02 February 2010

Un dolor de cabeza

I've had some rather bothersome health issues the last semester or so. While some of these issues are not so bloggable, my struggles with migraines are very personal, and even manage to elicit some of my own intellectual curiosity. Here are some random notes.

  1. My triggers for migraines are stress/tension (neck and shoulders), dehydration, hunger, and mostly, hormones. I do not have auras, but I do get nauseous, with light and sound sensitivity. Sometimes I wish I could just get a dumb, stupid tension headache, because at least then I'm functional. I can't drive when I have a bad migraine. I can't think. I'm pretty much worthless except as a sofa cover.
  2. I have one especially shitty headache trigger: I get rebound headaches from taking pain medication too often. These headaches can occur from taking OTC medication just three times a week. I'm pretty sure that's irony. Or is it tragic?
  3. I get headaches often enough that I really hate to tell people that's what's wrong with me if I'm not feeling well. I feel crappy often enough that I adopt a "suck it up" policy where I work through the pain as best I can, but it usually means I'm not my normal, chipper self. This policy doesn't seem to help, though, as I still have acquaintances remark, on occasion, that I "sure am sick a lot."
  4. In order to alleviate the guilt and resentment I feel because of comments like those above, I'm trying to adapt my mindset to make myself an advocate for my own well-being. I try and heed advice provided by friends who are experiencing even more problematic, permanent conditions. My current favorite framework for thinking about health issues is from this website, particularly the Spoon Theory. The basic premise is that sometimes folks do a decent job hiding the fact that they hurt a lot. However, the ability to shield friends, family, and co-workers from turmoil involving chronic pain or an illness involves constant consideration of decisions that may affect current and future well-being. These decisions may not always make a lot of sense to other people. In my case, I don't drink alcohol much at all, and I don't go out socializing as much as I have in the past. I'm starting to understand when I might be incapacitated, so I try to plan around those events by working extra at other times. But try explaining that to other people: "Sorry, I can't go out tonight. I have to do some computer work because in a few days I'll be praying for a quick death."
  5. My patience and tolerance for other people's behavior has grown enormously lately as a result of my own struggles. I am becoming all too aware of my shortcomings, including my ability to miss deadlines, fail to fulfill obligations, and losing my temper. While I continue to try and improve myself in these areas, I also find myself wondering at the cause behind other people's behavior. So instead of automatically getting angry when someone is short tempered, I've started to shrug it off and move on. Besides, I don't have the energy to hold grudges much anymore.
This entry's been on my mind for awhile. I've composed it, bit by bit, in my mind while I lay on the sofa trying to ease the pressure in my head.

Coming up next: issues related to academia that also give me a headache! (mwa ha ha)

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