This prompt is: 'Pretty Woman: What do you do to look good when you feel like crap?'.
I can almost say that I completely hate make-up. It’s annoying, feels weird on my skin… I guess I’m not used to it or I just don’t consider the increase in ‘prettiness’ worth wearing it every day. So I tend to save it for special occasions and even then I have to stop myself every few seconds from accidentally rubbing it off.
So it was strange when one day I felt the impulse to put some make-up on, just before going out. But not going out, going out, but just going out of the house to go grocery shopping with my mum. It was a day when I didn't just feel bad, I felt fragile and somehow putting on make-up helped make me less fragile, allowing me to go out into the real world without ‘breaking’.
In general though, I do nothing. I usually feel well enough to pass for normal, and then if I don’t people have stereotyped me as ‘quiet’ anyway. It’s funny how much difference a smile and a bit of a laugh at whatever’s happening can make in convincing everyone around you everything’s fine. One example is when I went to see Les Miserables with three friends. The ending made me and one other friend cry. The two friends who did not shed a tear throughout the whole thing (how could they!) were good-naturedly teasing the one friend who did cry about crying at the end but didn’t seem to notice that I’d been crying in the slightest. All I did was smile, laugh a bit at the teasing and nobody looked twice at me. Now, that’s not a serious example but I have used this before in other situations and it seemed to work as well. People tend to want to believe the best to be true.
I guess looking good doesn't have such a high place on my priority list. Like sure, I want to look nice enough, but I don't want to go to too much trouble, especially when I'm not feeling well.
‘When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There's a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone’
- You’ll Never Walk Alone, Carousel
Prompt 5 says ‘Carousel: You'll Never Walk Alone’, which happens to be the name of a truly amazing song.
I did this song for a bit in singing and immediately feel in love with it. It’s perfect in every way. It’s not just that the melody is beautiful in the simplest possible way. It’s the lyrics as well. But I’m guessing this prompt is supposed to be about the meaning of the song, not a rant about how wonderful the song is so I’d better stop praising it.
I can never say that I walk alone. I have a really supportive family and my friends are really great people. I’m not sure how that happened… my sister can’t say the same… but it’s really quite awesome :D
I don't know if my friends know what difference a simple conversation can make some days. I hope they do, but then is a conversation normally a big deal? Sometimes I wonde
I tried to find a youtube version of this song that I completely liked, and I couldn't but this one comes pretty close. The beginning's a bit too showy-offy for my taste but it gets good ones the singing starts. And when I say good I mean really good.
Prompt 4 is 'Finding Nemo: "Just keep swimming": How do you keep going in life when Migraine or another Headache Disorder deals you a difficult set back?'.
In short, I have no idea. Probably by exploiting my natural ability to be extremely stubborn. It's really quite a great asset. To tell you the truth, I chose this prompt purely because of that video, not because I had any particular insight into this topic. But I chose it, so I guess I should try to think of something to say.
I guess I live my life by the philosophy, 'it's okay to lose the battle, as long as it isn't the war'. If something doesn't go the way I would like, I don't think of it as failing, I think of it as a tactical retreat. Then, because of the whole stubbornness thing, I generally start plotting how to try to make it work again quite soon after.
That's not to say that it doesn't annoy me when things go wrong. It really does, sometimes more than other times depending on my mood. But in the end there's no point in stressing about it and it's best to use my energy in making a contingency plan.
So to quote Dory: 'When life gets you down do you wanna know what you've gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.'
Dory is a wise fish.
As I wrote earlier I'm picking and choosing my prompts due to exams, and the one I'm choosing first is 'The Hunger Games: "Happy Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favor": What healthy habits have you adopted to put the odds of better Migraine & Headache Disorders management in your favor?'
For some reason, I started answering this prompt, and then suddenly I had an idea for a fanfic. It may be a bit morbid of me, but I started wondering how having migraine would affect a tribute in the Hunger Games. Could it ever be considered a strength or would it only be a weakness? Anyway, to explore it I'm writing a fanfic. It's probably weird, but now I'm curious and I can't help but wonder. If anyone's interested you'll find it here.
Now back to the prompt. It's actually surprised me how much my habits have changed because of migraine. I sleep way more than I used to because I can't stand not to. I feel the need to drink water way more than I used to, so I've started carrying a drink bottle with me wherever I go, even for a short car ride. My food choices have changed ever so slightly. I try to stay away from MSG since I'm completely sure it's affecting me negatively in some way but it's hard to know what's in anything these days.
It's not much, but I guess it's better than nothing, and I'm always trying to get a little bit healthier in an attempt to make my life just a little bit better.
America has a National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Which I think is pretty cool. And the Blog Challenge is movie themed! So I've decided that even though June is also exam month I'll participate in a select few prompts (a.k.a the ones I think sound most familiar/coolest).
I've been thinking about using an elimination diet for a while to try and improve my general health (meaning the migraines and random headaches that might be weird versions of migraines, since other than that there is nothing wrong with my health). An elimination diet works by eliminating the food groups that are potentially causing me problems and reintroducing them for a day and waiting to see if I feel worse or the same. If I feel worse I'll know I should stay away from that food group and if nothing changes I'll know that it's pretty much safe. The original plan was to start the diet after June exams this year but with school and everything it was a bit much to change my diet so drastically. Plan B was to start it after exams. Hasn't happened yet, so I'm going to break it up into smaller pieces and use the new year as motivation.
The plan is to make one change a week, starting from the new year. Firstly, I will take a week to get into the habit of going to sleep between 9 and 10 each evening and waking up at 7 or 8 in the morning. Then I will take a week to get used to finding time to exercise each day. Then I'll start with the elimination diet, eliminating one food group a week, starting from the easier ones and getting to the harder ones in time. I'm going to go by the suggested food groups to eliminate here (put in order of how I plan to eliminate them) which are food colourings, artificial sweeteners, high sugar products like lollies, chocolate, peanuts, dairy, wheat, soy, corn and gluten. After a month or so I'll start reintroducing the groups by eating them one day and waiting to see what happens. So, I'll probably finish sometime in June. It's definitely going to be hard but I'm determined to see it through. It probably also helps that by writing about my intentions here, the plan becomes more real.
So to make it official: I vow as my new year's resolution to start and stick with this elimination diet until the very end as well as to keep a regular sleeping pattern and exercise at least a bit each day.
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...
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.
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.
If anyone is actually reading this blog, you may or may not have noticed that there is a badge with two ribbons on it just under the categories on the right. And they are not just there for decoration. They actually represent something.
Both these badges are symbols of migraine awareness, the purple one on the left for migraine in general, and the purple one with the red stripe down the middle on the right for chronic migraine. To explain migraine in general, I like the information these three posts about symptoms, life impact, and the biology behind it (just click on each topic to see the posts I speak of). Chronic migraine is classified as having migraine symptoms for fifteen or more days a month, for at least three months.
I have a badge with these ribbons on my blog because I want to show my support for raising migraine awareness. Not many people realise that a migraine is not just a bad version of a headache, but involves other symptoms, such as nausea, dizziness, confusion and many others. Not all symptoms have to occur at the same time, and it is actually possible to have a migraine without any headache at all.
So that's what the two ribbons on the right mean. Interesting that this explanation of a seemingly simple picture is longer than a lot of my other blog posts.