May 27, 2019
Issue 06 2019

The Most Socially Acceptable Drug

Hello, my name is Bella and I’m an addict. But I bet you are too.

We’re all addicts. I’m not talking about a cheeky vape every now and then or downing a cruiser like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, really-can’t-get-a-day-without-it addiction. I’m addicted to caffeine.

I had my first coffee aged seven. My dad gave me one to help me cope with jetlag while we were overseas and I was falling asleep in class. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

To be fair, I don’t know many students who aren’t. How else are we meant to juggle full-time study, part-time work, maintaining a social life and a healthy ‘gram?

I have my first coffee around 7.30 - 8ish AM, brewed and with soy, coming in at roughly 120mg of caffeine. I will have a Berocca if I’m in a busy season or just need an extra boost, which gives me 100mg caffeine and vitamins and minerals. Around lunchtime, if I’m drooping and need another pick me up I head to Jenny’s on campus for a soy flat white, 90mg. Around 4.30ish I’m fading and I need to perk up before picking my four year old up from kindy, so I head to the vending machine and get a big blue V, 160mg. I’m not going to add these up because I don’t want to face my problems. I am addicted to caffeine; I need it to get by and suffer extreme withdrawals when I don’t have it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have a family history of heart problems, live a very high-stress lifestyle, and will most likely die young from a heart attack.

It takes a lot of energy to be me. I have to be ‘on’ for at least 12+ hours of the day; I have to be a good enough mother to Max, I have to do literally everything in my group project (if you’re reading this you know who you are), I have to manage my mental illness and go to appointments, find ways to give back to my community in a meaningful way and stay up past 1 am to write this.

Of course, there is a darker side to this addiction. Last year while trying to juggle too many assignment hand-ins, I managed to overdose on caffeine. I had a triple shot coffee and a red bull which made my vision blurry, gave me nausea and whole body shakes. I don’t want to go through that again. My dentist has said to me, “you’ve got a lot of decay for someone your age, do you drink a lot of sugary drinks?”

Wow, such a mystery, I wonder where it can be coming from.

There is also a bizarre mental side effect. I tried a 3 day withdrawal from just energy drinks and boy, did my mental health plummet. My lust for life was gone, I withdrew socially and had so little energy to interact with those around me.

I’m often heard saying “once I start exercising and eating healthy, it’s over for you bitches,” but I keep waiting for that energy to get my life together and treat my body like the goddess she is.

I’ve been tired for four years. The light has gone out of my eyes and there are bags under my eyes, but at least they’re Deadly Ponies bags. And if one socially acceptable psychoactive drug delivered orally can repress that for even just a few hours, then that’s a drug I’m willing to take.