Because, it was true. But not in a way that any of them could begin to imagine.
Most of my friends had an understanding between them that if I was spitting fire at them, or curled in a corner during free periods, I was probably just having another one of my ‘headaches.’
My teachers were told to give me special treatment somewhat, for my ‘headaches,’ and it wasn’t unusual for them to spot me crying somewhere around the school.
The office ladies knew me by name.
I can’t actually tell you what a migraine feels like, because I’m not sure that I actually know. I’m also not good enough a writer to translate that amount of physical pain into words.
I’m also not sure I’ve ever had a ‘normal’ headache so I couldn’t really tell you the difference.
Instead, I can only tell you what a migraine headache feels like for me, and hope to do the feeling justice.
Listen: Syl Freedman talks about what it’s like to live with chronic pain. Post continues…
First, there’s the cues.
I get sick to my stomach sometimes, but never vomit. The front of my forehead starts to throb, like I’ve been hit with something, hard.
It’s a really distinct feeling. Like nausea in your brain.
Then, a decision to make: To medicate, or not to medicate? You’d think it would be an easy decision, and really, it should be, but it just isn’t. The way the drugs can mess you up is beyond sh*t.
Specialists recommend only taking eight of the ‘big’ painkiller drugs per month, which seems fine, until you take into consideration that migraines are often, and for me particularly, stress-induced. During my final years of schooling then, burdened with work, decisions, friendships and family issues, I was getting a migraine most days.
So I take a drug. I’m sleepy now, but may have just avoided a full-scale migraine. Sometimes those drugs are a miracle. If they’ve worked, hurrah, God probably exists.
But if they haven’t, things take a sharp turn.
My migraine, at this stage, is rearing its ugly head.
Another decision: take another drug or three and potentially deprive myself for the month, or wait it out?