Tag Archives: beer

My frenemies, beer and coffee

One of the tough parts about coming to terms with my depression and anxiety is slowly weaning myself from two of my great loves: beer and coffee.  Now, I don’t drink either with any of the regularity that I once (read: college) did.  But I also gained much more of an appreciation for the finer points of each.

Like the typical American college student, the kind of beer that I would choose for a weekend looked something like this: cheap, cold, and wet.  As it turns out, once I started appreciating the craft of brewing more, and looked more for quality rather than quantity, my tastes started to sway from typical American pilsners.  I particularly enjoy beers with a high hop content, such as IPAs.  This led to further experimentation with different styles.  In particular, I have fallen in love with nearly every offering from the Boulevard Brewing Company

Coffee and I have had a much simpler love affair.  I never really got into the Latte-Cappucino-Mocha-whatever thing.  This is how I like my coffee:  black.  Run some hot water over some ground up beans and pour it in a cup, thanks.  That said, there are two different things I have come to realize: 1.  There really is a big difference in taste–even inexpensive stuff–from one brand to another (e.g. love the coffee from a certain donut joint, but can’t stand the joe from a particular fast food titan.  2. I really love freshly ground beans.  My mom bought me a coffee grinder for Christmas a couple of years back–such a simple gift and yet so wonderful.

At first blush, it almost seems like these two characters would help me.  Alcohol can seemingly help with anxiety. Just ask any guy who wasn’t able to approach the pretty girl at the bar until after he built up a little “liquid courage”.  The caffeine in coffee conversely can take the edge of depression when you are feeling more active and alert.  It really is a Faustian bargain, though, isn’t it?  For while each does its part to help with one side of the depression/anxiety coin, it does so at the expense of sabotaging the other.  To wit: Alcohol is a natural depressant, and caffeine can make one jittery and, well, anxious.  Not to mention that it isn’t advised to add these guys on top of the meds that I am taking.  And please don’t mention non-alcoholic brews and decaf coffee.  Ew.  Just can’t. 

So for now I am slowly bidding a fond adieu to a couple of long time friends.  I’ll drop by every once in a while, on special occasions.   Hopefully someday my mood will be significantly better and our roads will once again cross on a regular basis.

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SUNDAY FUN: The Fruit and Veggie Challenge

In an effort to be more health conscious, our family has decided to eat more fruits and vegetables.  However, the thing we found is that we were limiting the kinds of produce that we were eating.  For example, fruit consisted mostly of apples, bananas, and grapes.  Over and over.  So Lovely Wife and I decided that we are going to try something “new” (or at least something that doesn’t show up much in our household) each time we do our grocery shopping.  The first experiments: pomelos and ugly fruits.  I definitely loved the pomelo.  After peeling off the rather thick rind, the wedges were fairly easy to separate, and it tasted delicious.  Kind of like a slightly sweeter grapefruit.  In fact it made me envision that this is what eating a Squirt would taste like.  The ugly fruit, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as satisfying.  It has a similar–if not a little sweeter–taste than a pomelo, and is also very juicy.  But the pulp was just so fibrous that it just wasn’t that enjoyable.  I ended up just sucking the juice out of each wedge.  Stay tuned for further fruit and veggie adventures.

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Filed under anxiety, beer, coffee, depression

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

When dealing with depression and anxiety, there are definitely good days and bad days.  Right now the bad days seem to outnumber the good days.  What is really frustrating, however, is when the bad and good manifest themselves in the same day.

A couple of weeks ago Lovely Wife found a deal on a local Groupon-type website for a night’s stay at a local hotel which has one of those indoor water parks.  She also told my sister (who has three kids of her own) about it.  They decided to use the coupons on Wednesday, as the older kids didn’t have school Thursday or today, and Little Guy and Baby Girl didn’t have daycare.  I was all in for this little staycation.

Close to the time that lovely wife was going to meet me to head out, my sister called me.  She had left her coupon at her house and was already at the hotel attempting to check in.  No problem–I agreed to run to her house to pick it up and take it out to her.  I called Lovely Wife to let her know about the small alteration of our plans and that I would just meet her and the kiddos.  What followed was a frantic back and forth phone call session between me, Lovely Wife, and my sister.  I could feel the tension building up until it reached critical mass.  After about the fifth phone call I took on the way to my sister’s house (we live about a mile apart) I snapped and started yelling over the phone at Lovely Wife.  In the past she would have probably become defensive and it would have escalated from there, but recognizing what was happening, she stayed calm and talked to me until I calmed down as well.  It wasn’t a major anxiety attack, but my mind was racing until it just shut down and stopped taking information.

When we finally starting swimming, though, I was feeling better.  After awhile, Lovely Wife and Little Guy (almost 3) went off to play on the slides, leaving me in the super shallow end with Baby Girl (1 1/2).  What followed was the most serene feeling that I have had in weeks.  Watching Baby Girl splashing, jumping, smiling, and giggling put a huge smile on my face.  It of course didn’t hurt that she would stop every couple of minutes to give me a big hug.  In the placid, chlorine soaked indoor pool, I was riding a wave of euphoria.

The good feeling didn’t last.  Perhaps it was the adrenaline from the anxiety episode, or maybe the good feelings, or maybe just the discomfort of sleeping in a hotel bed, but I didn’t sleep that night.  As in, at all.  Does anybody else experience this wide range of feelings in a single day?

JUST FOR FUN – The World According to Little Guy

We are always so proud of little guy.  For his age he speaks quite well.  He is always curious and asking questions.  Of course this can often lead to quite a few humorous moments.  The following exchange took place a couple of weeks ago:

Little Guy (holding up empty pop–soda for those outside the Midwest–can):  Is this beer?

Lovely Wife: No, it’s pop.

LG: Can you show me beer?

LW: No, eat your cheese.

LG: So I can have beer?

LW: No, you can’t have beer!

LG: Oh.  Can I have bubbles?

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Filed under anxiety, depression