I Want a New Drug

Here’s what I would like to know. Do energy bars really give you energy? I have been off caffeine for a few weeks and am wondering what the hell I was thinking. For awhile it was great–I felt pretty smug about it, ordering decaf (not even half caf) and new kinds of exotic herbal teas that smelled great, telling everyone how much better I felt. It was a total honeymoon. 

Now, everyday at about 2:00 in the afternoon I start yawning and don’t stop until I go to bed. I fall asleep in the car (not while driving, at least not yet). Today, I actually had to take a nap before dinner. And I am afraid of naps!  I’m certain they will cause me to stay up all night watching stupid talk shows and 80’s movies starring big haired actresses wearing enormous shoulder pads in their dresses, and infomercials on cleaning products, and reruns of I Love Lucy.  I think my speech has been effected, words come out slowly or not at all. And let’s not even talk about the first few hours of the morning.

So I thought maybe an energy bar, but they seem a bit like the elixirs sold from the back of a wagon in bygone days. Pretty packaging, a placebo effect for the first few times, and then back to the yawning. There was a popular diet out awhile ago called the Zone and the premise was that if you ate certain foods at certain times you would never experience a slump in your energy level. You would be forever “in the zone” and function full tilt each and every day. I think you had to eat 5 olives and 4 almonds at certain times and buy their energy bars. Some people loved it because if they followed it religiously they lost a ton of weight in the beginning. I’m not sure there was a lot of long-term success though. It was similar to all of those high protein, low carb diets like Atkins, South Beach and Scarsdale. Do you remember the Scarsdale Diet?  The doctor who wrote it was shot by his scorned mistress. They say he cheated on her with a younger woman but I think it probably happened because she was on the diet. I tried it for 2 weeks and by the end of it could have shot someone too.

Having good energy is a goal of mine. Not like, “Wow, she has great energy,” but more like, wow, I actually made it through 8 hours of work, debriefed with my kids about their day (How was school? Good. That’s good. Anything fun happen? No. Okay.), cooked a healthy meal, did a few loads of laundry, debriefed with my other half about her day (@#X!$@^%), got clothes and lunches and permission slips and any projects or manifestos due ready for the next day, wrote a half chapter of my novel, took the dogs for a walk, blogged (brilliantly) and finally, read some Dostoyevsky before I drifted off into 7.5 peaceful hours of sleep.

I haven’t found an energy bar that helps with this. And I don’t really want to go back to caffeine (I like that smug feeling). I look for answers in the self-help section of bookstores and People magazine in the doctor’s office  and those little books they sell near the gum and candy at the checkout isle of grocery stores, but so far, nothing resonates.

So anyone out there who feels like they have a handle on this energy thing–do tell. What gets you through the day?



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2 responses to “I Want a New Drug

  1. Susan

    Not sure this is a handle, but energy boosters for me include: chocolate; caffeine; mortality; exercise; certain music, like Belly, Patti Smith, Radiohead, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Black Keys, Bach, Vivaldi; fear of mortality; a novel or short story with amazing writing. Maybe the trick is finding the right combination, which will change depending on the day. One recommendation I have is to use the smug feeling, parlay it into frantic, charged writing jags. S.

  2. Coffee works for me. And it’s an antioxidant and apparently can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, among other things. And then, of course, there’s listening to the Ramones sing “I Wanna Be Sedated” at top volume. Despite the lyrics, the effect is quite the opposite of sedating. 😉

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