My Relationship with Coffee


Writers being addicted to coffee is as much of a stereotype as the alcoholic author. It keeps you awake, sharpens the mind, and helps you get things done. I want to talk about my own relationship with coffee, because my situation is slightly different from the norm.

While I am still awaiting an official diagnosis, it appears that I have executive function disorder (EFD). It’s related to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but not the same. It affects working memory, reasoning, and the ability to plan. I’ve struggled with it for a while, but also chalked it up as a side effect of my anxiety disorders. While it is connected, it has its own pathology.

The reason I figured this out, and made the decision to have myself tested, is because I drink massive amounts of coffee.

My Relationship with Coffee

Everyone that self-medicates with caffeine experiences brain fog at some point in the day. They use it to keep themselves alert. Most people get some form of the jitters if they’ve had too much. If they drink coffee too late in the day, they have difficulty getting to sleep. I’ve never had these problems. To feel jumpy I have to really consume a lot in a short period of time. I can drink a large cup of coffee right before bed, and be out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow.

This is apparently a telltale sign of EFD. It’s why they treat it with stimulants. Caffeine makes me right. It corrects, rather than over-corrects. It’s why giving ritalin to kids with ADHD mellow them up, but giving it to adults who don’t have ADHD amps them up.

I’m now the same age that my grandmother was when she first start exhibiting symptoms of dementia. Since I was in my twenties, I’ve been concerned about that being my fate. So far I’m okay. My memory loss and bouts of confusion, even the executive dysfunction itself, can be attributed to stress and my variety pack of anxiety disorders.

At the very least, I know what’s going on. I know what I can do about it, and how to manage it. Part of that is continuing to drink copious amounts of coffee. With luck, I now have this under control, and have done so before it became as serious issue.

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