This is a cautionary tale, not one to make you afraid but one to make you aware. It’s highly unfortunate that an experience such as this that happened to Brianna, but it will now be used as an example to showcase to the world: the harmful effects that energy drinks have on our whole body. I urge all readers to take into consideration, more so than ever, what happens to your body and potentially your family when you continue to choose to neglect your body.
Most people who live in western society are expected to, and often times have no choice but to work Monday-Friday 9-5, just to make ends meet in order to support their families. Humans have been finding difficulty meeting the demands that their workplace expects from them. Long commutes to work usually make a person feel tired, depressed, and even anxious, and with mental illness on the rise, it’s truly no surprise that people resort to external substances to keep them alert and on the go.
These substances can come in many forms like coffee or energy drinks, for example. A study by the World Health Organization has warned children and teenagers who drink sugar and caffeine-laden energy drinks are at risk of ‘potentially harmful adverse and developmental effects’ – especially daily.
These are some of the health concerns listed by the National Institute of Health:
- Large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart and blood vessel problems such as heart rhythm disturbances and increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Caffeine also may harm children’s still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems.
- Caffeine use may be associated with palpitations, anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems, elevated blood pressure, and dehydration.
- Guarana, commonly added to energy drinks, contains caffeine. Therefore, the addition of guarana increases the drink’s total caffeine content.
- Young adults who combine caffeinated drinks with alcohol may not be able to tell how intoxicated they are.
- Excessive energy drink consumption may disrupt teens’ sleep patterns and may fuel risk-taking behavior.
- Many energy drinks contain as much as 25–50 g of simple sugars; this may be problematic for people who are diabetic or prediabetic.
Below is the story of Brianna, as told in her own words, of how her and her husband’s lives changed just weeks before giving birth to their first child. They chose to have their daily struggles documented by Sara Endres, in a series of beautiful portraits.
Hello, my name is Brianna, and this is my story…
Love is not the little things. It is not the phone calls, the dates, or even the memories. Love is knowing you would sacrifice things that you didn’t even know you could sacrifice. Love is selfless.
Have you ever felt your life shake? Have you ever been hit with so much emotional turmoil to the point where everything around you becomes fuzzy and shaken? Your lungs feel tight and for a brief second you can’t do anything. You are unable to move, unable to think, unable to even react. I have. I experienced something I never thought I would experience…all while nine months pregnant with my first child.
Being pregnant is supposed to be one of the most amazing journeys you will ever embark on. You’re creating a new life. You are experiencing unconditional love for someone you have not even met.
Austin and I were so excited to meet our little boy. To bring him home. To be a family.
I never imagined as I went to sleep that night that my whole world would be shattered within hours.
I still remember my mother in law waking me up that morning. ‘Austin had an accident,’ she said.
All I knew was that my husband was in the hospital. The worst part? I didn’t know why.
After a two hour drive to the hospital, I learned that my husband, the father of my child, the person I am so deeply in love with, had had a brain hemorrhage. Why? The doctors concluded (after running his tox screen and ruling out drugs) that this horrible event was due to his recent excessive energy drink consumption (a habit he had built when he started working longer hours and commuting).
Surgery was already in motion… and after an agonizing 5 hour wait, we got to see him. But while everyone was focused on the almost unrecognizable face hooked up to all sorts of machines and tubes, all I could see was his parents. I saw the light leave his mother’s eyes as she saw her motionless son laying in that hospital bed. I saw his father break down crying as he held onto his wife.
They didn’t know if the life they created together would even wake up.
Watching this family — my new family, who I have grown to love and be a part of, be so shattered and broken…that is the worst feeling I have ever felt.
The next day was round two of brain surgery. Following this were strokes, seizures, swelling, and more things we weren’t prepared for.
There was a moment, sitting by his hospital bed, just praying he would be okay, that I knew I would never give up on him. No matter how messy our life would become. I was going to be by his side through all of it.
After two weeks of living in a hospital, wondering if he would survive or be taken from us, we made our way back home.
The time had come for me to deliver our baby.
I’m not going to lie to anyone, it was so hard. I had planned on Austin being a part of this huge moment. Being by my side. Holding my hand. Being there to cut the cord. Being there to welcome our son into the world. It didn’t feel right…
But a beautiful miracle happened as I delivered our son. Austin woke up. I went about a week without seeing him. I thought about him every day. I cried as I looked at my child who looked just like his daddy.
When the baby was only a week old, I left him with my in-laws.
I knew I needed to see Austin. I needed to tell him that our baby was here. To tell him how much we needed him.
Weeks went by. We chased him all over the state as more operations and procedures were ordered. I saw him every chance I got.
At a little over 2 months old, our son finally met his dad. A day I wasn’t sure I would ever see. That was the day that my heart gained some of its happiness back.
Some time after that he could finally come home to me. Our life isn’t normal. There are doctors visits and hospital trips — so many that I lose count.
But we are here. Fighting.
I wake up every day to take care of our beautiful little boy and my husband. I prepare the meals, do physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. I help him with personal hygiene. I help him walk. I help him with every aspect of his life.
And in between these tasks I take care of our very busy eight month old. It is hard, and I am tired, but we make the most of it.
He isn’t the same man I fell in love with, but I still fall further everyday. We are fighting to help him recover. To make his life better. One day we will get there.
Until then, I will never give up on him. Because love is selfless, and I love him more than life itself.
If you’re interested in learning more about the harmful effects of sugar addiction we encourage you to check out these articles:
Thank you to Brianna and Austin for being vulnerable with the world.
We offer our love and support to you and your family.
Source: Collective Evolution