Yesterday in church there was a priest from a small town in South Sudan who had came to raise awareness about the conditions in his community and ask for donations towards their school hall project. He talked a bit about the conditions in South Sudan and showed us pictures, and what really struck me was the picture of many children, maybe sixty to a hundred, sitting outside with only one teacher standing in front. I could not help but notice the contrast. If we had classes that size here, parents would complain and students would most likely take advantage of it and give the teacher hell.
In first world countries we take education for granted, while kids in poorer countries consider themselves lucky to be having even a low standard of education. It really puts things in perspective. Here I am, studying for my end of high school exams when many people have never had the chance to even get close to that far. It shines a different light on the stress of the exam period. Living in a country where I actually have the opportunity to complete high school should be a cause for gratefulness, not stress and panic. I find myself more determined than ever to do my absolute best. No matter what disadvantages I have, at least I have a chance to complete this level of education unlike so many people my age in the world.
It's weird, seeing exams as a blessing. Weird but true.
At the moment my thoughts seem to be all over the place about a few different things.
The first thing started after a trip to a gardening store. They have this section with gemstones and and listed some of the properties of each gemstone. The one that grabbed my attention is amethyst. Amethyst has quite a few healing and calming properties which, in my current general mindset, sound tempting. To make it even better, there were bracelet for only $5, and small pieces of amethyst for $2. At that point I wanted to buy 20 dollars worth of stuff and believe wholeheartedly that wearing it and carrying it with me would magically make me a healthier person. There were a few problems with this. Number one, impulsive buying is never a good idea, number two, it would make me sound kind of naive if I bought the stuff, and number three, I had no money with me. Sure, I could have asked my mum for a loan (she was there too) but then she would probably think I was being impulsive. And a bit naive. And I totally would have been both at that moment. Although who knows, she might have been thrilled that I suggested a non-drug approach for feeling better and therefore have agreed no matter how crazy I sounded. Might ask later.
The second thing is something I have been thinking about for a while. Last time I went to the neurologist for migraines he gave me this script for a drug that would help me sleep better if I needed it. At that point in time it was just after holidays so I was perfectly well rested and so didn't go to a chemist and buy it. Now, despite me having 8-9 hours sleep a night since the end of school and 7-8 hours before that, I have slight dark circles under my eyes. I may be freaking out because it's so close to exams and I'm petrified that I'll be sick then, but that seems a little unusual to me. It's nowhere near as bad as it was at the end of term three (sleeping 10 hours but looking and feeling as sleep deprived as the people who were sleeping at 1am) but I am slightly concerned as it is pretty close to exams and if it gets worse I will freak out. This 'slight' concern is making me wonder if I should just start taking this medicine, at least for the exam period. But what if taking it makes me feel worse? This close to exams I wouldn't have much time to recover and it would majorly stuff up my revision. So really, it's a gamble either way and I'm gambling with my health and High School Certificate score. Yay.
The third thing is about magnesium. Somehow I started googling Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) today and found out that they are reasonably priced at the supermarket. So now I want to buy some. I really, really want to but it's approaching 9pm which is a bit late. And I doubt my parents would want to drive me to the next suburb just to buy bath salts. Especially since we still have some at home. I guess I just want to know if the internet was right and the supermarket does sell them. It was listed in their internet catalogue but that doesn't mean it's in stock at the store, does it?
So that sums up most of my thoughts at the moment. Two cases of 'I want' and one case of 'I dunno'. And all of it health related and only one vaguely school related. I get the feeling I should be concentrating on school a lot more...
Today was quite a day to remember, and not just because it was the last day of Year 12 classes and of high school EVER.
Today I decided to wear flats to go with my remade school dress. Then I miss the tram so decide to walk to school. Bad idea. By the time I got to school I had a giant blister on my left heel and was not doing a good job of walking. Planned to find a band-aid but got distracted by about fourty girls signing each other's dresses in the locker bay. There was no other option but to join in!
I had maths class first, and spent that signing people's dresses and asking if anyone had a band-aid. No-one did, so about halfway through I commenced my quest for the never-ending fountain of band-aids. I limped bravely to the edge of K2, climbed down that grand mountain, and through the psychic tunnel down to the lair of the Glove. Thrice, I completed this epic journey, and each time I found my way barred by an invisible barrier. Each time I had to climb back up the unforgiving mountain to K2. What was I to do? The gong sounded and the last ever meeting of pie was adjourned. I was defeated! I followed everyone out to our base camp wondering how I will survive this sad, sad day. I was checking my supplies when I saw Princess Mulan in our base camp. She invited me to go with her to hunt for food. I told her of my search for the never-ending fountain of band-aids and she offered to help me. Now there was still hope! We trekked back to the edge of K2, climbed down its unforgiving slope, and made our way through the psychic tunnel. This time, the invisible barrier was gone. It was a miracle! I entered the lair of Glove and located the never-ending fountain of band-aids. It was then that I could claim my prize. Not one, but three band-aids! To celebrate we all went hunting for some food to be prepared for lunch later than day. Moving stealthily across the grasslands we spotted our prey. The grand teen of can. All it took was a few quick moves and we had it. Some celebratory lunch for Princess Mulan! Satisfied with our hunt, we returned to base camp.
So anyway, we spent most of the day signing people's dresses and getting ours signed by others. We took a break only to go to assembly, and even then people were signing each other's dresses. During period 4 I got recruited to accompany an act for final assembly tomorrow and spent most of that time doing that. My last French class was perhaps the most productive, with fifteen of the ninety minutes spent working on a listening task. After school I had choir, and it was after that the next weird thing happened. I got home from that to find that my mum was freaking out because she forgot I had choir and had started calling people to ask where I was. Whoops. I'd forgotten to make sure my phone was charged so she couldn't reach me, although I still think that calling people was an overreaction. And because of the whole blister thing I can't wear flats any more, so there goes my princess costume. I have no idea what to wear to the last day of school and the act at final assembly tomorrow will probably be a slight disaster :(
I've been 18 since April, but have only used the 'I'm 18' card a few times.
First time: Getting painkillers from sick bay without them calling my parents. I know, glamorous.
Second time: Getting photos taken to be published online without needing a parental release form.
Third time: Signing a petition.
And I think today makes the fourth time: Voting in my council election. I felt very adult-like looking through the things the candidates proposed and numbering those boxes from 1-14.
I suppose I can't really say that it is a completely boring list. Even though I've never bought alcohol or gone to a nightclub I have practised my right to a say and have an article with a photo with me in it floating around on the internet. But I haven't even drank any alcohol. Except for trying and hating church wine and a sip of champagne in Paris. Before I was 18. That my parents don't know about. Hopefully it stays that way. And in my defence it was new year and it was only a sip!
So I guess there are a lot of people that have been taking advantage of the whole being 18 thing a whole lot more than me. But I think I'd rather be me with my list of four things than be someone else with a million or so things.
People tend to exaggerate things. It seems to be the fashionable way to speak. One thing that I've noticed, is that people generally exaggerate about things they have no experience about.
I've heard quite a few people say 'I'm blind without my glasses' or something similar, myself included. None of us have any idea what it's like to be blind, and I don't think any of us know anyone that is legally blind. I don't. Comparing a little bit of blurriness to being legally blind is quite the exaggeration.
I've recently been trying not to exaggerate things because you never know who will hear you and react in a negative way to what you say. Exaggerations are often negative, and while they may not seem harmful for for, that negativity may harm someone else.
The reason I've realised this will require a bit of back story. Since I've started getting frequent migraines, I react in weird ways to phrases that before were completely harmless and even part of normal conversation. For example, the first time someone told me they had the 'worst headache ever' I stared at them for a short while. It was a perfectly common exaggeration that would have earned them sympathy if it wasn't me that they complained to. And the shock I felt at hearing it surprised me. Since then I've been trying not to exaggerate things, because apart from the effect it may have on people around me, exaggerating breeds negativity and I don't need that in my life.
Ever since I read this certain book about quantum physics, I've thought that electron are creepy. And they are. Reeeeally creepy.
In short, there's this experiment with two slits and if you fire an electron at those slits, it will usually create an interference pattern that suggests that the electron goes through both slits at once. Now, this is slightly creepy, but there is the explanation that the electron acts as a wave which minimises the creepiness as waves are more flowy than particles.
So, the pattern suggests that the electron is going through both slits at once. Now, suppose you want to know for sure and put a sensor on each slit to tell you what's happening while the electron goes through it. That will show you that it's going through both at once, right? Wrong. The electron decides to only go through one slit, and there is no interference pattern created. Electrons seem to be aware that you are watching them.
But wait, it gets better (worse?). Say you turn off the sensor. The interference pattern comes back. Turn it back on and it goes away again. Have it off, fire the electron and then turn it on? No interference pattern. Somehow the electron can tell that you are going to turn it on in the future. IT KNOWS WHAT YOU'RE THINKING!
So yeah. Electron are creepy. Really creepy.
I think I may be guilty of being mean to myself. I expect myself to be able to do the things I'd planned to do that day, no matter what. If something does get in the way, I try and do everything normally anyway and get frustrated with myself when I fail.
Nothing seems to be a good enough excuse. If I'm sick, well, it's not like I'm in hospital or dying so I should be able to do it anyway. If I'm in pain I should be able to ignore it. If I'm just too tired and can't be bothered I wonder if I'm just being lazy.
Does this sound a bit harsh? Because for some reason it's what I expect of myself, even though it sounds absurd when I write it down. And that's probably because it is absurd.
The weird thing is, people I know expect similar things of themselves. They try to do a million practise exams and get upset with themselves when they don't do them all. They compare themselves to everyone else and don't seem to get that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, that everyone one of them has something great and wonderful about them.
Writing that, I realise that it is so easy to tell people that they do too much and should not compare themselves to others, but in saying that I am technically a hypocrite because that is what I do myself. So, I need to make a conscious attempt at changing my own habits, because I can't tell anyone to change theirs if I am not making an attempt.
Be nice to yourself.
Let yourself rest when you are tired.
Put your health and well-being first.
Remember that sleep is not optional, but compulsory.
And make sure listen to your body and your inner voice.
Please, take care of yourself.
You know when you really want to do something so badly right now that it's almost impossible to resist? I've been googling stuff on the internet and it has ignited the fire to create something within me.
I've always liked making things. When I was little I'd make cars and houses out of lego for the smaller toys to use. Later on I got into making things on the computer. There were the houses I built on the Sims, the animated slideshows with a storyline on powerpoint, and when I got my first camera, the videos that I edited of my friends and me acting out random plotlines.
As I got closer to the age I am now, I lost interest in making things. I'd just moved schools, so I think I might have been a bit too busy for time-consuming hobbies. I think I did miss it though. In year 9 for my Independent Learning Project I decided to make a castle-like thing I'd heard about in Poland. It took ages but was well worth it, and I have something time-consuming like that in mind now.
I spent about an hour today googling wheat packs and rice packs because of this idea that I've had for a while that I have started obsessing about now, less than two weeks from my first exam.
Well, this is inconvenient.
At least it isn't the weekend before the exam that I'm getting obsessed about something. That happened last time and didn't end very well. Although with my luck I'll find something else to obsess about later. Or maybe just the same thing. Sigh.
Somehow I need to stuff this desire to make something in an imaginary bag (or should I say cage) and not let it out until after exams.
Why can't after exams be now?
Holidays are almost over, and so my final term at school will begin. I can barely believe that I have just over two weeks of school left and then am never going to take a school class ever again.
While I'm happy that I'll have this huge break from studying after November, I'm going to miss my school. It is such a wonderful environment to be in, and unfortunately the world seems to be its exact opposite.
I have so many plans for after exams that I don't know where to start. I have to keep reminding myself that I have to actually do the exams before it's considering after exams but I really wish I could do everything now. I'm wondering whether I should get a part time job somewhere, but then I wouldn't know where to go or how to start going about that.
At some point I have to find out about the music opportunities in my area. My school has a great music department with a lot of events which I've been part of in the last 4 years. Leaving means I can't do that any more, and I want to find some sort of activity to replace it. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens with that.
Only 48 days of studying left. Now, that's kinda scary.
I'm sitting here wondering if writing this blog post is even a good idea or not. Like, it's the internet I'm writing to, and I'm not entirely sure how many people read this thing. But I decided I'd write on this topic so I will.
Somewhere in March last year, things changed for me. It was a really dramatic change, and to this day I have no idea why. I remember it clearly because it was a public holiday but I was going to someone's house for music rehearsal. Somewhere in the middle of that day I got a headache. There was nothing particularly unusual about this headache, and I'd always been headache prone so I thought nothing of it. But the next day it was still there. And the next day, and the next. After about a month I told my mum I wanted to go to the doctor. She didn't seem to see why I'd want to, but took me anyway. The doctor said that I was just overstressed and that she saw it all the time and I should learn to relax and maybe try getting massages.
When I think back to the rest of last year I remember it as a blur of negative events with the occasional positive. And I held onto that positive. I treasured the time I could spend having fun with friends because for a while I could pretend that everything was fine with me. But things were not fine and I had no idea what to do. I went to a few different doctors and eventually learn what to say so they would take me seriously. Finally I got a referral to a neurologist. I'm particularly proud of that. At the beginning of the appointment that doctor seemed like she was going to dismiss me as a stressed out teenager but I got through to her by keeping calm and defending myself logically. At last, progress.
I wasn't sure exactly what else was happening at that time last year. I think I was being quite self-centred for most of that year and I really hope I didn't offend anyone by not taking enough notice in what was going on with them.
I went to the neurologist appointment in the September school holidays last year. Those holidays haven't really been liking me these past few years. Year 10, I got 8 teeth out, and then medical stuff in Year 11. The appointment was pretty uneventful, except I got told that I didn't seem to have a brain tumour or anything to cause anything to be wrong but I could get an MRI to be sure which I said yes too, and the neurologist said that I probably had migraines and then prescribed some stuff as a preventative. I have to admit I was kinda foggy throughout that appointment so I was only kinda paying attention.
So next problem: my mother. Mothers are supposed to be supportive and all that, but mine just happened to have a grudge about taking medicine daily. She was worried that it would destroy my liver or something. So to be fair, she had my best interests at heart. I had to argue for ages but she agreed that I could take the stuff until after exams. (Yes, I did play the doing-well-at-school card.)
Turns out that preventative worked for me. I was really happy :) With it I was managing to have days in a row without a headache which was great. It helped my desire to study as well.
I managed to get through exams okay, but not as well as I would have liked. Considering everything, I thought I did pretty well.
After exams was Orientation for Year 12, which I missed because I was going on French Exchange :) All was good, except for the fact that my mum wanted me to stop taking the stuff that was making me feel better than I had since March. I didn't want to, but she nagged and nagged and nagged (she is so good at nagging) and eventually wore me down. Yay.
France was fun except my migraines were getting worse. I was annoyed that I let my mum talk me into stopping the preventative and worried about what it meant. Since I found out I had migraines I had been doing a lot of research on it. I found a lot of info, including a few things that completely freaked me out, and I can't remember exactly what they were so I guess my brain blocked them out. Sometimes I wonder if there is such a thing as knowing too much about some things.
After I got back to Australia I had a neurologist's appointment. I found out that I definitely had nothing visible wrong with my brain (MRI results were back) and he (the neurologist) asked if the preventative had worked. Awkward. I had to tell him it had but my mum talked me out of taking it. He seemed to look at me as if I was very stupid and said something along the lines of 'why would you do that?' My mum was still in Poland so there was no argument when I asked my dad to buy me the stuff. He has a bit more faith in specialists.
It took until a few weeks before midyears for the preventative to start working a little again. It still wasn't enough to stop the week of midyears from being a nightmare. It was partly my fault, as I stayed up late on Sunday night writing something which was a really, really bad idea. On the plus side, this year I knew about special exam arrangements and applied for rest breaks. I really needed those rest breaks during the chem exam and I think it was all that turned it from being a complete fail to kind of okay. It was awkward at the end of the exam when everyone was walking out of the hall and people asked me why I was still sitting there and I was wondering if the examiners would have thought I was cheating if I explained so I just ignored everyone. Hopefully no one took offence.
The next day's three hour exam was surprisingly good, probably because there was a surplus of time. That said, I was exhausted afterwards and had to take the day off the day after. That day was a weird day, where I got into this weird depressed mood because I felt that I failed all my exams. It was temporary and I was fine the next day.
From then on the preventative didn't improve things further. I started looking into triptans and tried one out. I think I may be sensitive to the artificial sweetener in it because I feel worse, then a little better. Now things are really the same, but I'm starting to wonder if I should start telling more people what's been happening, even though it's a potentially awkward situation. I guess this blog post is a cowardly way to start doing that.
So that's the story of my migraines in short. Makes a very long blog post.