Many years ago, back when migraines and I were barely acquaintances, I read the 1979 essay In Bed by Joan Didion. This essay scared me to death due to the numbers in the first line: "Three, four, sometimes five times a month, I spend the day in bed with a migraine headache, insensible to the world around me."
Holy Moly, I thought. I'm doomed.
The good news for me, is that migraine and I never became as well acquainted as Joan and migraine did. Trust me, I'm not jealous of their relationship. Migraine came enough--once, twice every other month or so--and it became a battle. I had to develop a strategy on how to deal.
If I was nauseated, it was hard to take the pills needed--if I didn't take the pills, it was a disaster, a lost day, a day of on the couch, clutching head and stomach.
I often thought of piercing my entire head with something large, medieval, and steel, and Didion's words came back to me again: "I fought migraine then, ignored the warnings it sent, went to school and later to work in spite of it, sat through lectures in Middle English and presentations to advertisers with involuntary tears running down the right side of my face, threw up in washrooms, stumbled home by instinct, emptied ice trays onto my bed and tried to freeze the pain in my right temple, wished, only for a neurosurgeon who would do a lobotomy on house call, and cursed my imagination."
But as the years past and moved through my childbearing years into something less hormonal, things seemed to quiet. Migraine and I only had a passing acquaintance, something tenuous and fragile. We'd wave to each other once in awhile, and I thought that I'd seen the last of it, finally, after all those years.
It seemed I was wrong. Sensing the last hurrah of our relationship, the last time that we could be together in my final hormonal surge, migraine moved in next door. What a shitty neighbor. I hate migraine and its barking dogs, it's raggedy fence, its music all night long.
Migraine is still so strong, too, pushing me down and into bed, forcing me to turn off, be still, stay silent. Migraine changes the course of time, hours going by fast and in a fog while the headache passes through like a storm.
And then, I wake up, and it's gone.
Again and still, I harken back to Didion, remember what she says of what I call the migraine hangover. There is some clarity in the brain when the headache falls off the cliff of the mind, gone for now, arrested. There is some kind of peace and wholeness and appreciation of what is still there once it leaves: "There is a pleasant convalescent euphoria. I open the windows and feel the air, eat gratefully, sleep well. I notice the particular nature of a flower in a glass on the stair landing. I count my blessings."
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
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