Anxiety, Photographs, Poetry from The Well, Time

Caffeine Heart


My caffeine heart

is a tantrum-throwing

child in a grocery store. One minute she’s

white teeth and glittery eyes –

the next she’s

kicking her feet against my eardrums. I swear

I give her plenty of air

but on she wails about

Yesterday’s paper cuts,

Tomorrow’s steely clouds,

Today’s loose grip on time.

This girl likes her poison.

I keep it coming.

She keeps it flowing to thoughts

thirsty to live –

thoughts long

overdue to die.


Morning Order

Morning coffee has been replaced with morning green tea. On this quest to quell my anxiety, cutting back on caffeine has been a big and solemn step.

For so many years: wake up, bathroom, straight to the kitchen, get the drip drip of the coffee pot going and breathe in the life-stirring aroma. Ponder every few days just how much of an addict I am. Decide it doesn’t matter. Pour first cup of coffee. Return to bedroom with steaming cup.

The past couple weeks: wake up, bathroom, set tea kettle on high, wait, drink a glass of warm water, open packet of tea, stare out the window, wonder how on Earth I slept so long, pour cup of tea, return to bedroom. Wait a minute before pulling out tea bag and sitting down to read/write/whatever.

The tea switch has been awkward, as many changes in routine can be.

This switch and the addition of Zoloft and Klonopin (plus a few supplements such as L-Tyrosine and B vitamins) have helped me sleep well again. For a while I couldn’t sleep in anymore; in fact, I was waking up before my alarm on weekdays too.

The past two days for the first time, I didn’t wake up with my heart racing. I didn’t go to sleep with my heart racing.

I had resisted doctors’ suggestions that I take medication for anxiety over the past couple of years. Resolving to do everything I could to lessen it seemed easy enough, and I already was (and still am) mindful of eating well and exercising, as well as trying to listen to my spiritual demands.

One day, things were no longer manageable. In fact, I seemed to be losing my mind. Every day was like walking through thick fog trying to navigate and understand what to do and say, plus managing dread of when the next panic attack would be – fighting against that sinking feeling in my stomach, the moment when the blood seemed to drain from my head and my eyes glazed over…

It was easy to take an anti-medication stance until I couldn’t function in driving to work safely, getting through the day, and getting home.

The next step is finding a therapist who isn’t too irritating or low in intelligence to help me work through whatever triggered the onset of panic and increase in anxiety. I’m hopeful.

This is merely a skeleton of my recent experience with anxiety-related problems and changes.

A second cup of green tea doesn’t quite match the ecstasy of gliding downstairs for a second cup of coffee. It’s just not as fun getting a refill of a drink you aren’t emotionally and physiologically addicted to.

But I can handle it.