No headache is no headache
My last post suggested some tyranny of the constant threat of headaches - it isn't really true. That's just drama and poetry.
Only when I'm having a headache do I feel overwhelmed by the multiplicity and mystery of causes and symptoms.
When I have no headache, I don't worry about them at all. I am not shackled by some worry or threat.
There is a clear separation between times of headaches and times of peace.
I am pleased that I can have this attitude of separation, and I enjoy the freedom that it brings. But this attitude was hard-won. Years of experience have helped me appreciate when I don't have a headache. Sometimes in exasperation (with my condition, not with me) my husband will say that it seems like I always have a headache. To counter this statement, I can usually tell him exactly how many weeks or months it has been since the last serious head-event.
I have a host of other physical complaints (back pain, knee pain, digestive issues, etc.) but nothing is as bad as the bad headaches. And even if I'm not feeling well for some other reason, having no headache always feels like freedom.
Memories of pain
It is said that we can't really remember pain. We may have a memory of having the pain, but we can't really remember what it felt like (unlike remembering the feeling of something pleasurable). This too is mere drama and poetry. Pain is evolutionarily important. We remember things that hurt us more than things that were pleasurable. Pain makes a strong impression. Things that hurt us should be avoided; so it is important that we remember the hurt and not make the same mistake again. A logical cause-and-effect can teach a lesson.
Perhaps that's why I can't really live in fear of what might trigger a migraine - they are only ever "mights."
On a walk through the neighborhood this afternoon, I passed a yard where there was a smoldering pile of yard debris. Such things have irritated my sinuses so intensely in the past, and sometimes these irritations become headaches. I felt my jaw tighten as I walked and was very aware of the direction of the wind and how long I could still smell the smoke in the air. I was nervous, but here I am, hours later with no headache.
However, when I feel some cramping in my sinuses or wake up with a dull ache around my eyes, or a strange tingling on the top of my head, then the fear sets in. When I feel, what could really be the start of a headache or a three-day head event, then I find I have a very clear memory of past pains and a clear ability to visualize potential future pain. And even though I often know what I'm in for, I try to be hopeful. I delay taking medicine for as long as I can (mainly because once I start I will take it regularly for days), and I consider that perhaps this sinus headache won't really trigger a migraine. Perhaps an extra cup of coffee with sooth the ache in my skull. But I also feel dread - what will I not be able to do today or for the next few days because of my head? Will I be able to make it through work? Will I have to cancel social plans? What else will accompany the pain? How bad will it be?
Tonight, though, these questions aren't mine. I do not have a headache.
Tomorrow? - we'll have to wait and see.