Drinking coffee when depressed and the effect on the kidneys

Last Updated on October 9, 2020

Jude, a reader dropped a comment at my post Why there is pain in kidney area? From personal experience….  which I thought would be better to turn it into a post for the benefit of others who may be facing the same problems as her.  I would do my outmost to address her issues and concerns.

Her comment is as follows:


I find your point interesting about coffee. Yes, I have been pushing my body with caffeine past 2 years of depression followed by heart break. However, did the meditation speaking to self for once healed you? I am hard to find belief in it. I am on meditation speaking to self since a year, the pain does not go. In fact left side kidney also started giving me pain. Yes, its about coffee and since i was in depression and facing failures in life bothways, can you explain me how it worked for you? Despite constant mediation I feel lethargic, tired, headaches and kidney pain. In fact I faced pre menstrual spotting and issues with regular menstrual spotting this month for first time. I got urine, blood tests ; are all normal. I am very worried.

Can you help?


Downing coffee when depressed and the effect on the kidneys

Most people we know would drink alcohol to ‘drown their sorrows’ only to be badly hit with the nasty hangover effects the next day.  While for some, they would turn to caffeined drinks like Coca Cola, lattes, expressos when they feel down.

Too much coffee causes overwork on our liver and kidneys- because these organ’s instinctive function is to get rid of toxins from the body.  Paw Moh, a traditional healer in Thailand tells me (through a translator) that it is important to cut down our caffeine intake. One cup (of not so highly dosed caffeine) of coffee per day is still alright but one should not take more. Even for himself, he loved coffee but he had to control it because he said that coffee causes the kidney to ‘beat’ in double the speed which does not sync with the heartbeat…which would eventually lead to kidney problems.

Drinking coffee may act as an emotional comfort for Jude and hence it is hard to break this addiction because it has a deeper underlying factor.  For some, the alert boost is what is needed for the spirit or soul, which feels death inside ….just to feel a little more alive. But the perky effect of coffee soon wears off (usually it does not last more than a few hours and for some addicts, not more than an hour) and one’s energy level would just dive downwards. One then try to counter it with even more coffee or stronger doses.

It became a viscious cycle that never ends unless we choose to break the link. The subsequent effects such as lerthargy, headaches and kidney pain are the after effects of this coffee drinking habit.

Menstrual symptoms may be linked to our own inner issues with our feminity. Exercise and movement as well as certain precaution can help relieve menstral or PMS symptoms.

Why meditation did not work

Anyone serious to practice meditation would be advised to practice under a guide of a competent meditation teacher.  Some meditation teacher who have very high levels of meditation experience may not be able to advise anything outside of meditation- and one the other hand, some who are good at talking may not have high meditation levels to ‘know’ what is the issue. A good teacher would know that in order to succeed in meditation, you need to learn to heal yourself- so he/she must be able to appropriately advise you on how to deal with real life scenarios. Only when those obstructions are off, would your meditation practice develop.

You know, we force our heart to do a lot of things that it is not willing to. And after forcing, we have no nice things to say about ourself. The heart continues to work and gets squeezed with the demands we placed upon it-

  • we force ourselves to work hard to succeed in academic, studies
  • we dislike ourselves and wanted to change it to impress other people
  • somehow we always like to tell ourselves that we are never good enough… either because we choose to believe nasty thing that a worthless buff tells us or we always compare ourselves with others
  • when our heart feels sad, we never listened and allow our emotions to express themselves- we just try to shut it down

And after doing all this, we force our hearts to get still and quiet down during meditation. Again, we want to give it instruction to do this and that. Be quiet, get over this and that.

So our heart is very tired, it never smiled. My teacher told me that during the time when I first quit my corporate job and when I complained my mind could not go still during meditation. She told me to stop forcing my heart- just let everything be natural.

The more we forced ourselves when our heart is already tired, the more it may rebel and would not go still. Just like if you were to deny a child always of things, the child would eventually rebel. And if we exert some more force, the battle within would manifest into physical symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, bodily pain and even more depression.

Meditation is good- but it is not limited to the time spent on the meditation cushion. I don’t really understand about what you meant by ‘speaking to self meditation’ but for me, I try to be just mindful and aware of my breath or my body.  When thoughts come about (as they usually would do for most of us), I looked at it impartially just like how we would look at a stranger passing by.  When we do not respond to these old memories and sensations, it does not have its power over us.

Healing your heart and letting go of the past hurt

The key to overcoming this lies uprooting the cause of the problem: the depression, sadness and feelings of hurt that one’s heart cannot let go.  Certain life experience have such profound effect on us that it is not something that we can just ‘snap out’ from. We may need to seek outside help.

2 years in depression is a long time. If it does not get better, it’s best to seek professional help- like a counselor, therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. Alternatively, if there are helplines by non government organisations (NGOs)- we may consider turning to them for help especially if we cannot afford the cost of professional treatments.

Most of us would suffer from depression at one point of our lives and it is good to seek help to try to sort out and come out of depression. With the popularity of social media like Facebook and Twitter, ironically it isolates us and make us feel even more lonely and depressed. The world is lacking a lot of human touch but the mental stress (from work, from own our and others expectations) are making us feel more down and lousy about ourselves.

At the same time, these steps can help for our mood to feel lighter:

  • avoid dark places- if your home and bedroom is dark, try to either have light coloured curtains or install more lighting.
  • go out and get some air- in open parks or places with lots of trees and running children. It can lift our energy levels….and while looking at happy couples, don’t feel sorry about ourselves if we are having a heartbreak. Don’t relate or compare other people’s life with ours. During winter, exercise indoors like in a gym
  • exercise really really helps. When I feel down or yucky, a little aerobic exercise really lift my spirits and mood. The challenge is to drag our stubborn butts to the gym or to outside for some exercise
  • minimize ‘heavy’ food like burgers with fries, food with lots of cheese on them and heavily spiced food. It makes us feel tired, lethargic and lazy to move, thus amplifying the inner emotions and make us feel worse

Our body is not trying to sabotaj us. Often the discomfort and dis-ease we are experiencing could came from our body trying to tell us something is not right. Ancient healing often say that most illness arises from the mind and so it must be healed by healing the mind.

But often we also need to treat the physical symptoms that have manifested. For me, I find the most effective method to reduce kidney pain is through cane exercise (to clear off blocked/stagnant energy flow in the area) and exercise to promote qi movement in my body like wai tan kung.

Finally, don’t think of yourself as a failure. It may be because you have not arrived yet. If you risked love and fail, you are not a failure. It is just that things do not work out- and if you come out of it, you would be stronger and a better person. When life hands you a lemon, usually someone would give you a blender and some ice and sugar to make lemonade. But we may get so stuck with being dealt with lemons that we never noticed those who try to help us.

When I was in elementary school, many of my teachers told me that I was so stupid and dumb that I would never amount to anything.  For most part of my young life, I’ve doubted myself and like you, I’ve also been through my share of heartbreaks. But time heals, my friend. I found better things and got know better people to lift me out of that gloom.

There will always be a tomorrow– you just need to trust yourself that you will get better. Take care.

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