Historically I've been a stress collector. I never really dealt with my stress; I only shoved it away and tried to avoid dealing with it. But that approach eventually fails, letting all the collected stress collapse upon me. When I finally went to the ER to get a reflux checked out, Dee's mom was visiting and had been driving both of us crazy. I've refluxed when Dee & I were doing a weekend overnight in N.C. for a stitching event. In other words, quite a few of my refluxes are associated with stressful times. Times where there were more layoffs at my old job, et al.
Then I moved to California - again, semi-stressful, and as I was getting comfortable with friends out here, one of my friends - Adam - had to stay off of caffeine for a while to let his stomach recover. So I joined him on a caffeine sabbatical, and realized afterward that I wasn't having reflux. But during this time, I was spending more time with friends, having more fun, and generally not collecting stress, because I dealt with it by talking with friends about work stupidity, and then had some fun with friends to remind myself what is important.
So which is it: caffeine, stress, or both?
Being a nice, scientific mind, I wanted to attribute it to caffeine. It makes a very nice cause-effect relationship that I can easily control by not consuming caffeine. But it's probably a bit too simplistic. Caffeine may (or may not) have a role in causing my refluxes, but it's doubtful that it's the only reason - especially when the severity of the reflux seems (in my current retrospective thinking) to match the severity of the stress/emotions I'm experiencing at the time.
Perhaps caffeine isn't the end-all cause. Could my reflux have gone away because I learned to get rid of stress -- by hanging out with friends? And do I simply need to keep focusing on eliminating stress from my life, where possible? (But then... of course I should seek to eliminate stress from my life!)