I’m Alive!

Classes have become overwhelming as midterms are quickly approaching. While I do not have any “tests”, I do have a couple of assignments I have to do for it. By a couple, I mean a lot. I’m constantly exhausted with the way my schedule is. On Mondays, I have class from 8 am until 6 pm. With the 40 minute commute both ways and getting ready to go to school in the mornings, i end up waking up at 5:50 and not getting home until 7 pm. It’s a long day, especially for me. I make the most of my breaks between classes but it’s still tough. I’m constantly playing catch up on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. On Wednesdays I have to wake up at 5:30 just to make it to my cooperating school at 7:30. It takes me nearly an hour to get there in the mornings with traffic. I burn out so early in the week.

My head is acting up again. I am getting headaches in the week. From not eating enough, not early enough, or not drinking enough water – I guess. One of my text books is ridiculously heavy and I know the days I have to carry it, I always get a headache from the stress on my neck. I need a rolling bag  of some sort.

Despite all that, I’m doing incredibly well in all my classes. The lowest grade I’ve gotten so far is a 94. Good start to the semester. If I can keep the grades up, the end of the semester will be a breeze. Midterms really determine what you get at the end of the year. In three of my classes, we’re allowed to revise at least one of our papers and resubmit them. I know I didn’t do too well on one of my papers and am waiting to get it back to revise it.

Mondays are the worst day for headaches. I’m tired all day. I have two three hour long classes. By the time 3 o’clock rolls around, I’m gone. My head aches and aches. I’m nearly completely out of it. And I have an forty minute drive home ahead of it. It’s the longest 40 minutes of my life. It’s nearly dark by the time I get out. People drive with their high beams on. No one ever shuts them off. I can’t close my eyes, and no matter what direction I look I’m still blinded. It’s rough. LED lights should be outlawed. I can never see after someone with them drives by.

I did run into one of my professors. She’s been having migraines again with the hormone replacement from her hysterectomy.  She says she’s been thinking about me, and my head. I’ve been busy but I’ve been staying on top of everything.

 

Also, I think I’m going to try posting once a week instead of three times a week. So,I’m not worrying about it too much. I have a couple posts in mind but I haven’t had time to sit down and write them out. I’ll post on Wednesdays and once on the weekend.

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Safe Spaces

I close my eyes and a wave of nausea and dizziness washes over me. I force my eyes open again.

“I need to go to the bathroom, I’ll be back,” I mutter to my friend, absently. I stand up and walk out of the room.

It’s become too much again. My teeth are on edge, the pain too much. It’s not a migraine, just a headache that’s been grating at me all day, wearing me down. I’m exhausted. I open the bathroom door and scan the room…no one.

I don’t know what it is about the bathroom but it’s always such a safe place to be. I open a stall and step inside. I sit down on the toilet, pants still pushed up. I slump against the dirty wall and just breathe. My eyes fall shut and just breathe.

“I can’t do this, I can’t do this,” I mutter.

A deep breath.

“I can do this.”

An amount of time passes. I always panic thinking it’s been too long but I could always use more time just to ground myself. I use my shoulder to reluctantly push against the stall wall. My hair sticks to it with static, my sweatshirt too.

I rise, open the door. A deep breath. In the stall, I’m allowed to be weak, I’m allowed to cry. Crossing that threshold, I need to be stronger. I walk to the sink and run the water, letting it warm up. I splash some on my face and wipe it dry. Another deep breath before I head back to class and endure.

Pangs

I’ve been getting pangs in my head. Not a full headache or migraine. Just a subtle throb in the back of my head. Whenever I get too comfortable, too ambitious, something hurts. Its a rope tugging me back down from the clouds to earth. It’s reminding me of my reality. The restless nights, where I wake up in the middle of the night, my head will pang. A groan before my head hits the pillow again and I’m asleep again. My ovaries pang each time a cysts swells with fluid. In the still quiet moments of class, in the library my head will remind me. It’s like a threat, a promise. My head could rage with pain but it doesn’t, just a small throb. I wonder with the medicine if this is all my head can do now? Handicapped by the cymbalta to a simple pang? But the pang grows and grows into a headache, into a migraine.

If there is a pang, that means there was no pain before the pang. A quiet moment of unrealized relief.

Side Effects – Cymbalta

I am notorious for experincing bad side effects with medicines. This is why I had such a hard time finding a medicine for my headaches. The side effects always outweights the benefits. (If any benefits) The first thing my doctor told me about cymbalta is that there are not a lot of side effects with it. It’s withdraw from the medicine that has the nasty side effects. I experienced those when I ran out of medicine. The nasty headaches, the lethargic feeling. My anxiety was ramped up beyond belief. I’ve been on Cymbalta for almost 6 months now. It’s working really well, longer than any other medicine I’ve had. I haven’t noticed any side effects, really. Well…there is one side effect. I wake up in the middle of the night, at least once, every night without fail. I just find myself wide awake in the dark. I don’t know if I’m waking up at other times of the night and just not remembering. But, I wake up enough to remember. It’s usually when I’m rolling over in the middle of the night. I wake up – mid roll, half pushing up with my arms. Before, I use to have trouble falling back asleep – awake for 20 minutes. I use to get up, use the bathroom, get a drink and read for a little bit before drifting off to sleep. Now, I wake up, get comfortable again and fall back asleep within a couple minutes. It’s bizarre, just suddenly waking up. It’s better than the headaches though. And it’s better than any other side effects I’ve had with other medicines. Cymbalta doesn’t make me like a zombie and it doesn’t mess with my mood too much. Thereare days where I feel dampened down but those are short, and not often. Just, every night in the middle of the morning I wake up – wide awake. But I don’t mind.

Conversations

I sit down and run my hands through my hair, taking a moment to squeeze my skull and rub my temples. I close my eyes for a moment, breathing deep.

“I have a headache,” I annouce to my friend. She gives me a small sympathetic smile. I take a sip of water. “This is a ‘I haven’t drank enough water and ate lunch too late’ headache.”

She goes back to her phone. I rub my temples.

Class is excruciatingly slow and I’m slipping away. Instead of being totally present, I’m degressing to my headache panic mode, where I’m loopy and teary eyed. I manage to get through class. I almost rested my head on my professors belly when she stood behind me. It’s something I would do with my mother, rest my head on her belly and she would run her fingers through my hair. I’m instinctly seeking out comfort.

Class is over and I head back out into the bitter cold. I walk as quickly as I can and that’s only a shuffle. My head is pounding.

“What’s taking you so long?” my friend asks, her eyes scanning the parking lot for my car, “hurry up.” she chides.

I stop and look at her, incredulous.

“what?” she asks.

“I have a fucking headache,” I snap back, “I’m going as fast as my pounding head will allow me.”

She looks sheepish, apologetic.

“Are you all right to drive?” she asks.

“Yeah,” I bite out.

It must be nice, being able to forget about pain.

Weekend Update – Ice Day

This weekend update is late again but better late than never like last weekend when I totally just forgot all about it while under a pile of homework. Classes were cancelled today due to the rain and subfreezing temperatures. The roads are covered in ice. Thursday night, I did something I didn’t think I would be able to do with my headaches. I went to a college party. Well…I say college party, it was a small birthday party. There was four of us but there was alcohol. (Don’t worry, I’m 21). I took a sip of a mixed drink and didn’t like it. I was good with my water and pet my friends cat Zera the entire time. Typical Emily. But it was still amazing to be out that late and no worry about my head. Before, I was in bed by 9 with an awful headache. Hell, I wouldn’t even hang around on campus after class, instead going back home to do homework and just have some me time before the headache kicked in, that was if I was having a good day. I would usually just go back to my room with an awful headache. Not that I’m much for the party scene, I still went out at night and did something, like every other normal person my age. It was something I didn’t think I could do. I stopped spending nights at friends houses in the middle of high school because of my head. I would always wake up feeling like shit and could never do the day after the sleep over thing. I couldn’t even do the night thing, always passing out from pain early.

I’m still stressed out though. My course load is unbalanced. I have two three hour long classes on Monday. I have 7 hours of class on Mondays. It’s rough. Both three hours only meet once a week. I have another three hour on Wednesday, but that’s not too bad. My week slows down rapidly, from 7 hours, 4 hours (Wednesday) to 1 hour on Friday. With the weather being sporadic and just shitty, I’ve been spending the night in my friend’s apartment lately. Twice last week and if classes would have been held today, I would have been crashing at hers again tonight. The weather is so crappy lately. I’m ready for spring. I’m actually kind of excited, with my reduced headaches, I’ll actually be able to get out and do something. I’m still have headaches frequently, a couple times a week but I can pinpoint the cause – dehydration, not enough sleep, ate lunch too late. But it’s not the same as it was. I’m hoping with spring, my winter depression is going to break and I’ll finally be able to experience life how it’s suppose to be. I don’t know who I’ll become but I’m excited to meet her.

Anxious

Lately I’ve been very anxious about my migraines and my future. The constant cycle of “I’m doing all right now but what about tomorrow?” running through my head. The ache when I’m in the classroom terrifies me. When I’m a student and when I’m a student teacher. The student teacher ache scares me more because I can’t immediately take care of myself, those kids need my full attention. I’m worried what it would look like if I tried to sneak away to take some tylenol. I’m worried that the lights will be too bright, or the kids too loud. I’m scared that I’m going to stumble over my words, seem like an idiot.

I’m worried my friends will get sick of it, of them, of me. It’s happened before, where they stopped believing me and turned me into a liar in their eyes. I’m worried I’m going to be alone again with the headaches and migraines.

I’m worried I’m not going to be able to process how headaches fit into my life, into my identity. I’m managing them but they’re pushing, hard.  They’re pushing and pulling and I’m going to give sooner or later. And I worry about that moment.