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Look at how pretty this PSL is! Now I'm going to DRINK IT!

Look at how pretty this PSL is! It can’t be THAT bad for me… right?

The last couple months have been more eventful than I can cover in one blog post. Between health shifts and family drama, my life has been one resurrected evil twin away from a daytime soap opera.

However, that hasn’t been the main reason for my writing hiatus.  No, it’s more due to the fact that I can’t drink coffee anymore. At least, I can’t drink caffeinated coffee which is really the only kind that matters.

A couple months back I figured out that I had adrenal fatigue. Nothing deadly as long as you get it early but it means I had to cut sugar, caffeine, and alcohol right out of my diet. Unless you’re close to death I would never recommend doing this. I’m not going to sugar coat this guys, (haha, sugar coat, get it? Get the pun? *sobs*) not having caffeine or wine in my life has been a major life change. I’m not saying I’m an alcoholic but I will fully admit to being a caffeine-addict.

The thing is, these two things were my basic gifts to me. Neither of them costs a lot (though wowza, it adds up over time) and they both made me happier on bad days and pretty danged spiffy on the good days. I relied on coffee (Soy Americano Mistos with chocolate and cinnamon on top, specifically) and a good glass of wine as my stress relief and gratification for being an adult. Do you know what it’s like to have the two things that hit that pleasure center in your brain taken away??? Sorry, I sound intense about it but that’s because I AM INTENSE ABOUT IT. I essentially had to retrain my brain to deal with stress, sadness, anxiety, and the concept of rewarding myself in a completely different way.

I honestly don't know how parents do it. I can barely take care of myself!

I honestly don’t know how parents do it. I can barely take care of myself!

So now, I watch Bubbles longingly as she drinks wine and I drink decaf coffee. Yes. Decaf coffee. I make sure it’s swiss water organic and you know, it’s not… all bad. I’m not going to tell you that I want to drink it forever but every night I relax with a cup of decaf coffee and I’m grateful to at least have that.

The other downside to not being able to drink real coffee (other than not being able to drink real coffee) is that I really wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to write. Coffee has always been half of my muse. Anytime and every time I wanted to sit down and write I had a good cup of coffee beside me. In fact, I normally went through a couple cups of coffee in one writing session. It got my brain going and my fingers moving. It made me focused and sparked my imagination to create, invent, and breathe life into stories and characters. It opened up whole new worlds of possibilities.

edb6cb91d065fa2c135fcb8f9538d830Without coffee I was worried all the words were going to turn to dust in my head. I wondered if all the voices were going to go silent and all the colors in life would seep away. It terrified me. Writing has been a part of my life since I was 12 years old and probably before. It’s part of how I process and a huge part of how I cope. It also simply makes me happy.

I didn’t even try to write for those first two months. Frankly, even if I’d wanted to I didn’t have the energy to know where to begin. Without my constant stimulant I was exhausted and left to deal with the reality of my energy levels, which were beyond low at that point. Everything was overwhelming. Getting up, getting dressed, and going to work seemed like Mount Everest. The fact that I had to feed myself seemed an unfair and impossible task. I was exhausted. I was also rather grumpy.

But I did it. I started drinking insane amounts of green tea since it was the only thing not banned on the list and I started getting healthy in a way I’d never tried before. I’m not saying I’m quite there yet. I still have at least 3-4 months to go before I can even begin to contemplate having some of my favorite treats again (though I do cheat here and there. Come on, Pumpkin Spice Lattes came back to Starbucks! Cut me some slack! I made it decaf AND half sweet!) but my energy levels are so much better than they used to be that I feel like a brand new person. And that person is less likely to take the quickest answer and more likely to really look for the right solution, even if it takes some time. 

I’ve also learned a lot in the last couple of months. I’ve learned how to slow down and have more patience, not just with myself but with the life around me. I’m beginning to understand that good things can take time and those things are definitely worth waiting and working for. It’s so easy to get into the grind of rushing through things without taking the time to experience life and really appreciate the smaller things. Besides all that it did sort of fit into my, “Learn how to love me” year. No better way to learn about yourself than to take away all the things you rely on.

And that leads us to today, right here and right now as I sit, typing away at my laptop, sans caffeine. Turns out the words are all still there. The wind that my creativity rides on is still flying and frankly, I think

Lighting one bulb at a time ;)

Lighting one bulb at a time 😉

it might be stronger than ever. I have a  little less time to write now as I need more rest and I have to make everything from scratch but things are settling down and fall is here! Nanowrimo is just around the corner (National Novel Writing Month if you’ve never heard of it, http://nanowrimo.org/) and I can’t tell you how excited I am. Bubbles is planning her wedding (Woot!), the training at my new job is almost done, and there are a lot of wonderful things on the horizon. So here we go, Alons-y as the Doctor used to say, and bring on the decaf!

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