Bangkok, London, Notable Links, Personal

The Week of The Headache

Heachaches. Are. No. Fun.

I have always had headaches at various times in my life. I remember arriving in Bangkok and after the honeymoon period of being in a new exotic place, reality set in and I was plagued with migraines. And these were non-alcohol related, bend over, feeling nauseous, light hurts my eyes, can’t get out of bed headaches. I went to the doctor and they filled my basket with pharmaceutical goodies which were a sure fire way to get that pain right out of my head. And they worked. But I also wanted to know why I was having these headaches. They were coupled with intense stomach pain and the conclusion that was soon come to was, stress. So I started painting again and writing in a journal before bed to help clear my mind, because I was also having trouble sleeping.

All of these things worked eventually and when I moved into central Bangkok in an apartment on my own, I was home free. There had been several things that had contributed to the stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and stomache-achy nights. And soon after figuring those things out and coming to terms with them, I was able to stop taking the medicine. The headaches stopped. The stomach pains stopped -I also had to give up coffee for two years – yikes! And sleep became my friend again. And I was happy.

Fast forward to now. This week. And many other weeks like it since arriving in London and since using NuvaRing birth control. Well, this week was the first full week of headaches, whereas in the past they have been limited to a day or two. I have been watching these headaches and the time of the day, week or month they arrive. Because they are so painful, I can actually remember most of them and how debilitating they have been. They start off in the centre of my head and work their way out from my right side of my head to my left, until I have to 1) take lots of ibuphrofen to attempt at functioning or 2) stay completely horizontal. I haven’t made a trip to the doctor yet, because here in London, it’s not quite as convenient or posh as making a visit to Bumrungrad Hostpital in Bangkok.

While I always seem to find something to stress about in my life, I have been doing yoga as well as writing more. I am also working on a project that creates a balance in my life with doing what I have to do to survive – teach EAL at an international school about 45 minutes from where I live – and doing what I love to do – working with others to stop violence against women and have fun doing it! I am also in a loving and happy relationship with my husband who is the most supportive person ever, in more ways than the rest of the world knows. So, who needs to be stressed?

Of course I just chalked the headaches up to stress since that was the case in the past. But as I began to monitor them more, I realised they were arriving at the same time as my period. They would arrive the evening before in a dull, ‘here I come’, mode. Then in the morning when my ‘moon’ had arrived, my head would be screaming and to dull the pain enough to function, I would take migraine dose ibuprofen or maximum-strength tablets. The pain would become the background to my day in a dull, ‘I am still here’, fashion. But by the day after my period had started, the pain in my head started to subside. Hooray.

Enter this week. The Headache arrived on time, evening before my period, and then wham! exploded into the day my period started. But then. It did not stop. Every day this week, I have been plagued by a painful visitor inside my head, no matter what I do. Twice this week, I have had to leave work early and today, I am home from volunteering because I just couldn’t shake it.

We are now in day five of The Headache. I woke up with my head pounding. So first, I had the necessary intake of caffeine – yes, I am addicted, but I know how to tell the difference between these two type of headaches. Ate breakfast. Took two migraine strength tablets. Then I took a bath. Put cold compresses on my head and eyes. Did yogic breathing. Massaged my feet. Went back to bed. Couldn’t sleep but welcomed the warmth beneath the blankets and the relaxation.

After an hour and a half, I got back up. Still feeling groggy, but unable to sleep. Maybe The Headache is gone. I move slowly so as not to jostle my head and what is inside, because even though I have a headache, I still have things to do and I still need to be able to function. I am using positive thoughts to help keep the pain asleep and sitting in the dark. My mind is racing, and maybe, once I get these thoughts down, my headache will finally have left me. My period has finished. I have yoga this evening. I’ve finished casting the actors with their parts for TVM. I’m on holiday! And my period is gone, did I mention that?

But I have a feeling, The Headache will be back again next month, when my period returns. Now, on to find a solution…

Ok. I’ve just read the possible side effects to the NuvaRing, and although I love the convenience of it, I think that I am experiencing some of these side effects, particularly the headaches and severe mood swings/mild depression (bet you weren’t ready for that one!) since I also have severe mood swings two weekends before my period, always at the same time and experience the same feelings/emotions. May have possibly solved my own problem by just reflecting and doing a bit of research. Now I must come up with my plan of action.

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1 thought on “The Week of The Headache”

  1. i too, suffer from the same issues:

    stress, menstrual migraines and the unique ability to ponder what causes it…

    it sounds like you’re on the right path to healing what causes your migraines. i had to stop the use of birth control years ago due to my sensitivity to the side effects. however the nuvaring caused less then most.

    take it easy & talk to your doctor about getting a migraine prescription. i use imitrex, lavender oil and small amounts of caffeine.

    -s

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