Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Triggers are the most frustrating part of this whole experience. They're worse than the pain, the neurological symptoms and the loss of IQ points. They suggest that I could, if I really wanted to, control my pain. If I avoid bananas and chocolate and MSG, I'll be fine. Or maybe it's gluten and citrus. I'm painfully aware of a few triggers that are somewhat unavoidable; sound, light, scent and activity. The only way I can control these is by not leaving my house. It works, but it gets lonely.

If I go out to dinner with a friend and someone sits behind me wearing cologne, I'm done for the night within an hour. If the television is competing with music from the next room, I am being tortured, my ears ringing as if the space shuttle had just launched, headache immediate. I get a little warning before an activity induced headache sets in. When I perform an offensive action, whether it be laughing too loud or jumping up and down, I get a sudden burst of pain in my head that subsides within seconds, then slowly comes back on over the course of an hour or so. The worst, however, is going to my doctor's office and twitching in pain under the fluorescent lights. You'd think a neurologist would know better.

To cope with these known triggers I bring earplugs with me everywhere and use them as often as possible, and I wear sunglasses as much as I can without feeling like a freak. I try to control my responses, not cackling like a mad person or dancing wildly. It makes me sad to dampen down my personality. Less pain, though, I would do anything for less pain.

On the bright side of the bleak situation, I am learning to control and anticipate my environment more. I am becoming quieter and more reflective, more introspective and appreciative of subtle moments. I'm not suppressing my enthusiasm for life, just how much I show it. One day, I'll be able to let it out again, with my old child-like abandon.