Tag Archives: Migraine

The View from Purgatory

A very talented and brilliant friend of mine recently pointed out to me that “writing is always the answer.” And so, as I sit here in the bedroom where I slept as a child, under the roof owned by my parents, feeling a creeping of déjà vu and the beginnings of displeasure at my new (old) living situation, all I can think to do is write.

But the problem seems to be, I have nothing of great use to say.

A sorry, sorry excuse for a blogger, I am.

Look, here’s the thing: for the past year and a half, as I struggled with living in “limbo”–having no career, no financial safety net, no health care, and no idea how the fuck to change any of that–I told myself repeatedly, “Well, at least you don’t live with your parents. But, lo and behold, here I am, living with my parents. If I was in limbo before, what is this now? Purgatory? (And no, those two things are NOT the same place. Ask the Pope.)

You know, it may have only been a few days, but I can say so far it’s not all bad, mooching off the people who spawned me: I get to hang out with my brother more, which is awesome because he is the coolest person I know; I’m saving loads of money on food and cable (that I barely ever watched anyway); I don’t have to rush home after work to do my “womanly duties” anymore (cooking, cleaning, being pretty, etc.) so I have more time for yoga and running and anything else I damn well please; and Wednesday the Cat is my new buddy. But it’s just the dignity of the thing. I was out! I was free! I would come home drunk without judgement! And now, well, I’m living like I did back in high school, and I fucking hated high school.

So even though there isn’t anything inherently wrong with living here, for as short a time as it may turn out to be, it makes me squirm. There is just a certain amount of anxiety that comes with me simply being in this house. Maybe it’s some of the less than stellar memories, maybe it’s because it is a cluttered mess around these parts, maybe it’s just because I’m not totally in charge anymore, but I instantly feel a little more stress being here. I had a migraine today, and while the weather could definitely be the culprit, I can’t help but wonder if it was parental-unit-induced. I’ve had fewer and fewer headaches since leaving home for college, and now I’m thinking maybe it was simply because I wasn’t freaking here.

But I need to cut myself a little slack. I couldn’t just keep living with my ex–even if it wouldn’t have been the worst thing, it certainly would not have been sane or healthy to do so. And I simply can’t afford to jump right into an apartment lease. Not only monetarily speaking, but also, logically speaking. I’m looking to move out of state. I’m applying for “real jobs” (and allowing myself to have faith that I will land one of them). I’m using this sudden life-change as a jumping off point for even greater and more positive changes. I’m starting to believe that this sudden singleness is a cue for me to get myself out of limbo and into the next phase of my life. If I signed a lease in Southeastern Michigan, I would be condemning myself to at least another year of floating aimlessly, wishing for something more but being held back from achieving it. If I keep 50% of my boxes packed and only think of my stay here as a brief stop on my travels to somewhere not here, then it’s not so bad. I’ll get a little rest, let someone else cook for me for a change, and take a month or two to figure out what the fuck to do next.

Now, I’m going on a brief trip to Chicago in less than two weeks, and I couldn’t possibly be more stoked. It’s my birthday present to myself: two nights in a hotel with a king-sized bed all to myself a la Home Alone 2; two days worth of eating out at restaurants I can’t afford; one concert (actually, many concerts, seeing as it’s an all day festival headlined by none other than my favorite trio…you guessed it, 30 Seconds To Mars. I’m starting to feel like Penny Lane from the movie Almost Famous, except I’m not following the fictional band Stillwater around the country, I’m getting my fill of Jared, Shannon and Tomo); 48 hours of just me, myself, and I spending some quality time together. I’m hoping that over that short span of time I have some sort of epiphany. Maybe I’ll realize that Chicago is where I’m meant to end up and I’ll just up and move there. Maybe I’ll love my solitude so much that I’ll decide to live out of my car. Maybe I’ll realize that I need to go get my PhD in Entomology. WHO KNOWS? I’m just letting myself believe that by treating myself to a little adventure that it will give me some idea of what my next great adventure should be.

Or maybe it will just be a really fun trip and I’ll come back and hang with my parents for another 3 months.

But I’m really hoping it’s the former.

So, yeah, I’m about to go to sleep in a room with walls stenciled with butterflies and daisies (I kid you not). It’s a sort of surreal feeling, but, hey, what’s life without a little surrealism?

Dali is so proud of me right now, I can tell.


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A Brief Paleo Query

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I have suffered from migraines since I was four years old. They are a family trait–my father had them growing up and then grew out of them, his sisters still get them–and I spent most of my life assuming these debilitating headaches were just another thing about life that aren’t fair.

But after years of having sometimes 5 migraines a week and my doctors being absolutely useless, my mom and I started tracking my headaches and figuring out my triggers. Over the years I’ve compiled a list of not all, but most of the things that cause my headaches:

  • Foods with Nitrates/Nitrites: hot dogs, sausage, etc.
  • Aged cheese: Parmesan, quality cheddar, etc.
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive hunger (normally going for 6 hours or more without eating will knock me on my ass)
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Too Much Sleep
  • Vinegar (I still use it, but in small doses, and I don’t eat entire jars of pickles anymore)
  • Crying (yes, crying)
  • Splenda, aspartame, and other sugar substitutes
  • MSG

I have pretty much eliminated all of these triggers, but there’s one that no matter what I do, for the life of me, I can’t control it, and believe me, I’ve tried–rain dances, prayer, Wicca: The Weather.

I call myself the Human Barometer. Especially between the months of May and September, I can wake up in the morning, and depending on the pressure in my face I can tell you with 90% certainty if it is going to rain or storm that day. Uh-huh, I can tell the difference between storm pressure and rain pressure. I’m that good (or bad, depending on how you look at it). For some reason, my body’s response to any threat is a migraine. If I have a cold or even a nasty infection in a cut, I will get a migraine. The pressure on my sinuses is the same. I can deal with a nagging sinus headache, but when it blooms into a migraine and suddenly light is my worst enemy and my stomach is tossing and turning, I am out for the count.

I’ve gotten pretty good at noticing the signs of a looming migraine, and normally drinking some caffeinated tea or taking an Excedrin will stave it off. But every once in a while one creeps up on me and smacks me across the face.

That happened last night.

By the time I realized what was happening, I was grabbing my head moaning, “Stop hurting, stop hurting…” and I was dry heaving. The only way I managed to fall asleep last night was by pressing a pillow into my eye sockets to take off some of the pressure.

Sleep used to be the trusty cure for my headaches, but these weather induced ones like to hang on, sometimes for days. So this morning I woke up feeling like my head weighed 40 pounds, and the headache spread around my skull the moment I sat up. I’ve taken some pain killers, but what I really need to do is eat, and I am so nauseated I can’t bear the thought of eating anything, let alone something paleo-approved.

I need to be able to take care of children here (I am at work as I type; one baby is sleeping, the other is watching Sesame Street on the couch next to me) so I drank a glass of milk, and I already feel less sick and the painkillers are finally working a bit. But I really need some solid food so, what can I eat when I am nauseous that is on track with paleo?

When I’m feeling ill, my go-to foods have traditionally be ramen noodles, toast, and crackers or tortilla chips. I could just eat them on these rare occasions, I know it won’t immediately condemn me to a life of unwellness and obesity. But I’d like to have other options. Why put toxins in my body when I’m already feeling ill? There must be  something comforting and tummy-friendly that paleo eaters can be happy about. Suggestions?

Someone? Anyone? HELP!!


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