A Migraine

That’s what I woke up to in the middle of the night.  Two thirty in the morning and an intense pounding pain in my head woke me up.  It was one of those headaches, if you’ve ever had a severe headache, where I could hear the blood rushing through my veins, hear and feel my heart beat.  It hurt more to lie down than it did to sit up.  Sit up in the dark because the light hurt my eyes too much.

I haven’t had a migraine for a long time now.  I suffered with them before in the past, but literally when Kevin got sick, most of my ailments went away.  It was like I didn’t have time for them anymore.  A lot of things happened when Kevin was diagnosed.  Shock does crazy things to people, for me, I literally went through menopause.  Not long and drawn out for me, nope, I was done completely as of that moment in June of 2014 when we heard the words “you’ve got advanced cancer”.  Last night’s migraine was a surprise to me, I thought that they’d been banished forever too, but evidently I got that wrong.  Fortunately I had my meds, although expired, I’d kept them and ended up taking three doses before I settled the thing down.

I’m not really surprised by the migraine, things have been building up as I get closer to the one year anniversary of Kevin’s death.  I find that I am crying almost every day, small things set me off.  I’ve got no interest in going out or doing anything.  It’s even a push to sit down here and write out my thoughts.  I’m not eating great, not sleeping well; all of these things are likely contributors to the migraine.  I imagine myself right now as a plane that is trying to land but bouncing from wheel to wheel, precariously off balance. I don’t have confidence that I can land without some sort of damage.  That’s how I feel, off balance, out of control.

There’s no magic answer or proven coping techniques that I can use to get through this.  I have great family and friends all around me, but I am afraid that for these next couple of weeks we are in parallel but separate worlds.  I know that they are there, but I am in a different space altogether. I am back in the world of loss and sorrow, flying through a mist made of tears.  Not a journey I’d wish on anyone.

 

The Migraine

Yesterday, for the second time in the last month, I had a migraine.  A knock you off your feet, can’t open my eyes, wavy line, sick stomach migraine.  It had hit in the middle of the night and was at it’s peak by about noon.  The weather this summer has definitely not helped but there are other contributing factors at work too.  First of all, I truly believe that my constitution has changed significantly since Kevin’s death.  Thus, the medication that I am on affects me differently now, I think it has become too strong and my stomach can’t tolerate it.

Another thing significantly different since my husband’s death, is the way I eat.  As Kevin’s disease progressed we became more and more conscious of the foods we ate.  We focused on an alkaline diet supplemented by various minerals and vitamins.  I don’t remember having migraines, despite the stress, in the last six months before Kevin died.

After his death certain things became less important, one of those was meal planning.  I just didn’t care.  Didn’t matter what I had to eat, it all tasted like nothing anyway.  Since his death I had to adjust to it being just me, so there is little impetus to make a full or a balanced meal.  It’s easier to take something premade out of the freezer (if something’s there) or just have a bowl of cereal,or crackers and milk, put something in my belly to satisfy the feeling of hunger.

I will cook if I have a reason to cook.  If I am having family or friends over then I enjoy putting a meal together, but if no one is coming over, then no biggie – likely whatever I can find that is easy is it.  This I believe is a significant part of my problem.   Physically after a death there are things that happen, grief changes a person enormously.  Lack of strength, energy, confidence all knock you down very low.  Building back up is tentative, little steps, sometimes no steps, sometimes just standing is as good as it gets.  Add on top of that not eating properly and well, it’s laying the groundwork for feeling lousy in a different way.  No one wants to feel lousy, but sometimes we can be our own worse enemies.

I got up this morning and my hands and legs are both shaky from the migraine, from the drugs.  This is not a state I care to revisit, although I know I will since I’ve experienced migraines for most of my life.  However, if ever something was underscored for me this was it – I need to remember to eat properly.  I felt good eating alkaline.  It’s time to go back to what worked.

Burned Out

Light bulbs are throw-aways, people are not.

Burned out and useless.

It finally happened.  I managed to evade it for quite a while but it did catch up with me.  There’s many ways of saying it – ran out of gas, hit the wall, bottomed out or as the blog title states – burned out.  The last couple of months have been exhausting with so many highs and lows and not a lot of time in between.  Running from one situation to the next, never thinking, just doing.  So when life, reality or whatever you want to call it, catches up with you, it can be nasty.  That’s what I have been dealing with for the last three days now.  Migraine headaches that just take me right down.  I have great medication to numb some of the symptoms, but really my body is telling me to stop.  Rather, my body is making me stop.  Hopefully, three days in, I am on the other side of it now.

It is my fault and mine alone that I’ve got to this state.  Certainly my husband or my sister-in-law haven’t gotten me here.  In fact, both of them have told me to slow down, that I won’t do anyone any good if I don’t.  Truer words, right?  I suspect that this is the norm for a lot of caregivers; you try to be superhuman, but the crash, when it comes, makes you realize that all you’ve been is foolish.  I have heard it from everyone, how important it is to make time for yourself. Somehow, just like being a parent, making that “time” is secondary to absolutely everything else.  But it shouldn’t be – and it can’t be.  Because if you don’t make the time and you keep pushing and pushing yourself, then you bottom out – like I have.

The thing is, the only expectations that I have to manage are actually my own, not anyone else’s, just mine.  The expectations all along have been self-imposed.  My husband is happy for any support that I can give him.  He hasn’t criticized me, nor complained. It’s my own desire to be all things to all people that needs to be revised.  So, after being fairly useless for three days, it became apparent that the necessary things still got done – we ate, slept and got by.  There are some things that really can wait – they won’t go away – but in the grand scheme of things they are way down there.  Looking after myself needs to move a little higher up on my priorities list.