Twitching Eyelid: American Expat in Germany Suffers Two Months of Ocular Mortification

eye scared close up Twitching-Eyelid-Spasm-Eye-Funny-Pictures
“For the love of all that is good and holy, please HOLD STILL.”

For over two months, my upper right eyelid twitched all day, every day, and made me look like a man on the verge of an explosive emotional breakdown. Now, I’m not talking about the harmless little ticks and occasional spasms of the eyelid we all experience from time to time — the ones no one else can really see — I’m talking about violent contractions of the muscles above my eye, obvious enough to cause my wife to laugh at me and my German language classmates to recoil from my very presence in fear and confusion.

According to every masochistic Google health search I performed, the main causes of twitching eyelids are:

  1. Stress
  2. Eye Strain
  3. Tiredness
  4. Caffeine
  5. Alcohol
  6. Allergies
  7. Dry Eyes
  8. Debris Beneath the Eyelid
  9. Nutritional Imbalances

So that pretty much covers everything! I mean, as a freelance graphic designer, I am always stressed about where my next paycheck is coming from, and I spend all day straining my eyes in front of my computer monitor. I get up early and hit the gym every day, so I’m often very tired. I drink a fat mug of instant coffee every morning — at least two scoops — so my heart runs double-time. I drink heroic amounts of German beer on the weekends because German beer is awesome. I have powerful pollen allergies, which cause dry, itchy eyes and no-doubt pack all kinds of filthy shit beneath my eyelids. And as for nutritional imbalances? Well, I do eat a lot of disgusting German meat products.

zungenwurst-tongue-sausage-german-food-deli
“Taste the horror.”

When my wife and I visited the United States for Spring Break, we went to a huge party filled with doctors and medical professionals of all kinds. (It was an older crowd, but we still partied our asses off.) Anyway, I ran into my optometrist — a man I’d known my entire life — and showed him my freakish eye problem. Here’s how our conversation went, word for word:

ME: *Beer in hand* “See?! Did you see that?!”

DOCTOR: “Yes. That’s called ‘myokymia.’ It’s harmless.”

ME: “But it’s been going on for months now. Oh God, it’s a brain tumor, isn’t it.

DOCTOR: *Laughing* “No, no — it’s very common. Persistent twitching like that can last hours, days, months… sometimes even years.”

ME: “Years?! Holy Christ. But you’re absolutely sure it’s not a brain tumor, right?”

DOCTOR: “Right. It’s not a tumor.”

ME: *Eyeing him suspiciously and taking another swig of beer* “You’re sure?”

DOCTOR: “Yes. I’m sure”

headache funny kid with sword through head
“Oh good. I feel much better now.” — Image courtesy of Wapster (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wapster/) – Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright

A week later, we returned to our home in Hannover, Germany, and my twitching eyelid continued to embarrass me like a dog licking his butt hole at a cocktail party. At a loss for any real solutions or cures, I began keeping track of my problem and its progress. Here are the complete, unabridged entries from my journal:

  • March 6th: Upper right eyelid began twitching very hard, off and on, throughout the day. Especially from mid-morning through early evening.
  • March 20th: Still twitching.
  • April 15th: Still twitching.
  • April 27th: Still twitching, but the twitches are weaker. I have been using allergy eye drops every day the last few weeks. Could be the answer!
  • May 5th: Nope. Eyelid is still twitching hard as fuck.
  • May 6th: Twitching has been going on for exactly 2 months now.
  • May 14th: Still twitching. Out of desperation, I have stopped drinking instant coffee and switched to black tea.
  • May 21st: Oh holy Christ on rice, my eyelid hasn’t twitched at all for a week!
  • May 31st: Apparently cutting out the absurdly strong instant coffee was the answer. I am a complete and total moron.
Folgers-Instant-Coffee-Jars-Cans
“Wait, is this too much?” — Image Credit: Mike Mozart (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright

Wow. So just cutting back on caffeine was the answer? Clearly I am the smartest man alive. So, overall, I have to rate my experience with eyelid twitching — and my own complete disregard for its most obvious solution — with 1 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel-Diamonds-1-of-5

If you liked this post, there’s a solid chance you’ll dig this one too: My German Wife Attempts to Reheat A Soft Boiled Egg in the Microwave

 


 

Advertisements

16 thoughts

  1. LMAO. When I was reading at the beginning I thought to myself “I’ve found your problem. You’re drinking INSTANT coffee!!!” Then I get to the end and you beat me to the punchline.

    Like

  2. I really don’t mean to be judgmental (I used to drink the International Brand instant coffee “drinks”), but instant coffee is disgusting…that being said…perhaps if you drank descent “decaf”, you have your coffee but no “twitch”…Good luck with your endeavor… ,<)

    Like

  3. Tea is better anyway – lasts longer even if it kicks in later – and there is a lovely mixture just right for Hannover water – it is sold in the Luisenpassage at Tee-Gschwendner – the good Hannoverian pound. Try that one, not so weak that a coffee addict won’t taste anything, not so strong that it is just a bitter wash water of the most unwashed feet ever. It tastes slightly caramelic and if you use a glass mug you will see a lovely reddish-brown colour.

    Like

  4. Diet Pepsi has caffeine. Maybe not enough to turn my eyelids into paint-mixing machines, though? But I do drink a lot of it.

    That said, I’ll never give up my beloved Diet Pepsi! NEVERRRRRRRRR

    Like

  5. This reminds me of when I went vegan two years ago, I started having an eye twitch, always on the bottom of my left eye. I also Googled it and found it might be because of a nutritional deficiency, so I started taking liquid B12 and it went away. Fast forward to this year, I’m no longer vegan, I’ve moved to Germany, and I’m staying with my family, meaning that most of my meals are comprised primarily of ridiculously large quantities of meat and extremely small quantities of vegetables. The same eye started the twitch again, and it was twitching for quite a few weeks. It was at the point where I was filming it twitching to send to friends. If I pulled the skin around my eye a little bit I could induce the twitching. It was happening every couple of minutes for weeks, and then one day I went on a jog for the first time in forever and it didn’t happen at all while I was jogging, or for the day after that…then it started again, so I also stopped eating less meat and more vegetables. Basically I needed to eat less meat and exercise more and it would go away.

    Like

  6. man, how scary does shit have to be for Germans, the ultimate people of equilibrium, to recoil in horror? Your eye must have been doing a fucking jig.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ha ha ha! I laugh not in sympathy but empathy I know the problem well. Been there done that, gave up the caffeine for two days…

    Realized I needed to drink more water throughout the day to dilute the effects of several cuppa joe a day.

    Aldi sells a capsule machine called expressi (here is a review by the Bild http://goo.gl/2f7ks9 if you can’t trust the Bild who can you trust?) The capsules are made by the same company that makes the phenomenally more expensive Starbucks capsules.

    It’s hot coffee in 15 seconds and guaranteed to tastes better than the sludge you’ve been used to.

    Tea? The only acceptable tea on earth is PG Tips Pyramid Bags. Just go to an Asia or Turkische Laden. Those places are mystical wonderlands of things you can’t find in a regular grocery store.

    Here’s a link to what they look like on German Amazon http://goo.gl/E8vYW1 , but you should be able to get them in an multiculti shop for half that.

    Like

  8. Many HSPs (but not all) are often deficient in zinc and vitamin B6 because of a (mostly hidden) inherited metabolic disorder: Pyroluria (also known as pyrrole disorder, kryptopyrrole, kryptopyrroluria, pyrroluria, mauve factor or hemepyrrole). This disorder/deficiency often causes many other nutritional deficiencies, for example a magnesium deficiency.
    Magnesium, a powerful relaxation mineral, is not only an antidote to stress – without magnesium, muscles do not relax properly and cramps occur. An early result: eyelid twitching. 700 to 900 mg magnesium/d did the trick for me (after a couple of weeks).

    Like

  9. I’m glad you discovered the source of the twitching! My eye twitches every so often and I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been to have that happen all the time. But even regardless of the eye twitching you should ditch the instant coffee. Instant powdered coffee is made from the lowest quality coffee beans ever produced and is processed to subdue the horrible taste to the point where it’s drinkable (see here: http://www.daserste.de/information/ratgeber-service/vorsicht-verbraucherfalle/sendung/vorsicht-verbraucherfalle-folge-1-kaffee-altkleider100.html). I pretty much only drink high-quality coffee from highly rated cafes (yes, I’m a snob that way) and I can’t recommend it enough. My morning beverage of choice is black tea, my current favorite being the fair trade Earl Grey from Aldi.

    Danielle | http://solongusa.blogspot.com

    Like

What do you think? We welcome your feedback!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s