Let’s Talk Migraines!

First of all, any of you that are about to say “migraines are just really bad headaches…” I’m gonna need you to exit stage left. This blog’s is not for you. I could rant and ramble through all the facts on why that’s wrong and I won’t change your mind. But, if you’ve ever had a migraine before, witnessed someone with a migraine, felt chronic pain, or feel empathy for others this one is for you, my little angels.

I didn’t start getting migraines until senior year of high school. I thought I did because I’ve always been really sensitive to light and sound. I got a LOT of headaches because I was swimming so lots of long days in chemical filled rooms with loud starts and yelling. When I wasn’t doing that, I was on a stage with bright lights, loud music, and microphones. Genuinely, I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t getting headaches at least a couple of times a week, but ibuprofen could usually knock those guys out.

I know you guys live for my throwback pictures, so don’t say I never gave you anything.
Two in a row!! I must be feeling some kind of way

So, I thought a bad headache was a migraine when I was like 16. It was my head and it hurt. What’s the difference, ya know? DUDE. I got my first migraine in the winter of my senior year. I had just finished a dance camp for show choir where we do like day long camps to perfect the show. It’s long, grueling, and kind of stressful because you know you have to compete in like two weeks.

I’m not sure if it was lack of water, stress, the seasons changing, my depression, or a mixture of a million other things, but my head started to feel a little tight. Like, my neck and my shoulders felt like they were carrying a bowling ball and about to crack under the pressure. I tried to sleep it off and I could even move without sending shooting pains from the base of my head to my temple to right behind my eyes and all the way back around. The tiny little lights that showed that my phone was charging was like someone flashing a strobe in my face. It was kind of like I had super sonic hearing too, I felt like I could hear the neighbor down the street cough and it was being amplified right into my eardrum. This wasn’t like anything I’d ever experienced.

I’ve already kind of talked about pain in a blog. But, you body does everything it possibly can to get rid of the pain it feels. That’s why you feel fevers or your blood pressure spikes sometimes. It’s those little cells fighting off the ones that they don’t necessarily recognize or like. When I get migraines, my body usually tries to ward off the pain by making me really nauseous, giving me a fever, or making me light-headed.

If you’re someone who’s dealt with chronic pain or even like pain from a surgery or something, you know that ibuprofen can only do so much. It can only take so much of the edge off and it can only last for so long. After suffering for hours, I started to see these little spots in my vision. It was like I had starred into the sun. They were little gaps in my vision where there are bright spots – I later learned that people call those auras. I’m pretty familiar with those now.

My parents took me to the hospital when I genuinely couldn’t stop crying and every time I sobbed my head just sent a shooting pain around my head. I had my first ‘migraine cocktail” at 17 years old. It’s an IV mixture of Benadryl, anti-nausea, and another hardcore painkiller. It’s uncomfortable to say the absolute least… you have an IV in your inner arm and cold fluids coursing into you. It’s not amazing, but not having a migraine is worth it.

It’s been 5 years since my first migraine. I’ve gone through about 4 different kinds of medicine to try and get rid of them. I talked a little bit about this in a past blog, but I had issues like weight gain, irritability, and other really shitty side effects because of medications used to prevent migraines.

It’s scary when it’s your head too. You can get an Xray to look at the bones in your arm, but when it’s your head, it’s your brain. You can’t see it. You have to get in a big tube to diagnose it. It’s just always a little bit more scary.

Right now, I take about 100 mg of a drug called topirimate. It’s also been helpful when I was waking up in the middle of the night and eating a bunch of stuff. It’s been the most successful of everything that we’ve tried.

This is the most recent time that I’ve needed to get a migraine cocktail. Pardon my french, but it’s the fucking worst. Lately, I’ve been losing my vision in my left eye, sometimes in both. Which makes literally everything that I’m used to doing virtually impossible.

I don’t get them a lot anymore. Which means that the medicine is doing it’s job, thank god. But, as with any medication, there is some hiccups. I would say I get maybe one migraine a month. Which is far better than getting one to two a week as I was. When I do get them, my coworkers have been so helpful in getting shifts covered last minute and understanding that I’m pretty much a walking zombie.

It’s really hard to explain. It’s really hard to go through. But, as with anything on this blog, the sun will shine through tomorrow. It might be shitty now. It might be painful, confusing, and just annoying… but damnit, we will prevail, my little angels.

What do you want hear about next? What’s going on in your life that you might want to read about in a blog? Slide into my DMs on any socials or email me at emydsaliby@gmail.com to recommend a blog!

Pain Meds and an Addictive Personality

I think I’ve kind of eluded to this on here and the podcast, but I have a really addictive personality. Not in a way that I have ever gotten caught up in serious substance abuse problems, thank god. But, I have seen my addictive personality come out in other ways as I’ve grown up.

I first started to feel a little bit of an addictive personality when it came to show choir – I know, I’m a nerd. Guys, I fucking loved that shit. I was actually really really good at it too.

I loved the rush of performing and putting a huge smile on my face, even when everything felt wrong in the world. It was like a high. My Junior year, I was named a dance captain and I felt this surge of energy go through my veins in getting validation that I was good at something other than school and swim. I’ve always been REALLY competitive. I get that endearing (and sometimes highly annoying) trait from my father. But, I was felt a little addicted to having a hand in the success of the group… and learning how to be a good leader through that overwhelming and obsessive feeling.

Now, I hold a manager position at my job and I’m not really like that. I’ve always considered myself a leader, but my addictive personality has found something else to kind of focus on throughout the years. I’ve gone through: boyfriends, food, and mental illness. It’s so important to be able to see those addictive personality traits in yourself so that when you are using something that could really be a trainwreck, like pain medication, you’re really careful.

So, I didn’t really realize the show choir thing was obsessive until I was more analytical about my mental illness recently. I just thought I was competitive and very possibly, I was just a combination of the two. One way I know I was addictive in a toxic way was with my last long term relationship.

Again, broken record over here, but you know some of the details of that relationship. Very bad. Abusive. Yadda yadda yadda. One of these days, I will take the time to write something out start to finish, but that require remembering everything and dealing with those emotions again in a new, healthy way…. so, for the purpose for this story, it was NOT a good situation. We were not together anymore, but we were very seriously talking. I was under the impression that we were working towards a relationship. He obviously was not considering he was talking to both his most recent ex and the ONE girl he promised was just his friend (who he’s now dating) but that’s irrelevant. Despite how shitty that relationship made me feel, how much I cried, and how much I lost myself in that process of trying to be with him, I was genuinely addicted to trying to get him to love me.

I would say and do just about anything for him to spend time with me or give me attention. Again, he didn’t make me feel good and the relationship wasn’t good. No one approved of us even spending time together after all the bridges he’d already burned, so why? I was just addicted. I was addicted to the idea of someone wanting me. I was addicted to the chase. I was addicted to the idea that I could get him back. Most of all, I was addicted to blaming myself, so I was always trying to right those wrongs… even if there really wasn’t any solutions to be had there.

I wasn’t addicted to our relationship. Truthfully, I don’t even think I really wanted it in the capacity that I once had it. I was addicted to filling the void. For example, people with nicotine addictions don’t like love that they are addicted to nicotine or want to constantly want a cig. What they want is that high, that feeling, that fills the void – even if it’s just until you light up the next one.

Like I said, I used food to fill that void too. Sometimes, I still do. But, there was a time that I was addicted to eating food – way too much food. Honestly, I’m typing this after a night of binging on Reese’s peanut butter cups… so I don’t know if I’m totally over that addiction. I know that it’s been much worse – where I would turn to it out of boredom, stress, happiness, and even just because. Now, its just a remaining issue with a poor relationship with food.

These days, I would say that I most struggle with an addiction to my mental illness. I know that that’s a little confusing when you’re just reading it, but let me explain. For so long, I’ve not been okay. I genuinely don’t remember a point in my life where I didn’t hate myself, my body, or my mind. I’m NOT saying that as an invitation to my pity party – just the opposite actually. Because I haven’t been okay for so long, I started to get a little addicted to my mental illness in a number of ways. I started to get addicted to stress because I was scared of depression and sleeping my days away again. Maybe it’s not always a bad thing in this chosen path, because it can help me fixate on one thought, feeling, or emotion until I’m able to blog or podcast about it. But, it’s always hard to then leave that in the past.

As I said before, I’ve never really had a substance abuse problem. I have had little benders when I would get way to drunk literally every single time I drank, but part of that was just being young, stupid, and depressed. I didn’t HAVE to have a drink in the morning to function or to spill my emotions to the first person that would listen. That doesn’t change the fact that I have to understand that my addictive personality COULD make that a very easily habit to pick up.

I recently got my wisdom teeth out. Yes, it is as bad as they say. No, I didn’t get dry sockets. But, it hurt like a bitch to put it lightly & they gave me hydrocodone to deal with the pain. In my defense, they gave me 8 pills and I could take them every six hours…. so I was supposed to be not writhing in pain after 48 hours? I call bullshit. They said the swelling wouldn’t even start until after then!! So, I wanted more hydrocodone that I could take before a super long shift…. and it got me worried… was I developing an addiction? Was I dependent on these drugs to feel normal? I mean, I had tried to go just to ibuprofen and I couldn’t get through my day…

It didn’t help that my dad kind of joked about the same thing when I came home to get some stronger pain medicine. “It can happen to anyone,” he had said. It was clear that he was kind of kidding, but also a little worried about pain management while being stressed, taking other prescription medications, and living alone.

If I would have sent this to my oral surgeon, do you think he would have refilled my prescription?

Listen, to say that I struggled with pain medication would be a lie. I didn’t. But, it really got me thinking about how having an addictive personality can be both tangible and intangible. You can see the side effects of withdrawal from medication that’s no longer pumping through your system or you can feel a withdrawal from not having a toxic relationship constantly in your life. You can take a pill or puff to get your fix, or you can stalk an Instagram or maybe even eat 10 portions over what’s recommended.

I wouldn’t even call myself an addict, but I would absolutely say that I have a very addictive personality that can absolutely bite me in the ass sometimes. Like always, knowing my mind and body is so powerful in this ongoing journey toward better health. If sharing in this realization can get your little brain motors moving, well I just might have done my job today.

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