-balanced despite 2013 being a real shit of a year: my Opa, my aunt and a friend all died in 2013. What a massive difference to those entries written in Feb 2012! One entry dated Feb 7, 2012, reads “There is no greatness, only nothingness.” This ‘epiphany’ happened while I was watching a documentary about the Sun. Normally I am humbled and amazed by astronomy but that day, all I thought about was the futility of life.

Tough times.

Things are much brighter now, and have been for a while. I don’t have those thoughts of emptiness anymore. I don’t have days when I want to curl into a ball and cry. In short, I haven’t had a single depressive episode since February 17, 2012.

Giving up caffeine has saved my life.

Postscript: Last year I was enrolled in a unit for uni where I had to write a documentary. I chose the topic of the link between mental illness and caffeine. My tutor’s feedback was “(the topic) is scientifically highly unlikely” and “correlation does not equal causation”. Never mind the complete unprofessional and ignorant attitude, I presented her with a ton of research supporting this link. She backflipped, saying she never said those things (funnily enough, it was still clearly written on my proposal, right there in black and white and dutifully presented to the convener along with my complaint…). Since then, I have thoroughly researched this link and everything I’ve read supports a link between caffeine and symptoms of mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety. Anecdotally speaking, I have three friends diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety whose symptoms were also completely alleviated when they gave up caffeine. Unfortunately they all liked their morning coffees too much and couldn’t stick to being caffeine-free.


February 9, 2015 Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections | , , , , | Leave a comment