[Sober Living] Pain Behind Eye

There’s a pain behind my right eye that won’t go away. It feels like pressure and prevents me from focusing. This is one of many invisible pains that don’t seem to go away, and just linger around long enough to appear gone, then return like a crash. Years ago, I never got headaches. I read an email from someone saying they needed to stay home because of a headache and ignorantly thought it wasn’t bad.

“It’s not that I don’t get headaches anymore. I just have run out of sick leave.[1]”

So I drag myself out of bed, drag myself through the shower and deodorant and work clothes, drive into work, sit down, and as I am, barely able to focus on anything. Fortunately the work is easy enough. I could not do high-level work at the moment. I was learning the basics of programming one year ago – I could not troubleshoot my way through programming concepts, or even advanced technical problems, right now.

I can be logged into this computer well enough, however.

The pain is just enough to make me feel uncomfortable and unwell, but not enough to deal with the consequences of calling out sick without any sick leave. I had to burn through it in agony. When I don’t feel numb I feel constant stinging. It’s Saturday evening when I’m writing this and the earliest I’ll read a response from finally being able to concentrate enough to write a complete medical history is either Monday morning or Monday evening.

We’ll see if that will even help.

I’m starting to notice lights burning into parts of my vision for split seconds. I wonder if that’s the migraine with aura? It’s probably worse. I’m fortunate that the sort of work I’ve fallen into is still possible with these headaches. I probably would have had to quit other types of jobs by now. This is almost the sort of work where if you use too much of your brain, act too creatively, then you run into problems.

It’s almost like the headaches are helping me out with my job.

That’s looking at the bright side. The not-so-bright side is that I don’t feel like doing anything right now. I don’t feel well enough to research anything to increase my professional or personal productivity. I just feel like getting up on this platform, this digital soapbox, and scream about a whole lotta nothin’…

I guess, if anything, this is about guideless motivation.

I am still compelled to write about my experiences even when I don’t have much to say because it’s a way of documenting these situations. Maybe doctors aren’t well-studied in headaches because there isn’t a whole lot of documentation on them? Writing about subjective experiences like this, even if it’s to an audience of zero, could help me express myself better when it comes to talking directly to doctors about my headaches.

If anything, it keeps me awake and keeps the pain at bay.

The ache behind my eye is still there, noises are still amplified significantly louder, and I’m still having trouble concentrating, but considering the questions and answers are easy enough – “can you tell us how long maintenance is until?[2]” “hmm… looks like it might be… until…[3]” – that it seems like the only problem might be that I sound sick or tired or worse, but I’m still able to gather the information and do the work.

I guess it’s just a matter of finding easy day work while working on avocational work.

With the old factory jobs and the current low-brain desk jobs, as long as you keep a certain minimum number of widgets widgeting, the rest of the time can be spent doing whatever. Most people will socialize, some people will play games or browse websites, so if I borrow their time instead of write, then what’s the harm? I’m here to help them when there’s a need for my specialized training both internal to the company and external in terms of the overall tricks I’ve learned over the years.

Including focusing well enough through headaches to appear functional.

I would have preferred to stay home this evening, and would have had I had enough sick leave, but then I’d just be sleeping right now. Sure, that would help fix whatever problems are going on in my head that are causing these aches. I think of these headaches as my body’s way of saying to slow down, but it’s not good at explaining where to slow down, or recognizing when I have slowed down.

I guess the problem is that I wouldn’t learn to endure these lower-end aches.

It’s the equivalent of going to work feeling sick. You should be at home, you should be resting up, but for whatever reason, you can’t, so you build up a tolerance toward pushing through the pains and aches to get the job done. Then everyone else gets sick because of your hard work. There’s no real good way around this until we allow more remote work and accept that sometimes people just get sick.

I’m writing this essay partially to build up more sickness buffering, too.

Since I’ve switched to publishing two 1,000-word essays daily, if I write more than two essays, I’m ahead for the day. If I want to focus on writing my second novel over the course of four months, I’ll need at least 246 essays to cover that 4-month stretch. If that means writing more essays like this that show a small glimpse into my life with perhaps meandering deal, then so be it, because at least once I’m headache-free, I can look back through these months of being headache-riddled and feel fortunate I don’t feel like my IQ has lowered significantly enough to the point where I might have trouble spelling, reading, concentrating, or doing anything necessary, let alone enjoyable.

Writing about the pain sometimes makes it go away…

It’s still there, but it’s stabilized.

I don’t feel like stabbing my eye anymore.

Quotes: [1] Me to a colleague, when we were were talking about sick leave. [2,3] Someone asking me through my headache about a question.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Nothing else to do but write.
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Picture: Generic picture made while I was feeling well, without any pains in my head.
Written On: December 21, 2019 [25 minutes, from 11:02pm to “noises are still amplified significantly louder” at 11:15pm, then from 11:23pm to 11:35pm, Gdoc.]
Last Edited: December 27, 2019 [Some edits to adapt from Gdocs to WordPress… so… second draft?]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.