Drug of Choice

While  it’s been suggested to me by several health care professionals that caffeine isn’t great for people with epilepsy, I’ve always figured that until I’m directly told not to consume it, I’ll continue to abuse it as I successfully have for years. The thing is, I don’t know what’d happen if I stopped, and I have no real desire to find out. The few times I’ve experimented with cutting back, I’ve quickly realized how foolish I was being. I’d ideally be able to function on herbal tea or a roasted barley concoction or whatever, but we live in a cold, cruel world, my medications make me incredibly tired (it all comes back to you, Topamax), and, critically, I love coffee.

These are a few of my favourite things.
These are a few of my favourite things.

I’m also quite clearly physically and mentally addicted—I was going to omit that detail, but I guess it’s relevant information.

This is all to say that I drink an obscene number of caffeinated beverages each day with little regard for the effect they might have on my seizure activity. It only occurred to me in a serious way this morning that I could be doing serious damage to myself. I then spent an hour and a half obsessively researching in an organized panic that’s one of my signature freak-out characteristics.

Imagine my genuine delight when I read the following in a BC Epilepsy Society information sheet:

“One often hears a precaution that coffee, tea, and pop containing caffeine can trigger seizures and should be avoided. In fact, stimulants suppress seizures.”

These beautiful words are in line with the conclusions of studies I read in several peer-reviewed medical journals; if you want citations, I’d be more than happy to provide them. (Seriously—I live for this stuff. And yes, moderation and all that. And no, caffeine isn’t health food.)

In other words, it’s possible I’ve been been making things better without even knowing it! This is, of course, a grossly inaccurate simplification. Still, moving forward, it’ll be even easier to ignore the myriad of other reasons it’s best to avoid excessive intake of caffeine. Unless I notice a correlation between increased seizures and increased caffeine, in which case I’ll reluctantly reconsider.

Thanks to this relieving news, I’m the most upbeat I’ve been in weeks, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the celebratory Red Bull I just downed is contributing to my good mood.

This is the most energetic denial I’ve ever experienced.


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