Talking Story

migraineMy head hurts. It’s another migraine, one on the epic scale that I’d hoped were gone forever. It’s been a couple of years since I had one last this long–three days now–and longer still since I’ve had one I couldn’t force myself to function through.

If you’ve had one like this, you’ll know what I’m talking about. All you want to do is lie in bed in a dark room with silent tears streaking down your cheeks because any noise is like an ice pick through your eye.

But Moms can’t simply go to bed for days, nor can people with mortgages and car payments, students with classes, or really any human with responsibilities beyond themselves. I have horses, dogs, cats, kids, and deadlines, so I swallow pills, chug colas for the caffeine, and try to deal. The family sees the squint in my eyes and the frown lines across my brow. The white pursed lips are another giveaway. They mostly try to walk softly and leave me alone.

Through the fog I think of bed, that soft, billowy haven of cool sheets and darkness. I imagine lying in the comfort of fabric softener and down pillows and try to ignore the vise crushing my head, the pulsing of a brain that feels too big for my skull. I try to write, to fold laundry, to plan meals, but I’m not really here.

I know my triggers. I try to avoid them, but sometimes they sneak up on me like the Roadrunner does the Coyote. The Coyote plans and plots, but the Roadrunner is always ten steps ahead with an elaborate ruse to trick the Coyote. Dynamite and falling anvils, the Coyote always gets it in the end.

Being the Coyote sucks.

I know the stages. In a couple of hours if the pain doesn’t ease, I’ll be unable to do much of anything, too tired to move, but unable to sleep. Then the mental howling will begin. For me migraines are the body’s way of telling me that I’ve been living in crisis mode for too long. Things buried, pushed aside, and ignored in the moment of triage are now clamoring for attention. It’s when things are safe, when there’s time to pause and examine that the past comes to haunt me.

I wish I knew how to exercise my demons once and for all. Until then, I will count the hours until my next pain medication and try not to whimper.

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