Had an interesting revelation today.
As an adult with Aspergers who is also determined to actually earn some money and be successful in business, I find myself constantly tinkering with and re-calibrating my diet for maximum energy and resources to use during the day. Generally speaking, like so many other autistic people, I find myself the most centred, peaceful, stable and consistent on a very low-carb diet, usually some variation on phase 1 Atkins. However, while living on a low-carb diet, I find my energy levels - already naturally pretty low and easily depleted - drop quite low by the end of the work day, and I begin to be very grumpy, anti-social and unpleasant etc as I approach aspergers burnout for that day.
A few years ago while reading up on Atkins, I discovered that black coffee was permissible, and so gave it a try. At first the taste was not what I was used to - but it grew on me, and now I love it. And more than that, I found that every time I drank it, I got this huge energy boost, I was able to tap resources I previously had not had access to (although, as always with Aspergers, they presented their bill later and I had to rest rest rest and recover). I soon discovered that, while the effects of the coffee lasted, I was able to act much closer to neurotypical, which in my line of work was very very helpful indeed. And coffee is addictive.
At the beginning of the past school year (Sept 2017) I began having a huge black coffee twice every day, and the effects were fascinating. It was as if the coffee was allowing me to stretch my limited resources like elastic, to stretch them and stretch them to the point that I could function for the whole work day as a neurotypical person. Of course, I would practically curl into the foetal position by the end of the day under the covers in a dark, silent, tidy room. But in all brutal honesty, it was so nice to experience what it is like to work a normal day without battling against the constant social awkwardness brought on by the low-energy slump that running out of resources as an Aspie causes.
The past 2-3 weeks I have been experiencing stabbing stomach pains, and after experimenting around with multiple different things, have discovered today that the coffee and constant amping-up of my body and mind with it to be the cause of the pain. I have used black coffee to stretch my inner resources and am now experiencing what it feels like to teeter on the very edge of that breaking point where my body starts waving a little while flag and saying 'no more or Im going to start to break'.
So today I didn't have my morning coffee, and I can feel the healing starting already, I am feeling much happier and relaxed, and am going to lay off it probably for the rest of the week.
However, I'm not going to lay off it completely. My experience has taught me that coffee, if treated like a mood-managing medication, can be incredibly helpful. If treated like a pleasurable indulgence it can be a little dangerous because it is so addictive, and the body can only take being driven into hyper-mode for so long. I expect going forward I will use black coffee as an on-the-spot treatment if I feel myself falling backwards into a low-energy slump at an inconvenient time. The rest of the time I'm going to lay off it to allow my body and mind to actually recover from the excursion into hyper-mode (something I have been neglecting to do recently).
Has anyone else had similar experiences with coffee?
I can't seem to drink coffee, although that has always been the case for me. It makes me feel sick and really jittery.
I used to love coffee - it was my one luxury in life.
I was so addicted to it I used to have headaches if I didn't have a cup of coffee by about 10am - the only exception was when I was seriously ill.
I used to suffer with a lot of stress and anxiety however and when first a doctor friend and then a GP advised me to switch to decaf I reluctantly switched to decaf.
It is important though if you don't want headaches and other withdrawal symptoms to cut down slowly instead of stopping straightaway.
I use meditation to manage my mood which as far as I am aware is not addictive.
I drink regular coffee before I go to bed it makes me sleepy and relaxes me, I have to drink really strong coffee to actually feel any effect.
I used to be the same.
Caffeine is essentially a drug - ask any doctor - and like any drug the body builds up a tolerance to it and you have to take more and more to feel the same effect you used to feel with far smaller amounts.
I find it certainly does put me into a different headspace for sure. Although I am very accustomed to it now, so its not a big shock particularly these days
Hi, yes, I use coffee in this way. It’s also fascinating to note, that up until a few years ago, I thought I was ‘addicted’ to coffee. In that when I didn’t drink it, I got what appeared to be severe withdrawal affects. I generally only drank one or maybe two and sometimes three, cappuccinos a day. But when I missed a day, I would get this crippling headache and symptoms of what people said were caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Fast forward several years and I realised, I wasn’t ‘addicted’ to coffee at all. No more than I was addicted to anything. That is simply a flaw in my thinking. And ever since that day, I have never been addicted to coffee, I have never experienced any withdrawal effects and I now use it and enjoy it to my benefit.
Like you, it opens up portals of expression within me, that were otherwise covered over by the strains of living in this world. It also gives me great pleasure and joy to drink good coffee, or a really good cappuccino. It gives me a social outlet. I love going to coffee shops. It gets me out of my home environment, which always opens up my portals of expression and I’m so comfortable in coffee shops, that I can lounge around all day, no matter what country I’m in. It gives me so many things. It gives me art. I have started a course in the art of coffee. I’ve done the beginners course and the lattee art course. There’s a whole world out there regarding coffee and the guy who trains me, was one of the first to set up the lattee art world championships. I learn about the soil and minerals in different countries and how that effects the quality and taste of the coffee beans. I’ve learn how to distinguish a good bean from a not so good one. It could take me all around the world if I wanted it to and it certainly takes me to some incredible places, meeting some incredible people. For me, it’s one of nature’s greatest gifts. I’ve drank kopi luwak (cat poo coffee) whilst looking over at the volcano in an incredibly beautiful outdoor coffee shop in Bali. It was expensive, controversial but delicious. Coffee gives me so much and I give it my full appreciation. It has so many good qualities, it has so much to give. And I no longer use it as a tool to fit in, or at least I try not to. Some habits are harder to break!
Yerba mate tea (if you can get it) is a gentler alternative to coffee with an interesting history and wonderful benefits. Tea has been used all around the world for centuries, for their healing properties, and I do enjoy the occasional cup of tea, of one kind or another, but nothing does it for me like coffee.
Yeah I am trying to stick to no more than 1 a day now - and none on days when I feel in need of some recovery
Ah, Im totally the opposite! But then, everyone who has aspergers/autism has a different experience of it. There's no typical autistic person, so it makes sense that we'd experience these things differently