Silent Misery

From childhood on, I endured horrendous migraines. The typical headache started on the left side of my neck, crawled up to my temple, and there it did sit for three days, hammering away at my sanity. Nothing worked. Not the wonder drugs, not dietary restrictions, not massage, certainly not exercise, not acupuncture. Nothing.

Life was hard, and I felt cursed. Eventually, I realized that if I caught the stinkin’ thing early, early, early, at the first twinge of neck pain, and hit it with caffeine, and never, never, never consumed caffeine for any other purpose, I could sometimes knock a headache down. Sometimes.

After a few years of focusing on early detection, I realized how many migraine triggers I have: Fatigue, dehydration, low blood sugar, stress, anxiety, overexertion, overheating even if I wasn’t exercising, prolonged noise, sitting in the truck all day no matter how happy I was to be on the road, working out too hard… Except, wait a minute.

These stressors might not give everybody migraines, but they aren’t subtle. The human body is designed to signal when it’s in want of something basic—like food, water, rest, quiet, movement, warmth, cool—and my triggers were simple indeed.

Fast forward, to me on the phone with a foster mom, who’s lamenting that the foster child in her house is impossible to put to bed. Little Britches is up roaming half the night, though he might fall asleep in school. He’ll eat until his stomach rebels but will also skip multiple meals without thinking anything of it. He still has accidents though he’s in kindergarten. The boy is a rolling wreck, and when foster mom asks him why he does what he does, the kid can’t understand the question.

This child and I have something in common. He’s learned to focus on his outward environment intensely and at all times, because when your parents are substance abusers, or mentally ill, you dare not take your eyes off them. You learn to live without sleep, without regular meals, and so forth, because your survival depends on being able to ignore bodily needs, even bodily urges.

I was never abused as a child (thank you, Mom and Dad), but I suffer vestiges of the SuperMom complex, and have to accuse myself of self-neglect, at least. I bit off more than I could chew, and might have gotten better about asking for help, except I was an utter failure at recognizing when I even needed or deserved help. I often didn’t know when I was thirsty, hungry, lonely, tired…. What I knew, was that my to do list never ended. No wonder life was tough.

I’m happy to report I haven’t had a bad headache for years. My grandma and my dad noticed their migraines abated as the kids left home, the career settled down, and the finances came to heel, though my dad also swears inchoate hardening of the arteries probably helped too.

I don’t think so. I think Paying Attention is the start of a lot of wisdom, and one of the things we expect of ourselves toward our loved ones.

So this week’s question (drum roll please): What signals to you that you need some TLC? How do you know you need to delegate, say no, put your feet up, or otherwise circle the wagons, and how did you learn this about yourself?

And of course… To one commenter, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ll give away a $25 Amazon card and signed copy of Joanna Bourne’s “The Black Hawk,” which is about the best romance novel I have ever read, and infinitely more worthy of attention than a boring old to do list.

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64 comments on “Silent Misery

  1. Migraines are horrible and I too would get them for exactly 3 days and nothing helped. I suffered with them until menopause and then they disappeared bo I have to assume mine were hormonal. My oldes daughter gets them but more often than I did. She has had head scans, goes to a chiropractor and now acupunture. She says they’ve lessoned somewhat. My answer to stress has always been reading. I make a point of reading every night and sometimes during the day. That seems to work for me. Now my daughter needs to find her answers to that question.

    • Jeanne, probably harder than suffering through your own headaches is watching your daughter deal with them. Did yours sometimes wait a day and come back on the other side? THAT was awful.

      My dad’s theory about hardening of the arteries helping end migraines has come medical cred, and as for hormones causing migraines… every week of the month?

      • My daughter didn’t start really getting migraines until after she was out of the house (around 19 or so) so don’t know if that means anything. She can get 3-5 in a month. I know if she doesn’t get enough sleep sometimes that triggers it and maybe some foods. It’s so hard to pinpoint.

        I mainly only got one 3 day migraine a month (sometimes 2) but I use to get all other kinds too – cluster, sinus, sensitivity to smells etc. Sometimes it would switch sides but mine were usually on the right and down my neck. If I could have chopped off my head I would have lol. I also started getting auras which messed up my eyesight for a short period). Sometimes (but rarely) I can still get the auras without the headache. I am so glad that I no longer get them.

  2. I never ever cry……but my signal when life has been too hard for me or on me is a bout of tears for a while. Right now I’m living with a girlfriend after moving back to GA from Iowa and trying to find a job, and getting turned down right and left. I miss my own things- everything is in storage including my books. She and I get along fine, but my life is very unsettled right now. So about every other week I have a pity party for myself, cry for an hour or 2, then tell myself to ‘buck up’.

    • Sheila, I was laid off a couple times, the hardest time being when I’d acquired a house, the kid was about two, I’d moved to the country where I knew nobody, and was laid off with no notice. Big weeps, big anxious, big feeling like a failure because I wasn’t always on top of everything no matter what.

      Big mistake to think anybody ever could be. I hope things work out for you soon, and will keep you in my thoughts. Looking for a job IS a job.

  3. When I have a feeling that I dont want to be around myself, I realize that if I feel this way about myself, I can only imagine how my family feels when i am stressed. I used to not like to say no, after realizing that it makes my life crazy not to, so I learned to say no. I dont feel as stressed and I am a much happier person.

    • Learning to say no is like a secret rite of passage nobody tells you about. It can be the most marvelous word in the language (ask any two year old, who’s reportedly heard the 70,000 times in his or her short life).

  4. I get quiet and antisocial. I am normally an outgoing, gregarious person, but when I hit a low, I just clam up. Painwise, it’s everyday — since I am trying to get around more without my cane. My ankle doesn’t want to flex or support my weight by the end of most days… after seven years, I still don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

    • Mandy, my dad hates his cane too. Dude is 92, lucky to be above ground sucking air, much less locomoting on his own two, and he hates the cane. Leaves it everywhere and anywhere, falls all over the place for want of it, and thinks the only thing worse than a cane is needing two canes.

      Hang in there. There’s a difference between accepting a tough situation and giving up.

      • I am only 30, though, Grace. I hope to make it to 92 like your dad. That’s awesome! I think in another 62 years, I may just have the hang of it… I didn’t give up when they said I’d never walk again. Not going to start wimping out now. ^_^

  5. I learned a long time ago (14 years ago when my husband joined the Army) that I was going to have loads of stress, all the time, sometimes without an end in sight. It wasn’t bad at first. We had a 4 month old son when he joined and went to Basic Training. I stayed busy, worked overtime (had free childcare from my younger sisters who loved being aunties), and got through the 5 months of him being gone. Then we got to our first duty station (first time away from our families) and got pregnant again right around our son’s 1st birthday, during my 1st 80 degree and higher summer ever. I started learning body triggers because I was sick for 8 months strait with my second son. Then came our third son 2 years later followed by another move. When he was 2 my husband deployed for the first time. I had 3 boys ages 6, 4, and 2 who missed their daddy and tried my patience! I started looking into programs that offered childcare. The Boys and Girls club nearby had a special program for spouses whose husbands were deployed and they offered FREE childcare, up to 8 hours a week! I started taking “Me Time” during this wonderful block of 4 hours at a time. After my hubby returned from that deployment, he asked me what had helped me get through it. He started giving me “Me Time” every weekend that he was home and took the boys hiking, fishing, camping, to the movies, anything that gave him time with them and me time alone. We have since had a 4th son and gone through 2 more deployments, 2 more moves and Drill Sergeant Duty, which involves 5am-9pm days for 10 weeks at a time. It can still be hard but taking the time to focus on myself and to give the kids time with their dad alone, makes for a lot less fighting, stress and breakdowns. 🙂

    • Kylan, good lord, I hope you’re writing a book. My mom had seven kids. Long about kid number four she went into a significant depression, though sixty years ago, nobody sought help for “the blues.” She’d dress up, tell my dad she was going to visit a girlfriend, and drive around the backroads crying.

      Good on you for not letting it get to that, and thank heavens for even a few hours of free child care. (Note to self: Offer to watch other people’s little kids.)

      • Actually, I started writing romance last year. I was feeling lonely after moving away from my best friend and started writing as my “Me Time”. It has been very good for me. 🙂 I think I have a long way to go to actually finishing a book. But I am loving it!

  6. Great post on a great topic. I think for some of us self-care is the last thing we tend to. As a mother of young ones I often find myself neglecting the hungry and trying to hide emotions. When I read the title I thought how appropriate for me right now. I lost my dear grandfather this week and laid him to rest. I spent precious moments with him before he passed and was grateful. At the funeral I ran into a lost love and was able to get better closure with him. But after our conversation layers upon layers of grief poured out of me. The signs for me are not sleeping, not finding any food appetizing and tears that come and go for a few days. I’ve learned as a mother that I have to reach out to friends who can let me spill the overwhelming feelings and ask for help from my husband so I can have a nice long bath listen to music and let the tears flow. I’ve lived in silent misery most of my life but today am happy to say that the funks get shorter and the joys longer. I am an emotional being so I let it flow, try not to let it hinder my daily routines and take the time to nourish my heart, body and soul. And when things get too overwhelming I call in the professionals.
    My husband also suffers migraines and caffeine helps him too. I am grateful to be in tune enough with my body to know when I need some soul healing.

    • Allison, geesh. Loss of a loved one is WAY up there on the old stress-o-meter, as is parenting small children. Those early parenting years, when you’re asleep before your head hits the pillow, there’s never enough time, and never enough money, are so, so hard. Every body used to tell me those years would fly by, and I’d be waving good-bye to Beloved Offspring before I knew it.

      Wrong. Those years do not fly by, they creep and writhe and sometimes jog by, but once they’re past, they’re past for a long, long time. Glad you get some help from Mr. Allison, and that you’ve found the professionals who CAN help.

  7. When my kids were small, at least three times a week I would hand them over to my husband when he got home from work and soak in a very hot tub and read. My husband wouldn’t let them any where near the bathroom. Now I watch my grandchildren and when they leave for the day my sights are set on a nice long, hot soak in the tub. Not everyday of course, but a couple of times a week. I just finished read “The Black Hawk” about a week ago and loved it! Thanks for a great giveaway!

    • Mary, you put me in mind of the children’s book, “Five Minutes Peace,” where Mrs. Large (an elephant) thinks she’s going to finally, finally find five minutes peace from her kids by having a nice, hot bath. The kids find out what she’s up to, grab their toys, and climb into the tub with all their toys.
      Mom gets 3.47 minutes of peace when she climbs out, and leaves the tub to the children.

      I love Joanna Bourne’s books. They are on my re-read loop and never fail to take me to a good place. If you win the giveaway, I can send you a Spymaster’s Lady instead of TBH.

  8. I will actually get so tired that I feel sick to my stomach. I won’t feel like I need to sleep or anything, just a really bad ache in the pit of my stomach. I know immediately that I have to go lay down. I also suffer from headaches, they are related to my cycle, one week before the headache comes on and does not go away until my time is over. They are something fierce and I have never found anything that helps them. My OB/GYN says they are not related to that time of the month, but you can set a clock by them and I’ve read about it online..just my doc who says No. It’s very frustrating. My aunts, uncles, cousins, dad and I all have migraines… we kind of have a network going if someone finds something that works, they let everyone else know so they can try it too.

    • Rhiannon, sorry to hear that migraines plague you too. Many people find if they can get to sleep, then the migraine is gone when they wake up, probably because many migraines have an 8-hour fuse. My dad said his were impervious to treatment, and if you read the small print, the Triptin drugs only work for about half the people who takes them.

      Caffeine was the only thing that sometimes worked for me, and if and only if I used it at no other point, and took it IMMEDIATELY, at the very first twinge.

  9. So you and Lady Eve have something in common (besides horses and family of course).
    In the past I had two signals to watch for: crying and dropping things. Now my body tells me to take care of myself by demanding sleep –in large amounts. When I can honor this request I feel so much better the next day.
    To anyone reading–Take time to care for yourselves!

    • Kathy, we do! As an author, I cast around constantly for what the sequence of action in a book might include. How does a man find himself caring for a woman, despite both of their preferences to the contrary?

      My former spouse could tell when I had a headache just by looking at my eyes. This amazed me, because sometimes he’d ask if I had a headache, I’d stop and think, and realize he saw the headache before I’d even acknowledged the rat-bastard headache was creeping up my neck. Wow. He paid more attention to me in this regard than I did to myself. Hero stuff.

  10. Sometimes I’ll get so busy I don’t even realize I’m stressed. Then when I get a few minutes to myself, I’ll realize that my teeth are clenched, my foot is tapping, and my nails are chewed as far as they’ll go, all without conscious awareness. When that happens I make sure to carve out at least an hour to myself to get a cup of coffee and a pastry and read a romance novel in a quiet coffee shop. As long as I have time to have a quiet breakfast with only the company of my romance novel and my cup of coffee, I can keep my stress level to a manageable level.

    • In her worst, most exhausted, broke, bewildered childrearing years, my sister would get up at 5 am, because it was the only way to have that early hour to herself. Without that, the whole day suffered.

      And romance novels are magic. Good thing for me, Nora Roberts’ Turn the Page Bookstore is on my way home from work. If all else failed, I could duck in there, grab a couple good reads, and still make the daycare deadline.

  11. I used to get those horrible migranes all the time before I realized I was stressing myself out. I work all day then I come home and straighten the house, cook dinner, bathe my son, do laundry and the list seems like it could go on forever. I would get those headaches everyday. Finally, I started relaxing more and put my husband to doing more of the things I was doing. It helped. Now to relax, I grab my Kindle and catch up on my reading and I make myself not do as much as I was pushing myself to do.

    • How wonderful, that you didn’t get so frazzled you couldn’t see the pattern, and that your spouse stepped up. My house doesn’t look as spiffy as I want it to, but I tell myself working on the writing (in addition to the day job) will make it possible some day to take better care of the house.

      And maybe of the home owner, too.

  12. I never suffered from migranes till I got married. I love my hubby but sometimes I could just smack him for being the idiotic lovable guy he is. He doesn’t know why he is doing things but I am the one that worries herself sick over it. I am walking on a tightrope to accommodate him but also trying to teach him to change his ways gently so that he is not causing me too much grief. My TLC is my book world. I will curl up in bed or on the couch and read. If he pisses me off or I just don’t want to watch what he is watching (yes, we are a one TVset household) I retreat to the bedroom and end up in a historical romance with lots of drama and love and well, you know, you are writing that stuff.
    I noticed though that ham is triggering my migranes too. (so not every migrane is triggered by MM). I love my ham but unfortunately I refrain from buying it. I have reduced the migrane attacks down to a third with that.

    • Ham? I wonder if nitrosamines are the culprit in which case organize ham should be tolerable.

      I live in a TV free zone, and have since I left college. Like you, my happy place was reading romance novels… and still is.

  13. My headaches started in high school and turned out to be a symptom of depression. After about 6 months of suffering they went away. After I had kids I started to have occasional migraines, that seemed to be related to being out in the sun too long. Most of my headaches, though, were tension and sinus. After suffering from a sinus infection for over 6 months that wouldn’t clear up with meds, I had a couple of CT scans done to determine that the problem was in the very back set of sinuses (sphenoid) which are nearly impossible to touch with drugs. I didn’t know we had four sets of sinuses. My only option for relief was surgery. So I decided I would have the short, out patient, procedure done so I wouldn’t have to suffer with the pain any more. Unfortunately, that minor surgery changed my life forever. Actually, I don’t know if it was the surgery, but everything points to it being the case, but 4 days later I was back in the hospital thinking I was literally dying. After 5 days in the hospital and numerous tests it was concluded that I now have something known as Occipital Neuralgia which is basically nerve damage to the occipital lobe in the back of my head. The pain is constant and medicine only takes the edge off. There are other medications that might help, but they would not allow me to function. I was a walking zombie for the first month after my hospitalization, until we started weaning some of the meds away. As a mom to four growing boys, three with special needs, I need to be able to function in life and get them to and from all their various therapy appointments. My first neurologist assured me that having nerve blocking injections in my head would heal me completely and was upset with me when after 3 treatments I was not any better. I found another neurologist who adjusted my meds a little better, but was honest enough to tell me I would always have pain. Not only with the neuralgia but also because I have scattered headaches as well. We can only try and manage the pain. By the way, the sinus surgery didn’t clear up the sinuses, but I hesitate to do surgery again.
    Sad to say that last year I let the house go and stopped cooking meals, just fixed fast and easy things for everyone. It was a year of learning how to live again. This year I am trying to get back to keeping the house clean and maybe cooking all those meals my husband misses. I don’t get a lot of time to myself. My youngest is always with me when he is home. He is three, non-verbal and sweet as can be, but likes to be with me. If I lock the bathroom door he lays outside and cries as if I had died. Sometimes I don’t know if it’s better to let him come into the bathroom or to have to listen to him cry. When I read my books he sits in my lap, when I get to take a nap he naps with me, When I do cook, he sits at my feet, yet, he has no problem when the bus comes to get him for preschool. That is when I get two and a half hours of alone time, 3 days a week. Those hours are filled with grocery shopping ALONE, cleaning, my doctor’s appointments and occasionally relaxing with a book.
    When things are at their worst I notice I snap at the boys more and start feeling angry inside. That’s when I know I am in serious need of not always alone time, but just some time spent with an adult who can carry on a conversation. Unfortunately, that does not always describe my husband as he comes home from work and doesn’t want to talk at all. I like to get out of the house and have some girl time, which maybe happens once every two months or so. I know one day (hopefully) it will be easier to do.

    • Oh, Sarah… If ever a gal did not need a gratuitous whammy from the medical profession. I’m sorry this has befallen you. It isn’t fair, and you’re a trooper for fighting your way back to cooked meals and swept floors. I’ll bet there are times you want to howl just as loudly as your three year old.

      Don’t give up. It may not get appreciably better in the near term, but you’ve probably developed a support network that can expand, and you’ve gotten more savvy about coping with your burdens.

      Will keep you and yours in my thoughts.

    • sarah, my heart feels for you. i had surgery to correct a problem, it not only didn’t correct it like yours but gave me a one in a mill chance worse condition. i have always felt blessed that my youngest was in high school and driving then. i just couldn’t imagine have young ones, and with special needs at that. just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and know you have many praying for you. i hope you are reaching out for help.

      • Thank you, Tina. I just read your story and it sounds very similar. Thankfully I have my wonderful parents nearby to help out, but I don’t like to bother them all time. Other than that it’s just me.

  14. I really had to stop and think about this one…
    The only way I know that I’ve had “enough”, and need to re-group, is when I fall down. Literally. I have been a single parent since 1994, and I worry that if I ever stop, I might not get going again. So, I don’t stop until I can no longer function in any capacity. Then I shut down my mind and body. Well, honestly, it shuts itself down and I have no choice but to cooperate.
    My son is 22 yrs old now, but I can’t seem to get out of this cycle. Probably need to work on this.

    • Tracey, a conflict management professional once told the rule of thumb in his field is however long it took you to get into a snafu, it might take you that long to get completely free of it. That’s not to say you won’t see immediate improvement, big leaps forward, and all kinds of encouraging developments, buy you parented that kid on your own for years and years and years… My naturopath says she has seen it take five years for a woman’s adrenals to right themselves after the last kid leaves home.

      Beloved Offspring left my household nearly eight years ago. When I see her number on the phone, a part of me still thinks, “Please let her be OK. Let this be good news, or at least bad news we can handle.”

      Mama, much?

  15. I had an undiagnosed brain disorder that I just learned to work around as a child, but I couldn’t work around it in high school. I got really depressed, and I knew there was something wrong with me – but I didn’t know what. I tired talking to family, friends, the school counselor, but no one believed there was a problem. I started getting panic attacks, and during a really bad one I was convinced that I needed to die and tried to commit suicide. Luckily I had decided (in my panic induced mind) that this needed to take place outside, and luckily I was wearing a tank top and shorts and there was a foot of snow. The cold shocked me out of it, and the next day I sought the help of a psychologist.

    It took years, medication for awhile, and some setbacks – but I pulled myself out of the deepest darkest hole I could ever have imagined being in. I did that – and I did it without someone holding me up. When I feel like the world becomes too much – like I can’t handle it anymore, I read. I did that before things got out of control, and I did it while pulling myself up, and I do it now. I start to get panicky, sad, or out of control, I set things aside for awhile and pull out a good book.

    • Katie,
      That image of you in shorts and tank top, standing in the snow, knowing something is badly amiss but having no useful help figuring out what it is, is poignant. When people ask me when I’m going to write a real book, a book that means something, I’m going to think of you, and hope you have all the good books you need to soldier on. Thanks.

  16. Oh, Grace–I feel for you! I did not have headaches, but my asthma started acting up when I was traveling for work (about a third of my life on the road) and my dad had passed away with my mom in a nursing home. Did I mention that my husband was restricted from driving for six months because of seizures during that time? I started thinking I could get by on four hours of sleep a night. I was wrong.

    We have to take care of ourselves. I almost wrecked my immune system, trying to play Superwoman. And I didn’t have kids. My cats would lay on me to try to get me to go back to sleep when I woke up at 3am, then 5am, then….They knew if something happened to me, my husband would not only forget to feed them, the litter would never get changed.

    Seriously, though it’s been a while since I’ve been that far down the rabbit hole (Mom passed in 2004 and I haven’t had to travel for work since 2009), it’s an ongoing battle to make sure I take care of myself. Please do what you have to do (even if it’s the Better Living Through Chemistry Plan), because we need more of your writing and your books, K?

    • Julie, I’m more of a Better Living Through Good Friends, Good Books, and Good Chocolate kinda gal (and fun blogs like yours). I think we all have a “valley of the shadow of death” point in our lives that we look back on and say, “Geesh. My cats were smarter than I was, and yet I survived.”

  17. I had migraines when I was working full time at a Tax Court. Loved my job, but the stress gave me awful headaches! Now, I don’t have really have as strong..when I get them, I am aware it’s because of allergy problems dû to sinus inflammation.
    I understand you Grace. I would love to read the book you nicely suggested, “The Black Hawk,”looks interesting!Thanks for you giveaway! I found the only cure is rest and away from negative people!

    • Nicole, you said a mouthful there, with that mention of negative people. I work with a couple of those–nice gals, they mean well, but they’ve learned to make connections around gossip, triangling, and doom-saying. I’ve learned to back away at the first hint of that negative tractor beam, and life is better for it.

  18. Lack of sleep pulls me down and when I get tired, I get really irritable. My older brother George used to tease me about it when we were growing up, but my husband and daughter make it a point to let me know when I need to rest and slow down. Sort of feel like that Snickers commercial where the actor/actress is portraying an out-of-control diva until they eat a Snickers bar; however I need sleep not chocolate (that’ll just keep me wired).

  19. Kamie, this is one I have to learn about every five years: First, get enough sleep. I learned it in high school, I learned it in college. I learned it several times in law school, and I learned it single-parenting. You’d think the lesson would have sunk in, but sometimes when I’m writing on deadline or in the grip of a good manuscript, I have to learn it yet again.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  20. Grace I love reading your blog posts. Lucky for me I’ve never had a migraine just an occasional tension headache and now those have switched to sinus headaches.
    I’ve learned that when I’m over stressed or even just overly tired or hungry I turn into a “witch”. I may not raise my voice but boy do I become stubborn, or hard headed, or whatever you want to call it.

    • Ha! I think we all do that a little when we have had enough….I find myself being a bit short with whomever is in my path at that moment…

    • My mom would have called it, “overly tired.” She is still of the opinion there are no bad children, only hungry children, worried children and tired children. I get cranky when I’m overwhelmed, whether I’ve had enough sleep or not. I want things to SLOW DOWN so I have time to think, and drag my heels accordingly.

  21. When I am stressed I am unable to move, or at least that what it feels like to me. I sleep and read. I only do what is needed to survive. I don’t leave the house and only talk with friends and family on the phone. I recently lost my job at the mature age of 63 and I work in a profession where age is a factor. Believe me this is STRESS. My migraines which I had not had in a year have returned and respond poorly to medication. I have overcome many stress factors before and I will this time but I’m sure others have had this unhinged feeling before and know what I’m talking about.

    • Cathy, I have been laid off twice, and it purely, entirely honks. By about six weeks, my self-esteem was usually circling the drain. Eventually, I found work that was better than what I had before, but it’s mighty tough not knowing when that phone call will come.

      Will keep you in my thoughts, and yes, “unhinged” is an excellent term for it.

  22. I think , like most, when I feel over wrought , stressed and just so tired, I feel it in my neck and shoulders. I get the worst pain behind my shoulder blade and my neck. I am sure it is because the weight of all I feel I have to do is sitting right there. I have found that I have to do my yoga every day and meditation. And yes , I think it does work. I am one of the most optimistic people I know but there comes a time when all looms too larger and I have to stop and go inside.

    I think we all have to realize that so many of us are in the same boat….for some reason that always helps me. Reading other readers lives and issues is sort of a community for me and helps me to realize that each of us can at least understand and care for our fellow Romancers.

    This was an interesting blog Grace, very deep….

    Thoughtful reflection..


    • Hope, I’m always surprised at how forthcoming people are here. We are not only brave, we’re a fairly self-aware group, and this delights me. I’ve tried yoga but don’t think I’ve found the right instructor. Gym yoga doesn’t cut it, but there are some good resources nearby I’ve been meaning to check out.

      Meditation… good stuff, though it takes discipline.

  23. I also have migraines and herniated dics in my back. When the weather changes or I’m really stressed, the migraine kicks in and then I can hardly move because of my back. Sometimes a long soak in a warm bath helps, or lying on a heating pad while listening to soft, soothing music. I hate to take drugs but sometimes it’s necessary. Those are a last resort. I’m glad you have found what helps you.

    • Joanne, I hate to take drugs, too, and then I hate even worse when I take them and they do zactly nothing for me. Some of the headache drugs are by self-injection, and it’s spring-release needle. YOUCH.

      Herniated discs are no fun, particularly when they’re colluding with a migraine. We’ll hope the weather doesn’t do any drastic changes on you.

  24. I have suffered from migraines since 2006 when complications arose from having my tonsils removed as an adult. Behind my tonsils was the answer to all the strep throat occurances during the previous few months. An infection itself that was finally discovered and taken care of. However, something happened once the infection was gone. Doctors have not been able to figure out what went wrong, but I have had pain problems ever since and one of those is migraines. When the first one hit I was not prepared and didn’t know what to do. I have learned now the warning signs that one is coming on and take steps to try and stop it from coming on or relieve it if I cannot. One of the best things I have found is total darkness,soft instrumental music and massage. My husband is excellent with massage and my 9 year son is getting better and better too. It would be nice if insurance covered massage for those of us with migraine problems. It would be a great help to stop them from hitting. I just read you recent book, Lady Eve’s Indiscretion, and see that she is also helped by massage.I have found that reading, listening to soft music and just taking time to relax everyday help to keep the migraines from coming on. Staying away from caffeine and drinking herbal teas helps too. I too have many factors that bring on migraines and most are the same as others, including my sister. I try to avoid the triggers, but sometimes that isn’t possible or I fail to follow my own advise and do something I shouldn’t and bam here comes the migraine. My depression only adds to the problem. I hope this helps and apologize for any spelling errors – spelling is not one of my strengths.

    • Sounds like you and Sarah have something in common: You went in to fix one problem and came out with another, possibly nerve damage?

      And you add something to our list of good reminders: Taking time to relax every day. EVERY DAY. I plough through the week without taking a breath and then wonder why I’m roadkill by Friday. Duh,

      I’ll stumble around this week muttering, “Sharon says relax EVERY DAY.”

      • You are wonderful Grace. I reread Sarah’s reply and see that we do have something in common in that fixing a problem actually lead to another – nerve damage.

        One thing you might try is enjoying your cup of decaf before you start up the computer. Sometimes the only time I have to relax is with my first cup of herbal or decaf tea. Or, at the end of the day. There are actually times I hide in the bathroom with the fan on and pretend I cannot hear anyone.

      • So sorry to read about your story, Sharon. Although, it is nice to know that we are not alone in our suffering and the circumstances that brought the suffering about. I have also battled with depression of one sort or the other since high school and of course this past year found me trying to keep my head above those waters as well. Sometimes it would be so easy to just crawl into bed and stay there, thankfully, my boys won’t allow me to do that.

  25. I have what my doctor calls fibromyalgia and I call “The Fatigue”. I have learned not to fight it. When it begins to come on, I cut back to essentials, the minimum that has to be done so that I can get to work, my kid can get to school, and the family has food in the house and clean clothes. And I hit the couch. I sleep as much as I can, and I read. I know it will pass, and I don’t sweat the deepening piles of dust bunnies. I don’t volunteer anymore.

    My longest bout was 18 months.

    • Pam, I like that, “The Fatigue.” Everything I know about this diagnosis says it fits that description right down to the capital letters. I like too, that you don’t feel compelled to struggle against a physical condition that will take everything you have if you try to battle it.
      Naps are good, books are good. Dust bunnies never hurt nobody.

  26. I would just like to say (if any of you are still reading this particular thread) that I applaud you all for soldering on. A summary of me is that I feel I don’t have the stamina to survive in well in the world as it is today. My now adult daughters recall more clearly then I would like that when we came home at the end of a day I would sit down on the couch and fall asleep within minutes. My coping skill back then would have to be my ability to fall asleep sitting up in the waiting area of the dance school. I feel as though I have an on switch and an off switch so that if I try to take time before a task is finished or before the end of the day I simply can not get back into gear. Kind of pathetic in my mind, and yet my reality.

    • sue, i am still reading this blog and i totally understand the exhaustion that comes from just living through the days. my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • Sue, you just described my life right now. I was never a napper but for the last 2 years when I get the boys home from school I often find myself waking up in the chair or one of my boys waking me up for something. It is all I can do to stay awake during the day.