Monday, May 24, 2010

Reflection: Stimulating Relaxation

Counterintuitive as it is, I find these things calmative: coffee, mucuna pruriens supplements, as well as some energy drinks (depending on the formula). The "Caffeine calms me!" response is surely not unheard of-- but mellowing out on stimulants is more typical of ADHD than it is of anything I've ever been diagnosed with. So in a way, I have a biogenetic marker for ADHD, even though I don't fit the phenotype.

Here's a different sort of explanation for the phenomena: Stimulants activate the "flight or fight" systems in many people; that's why we say they're bad for anxiety. But I have hardly any "fight or flight" response in me at all; while many anxiety-disordered people have abnormally high arousal levels, mine are very abnormally low. My anxiety is actually monotropic vulnerability; it's a matter of putting my eggs in one basket (and often a flimsy basket at that). So... if a substance like coffee can stimulate enough interest/ arousal that I focus outward on things other than my own particular obsessions, well, the overall effect is going to be calming.

People who've known me over the years know I have this thing about coffee -- and that I did long before I had any explanation whatsoever for the fondness!

Coffee Picture: Gregory Szarkiwicz, Free Digital Photos