Progress doesn’t always mean noticeable. Progress is something slow, something earned, and something that goes in many directions.
I sat down in June and decided I needed to physically document this journey so that I’d know what to say to doctors and specialists more accurately. Sure my existing methods had been able to show frequency of migraines and medication use, but that was really all they were good for.
So, after almost two months, I decided the beginning of a new month was a good time to sit back and reflect on what it was that I’d been focusing in on each day. Starting most importantly, with what worked.
I want to share this because I think its important for those of you reading who may be looking for ideas yourself…
Number 1 on my list was the aromatherapy I started doing each morning. Typically a blend of lemon, rosemary, and spearmint – meant to be uplifting. Something about it must have created a sort of balance in my system that on mornings when I woke up “heavy” feeling or drowsy, this blend would help contain that and allow my morning to start off better.
My medication came up next on the list – as I analyzed a little later, the medications is working a little over half of the time that I take it. But half is better than never.
The rest of my “treatments” were all a toss up between hot showers, ice cream, cold packs and naps.
I then compiled a list of what seemed to make matters worse:
– long work hours
– Lysol (chemical type smells)
– staying up late
– missing meals
– PT exercises
All in all, the first two months of this journal have helped me identify a few more triggers, along with help me watch how often I’m truly taking medication to ensure I don’t fall back into using too much.
This pushed me to look towards what’s next.
In looking at treatments, physical therapy is a wash. Massage therapy is effective, but I’m cutting it back to every other week to see if it remains effective. I’ve gotten new glasses for blue light (if only I remembered to wear them) and I’m cutting back hours at work…
Which leads me to some goals:
1) Reintroduce exercise at least twice a week – this stems from physical therapy and I need to work on strengthening exercises to ensure that even if my head hurts the rest of my body doesn’t just fall apart.
2) Reduce stress from work – this one is a biggie. First, I’m in a sales environment which basically just screams stress, but I need to work on finding ways to leave work at work. I don’t want to dwell on work related qualms while I’m trying to enjoy a day off. Maybe more meditation? But, I also need to work on taking these as they are. A lot of work related stuff is out of my control and I know I let it get to me more than it should.
And after creating this little roadmap of where I wanted to be, I reworked what I’d be looking for each day. I adjusted my notes to be more in depth for what I’ve done during the day and added in a section for my mood in the morning and evening. I think its important to pay attention to how I’m feeling, as these last few weeks have been rough.
Which brings me to my issue of the day.
I followed up with my doctor who referred me for Physical Therapy. After working through how PT went and where to go next, we decided a referral to a neck and spine clinic that offers various options such as chiropractic, more specialized PT, and acupuncture. Internally all I could think was wow what a wonderful option that isn’t something I’ve necessarily tried.
Which was then followed up with the suggestion to have me add in an antidepressant/anxiety medication into my daily regimen.
I filled out a survey (and gosh what a dark survey that was)… and on the scale I got a score of a 2/10. No clue what that means.
The questions asked about the last two weeks and stress and terrors and the likes. Now, lets be honest, in the last two weeks I finally hit the pain threshold that let me know that its time to consider disability and how dramatically different my life will be going forward. It was also the end of the month at work and my parents were coming into town.
Talk about lots of emotions and stress and just about everything.
But more medication?
Why… Well the statement that made her worried was my saying that I was terrified of school starting back up and having to take part in a full course load, plus work. This was meant to bridge the conversation into what it would mean to go on disability. It didn’t.
According to my doctor, work and school and migraines are the recipe for stress and by taking a depression or anxiety related medication, that should solve that.
The ONLY thing stressing me out is trying to figure out how to afford my life when I don’t physically think I can work or even get a degree.
A magical pill isn’t going to fix my health.
Taking more medications, when I’m weaning off other medications, doesn’t seem to make sense.
Moving towards natural supplements that won’t impact my life later on should be the direction we’re moving in.
Not another medication trying to be used to treat something that it isn’t intended for… Its like seizure medication for my migraines all over again.
Yes, of course reducing stress is always optimal. Write me a nice check and that stress will instantly go down. I promise.
But to say I need a medication to change my personality?
I don’t have anxiety. At least not anything near the descriptions of anxiety I’ve ever seen. The closest I get to anxiety is when my chest collapses in as all my symptoms hit me at once and I’m in full blow sensory overload mode.
And depression? Seriously? At risk… maybe. I mean 20 and disabled… that’s really fucking depressing if you ask me. But no, my life isn’t over. No, I don’t need therapy to feel better about myself.
What I need is research into migraines that provides more useful treatments. What I need is to not have to make decisions so young regarding my entire future, while feeling like I’m expected to have my educational and career plans put together.
I need support from my medical providers. Not pill pushers.
So, as Henry David Thoreau said: “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves”
Which resonates with me. This disease has pushed me down a path and I don’t recognize where to go from here. So I am lost. But if being lost means finding out who I am, I’m up for staying lost a little longer.