Wow. What a week. Last Wednesday, I had a wisdom tooth yanked out. No worries, can deal with that. What I wasn’t expecting was the aftermath of continuous headaches punctuated by debilitating migraines for the next several days. I’ve never been in so much pain in my life. And I’ve been in some pain before! I’ve always experienced migraines, but never for so long – it’s currently day 10 and I’m still not 100%. How the hell does this happen?! And it’s not even just been the thumping head – it’s been the nausea and extreme light sensitivity, too. May as well do it properly! Anyway, I’ve basically turned into a pyjama-wearing, tea-drinking, unable-to-open-the-blinds-or-turn-on-the-lights vampire. It’s great. It’s actually been a good learning experience though, and given that this blog is as much for me as it is for my lovely readers, I thought I’d record the 10 biggest lessons I’ve learnt in the last 10 days, just in case you’re in struggle town too and need to know that’s perfectly ok…
1. I’m not invincible.
Duh. I try really hard to convince myself that I am, but I’m really not. Neither is anyone else. I think it’s a lot tougher on women these days, with the expectation to look amazing and have a great career and eat well and work out and be a good friend and daughter and sister and all the rest of it… when society has such demented expectations on us ladies, it’s no wonder we feel so bad when things go to shit! But regardless of what we see on social media, we are not invincible. So stop trying to be; accept that you’re human and fallible and work with it instead of against it!
2. Strong tea and buttered toast always helps
For real. When your feeling hideously nauseated and the light of day burns your eyes, you want something simple and settling. Tea and toast is a life saver.
3. Listening to your body is actually a non-negotiable
Because when you try to be stubborn and keep pushing and thinking you’ll be able to beat it all, you’re gonna come crashing on down. And that hurts. When your body can’t stand up without feeling dizzy and you can’t open your eyes because the sun hurts to bad and you can actually feel your head throbbing so loudly you’re sure your dog can hear it, you need to just slow down and put self care about everything else. Not negotiable.
4. Nurse On Call is an amazing service
So after a few days, when I realised this wasn’t just a normal migraine that would pass in a timely fashion, I started to panic a little. I resisted the urge to Google “continuous migraines” knowing that I’d only be told I had a brain tumour and 3 hours to live; instead, I called the angels also known as Nurse On Call. It’s an amazing service funded by the Victoria government that makes medical advice available 24/7 to Victorians. It’s staffed by registered nurses with at least 2 years’ experience working in hospitals, and they are wonderful people!
5. Now is not the time to beat yourself up about not hitting your FitBit step count
My anxiety and disordered eating are peaking at the moment; being unable to walk around the house, much less exercise, has been stressing me the hell out. Especially since this week was going to be my “re-set week” (when things go to crap, as they often do, I go back to my recovery plan and re-set and start again). But until I’m whole and well again, I can’t effectively do much else. It’s killing me to rest and recover with the most exercise I’ve done in the past week and a half being hanging the washing on the line and taking it back down, but now’s not the time to hate on myself. You can’t get better when someone’s being mean to you, and that includes yourself.
6. If you think you’re fine, you’re probably actually not and need another few days before going out for breakfast
I thought I was fine (enough) last weekend to go out for breaky; I was back at home in blinding pain an hour and a half later. Once you’re finally at the point where you feel OK, give it another day or two before you test the theory.
7. Man’s best friend isn’t just some silly cliche
I literally have no idea what I’d have done this past week and a half without Marley. He has the most incredible sixth sense and usually knows when we’re sick before we do. And when we are this sick, he become a cuddly little shadow; he’s followed my everywhere (I can’t even pee alone, seriously), sat quietly and calmly by my side all day, always touching me, and has just been giving off a general air of love and protection. If you don’t have a pet that you have this strong a connection to, this won’t make any sense to you.
8. Make life easy for yourself and plan ahead for emergencies like this with frozen meals
I’ve actually been doing this for a few months now; I bulk cook a meal once a week and freeze the left overs in individual meal baggies. With me at home unable to move and the husband still working full days, I cannot tell you how much of a relief it’s been to just pull a baggie out of the freezer in the morning and have dinner ready to go that night! Favourites at the moment are these mini meatloaves with pasta and veggies, this stupidly easy fried rice and tubs of sugo (sauce) ready to have polenta or pasta added to them.
9. You will at some point be so bored that you go on an online shopping spree
I’m prone to having ASOS accidents at delicate times. I’ve actually become a lot less materialistic in the last few years, which I’m proud of, but that means that I’m also still wearing a lot of the same winter clothes I’ve been wearing for the past few years. Some stuff I needed, some stuff I just wanted because it was on sale. Self-love is always gonna help recovery from illness, and if you want to show yourself a bit of self love with a new $18 dress, why the hell not?!
10. It highlighted one of the biggest reasons for why I’ve never really seriously considered having kids
This was a really painful truth to realise, and I really hope that I don’t elicit any nastiness or judgement for sharing it; again, as this is my journal and time capsule, it’s something I do want to record and remember, because every bump is a lesson. Having been in a wonderful relationship for a very long time, the inevitable “when are you having kids?” question has been asked more times than I can stomach, and saying “I don’t want any” over and over again has been much easier than saying “because I have other goals in life than motherhood and also my mental illness struggles are real, even if you can’t see them, and what an irresponsible bitch I’d be to bring another life into this world when there are days I can’t even look after myself.” Sure, this time was a never-ending migraine, but what if it was a depressive spell? The amount of guilt I’ve experienced over being unable to walk Marley every day like we usually do is killing me; imagine if this was a human child. Yes, I’m a very over-logical thinker, I can’t help it!
Anyway, it’s finally another weekend, which means that come work time next week, I’ll finally be back to a functioning human being who’s able to flick on a light switch without cowering behind the nearest door. Happy weekend, friends; I hope everyone else is in wonderful health and looking after themselves!! And if anyone else has any migraine experience, please share anything that helps!