In my head, this spot on the blog was meant for a totally different post. It’s a piece I’ve been kicking around for a little bit and had finally decided to start developing in writing. And if you know me, you know my writing process is the same now as it was in middle school. I get an idea, I sit down and it all comes out. What I didn’t know then but am aware of now is that I write like I birth babies. It happens slowly at first and then steadily picking up speed until it’s there in front of me in finished, albeit messy form. It’s in a few hours stretch, at most, and then it’s over and I’m proud.
That didn’t happen this time. This time, the piece I was trying to write struggled to be born. I guess you could say there were complications. No matter how much I worked at it and tried to create this idea it just wouldn’t come together. Yesterday’s attempts at making this thing were just fruitless. The writings that I did create was patchy and displaced. And it wasn’t my fault or the fault of the three little distractions that I had actually birthed into this world. It was something else, something that is just outside of my control. Something that I don’t think I take seriously enough.
And it’s something I think I’m going to talk about with you now.
I have migraines. And sometimes they get in the way of my normal life.
And while that isn’t that big of a deal to say for most people, for me it is.
The roots for this issue run really deep inside me. I first started showing symptoms of migraines when I was pretty young, probably around 12 years old. (It’s no surprise that they arrived around the time my period did. This would be important later.) I saw a slew of different doctors that diagnosed it as this and that before just deciding that medicine was the right route. I was treated for them on and off for a while with a mix of medication that made me a zombie. Middle school was a little bit of a blur with most adults telling me that they understood, they got headaches too. I just had to deal with it and move on. And that’s what I did. I moved on. I learned to deal.
And I had to deal with a lot more with just “headaches”. My mother, who had a tendency for Munchhausen by proxy behavior, developed her own migraine disorder not long after I started dealing with my own. It soon overtook mine and became the sole focus of our family life and my care was forgotten. Everything became about her. She got a slew of doctors during the height of the opioid craze to supply her with enough scripts to start a small pharmacy. And that’s kind of what happened. Our kitchen became a small version of CVS. Trips to the ER became monthly, if not bi-weekly excursions so she could get her “shots”. Drug-seeking became her hobby. And it ruined a good chunk of my life.
So now, as an adult, I have this baggage tied to this ailment that has been a part of my life since I was young. Because of the weight of it, I’ve felt guilty about being ill. And instead of facing it and addressing it, I did the maladaptive thing and just pretended it wasn’t there. To make up for what I didn’t get as a kid, I tried to be everything I missed out on. I tried to be Supermom and Superwife while being All Around Best Friend for Everyone. And in a completely unhealthy way, that lead to the mishandling of my health.
Other than what was basic care for the pregnancies back in the day and OTC treatment that included a lot of Excedrin, I just didn’t try to take care of my issues. I treated my headaches like they weren’t a big deal because I didn’t want them to be. I firmly believed if I gave them attention, I would give them power. You know, the old “if you give it a name, you give it power” thought. Then there was also my lack of a support circle. When I did bring them up to the few people in my circle it was seen as just something minor. Headaches just aren’t taken seriously. No one else saw them as something that needed to be seen for, so neither did I. And as added bonus, some of the people I was trying to share my struggles with just sucked as people and used anytime I spoke up to tell me how it wasn’t so bad and how their xyz was so much worse. (But that’s another story for another day.) So I like a lot of my other issues, I just bottled it up and kept it inside.
But as you might have read in Better Living Through Chemistry I’ve been working to change that. Since then, I’ve been seeing a doctor and addressing the issue. Not only am I treating the migraines with medication, Im treating my depression too. And for a long time, I thought I was doing well. But recently, after my tubal ligation, the migraines are worse. And now I’m in a similar place to the one I was before.
I know that when the headaches occur, my relationship with words and language take a dip. I have to search for words that I usually roll off my tongue. As for writing? Well, that’s even worse. My spelling normally is the reason spellcheck comes standard on all writing programs. When the pain unleashes behind my left eye it’s even worse. I can deal with the sensitivity to lights. I can deal with the blurry vision. But not being able to get the words and ideas out of my head right now I can not stand. My fingers become paperweights and trying to get them to answer to the signals send down to them just doesn’t work. My eyes can’t process the lights from the monitor no matter how much I try to adjust the setting. Everything I try to type comes out garbled and confused. Things that I hand write travel up and down the page in a mixture of cursive writing and print that looks more like a topographic map than a story.
I have allowed myself to embrace writing again. I have been reunited with one of my favorite things. I don’t want this thing in my head to take it away.
I started charting the occurrences of the migraines and their impact on my day. (And I’m a little surprised at the frequency of my findings. I thought they only appeared around my period and with the fluctuation of my hormones. But nope, they are popping up all throughout the month.). I have an appointment in June with my PCP and I think I’m going to ask to get a referral to a neurologist. I think it’s time to take the next step. Maybe it’s time for me to set down the baggage that I’ve been carrying.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with focusing on my health. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with being aware of my illnesses and taking care of them. Maybe, just maybe, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the focus of things sometimes.
So instead of that awesome piece I had planned, you’re getting this. And I know this isn’t world changing and maybe not something others will care about, but for me it’s something. It’s an acknowledgment of the monster that lives in my head. I’m going to continue to battle this monster.
On the good days, I will win. And on the bad days, I will just have to fight harder. What I won’t do is deny that I have something wrong inside of me. I have an illness. And it’s ok for me to take care of it and the rest of my health when I need to. It’s not something to be ashamed of and it’s not something to brush under the rug. It’s a part of my life just like everything else.
To the rest of you out there who are struggling with health issues, remember you are not alone. There is no use in comparing apples to oranges here. Our struggles are uniquely individual and our battles are on totally different fronts. What is important is we are here for each other and understand that we need to help when we can. It’s imperative that we lend an ear and a hand when we can, and a heart when we are able. Stay strong my friends. I’m rooting for you.
Oh, yeah! Before I go, I’m going to get the intended post to you guys. I’ve got to go back and take a look at it and see if I can make sense of what I have down. I hope some of it salvageable because in my head, its a banger of an idea. Keep reading, Dear Readers.