Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Blasted headaches

I'm really feeling miserable that I've not been able to write this last week. It's all about the logistics of moving house and internet coverage...will it be Optus or Telstra that come to the rescue in the end? The jury is still out on that one. Anyway, I've been missing the sharing with you all that I'd become accustomed to over the past couple of months and just can't wait until I have everything sorted so that I can get back into the flow of writing. It's amazing how hard it can be to get the creative juices flowing if you have them interrupted! But that's life and I guess we all have to just pick up when we can and keep going. So here I am. With a headache. 

This particular headache has been with me for about 45 hours now and I'm getting pretty tired of it. I've tried three different medications, none of which have made any real improvement; I've laid down and rested until I can't stand it any longer, I've tried quiet reading, meditation and rubbing Vicks on my temples. I've done pretty much all that I can reasonably do and as usual, have come to the conclusion that it is just a waiting game. It will pass in its own time. I just have to hang about and wait. 

Headaches have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Not my own for all that time, but my mother's. Mostly I can remember creeping about the house trying not to make a noise because mum had a headache. Poor thing suffers with migraines and had to have the room darkened so that not a crack of light peeped through the curtains...and a bucket by the bed. I can't really remember how often she had them but they were a marker of childhood so I guess fairly often. Somehow in amongst them she managed to work full time. I know there was a time when she was so overwhelmed with headaches that she kept a diary of everything she ate and drank and did and of the headaches in an attempt to nail down what caused them. Alas, all that work was to no avail. She found as I did,  they just show up without any real rhyme or reason. I'm fortunate that I don't get headaches as bad as mum does. She has had to go to hospital when the pain has been too much to bear. I have two friends who get them to that level of severity too. I am so thankful that I've not had to experience that. 

My headaches are sometimes migraine types with flashing lights and pounding pulse where all I can do is lay down and keep still and quiet and wait for them to pass, sometimes with a bucket handy, though I rarely need to use it. Mostly though, they are just annoying. Nasty enough to mean that it's really difficult to concentrate on anything. Distracting enough that I can't sleep. Causing just a hint of nausea that means I don't feel comfortable in myself. It's a bit like life comes to a halt for a day or two until it passes. It doesn't necessarily stop me from doing anything, but I simply can't find the motivation to do anything. Does that make sense? Some people never get a headache. That must be cool.

Recently I cut sugar out of my life and for a while I think it may have made a difference. I've allowed it to sneak back in. You know sugar is addictive. It's devilish hard to give it up altogether. Really it is. But I think I'm going to have to try again and stick with it a bit longer. Maybe I need to keep a diary to remind me that I'm not getting headaches when I don't eat sugar. I feel a bit confused about it at present. I'm not sure now if the return of the headaches coincided with the reintroduction of sugary snacks or not. I need to run another 'test' and see what happens. I need to pay more attention this time. Because seriously, headaches have to be the greatest stealers of to television. I'm sure some of you would argue, but I know quite a lot of people and the number of them that suffer from headaches of sufficient severity that they mention them is quite surprisingly large. What if sugar is the culprit?

I have blamed lots of different things for headaches over the years. I can remember getting them after a day in Melbourne as a child, travelling in from the 'burbs on the train for a day out shopping. I can remember clearly the sickening smell of exhaust fumes as we stood at the curb waiting to cross, and as I inhaled that toxic gas the headaches would begin...small to begin with and increasing until by the time we got home I'd go straight to bed, too ill for dinner or tv or anything else. 

I did of course have a rather too large number of years where headaches were self-inflicted by over indulgence of alcohol. I wish I'd been confident enough in myself to have never imbibed a drop of alcohol, but it was an easy way to hide my lack of self-esteem and sadly led to many happenings that only lowered it further. Ironic. And lots of really dreadful, pounding headaches. It astounds me that I continued to punish myself in that way for so many years, but I did. 

Weather headaches. They are interesting ones. You know the ones I mean? When the storm clouds gather and the air becomes heavy with promise and you feel it begin. A little sickly feeling first then the dull ache that grows and grows's off to bed again. Another wasted day. 

And then there is the water problem. Not enough that is. Dehydration. That is a common one. We all forget to drink enough water. Although on tv last night there was a story about someone dying from drinking too much water and diluting their body salts sufficiently enough to cause collapse, so now you have to be careful not to drink too little and not to drink too much. Symptoms to begin with are the same...headaches, nausea...Life can be so confusing. Listen to your thirst they said. Wise. It is wise to listen to our bodies. So what are these headaches trying to tell us?

Some of the worst headaches can be achieved by giving up coffee and tea. Oh boy. The first time I cut them out of my daily regime (for health reasons) I had a headache for eight days straight. Another massive nine day headache resulted from testing the tiniest few sips of some home-brewed Sambucca. That was seriously dreadful as I thought perhaps it was never leaving and that my life was going be lived under the dark cloud of headache pain without a break.  There are people that get headaches from red wine or cheese or grapes or watermelon. Some headaches are the result of misadventure and some bad judgement. 

However I look at them though, it seems that they are a response in some way to levels of toxicity in our bodies (apart from the weather ones). When we de-tox...we get headaches. The levels of toxins in our blood stream is increased when we start to eat and drink pure foods. Hey, that doesn't make sense does it? Well, somehow when we start to eat fresher, simpler whole foods, it gives our bodies permission to unload toxins that it has stored as safely as it can in fat cells or elsewhere in the body. When we clean our act up, our bodies want to clean out the old junk that it's stored too. The sickness we feel when that happens can send us straight back to our old habits because then we feel better. We can soon shut down the cleaning process and we feel better again.  It's weird but true. 

Anyway, I am writing this with a headache that is possibly the result of not drinking enough water, or of being out for the day in the car (stress?) with my mum, or perhaps the weather or maybe something else. And I was so sick of sitting and trying to sleep and getting no relief from medication OR meditation so I thought I'd totter down to the old house where my computer is still waiting to be moved...and write to you about it. So if you have stupid headaches that mess around with your life and that drive you crazy sometimes. you won't have to feel so alone in it all. There are lots of us out here. I'm going to do the no sugar thing again starting now. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wishing you as many headache free days as is possible. Treat yourself gently and I'll be doing the same. I'd really like to know that life would be 'normal' every day, apart from the occasional head cold. Those folk who don't get headaches - they don't know how good they've got it!

1 comment:

  1. here here! I don't have sugar at all and I get lots and lots of headaches. I don't drink alcohol, don't smoke...anything..., don't drink coffee, don't drink 'normal' tea (unless I have a headache and it helps ease the pain!), rarely eat chocolate and generally have a very healthy diet. I've had headaches for years and years and years and years, some months I have more headache days than pain free days. This past month I've had a headache most days with a few migraines thrown in...and yet....I was doing so well, just a few headaches each month for most of this year and I thought woooo hoooo, finally have it under control! but no...they've come back with a vengence. I blame everything on hormones! Most of my headaches were hormone fluctuation related and other headaches were just ...well...who knows. Anyway, I've learnt to live with it. Tried cutting out this and that in my diet but to no avail. Sometimes I have a migraine and I think 'well, I didn't have any chocolate etc last night and it's made no difference'. Very frustrating. I've taken feverfew every day for years now and they do reduce the severity of migraines so no more vomiting which is a relief. And I take other remedies that help ease the pain but nothing so far takes the pain completely away. At least they are bearable most of the time. Sometimes I can pinpoint why I have a headache if it's not hormone related but most of the time they come just for the heck of it.
    So yeah, those who don't get headaches don't know how good they've got it alright!
    Sending commiserations and soothing vibes to fellow headachers.