There’s no Guilt in Migraine

This past weekend I was unable to do more than half the things I planned on doing. I had to rearrange my schedule based on the migraines I ended up having. But when I look back on my weekend, I’ll tell everyone that it was a great. Because you know what? All things considered, it was.

I don’t really see the point in harping on the negative and rehashing all of the bad things that have happened in the past. I think one of the reasons there is a link between depression and headache is because of all the guilt and after-effects that come as a result of the condition. To be diagnosed with chronic daily migraines you must have 15 or more migraines a month. The number is baffling. Most of the time I can’t tell if it’s one big migraine or several reoccurring migraines. And really, does it matter?

Reliving it all is just wasting precious time and energy you could be using to do something more positive.  If I am able to focus on the things I was able to get done and the plans I was able to make, they all add up to a pretty great time.

In the past two weeks I had to cancel plans multiple times. Every time feels like another dagger to the heart of my friendship. I can just feel the other person rolling their eyes, like yeah sure you have another headache.

It’s the same feeling I get when I have to call out sick from work. I don’t know if my boss ever really believes that I have a migraine, or if he just thinks I’m playing hooky. Believe me, I would much rather use up my personal days playing hooky. Instead, I am holed up in my room, making it as dark and as quiet as humanly possible, feeling as if a ton of bricks is piled on top of my head, and trying with every ounce of my being to get just a couple of minutes of rest.

I feel so guilty for the plans that I miss out on and the days I have to spend feeling sorry for myself in dark and quiet spaces, that anything a family member, friend, or co-worker has thought about me is probably not even close to what I have already thought myself. But the more time you spend worrying and stressing about all the time missed the worse your migraines will get and the more strained your relationships will be.

I am a true believer in positive thinking, I have my mom to thank for that. I think she sprinkled positive thoughts into our Wheaties when we were little. So no matter how bad the migraines get, tomorrow is another day. You can always reschedule. And if your friend isn’t buying it then they probably weren’t that great of a friend to begin with. 🙂

10 Things I Would Do if I Didn’t Have a Migraine Condition

It’s often said that there is no point in looking at the what-ifs and the what-could-have-been’s, that it’s a waste of time and energy that could be better spent. Yet we all do it. It’s only human nature. There are days when I thank the cards I have been dealt for giving me my strength and others where I curse them for making me miserable. So today I am going to explore 10 things I would do if I didn’t have a migraine condition. As John Lennon sang, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”

10. Wear a Headband: I pride myself in being somewhat of a fashionista. I keep up with the trends, dare I say set a few of my own. . . but I will never willingly put pressure around my head no matter how cute it may look. I don’t care if it has an upper-east side preppy bow, a flower, a double band, if it’s hippy-chic, boho-fab, or if it’s a diamond encrusted tiara — in under 5 minutes I’m guaranteed to feel the stabbing pains of a pounding headache and no cute outfit can justify that. But a girl can dream. . .

 

9. Play Word with Friends: Okay, this is a silly one but wouldn’t it be great to just be normal and be able to play the games all the rest of my friends are playing? But mom…. all the cool kids are doing it!

8. Zumba: The latest fitness craze is taking the world by storm and I am eager to jump on board. You can’t survive a season of Dancing with the Stars without hearing about the amazing body transformations the casts go through, whether you watch the show or not. As an enthusiastic fan of the shimmy, it pains me to say that I can’t get through a high-intensity work out without getting a migraine. If I could, zumba would be the first class I’d take. Even the name is fun to say! Just imagine how fun the workout can be. I always wanted to be a dancer when I was younger, I was on the competition team and everything, pictured myself in Lincoln Center someday minus the whole psychotic black swan and the even scarier dance moms.

7.  Turn Up the Volume: I would love to be able to listen to my music as loud as I wanted whenever I wanted or to rock out and rave at a wild concert without a care in the world. I’ve been to quite a few concerts, but never a music festival or something long-term in fear of my not being able to last without getting a migraine. I love music, to the point that now I can’t even find an iPod that can fit all of my songs. I would love to be able to take a risk and enjoy it whenever, wherever.

6. Kickboxing: I bought a groupon for 4 kickboxing classes with my sister a few months ago. I was exciting more than anything to get the boxing gloves that we were promised with the coupon. . . and of course to take out some of my stress on the punching bag. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. It was one of the most intense workouts I had ever experienced. There was some kicking and punching. . . but after an intense 20 minutes of conditioning drills. Needless to say, I left all 4 classes with enormous migraines. My sister signed up for a package and has been going back ever since. I envy her. Though it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, and getting a migraine each time after was a downside to say the least, it was also extremely empowering. I couldn’t justify paying for and attending classes that would without a doubt induce a migraine, though.

5. Save My Pennies for a Rainy Day: Without having to pay for doctors, medications, my routine Starbucks every morning and all the other little specifics that go into preventing and getting rid of my migraines, I would have so much more money. I could possibly have a 401K. I would certainly have a larger savings account. I could travel. I could afford a puppy. Oh, the things I could do!

4.Drink Alcohol: Margarita Mondays with the girls, happy hour with the coworkers, partying into the wee hours of the night, a strawberry daiquiri on the beach. . . these are the things I am missing out on. I have accepted my lifestyle and have come to terms with my condition. I still manage to go out and have a social life most weekends. I try to stay optimistic and keep a positive outlook on whatever life has dealt me, especially since I know it could be a lot worse, but since this article is about wishing. . . boy, would I kill for a cocktail!

3. Become a Sun Goddess: I love the beach.  I love laying out until the sun turns me into a beautiful crispy golden nugget. I’m a Jersey Girl, insert stereotype here. But my days in the sun usually end in with a whopping migraine. I would love to be able to lay out for hours on end, my only worry being when high tide is, not whether I’m keeping hydrated or if the nearest shaded area is within  walking distance.

2. Have Kids: Migraines are genetic. I’ve heard it all my life. I have been to countless doctors over the span of my life and one of the first questions I always get asked is, “Is there a history of migraines in your family?” And no doctor has yet to believe me when I say no. Both my parents claim it must be the other’s side of the family. It’s become a running joke. I’ve heard the statistics: if you have migraines your child has a 50% chance of having them too. Even more so if it’s a girl. That scares me. I don’t want to bring a child into this world and put them through the pain I have endured and I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m still young and my feelings on the subject could change, and there’s always other options like adoption. Though I also don’t know how great of a mother I’ll be if I’m getting headaches all the time. But I know plenty of women have done it and I have a great deal of respect for those women. These are just the thoughts that keep me up some nights. Regardless, if I never had any migraines, I think my outlook on parenthood would definitely change. Either way, lots of puppies are definitely in my future.

1. Smile More:  Having migraines causes your nasty, evil, angry, depressed twin to come out and play wreaking havoc on anyone in your path. It helps to have an understanding, empathetic and loving inner circle. But even then there’s so much you can expect them to put up with. I try to be conscious of how those around me are affected by my condition, though it’s not an easy task. If I never had a migraine, I would be a much better daughter, sister and friend.

H2Overload

Water is important–I’m not revealing anything new here. It’s one of the vital elements of life, after all, and it covers 70% of the Earth. The grandiosity of water has been reiterated to us to the point of redundancy in science class growing up, but only until recently has it occurred to me just how essential water really is.

This new medicine I’m taking gives me the worst cotton mouth ever! I’m constantly reapplying chapstick throughout the day and I now carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go.

Most migraine sufferers already know how important it is to hydrate. Most of you are probably reading this right now and thinking, “I already carry around a water bottle with me everywhere I go. So what?” My mom has been trying to get me to drink more water for years and is probably jumping for joy at the fact that she no longer has to nag me about if I’m drinking enough water.

Because now it’s not just smart for my health, now I’m desperately thirsty all the freaking time! And you know the worst part? I have to pee like 24/7. I try to hold it while I’m at work during the day as long as I can because, frankly, those bathrooms are disgusting. I work in the Flatiron Building in New York City, and while the building is a landmark and it’s real nice to look at from the outside, it is literally the world’s first skyscraper . . . EVER. Do you know how old that makes it? And I don’t think they’ve done renovations since the building was first built either. Now imagine what the facilities are like. You would hold it in all day too.

So I am guzzling down more water than I ever have in my life, hoping some of the benefits celebs credit water with in their interviews will rub off on me. Now the real experiment begins — does Jennifer Aniston really just drink lots of water to get that gorgeous glow or is it plastic surgery after all?

I’m trying to be as eco-friendly as possible while I water binge and have purchased a water bobble. Besides the fun name, it’s this water bottle with a filter inside so I can fill up continually while I work. The only issue I am running into is finding a way to efficiently clean the water bottle. They need to make some type of cleaner that can reach all the way down to the bottom. Come to think of it, there probably is one I just haven’t found out about yet. I will definitely be on the lookout.

So for now I will be focusing on just keeping on drinking and staying afloat! 

I Want to Murder My iPhone

I have a love-hate relationship with my iPhone.

Let me explain. When I don’t have a migraine I love my iPhone. When I have a migraine I hate my iPhone.

It’s really quite simple.

When I stare at my iPhone for too long, it starts to give me a migraine and I start to hate Apple for its invention with its addicting apps and its super cool features and its bright shiny lights that make everyone “ooh” and “ahh” while I am forced to hate life and hide in a dark room where no noise or lights can find me. 

A little while ago, during one of my episodes, I went a little crazy and deleted every single game on my phone. Every. Single. One.

Words with Friends, Family Feud, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Bejeweled, Dream Zoo (I still feel a bit guilty for killing all my virtual safari pets), Solitaire, Hoops, Monopoly, The Game of Life,  . .. All of it deleted. FOREVER.

I thought I’d miss it, but you know what? My life has been much more peaceful and free ever since. I haven’t looked back once. Not even for my Dream Zoo. I am sorry for those of you who I was in the middle of a Words game with. It’s not fair to keep you hanging, but I think you’ll agree I wasn’t the best opponent anyway. I’m a bit of a sore loser.

So guess what iPhone? I win. 🙂