Living with Migraines

Calzones, Moving, and Migraine Thoughts

August 29, 2017
Calzone delicious amazing best Italian food

Guten tag! Well, it has been a while since I last posted here. Fifteen days, actually. I moved. That was the distraction. I left Central California for the mountains of Southern California, more specifically the area around Lake Arrowhead. I’m still livin’ under the Grizzly.

I could not bear to live under any other flag. Public Domain.

But however there is one issue that caused me great angst in High School. You cannot run away from your problems if the problems are inside your head.

So I am eating a calzone whilst suffering on the back end of a two day migraine and thinking about migraines. That has to break a fourth wall somehow. Anyways, back to it.

It is a mystery, what actually causes migraines. A mystery that is hotly debated in the migraine and neurological community.

I always thought that it was caused by blood vessels expanding in the brain and squeezing that all important brain tissue and making the nerves go wild.

Largely, I still do. But lately I have encountered people who refute that claim. They dont have their own theory to replace it, but they refute the old one. And I don’t blame them; all learning is, of course, a search for knowledge and requires mad speculation beyond what is commonly believed from time to time.

I personally still go with the blood vessel expansion theory, its easy to understand, visualize, and explains why migraines feel like they are squeezing your head.

I have encountered other theories in unrelated studies, such as Germanic beliefs that neurological disorders are caused by elves, and Classical beliefs attributed to the famous Roman physician Dr. Galen that migraines are caused by vapors in the stomach that were excessive–either too hot, or too cold.

Whilst spirits are much more endearing and attractive a cause to me than “blood vessel expansion”, their work cannot be proven or disproven so they have to be left in the margins of attempts to deal with migraines. Stomach vapors I just flat out ignore, except for one thing that I think Galen got right that I will explain later.

I’d still leave some milk out on the hearth for your home’s elf though. Just to be safe.

Anyways, at some level though, whether its blood vessels or elves it does not matter what the mechanics of a migraine are; the migraine is there whatever the cause.

I have always suspected that stress is a major cause of migraines. Migraines always come after times of great upset, or excitement, or disappointment. Growing up, I’d always get a migraine on Thanksgiving afternoon. I tend to get a migraine whenever I ask a girl on a date. Theres always an almost complete probability that a great life change will always result in a headache for me, like going off to college, or graduating from college. Or, moving.

At least for me, stress seems to be the cause of migraines. Among other things.

I could sit here and say that my key is to “try to relax,” which is not helpful because no matter how relaxed I am, eventually, I am going to get a migraine. It will come. Now relaxation may or may not postpone a migraine, but eventually the time will come to pay my dues.

Now I could also say to strive to live emotionlessly, and by extension, stresslessly. For me, a great deal of stress comes from anxiety about, well, everything. I have always had a fantasy that if I just cut off my emotions all stress would be gone. It has never worked. I still wonder what people think of me, what will become of my choices, and whether that girl is looking at me or looking out the window I am sitting next to.

My recent move was a stressful upheaval. It was a great shock to my system, and I moved from one climate to a completely different one–and hopefully, one that is better for my headaches in the long run. I knew that it would cause me a migraine; big changes in life always do that to me. But I felt in my heart that a change of climate from Fresno to a place with cleaner air and a cooler climate would help in the long run. Fingers crossed, of course.

Besides that, shutting out emotions is, I have found, terribly unhealthy. It only causes more stress, as emotions cannot truly be shut out. They will still be there no matter what you do. And if you stifle negative emotions, they will only fester and get worse, and worst of all, cause more stress. If you squint at it just right, Galen’s theories that migraines are caused by excessive hot air in the stomach may be more accurate than they sound. I have to admit the fact that I get migraines, and that sometimes they will come.

But do not live in fear of a migraine’s coming. Instead, enjoy life. Be emotional. Do things that matter to you. Watch television. Live life fully. And when a migraine comes, still try to live fully with the half of the brain it leaves you with. Its hard, and you don’t have to if you do not feel up to the challenge. I don’t just roll over and accept them; I make lifestyle choices that I think will change my health for the better.

Today’s migraine saw me watch a lot of my favorite political thriller television show, Parks and Rec, and then go get myself a calzone after I had taken a nap, a shower, and played tic-tac-toe with myself on the steamy shower-glass. I won. It was a simple day, I will admit, but it was a day I made enjoyable.

What I am saying is that migraine’s presence or impending presence does not have to end your life.

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