Why I Haven’t Tried to Have a Good Week

(Disclaimer: There are references to health issues like vomiting, so please don’t read if that’s likely to be triggering!)

I was standing in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon when it happened. I was video chatting with my boyfriend and his son, phone propped up on the counter, while I made devilled eggs. After I’d scooped the hardboiled yolks into a bowl, I turned to the fridge to get the mayo, and…it was happening.

No, please, no! The burning, the dizziness, the strange hallucinatory sensation, the numbness and tingling down my right arm, the feeling of being gripped by something horrendous. I held onto the counter, gently lowered myself to my knees, leant down until my face was on the cold floor, and blacked out. Two minutes later, I came round and gradually worked out where I was. My fist was clenched; my nail had broken the skin on my palm. I stood up carefully and moved to the sofa, lying there until the symptoms wore off. What day was it? What month was it? It took slightly longer than usual for me to remember.

I was gutted. I’ve been free of partial seizures for sixteen months now and had hoped they were a thing of the past. To put it flippantly, this was the perfect climax for the past few weeks…It’s been one thing after another. I spent an unexpected week in Cornwall, where I was ‘on call’, being with my great-uncle at the end of his life. The week after, I was hit by fatigue and emotional exhaustion, and then the following week I had stomach issues (probably anxiety related). Straight after those had eased up, I had a bad migraine, vomited several times, and must have burst a blood vessel, because…you get the picture. The next day, my body decided to attack me for being a woman!

So, yes, the seizure came at a bad time. It’s been a struggle recently; there’s no escaping that. I’m not unaware of the many blessings. It’s not been all bad. I’ve had moments where I’ve felt fine and have been able to post cheerful things on Facebook, but this string of events knocked me back. It has affected my confidence and self-esteem as well as my body and I’ve had bouts of hysterical crying. I’m still trying to find ways to cope, both mentally and physically – the two are intrinsically linked.

Initially I’d started each week with determination to make it a ‘good one’, because I am, basically, an optimist. It didn’t work. Trying to force a positive attitude can’t always help the situation. Sometimes it creates extra pressure that makes the problem worse, causing friction in your mind and increasing the feelings of failure when you find you can’t see past it.

I’m realising that it’s sometimes better to try to employ neutrality: ‘absence of decided views, expression, or strong feeling’. It’s a meditative thing, to observe without judgement. There is also the sense of ‘handing over’ the things that are out of our control – an important element of prayer.

Life is hard enough. It’s okay not to be okay. We shouldn’t feel bad for feeling bad.

Migraines Make Me a Non-Person

30.3.18 Friday

I have a migraine. I dragged myself out of bed and walked around to my Grandad’s, to check he’d taken his tablets. Spring has chosen today to…spring. It’s my favourite weather: bright, the odd cloud, and just a hint of chill in the breeze. What a waste.

When I left my Grandad’s, I decided to fight the pain. I trudged up the road for a few minutes, hiding behind sunglasses, trapped in my own world. Keep your balance, Hannah. As cars passed by, I paid them no attention. I didn’t exist.

I began to think of the times I’ve Continue reading

Migraines Make Me a Better Person

When discussing migraines, I can easily recognise a fellow sufferer, or a person who is close to one. They give a particularly strong reaction of empathy, because they know exactly what it means; how painful, how incapacitating, and how life-spoiling. Migraines are not ‘just a headache’.

I had a bad migraine yesterday and, although I managed to struggle through conducting my bands in the evening, most of the day was a write-off. I was sad not to be able to go to Crossfit, work on my assignment, or read a friend’s story, as I had planned. Continue reading

January Anxiety

January is tough. I always tell myself that the start of the year will be good and it never quite happens.

I love Christmas. I love staying at home with my family and spending time off together. Turning the corner into January I can see the entire year stretching out in front, and that intimidates me. I plan some of the things I’m going to do, I get my work things organised, and brace myself for getting back to normal. Continue reading

Migraines and Me

I’ve suffered from migraines for years. Many people don’t know what they’re like – unless you get them it’s difficult to imagine. I’m not a medical expert or a scientist; this is just my personal experience of migraines, sparing none of the gruesome details (sorry).

Migraines are not the same as headaches, and neither are they mild. For ‘normal’ headaches the ‘glass of water and couple of paracetamol’ remedy might work, but it is unlikely to work with migraines. The symptoms of migraine are different for different people – I get a headache and nausea; others have visual symptoms instead or as well. It can be completely crippling.

Often I can feel the migraine coming on the day before – I may be unusually tired, hyper, or feel like there’s a weight on me.  I almost always wake up with it in the morning. I haven’t found anything that will stop it by that point. The headache itself can be anything from a dull, queasy ache, to a sharp pain in the right side of my head. Continue reading

Migraines and Limes

The last two days have been horrible; I’ve had a migraine the whole time. I’m blaming it on the beginning-of-the-year anxiety, of which I was particularly aware on Monday.

My migraines usually only last for one day, so I was going crazy by the end – I had a stabbing pain in my head, I wasn’t able to eat anything without being sick, and I had to stay in bed the whole time. There were so many things I needed/wanted to do, which accounts for the frustration and occasional bit of hysteria over the two days! I’m not good at relaxing at the best of times…

I’ve been to the doctors about my migraines on several occasions, but I’ve never found anything that helps – I just have to wait for them to go. I get plenty of suggestions from other people though. Today a friend of Mum said I should put lime juice on my head, and Mum asked if I wanted to try it out. I answered in my haze of migraine-suffering – I wasn’t fully awake, so I can’t remember my reply. Continue reading