I wake up, on any given morning, to soft sounds or loud alarms. For a moment, one brief moment as sleep leaves me, I am free of pain. That minute between sleep and wakefulness is a peaceful, blissful, break. Then in a slow but steady wash it begins.
My nape begins to pulse, a slow throbbing that spreads up the back of the left side of my head into my temples. A sharp stabbing hits my right temple, jarring any remaining sleepiness away and the villain I live with comes to life. It roars into my ears, seeps into my skull, pounding more loudly with each moment. Before too long I have no choice but to get up, sleep will not come back, lying here will do nothing but hurt.
I get up. Movement makes me dizzy as the pain moves around, front to back, side to side. I stumble downstairs, brush my teeth, use the bathroom. The light is too bright, the sounds are too much. I breathe. Moving my head from side to side trying to pop my neck, stretch the muscles. Each step brings stronger pulses of discomfort.
Distraction time. Something, anything to give me a chance to push the villain behind something else in my mind. A book, a blog post, a t.v. show. Anything.
Some days it simply will not be ignored. On those days I struggle not to snap at my children when they hug and touch me. Every time they jar me my head pounds, every happy laugh is a sharp stab. I hate the kind of mother this villain tries to make me into. I breathe.
I know they can see it in my face if I am not careful, so I do my best to mask the discomfort they cause. They deserve a mother who loves their touch, they deserve praise and kind responses when they notice I have a headache and lovingly pat my head, unaware that the very gesture of love they give makes it hurt more.
I want to be the mother who wakes up and make pancakes, laughing and smiling in my froggy apron, joking around and bringing them smiles. Instead I head for the coffee, and sometimes, an illicit cigarette. The combination brings some measure of comfort, reducing the villain to a manageable background roar. Other times I try the Cephaly, it’s electric medicine slowly spreading the sensation of thousands of ants across my head as I sit and pray this time it will work and bring relief.
I don’t take pain killers. While they bring me an hour, maybe two of rest, the resulting kickback headache will be so much worse than the one they were meant to fix. I drink water. I breathe.
I eat something, as my stomach protests the coffee.
I remind myself, as my forehead demands attention, that the day will have work or play, family or friends, rest or peace, and that I can focus on those things, use my mind and strength of will to drive the villain into the background where it can just sit and be quieter. Other days I despair, wishing I had a different morning experience. Wishing a cure could be found. Wishing I could keep that one moment of waking pain free and stretch it out to last the day.
2 thoughts on “The villain in my head…”
*nonhugs* I’m sorry you suffer so greatly. Growing up with a Mom who’s sick is very hard, I know. I’m personally bothered that you’re trying to mask it from them, but that’s my issue. You know your kids and obviously love them very much. That’s what counts at the end of the day: the love. Will pray for you.
Thank you! Update your blog more, I keep checking in on it.