caffeine withdrawal with pseudoephedrine
Sunday, May 5 2013
In honor of my continuing caffeine abstinence program, this morning Gretchen and I had decaf for our weekly coffee ritual. It tasted good, but its caffeine levels were so low that it didn't seem to trigger anything in my newly-sensitized neurochemistry.
This afternoon Gretchen drove down to Long Island to attend the a gravestone unveiling for her Great Aunt Helen (who had died about a year ago at the age of either 99 or 100). It would not be a pleasant trip; the relatives on that side of Gretchen's family are typical upper-middle-class Americans: completely unconcerned about the world and mostly just interested in "staying thin and being rich." Despite having attended Gretchen's book release party and hearing some harrowing poems about the trauma of being a farm animal, Gretchen's aunt prepared a meal consisting mostly of a large lump of meat and a similarly-sized lump of cheese, though she also prepared Gretchen some pasta and a salad (which none of the others had any interest in eating). At this point in her life, Gretchen doesn't spend a lot of time with hyperconventional people, and she found today's experiencing draining and demoralizing. She hurried homeward as soon as she could, stopping at a Trader Joe's somewhere in Long Island. (The presence of Trader Joe's being the one good thing about the entire island, overcrowded as it is with self-involved people with more dollars than sense.)
Meanwhile, in an effort to overcome my own sense of having been drained, I decided to see if pseudoephedrine might help fill in the dips in my energy level caused by the absence of caffeine. Since pseudoephedrine works via entirely different neurochemical pathways than caffeine, it seemed unlikely that it would reverse any of the sensitivity to caffeine I'd acquired since beginning my abstinence from it. So I took the normal 120 mg dose.
This proved to be a great idea; my energy levels were completely restored and at times I even felt like I had a bit of a buzz going on, though not quite as much of one as pseudoephedrine normally gives me; I was, after all, climbing out of a fairly deep energy well here (and by "energy well," I'm talking about the absence of motivation and general dysphoria, not "energy well" in the physics sense).
I fully anticipated needing to drink alcohol at some point, since I've always needed to counteract pseudoephedrine with a downer at some point in order to get to sleep. But tonight I was able to fall asleep with a slight pseudoephedrine buzz and no need to counteract it in any way.
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