In December 2014, I was in the U.S. for a holiday with my family for about 2 weeks. We checked in a hotel where we had free breakfast daily from a selection of cereals, toasts, eggs, beverages and coffee. It was the highlight for my siblings and I as we had the opportunity to serve ourselves from these varieties. I noticed I always took a cup of coffee alongside any other meal and my mum would ask why I picked coffee over tea. My reply usually, “I just love the taste, tea nauseates me and their coffee here is really nice”.
In retrospect, my addiction must have stemmed from the experience above. Later on, as a first-year medical student, I started using coffee as stimulant because as the “procrastination queen” that I am, I always had to crash read to pass my tests and examinations. I used to drink plain black coffee during exam periods. I thought I just enjoyed it and well, it worked mostly. Then, I started taking some medications for my health in 2017 and one of the side effects I experienced was drowsiness. For about six months, I would sluggishly go to class then sleep all through lectures. My friends felt that coming to school was pointless for me and I didn’t bother explaining to them initially. I was sleeping for an average of 14 hours daily. Medical student!
Towards the end of 2018, things got even tougher and I was losing balance between school and taking care of my mental health. I had a a pool of tests to scale through second year of medical school so at a point, I thought to myself “I like coffee, the drugs make me sleep a lot, I could start drinking coffee to counteract.” Genius! I started drinking coffee on days when I needed to be productive and oh girl, it worked wonders. I told my doctor about this and he had no problem with it since it was in small doses. This was a major step to coffee becoming a part of my routine until I had to prepare for my professional exams, I knew I had so much work to do so I had to study twice as hard, almost quadruple! I unknowingly started caffeine overdose, I took energy drinks, caffeinated drinks and I finished over 3 jars of NESCAFÉ GOLD Arabian coffee granules in about 6 weeks. Girl! I am cringing as I take this account. I finished the exams and switched from plain black coffee to coffee with rich cream occasionally. After a while, I started having terrible migraines.
I have been treating chronic migraine for a while now and my prescribed analgesics always work. This particular episode got worse and I didn’t get relieved even after using analgesics so I had to talk to my doctor. We had an extensive chat where he discussed how coffee withdrawal could have a direct relationship with migraines and mood. In his opinion, the recent episodes had a lot more to do with coffee as I had switched from large doses for months to casual use. My body got addicted and it was suffering from withdrawal so the doctor gave me two options; to stop drinking coffee and suffer withdrawal effects for two weeks or to take coffee consistently, in same quantity and at a scheduled time. He told me about his experience, he stopped drinking coffee for some months and he experienced a drastic drop in productivity, mild depression and migraine. I picked the latter option because I really love coffee and I didn’t want to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Now, my coffee is a big part of my morning routine and I love it. We are happily married! Most of my classmates already know my signature purple mug, I sip my coffee gracefully during our first class daily. On days when we are in clinics or theatre rotation, I drink before I leave my room. I got a personalised mug for my birthday and I look forward to using it when school resumes. You can get a coffee maker or an espresso machine for me the next time you want to get a gift for Salmah!
I hope you enjoyed my coffee addiction story. Do you have any addiction that you enjoy the way I love my coffee? Please share in the comments. Do not forget to share, like and subscribe to the mailing list. Thank you.