On my drive into work the other day, I had about fifteen seconds as I was within a few minutes of the parking lot, where my forehead and back of my head lit up briefly as though I had a headache coming on. I caught it quickly enough to focus on my posture, stretch my muscles, and otherwise iron out whatever kink had caused my head to ache. Would that event count as a headache?
If it happens once only, I don’t think it does.
If it happens more frequently, even in fifteen-second flashes, then it could point to something more than just a tight muscle or whatever else might be causing my headaches. At this point, a majority of my headaches were probably caused by bad ergonomics, because when I’ve fixed these, everything else has worked out fine.
I am on careful watch, between my medications, PT, and these essays.
I’ve been clear enough to return my focus to my main hobbies, but I still wonder when the next headache will hit. They’ve never been just fifteen-second before, so it’s not like that’s been my usual sort of headache, but also, too, my headaches would come in a fury and go for years then reappear. So I may not ever fully know until well after I publish this essay series and a few years goes by.
Within a two-week window, though, the most I’ve noticed were minor discomforts.
I’ll buy that! I’ll take that over what I had been through, because if it was just like that or like that fifteen-second flash, then I could be more than functional. My goal is distraction-free living to do what I please, when I please, within reason. To get there, I have to iron out all the nonessentials, which is why headaches on their own should go, but if I can write about the sensations in a way where I can help others, then that helps me along with the reader, so it works out for both of us.
Many of my mild headaches will go away by distracting myself, too.
I’ve noticed this to be true about many things in life. If I focus on the pain for just long enough to acknowledge it, then move onto something else – to distract or engage in escapism – then the pain will usually subside. This is why I wouldn’t consider a fifteen-second headache to be much more than the same as banging your head against a table as you’re “table spelunking.”
I remembered back, just now, to my first time visiting Hawaii.
Our tour guide was taking us on a ride from Oahu to the North Shore, and I forget how exactly he got on this topic, but he was talking about climbing trees and when he’d fall down, he’d give himself a half-hour to just lay there and feel better. If it didn’t feel better after that, he’d ask for help, but he was up and at ‘em without any difficulty, so he probably never hurt himself that badly.
Or if he did, he was all patched up before giving the tour.
For those three months of being headache-riddled, I often didn’t have more than fifteen minutes without a headache, some lasting for days as a dull sensation that distracted me from high-functions and concentrating above what was absolutely necessary, so for that, I think those writings and this whole journey to headache-reduction was justified and useful.
Otherwise, it might seem too much like complaining, even for me.
I would rather write fiction, or at least the process of getting to the point where I can easily write fiction, so writing about headaches should have some kind of point. For those essays, it was trying to figure out what was going on. For this essay, it’s figuring out where to draw the line, which I did above, so now we’re at the point of documentation.
What happens if these new, unfathomable headaches arrive?
I have learned all that I can about documenting headaches with my headache diary. I can specify the verbiage like the location and sensation that will be medically-relevant. How I feel doesn’t quite matter, since they know it’s a bad feeling. If I can help others [whether headache sufferers, friends, or doctors] based on that information, then it will all have been worthwhile for me.
If not, then at least it’s writing practice, I suppose.
Although I would prefer to be writing fiction or wrapping up other projects at this point, writing about everything I can about headaches will bore them in my mind, which will mean that I can free up those loose threads for other activities. It’s the same as when you explore trivial topics and get bored of them. Eventually, you’ll decide that you’ve had enough of exploring those feelings, then move on.
Until then, you’ll be stuck in those traps.
I think that’s why people complain so often. They get out everything they want to say but they’re not ready to fully explore all aspects of those feelings, including the most important: where did you go wrong? What did you do to ruin this situation? It’s one thing to not know and to learn, but to willfully ignore that which you can fix, and instead put the blame on others? That’s a tricky act to balance and most people fail at that because they’d rather blame X or Y for their problems rather than their own actions.
For me, I’ve been willing – and still am willing – to do anything to fix my headaches.
I’ve been through the wringer trying to find the root cause of my headaches. I’ve learned plenty about myself from medical and tolerance perspectives and I feel that I’ve developed as a person. It’s been a fun ride but I look forward to closing the book on these writings. This essay got me closer to that conclusion.
If I have a thirty-minute-plus headache in the next few months, I’ll let you know… maybe.
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: As I’ve been winding down from the intense mindbender headaches I was experiencing near-daily for three months, I wondered, what were the boundaries of that? Would a 15-second headache count? I went about answering that question above.|
|Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Picture: I didn’t take 15 seconds to make a unique picture.|
|Written On: 2020 March 05 [From 1:28am to “so it works out for both of us” at 1:38am. From 2:08am to 2:21am. Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 March 05 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|