Or, Living with Chronic Migraines
It starts in third grade when your mom buys Juicy Juice instead of the tiny cans of Tree Top apple juice and suddenly the sun is way too bright and the smiling cartoon Jesus in your religion workbook looks all technicolor and sinister and like he’s talking mad shit to Zacchaeus. And you go home and sleep all day instead of playing “Rockstar Submarine Pilots” (real game we played) with your neighbors.
On the last day of your freshman year of high school, you get trapped in the unairconditioned auditorium for a special mass for the graduating seniors. You’re wearing your uniform blazer whose sleeves you haven’t learned to cuff yet because you’re a fucking goober and now you’re sweating to death through your ill-fitting Limited Too bra and Peter Pan collar shirt. The music is too loud and the noise on the street outside seems to come and go in waves. When you get home your dad is watching Buckaroo Banzai and you pass out on the couch with the left side of your head squeezed between two stiff Ikea couch cushions. You realize that when you get sick like this, your brain latches on to the last vaguely musical thing it heard and repeats it over and over and over again.
Some things your brain has played for you on repeat: Jeff Goldblum’s laugh, “Weeeee welcome you to munchkin land tra la la la la la la la la la la la”, The extended 30 Rock theme from the official show soundtrack, The first verse of “Hail Holy Queen”, The trumpets from “Crazy in Love”, The Jurassic Park theme
They’ll tell you it’s hormones. They’ll tell you it’s stress. They’ll say it’s also what you eat, how often you sleep and how bright the sun is that day. They’ll say it’s because you have small veins. They tell you to take Tylenol knowing full well it will do fuck all.
Your brain will just say, “Fuck you.”
Eat sweets on an empty stomach?
Less than 7 hours of sleep?
Hope you enjoyed that extra episode of Bob’s Burgers you watched last night, you dumb night-owl turd, because you’re paying for it today!
You learn to cope. You stop eating pretty much fucking anything fun because it will hurt you. You don’t drink beer. You don’t drink wine. You get really neurotic about your sleep schedule. You don’t go to the beach. You keep your entire house like the goddamn ice castle from Frozen that is apparently still a thing. You have mild traction alopecia on the left side of your hairline and eyebrow from shoving that side of your face (it’s always that side, behind your left eye) into your pillows. You drink a lot of caffeine but you don’t eat any cheese.
Your doctor prescribes you 50mg of Imitrex for the really bad headaches but what she doesn’t realize is that they’re all really bad headaches. Every time you go to pick up the nine pills (NINE) you’re allowed every month they always just give you your birth control by accident instead of the Imitrex. It reminds you that none of your Health Care Professionals warned you that taking Imitrex on your period makes you bleed like a Law & Order victim.
You call out of work and lie because no one would buy that you just had a “very bad headache”.
You turn off all the lights and close the blackout drapes your mother bought you for just such occasions (Which was very sweet of her and you really don’t need to be such a shit all the time.) and turn off all the lights and put your Sharper Image tower fan less than a foot from your bed. You take your pills and vaguely fantasize about being a formless entity without a head for headaches. You fall asleep while your brain replays Kendrick’s part in “Freedom” over and over and over again.
Your brain is an asshole.