tension

CW: thorough discussion of migraine pain/triggers

Today’s the day, I’m finally going to do it. I’m going to keep track of how much weed I smoke. I know it sounds like something a person should have a decent handle on. But sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing something. Like most of the time.

I’m on bowl #2 currently. I have A LOT of technical writing to take a look at until I work again at 7:30 tonight. Without boring you with details that serve no purpose, in general I work 7:30-10:30am every day (except Sundays which I’ve been taking off to write enjoyable things also a person should get to sleep in at least once in awhile) and then on my “busy” days I also crack out a 7:30-10:30pm set. Weekends are a little different, especially now in the summer. I must say without going into much about it, I really do love my current job. For many reasons, mostly it’s 100% work from home and that will never change. I found out, through nearly six painful years of my life, that I cannot work in a corporate office. Been there done that friends. My doctor best friend is like that, she’s always had an extreme aversion to an office. Coming from 11 years of retail I was ecstatic for a desk job. And then I proceeded to tolerate a toxic department at a garbage company that, again no details, has a bad local reputation. I’m not great at telling when I’m miserable. Not until something comes along and reminds me.

But I’ll be honest, lately I’ve been missing the beginning of this year when my biggest problem was hating my job and staring down the do I quit or stick it out dilemma. It’s like as soon as that got fixed other shit happened. Which, to be honest, I’m still pretty messed up about, which is more embarrassing than anything because I couldn’t matter less to the other party involved. Which, boy, what a *new* experience for me…(please, sense the sarcasm, even through the screen).

Other than that, I’ve been doing what I do best: exist, get things done. I mean, since I don’t think I’ll ever have kids it’s kind of like right this is my expectation for life. And you can find that depressing but it’s also liberating. Right? Don’t care.

Last night was really rough. And, for once, I felt compelled to document not only my weed consumption, but what happens to me.

When did they start? I recall some in high school, definitely in undergrad, definitely since then. The frequency and intensity is contingent on other things. And, without fail, when I’m in the worst throes of it I’m sobbing and overwhelmed by the idea that there are always things in my life making it terrible that I have no control over. Like. Well. You know his name. What it was I should say, as he is past tense.

The times I’ve sought medical help for them I’ve been told they sound like migraines, but mine are in my neck. It’s a tension migraine in my neck and it’s incapacitating beyond belief. There’s a long preamble, which you can sometimes try to ignore or mistake for allergy issues (which I have a great deal of, multiple times per year, living where I do, so this happens) or just not realize what it is until it’s too late. I have migraine meds, I’ve tried three now, the first two doing not much besides give weird side effects. I’ll be honest, last night I think it helped at least a little. That’s the thing, it’s usually short-lived relief and MAYBE you can fall asleep during that window and stay that way and wake up without the tension, but…I capped that word for a reason friend.

The pain itself starts on the sides of my head (easy to mistake for hunger/caffeine craving) and at the base of my skull where one would consider the neck to begin. Then, as time goes on, the muscles along the back of my neck and up my skull get harder and tighter. It’s noticeable to the touch for other people. It feels like what was once soft muscle has been replaced with steel, and also the back of my head feels like its being pulled towards the base of my spine.

The plan of action is to take a Tylenol sinus just in case this is rough congestion, could very well be. Then an Imitrex because they take forever to kick in and it might not help anyway, so start that possibly useless process ASAP kid. Then, obviously by this point the full-on migraine sensitivities are upon you, light and noise are excruciating, everything causes nails on a chalkboard type pain, you’re amazed at how many tiny sources of light are in your house. I have thrown up from migraine pain three times. It’s horrendous and exactly what you think, it’s like you’re in such pain you’re sick to your stomach from it. I’d never known what that was like until my late twenties. Which I guess is good in a way.

For my neck I used to think heat was the answer, but it did nothing. Freezing my neck/head as much as possible is the best route. It sometimes helps enough to get me to sleep. I don’t know if it’s just that it numbs it or that the cold shrinks blood vessels and over-surged blood vessels were the problem to begin with. I don’t know the science I know what might bring me some relief. The door of my freezer is dedicated to housing the different freezing implements I use when I have one of these.

Then, after you’ve taken the drugs available and chilled yourself as much as possible, it’s time to play contort yourself in the weirdest position possible to get comfortable and attempt to fall asleep. If you’re in too much pain to sleep then lie in the dark and try to be as comfortable as possible. Again, this might not be a capability, then you’re just thrashing around crying.

I don’t know why they make me cry. If it’s the pain, the mental fatigue I know I’m about to endure, or my body’s attempt to run my sinuses open, which sometimes definitely helps the whole situation. So. Probably all three.

So last night I went to bed with what I knew was one of these, hoping I’d just sleep it through, which can happen. Yeah no. Two hours later I awoke after a dream during which I KNOW I removed my retainer and handed it to someone. I’m always doing that then I have to rip our bed apart finding it the next day. A king bed is a horrible thing to own except when you’re sleeping on it. Anything else you’re like fuck this stupid giant mattress. I nearly got stuck under it. Anyway.

I slept on the couch to spare my husband the sleep loss, he can’t do anything anyway beyond massage my neck/skull, which he definitely is better at than me, he has stronger hands, obviously. But, again, he had to work so why should he also not sleep. Also the couch is the coldest spot in the house. We have central air but like…sort of. Our kitchen and bedrooms pretty much aren’t air conditioned but the bathroom and basement and living room get blasted. This is our first rental with central air in like 8 years so I don’t care.

I fell asleep sitting up for a few minutes at a time while the Imitrex kicked in. You know why you can tell it MIGHT start making you feel better soon? The side effects start. Because whoo boy let me say those are always going to happen. It’s mostly having to piss like 3 times more than your usual, which is SO cool when you’re desperately trying to sleep. Then there’s the weird shaky legs. You know the tremors you can get when you have a bad fever? It’s like that in your legs and maybe arms. Again, these things are wildly worth it if it works. IF. You can also wait two hours and take another if you don’t think it worked. Yes because we all want to lose that much sleep while we’re in incredible pain.

Between 1 and 6am this morning I slept maybe 2 hours collectively.

And then, post migraine, there’s this AWESOME period I have always called “drained hyper fatigue.” The only thing that comes close is when you’re incredibly hung over and your entire body just hurts. It’s that without the other hangover issues. Your neck no longer hurts but it’s incredibly sore. Usually, for whatever reason, my abs are very sore from it like the crying and possible retching must do it. Also, maybe from the migraine, maybe the meds you had to take on an empty stomach, you’re going to be “am I going to vomit” queasy for awhile too.

Then it’s over. It’s like IDK a 6 hour process? They’re so fucking terrible I find myself annoyingly happy to just be alive afterwards.

This morning I taught 3 short classes but cancelled the long one I usually teach at 9:30. I just couldn’t. I’ll work again tonight and tomorrow morning and then will be off until Monday morning. Which is good because I have 12000 words due by the end of the month and by the “end” they mean like 8 days before that. It’s not impossible because these writing assignments are hilariously broken down. Like they almost feel like a paper I’d have written in grade school. There’s literally an intro and outro section.

It’s WILD to me that somehow at 33 I fell backwards into two jobs that I actually like that actual have like…a  glimmer of similarity with all of my stupid and stupidly expensive degree work. I’m not devaluing anyone else’s college achievements, truly, I just think it’s all a big quasi-intellectual echo chamber circle jerk and that would be fine if people would admit it but you know they don’t. So it’s nice to be like…huh…if I told someone me degrees (BA/MA both in English language and literature) and my current jobs (English tutor, technical writer) like…holy shit those things sound right??? No way.

So, in an effort to actually talk about something positive that makes me happy, I know right it’s surprising I can even identify them given my usual tone on here, I actually do really like my jobs.

One good thing is my job makes it possible for me to work around migraines. I’ll be penalized slightly for a last-minute cancellation, within 4 hours is frowned at. Anything less than 4 days’ notice isn’t great. But if you can’t you can’t, as I like to say. But only to myself after I’ve considered putting myself through something.

Were you wondering if my substance abuse problems help with migraines? Well, booze isn’t wonderful, because the stomach issues I’m already going through make me not want to add more acidity to the situation. Also, there’s a warning right on the Imitrex about how mixing with alcohol may cause excessive dizziness. I should scribble out that last word and write “awesomeness.” It’s not good, I’m SURE it’s really linked to doing something terrible to your liver, but my lord being drunk and taking an Imitrex is…some shit. I’ve never done it for fun, mind you.

Does weed help? Well, as is always the case with weed, it does not help remove pain in any way, BUT if it can help you relax/concentrate on not your excruciating pain/fall asleep, then yeah it brings some relief. But like last night I couldn’t be bothered with the effort, not when I kept having to walk upstairs to piss and back downstairs to attempt to fall back asleep because our bedroom is 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house at night. Having a shut door doesn’t help but this is the life I chose when I got a cat named Lily so here I am.

How often are they? About once a month. Sometimes they seem to coincide with periods sometimes they don’t so it’s possibly a hormonal thing? It’s on the Official To Do list, going to a different doctor for this situation. I never said enough to my old doctor for him to suggest a neurologist. I also now live by one of the best hospital networks in the state. If you’re keeping track I’m nearly done with my third bowl of today.

I now have 9 hours until I must work again. I am entirely ready for classes tonight, as all it involves prep wise is taking notes for the vocab words I’ll use for extra material at the end, if needed, and it’s almost always needed. Tonight I have 4 short classes and then one long, all right in a row, which…my fuck does your face hurt after that. But the things I used to make my head/neck/face cold because migraines also work for soothing this so there I go.

That’s my migraines. I wish a lot of bad things would happen to those I merit deserving of such but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. It’s literally debilitating. At my terrible trucking company job the only thing that ever made me leave work early was a migraine. Because the last thing a person can do is sit under fluorescent lighting and stare at a computer screen in that condition. I tried many times.

Not much else is happening in my life. My husband is going to be gone all weekend next weekend, he’s going camping at a Beer Fest of some sort with friends. Which, cool, I’m glad he has fun plans, he needs them, he’s as depressed as I am if not more so. But also it just fucking depresses me that, if I so desired, I could have sexy plans for the entire weekend. Or, if not sex, could have first dates lined up with people I found interesting enough to meet.

As luck would fucking have it, given the freedom to do literally anything I want sexually I…do nothing. I mean take “literally anything I want” not SO literally, but like, aside from treating someone like they’re my husband or wanting to move in/marry someone else it’s pretty much whatever.

And I even like the concept of having a boyfriend as well. It’s not that I’m against it. Theoretically. But. Have you ever looked into the WORK involved when you’re like me? See I don’t know what that is, because I, and see if you can follow this, don’t like labeling myself. I feel like we’ve become a label-fixated culture. For good reason in some cases, so please, spare me, BUT also…I think there’s a definite need to assign yourself as many badges as possible today. I hate doing it. What’s my sexual orientation? The fuck idk usually just dudes but I’m an alcoholic so you know, the weird down for anything most of us are. If you know, you know. What are my exact mental illnesses? IDK extreme childhood trauma and I’ve been in therapy for years; I’d say with extreme confidence depression is on the list. I’m not frequently anxious, though at times it happens. You think with the coffee and the weed I’d be WAY worse on that aspect. I always did a counselor not a psychologist/psychiatrist so I never dealt with someone wanting to do sessions plus meds. I’ve never been confused on my gender (and having pronouns in your social media bios is inclusive/supportive and annoys bigots so explain how that isn’t win/win), but the rest of it…eh, please, circle back to me.

So. Part of what I don’t feel like labeling is the idea that I have ZERO interest in randomly fucking people. Even the hot ones. Even ones who seem like cool people. It just grosses me out. Plus…the effort involved in having app profiles and filtering through everyone and actually getting a conversation going, the guy not being some creep or skeezbag or drastically less good-looking than I initially thought while being swipe generous, it’s soooo rare. I just. I’m tired thinking about the usual process. I always start a profile get overwhelmed and quit a few days later. What have I tried? A varying number of times: Bumble, Tinder, Feeld, Swing Lifestyle, FetLife, OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish, Adult friend finder, maybe others? I even had a paid OK cupid for a month once. To no avail.

Because for it to be worth it at all I would need to actually like the guy and be attracted to him. In either order. But do you want to know how many times that’s happened in the last 6 years? Three. How many times did it actually work out for me? Once. The first time. I can’t tell if I should give up or if this is trial and error. Ryan did the opposite of devastate me. In fact he’s the only guy who’s ever held that distinction. Ever. Out of the ones that have mattered to me. His raging drinking issues were to be expected, and not being his wife or official girlfriend my terrible person traits regularly reminded me that his DUIs and ER wake ups were not my issues. They weren’t but I guess you could argue having me in his life gave Ryan extreme motivation to not achieve anything, I mean a hot woman came to his house to fuck him on a regular basis and all he had to do was…you know be good at what he was good at. I guess when I talk about him like this it sounds like I was using him. Which, maybe I was. But what was he doing? No one that far gone with alcoholism is capable of forming a real attachment, I refuse to buy the one time he, blackout OFC, said he loved me then repeated it when I ignored him. We already acted like we loved each other, and deep down he actually had an issue with my being married. The unspoken truths he ruined on two different blackout occasions, one standing by his dad’s jet ski lift, the other driving home from a bar and grill where he’d thrown up antipasto salad all over their men’s room. I’m sorry he didn’t get better. He must have steadily declined in the six years since I’d last spoken to him.

Read that underlined sentence again. The exact same thing is true of my father. They both drank themselves to death, they both did so after I didn’t speak to them for six years, they both fucking loved Star Trek. Ryan was very into freemasonry (his unfinished chest piece was the pyramid thing) and my dad’s dad was a 33rd degree Mason (we have a sword that proves it, because I guess you get a sword at that level), his wife was an equivalent in Daughters of the Nile, which was the female counterpart because obv the wives needed somewhere to hang as well. Weird what they have in common, isn’t it? Even the living by a lake, though my dad grew up that way, poorly, as many lake community folk actually do, and Ryan only did so after grad school when he had no options but a rent-free room at his father’s.

The difference was that I thought Ryan would get better. You take for granted that someone your age might already be too far gone. I’m really sorry if I somehow contributed. I probably did. I don’t know what more I can do now though.

Since Ryan there was grad school guy, and although I’m not pissed anymore it’s not like that’ll ever be anything. And that was just a horrible instance of being like…why did you spend like a month getting me to like you only to horribly reject me when things got really intense?

Oh that sounds exactly like what happened earlier this year? Yes I think so too. The difference is grad school guy lied and I have no idea what happened with this last one. My last email went unanswered so like fuck that I’ll try reaching out again. If you’re not worth responding to you’re not worth responding to.

I’m wildly impressed if anyone has read this far. Enjoy it while you can, lord knows I’ll get embarrassed and turn it private soon enough.

~Cassie

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