Stress and Caffeine | Schizophrenic Life

Stress and caffeine–these are the things that trigger my psychosis. All it takes is an extra cup of coffee and I become paranoid and I may even start hearing voices. On the day I realized this, I had followed an iced coffee with a bottle of caffeinated soda, and then sat for four hours in a bar with a group of people thinking every word that was said had a magical symbolism that pertained only to me.

After this incident I wizened up. I began limiting my coffee drinking to one or one and a half cups, then waiting about six hours until I drank any more. This seemed to work in controlling caffeine-related symptoms, but I still had the big monster to tackle: stress.

For me, stress at work is dealing with the person that I don’t like, and who probably doesn’t like me either. My symptoms come out when the person is around, and I have delusions that they are doing things to hurt me or my reputation. It gets that much harder to avoid being stressed out. To deal with this, I usually give the person the benefit of the doubt if the situation is ambiguous, telling myself “I probably took it the wrong way.” Other times, when it is perfectly clear they are saying something wrong, I try to fire back with something like “What do you mean?” to put them on the spot and to make them back off. It is with these tools that I can stay somewhat calm and avoid being swallowed into the world of delusional thinking, while maintaining my standing in the workplace.

If at some point I am devoured by delusions, I go to my last resort–basically I tell myself the opposite of whatever delusional thoughts come into my head. They usually come quickly, one after the other, so it can be hard to keep up, but eventually they fade and I am back to my old self again. It helps to also tell myself that the thoughts will be gone in just a little while so I am not consumed by the moment.

So, in any case, the caffeine can stay–in moderate amounts, and well, the stress I just take one moment at a time.