Monday, May 25, 2009

Putting the Hurt Into Words

I've been asked what it feels like to have a migraine and what makes my headache problems so debilitating. Since I am usually trying to answer these questions with a headache, and usually end up shrugging and grunting in confusion when the words get jumbled, I am going to try to articulate the answers now, and maybe I'll send out a newsletter at some point. Heh.

The pain is often the least of my symptoms. Sure, my head hurts. But, I've sucked it up before. I remember thinking I had a brain tumor in high school because I had headaches for weeks at a time. But I could still work, school, drive, talk, laugh, drink, smoke and dance with a headache. I'd take some tylenol, or just ignore it and go about my life. I've had a million headaches. It's the disorientation, confusion, dizziness, and irritability that have caused the most problems, I think. If it was just pain, well, I can handle pain.

It's the disorientation, mostly, that is disabling me. It isn't always directly linked with pain, either. I'll have a completely dealable amount of head pain some days, but I'll be slurring my words and dizzy. Or noise and light will be totally intolerable and I can't open my eyes or hold a conversation. Or I just can't concentrate on anything other than what crap Lucy is spewing at Simon on 7th Heaven. That's my biggest symptom lately. Watching horrible tv.

My emotions are out of control, too. If too many triggers are pushed at once, I tend to lose it. For example, I go to a mall with my friend. We talk and laugh and walk. There are fluorescent lights above us. We pass a candle store that you can smell for 200 feet in every direction. Then we pass the "androgynous emo boutique" that pumps out rhythmic beats with a bass so loud my stomach is vibrating with every pulse. And then the kiosks, whose salespeople have become like carnies, shoving items in your face and calling to all passerbys. I yell at a kiosk carny when she comes at me with a lavender and eucalyptus scented neck pillow. Her face is hurt, and I feel bad, but I am DONE.

My extremely patient boyfriend can only listen to the tv at a normal level if I have earplugs in. If they are out, the sound is practically muted and I get angry at every commercial that dares breach the quiet. It's like an assault, I'm being violated by Billy Mays because he has to scream at me about whatever new product he is hawking every commercial break. I am sure the product works and Billy Mays is a great guy but every time I hear his intro, I want to kill someone.

So, it's not so much a headache that I have, but a stroke/psychosis/headache combo.