Poetry Corner: Migraine

Tears escape, torn up inside

Nothing right, scared to die

 

Too much everything becomes the pain I feel

The light, the sound they hurt so very much

Like a sledge hammer even the lightest touch

 

No such thing as silence, there is no rest

I hear in colour, the sheets like sandpaper at best

I want to sleep, the shadows terrify heart

My days and nights, my conscious drifting apart

 

The sea and darkness surround my art and thought

I would drift or drown, I have forgotten how to even fail

I have no idea about what it is that will prevail

It is dark, I’m lost, drifting to who knows where

Don’t destroy those who dare to be close and care

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Thinking Out Loud: Staring at the Future

It has taken me a long time to face writing this: recently an infection put me back in hospital. Opposite someone with hemiplegic migraines.

They were under a regional specialist centre with a proper specialist consultant and were under a treatment team with multiple therapies. They were exactly where I am supposed to want to be, they followed the advice of every attack getting admitted.

It was horrific. The man was a shell, the ward was noisy and chaotic, and they had no idea how to treat him, worse, they were random and haphazard with his pain treatment, most of the time he curled facemask on, earphones in pain trying to make it through the day to his release.

He saw no treatment, he was pushing his family away as he failed to cope with the emotional effects of attacks, and each admission robbed him of days and weeks of his life, you could see him imprisoned by his “disease” and crippled by doing exactly what he was told to do. Exactly what I am supposed to do.
We spoke, he could not believe that my attacks were both longer and more debilitating, that I had no support in place, and that I was not being admitted like he was each attack. His disbelief crashed head first into the fact that, while we shared symptoms and experience, I had carried on doing life in direct defiance of medical advice and was doing well, and he, doing what he had been told, further down the road than me, was now virtually crippled and imprisoned by his condition.

We spoke only that afternoon, he left. I doubt he will change, he is embedded in being a patient and invested in the model where he would be saved by modern medicine. I don’t believe in white knights on unicorn’s, as a child I learned very early that it doesn’t matter how loud or how long you cry, how much it hurts, how bad it gets no one is coming to save you.

Perhaps then, out of the damage of those abuse years has come a useful toolkit for journey ahead

Dear Diary: The Night Is Dark And Full of Terrors

My attacks happen in my sleep.

I wake up, sometimes I am ok.

Sometimes I am not.

Sometimes I am paralysed

Sometimes a little.

Sometimes a lot.

Sometimes I can speak.

Sometimes I slur.

Sometimes I make no sense.

One time it didn’t hurt.

But I woke up.

And sound strummed agony for chords

I tried to smile but that didn’t work

Dear Diary : In the Spaces

Right now I am sat in a neurology unit. I was admitted yesterday, I arrived at 3pm, got to the actual bed for me at 9.45pm. This will typify my experience, lots of time and space ….

Time to think, or to be precise, more time to think, but now out of my space.

It will come as no surprise that I and Mr Mouse are introverts, and that with migraines as a constant issue quiet space and time are a big feature of our day. A hospital is loud, its busy, and of course it’s being a bay of four, plus staff, it is a permanent social environment. It not only drains me really quickly, there really is no chance to recharge properly and sleep is disturbed.

It is something to get through, tests, and repeating the story while really running on empty, but more, it is a week away from being able to make progress towards my goals, its a week on hold. A holiday is part of my plans, its in and it builds me up; hospital breaks me down.

This is no fun, this is not how I want to spend my time, I have almost no independence, I don’t have the comforts of my home, I don’t have my life, which goes on hold, and I slide gently, however slowly, away from my goals, while mentally this is a struggle.

However, the added dimension is external. People expect that is is a fix, like these tests will find a problem and I will get fixed, or that I am here to get fixed, they are wishing me a good outcome, when really, I have no idea what a good outcome is.

It is almost impossible to explain that, not only may the tests not find anything, even if the tests do find something, it is entirely possible that what they find may have no treatment and that there is no fixing this problem at all. The possible outcome is, while I may pick up a label or definition, that will be the sum total of what is achieved and that there will be no help, therapy, fix or even particular management strategy beyond learning to live with it.

And people say don’t be pessimistic, not realising that, this static model is one of the more optimistic outcomes, we haven’t even begun with the progressive degenerative models.

Monday Night Reflection – Success and Failure

I planned to take a week off after competing and it ended up being a very good idea. The competition when exceptionally well and I secured my qualification for the British Finals as I set out to do, came back healthy and am now on course to go from the British Finals to the World Championships and be considered a contender.

That is the success, and I am not going to down play that success, I am still stunned to have this amazing opportunity at all, let alone after all that has happened so far this year. The weekend was successful with many improvements in self-management and performance management across the whole time which point towards a successful British performance and importantly that this will open up not just the opportunity to represent Britain at world level but also to be a legitimate podium contender. It is impossible to convey how surreal and odd it feels to be writing that about myself, and how I am proud of what I have done, but at the same time it really does not feel very real so I am not really that proud because I don’t feel I have done that much. Although, as I am told pretty regularly, to have the opportunity only 6 weeks after lying in a hospital with paralysis, its one hell of a comeback.

However, when I got home it had been 8 days without an attack, and while I made it through the weekend out the house when I got in I sat on the sofa and I went out. The full monty, this was a high register attack, lasting well over half an hour with the loss of speech, tone, and with paralysis. This would have been a hospital admission if we did not already know nothing would happen. I was devastated. I knew what was coming and it did, the hangover effects, this time it included the slightly hilarious not being able remember how to write a question mark.

By Wednesday most of the glitchyness was gone, most of my understanding and cognition was back, my emotional fragility was on the way out, and my motor skills were returning, left behind were a headache and dizziness. Its now 8 days later, and several smaller attacks later as well and I am at best 80% back to where I was 6pm on that Sunday night.

That was the failure. It probably feels like a bigger set back than it really is, but it is a real setback. I did have plans for the week after half term and so far to day I have lost most of the morning because I passed out, and I cant drive till we are sure I am safe which along with my motor skills and paralysis changes the athletic endeavour part of my life significantly. But I am still embarking on this part of my personal, professional and life journey back from where I really wanted to be. Even this reflection is not the reflection I would have wanted to be writing.

This is Monday, last week pushed me back, but I have achievement locked, and I have plans to grow my business project slowly but surely, I have another small scale little income project running and that can run its life and earn its little bit while it burns too, and I am busy taking the steps I can to get from where I am to where I want to be accepting they are smaller than I may have wanted or anticipated but that a step is a step nonetheless and I can build from where I am.

My plans have not changed, they may just take a little longer and happen a little more slowly.

Monday Night Reflection: Nothing To See Here

It is difficult to reflect on a week, where, to my mind, very little of what happened is Mouse related. Mr Mouse, it would appear has not been busy. Where Mr Mouse was once busy sorting out and tidying around making sense of my world and doing a great job in the background of getting things done for me there is now space. Worse, a slightly sticky space bar is hindering my efforts, which is perhaps the problem.

At the moment all my sense are turned way up, sounds hurt, touches, tastes, they all cause physical pain at very low intensities, on a certain level, I am guessing this is what autism must feel like because input, is generally, not a pleasant thing. And life is all about input, sleep isn’t restful and tired, sick, nausea and generally feeling in pain in some way is what it’s all about. Creatively everything is dry, projects are dry, work is gone, nothing to do, no inclination to do it, and recovery has hit a wall with even physical progress coming and going. It has been another tough week after a tough week. So while the stats people could say the trend on the graph is positive, it is positive trend on trend, its a very slow trend and the negatives are big, the downs are big, the relapses are huge and the experience is anything but what someone would call fun.

It would be accurate to say, at least some, if not some large chunks of the time, I have started to feel more than just a little sorry for myself. Because, I am not going anywhere or getting anything done, and if I am making a little progress, one I can’t share it and two it is only back to a level far below the level I was at anyway before all of this started back in March. Imagine playing in an orchestra and then having to back and start grade levels, that is the equivalent. At the same time, the physical pain is intense and debilitating, my mind is working at a physically tiring level, so writing this is the mental equivalent of a workout when once it was easy to write and introspect. In fact, not only was it easy, it was a fun and helpful, now just writing an email to a friend is taxing and difficult as a task.

It is difficult because, I have to recognise that is, really, very early days. I don’t have a cast to see or a wound to see healing, which is a huge part of the problem, it is all happening in my head and inside where no one can see what is going on, and it is messing with my emotional and coping capacities as well as impacting on my personality. The impact is on how I see and feel about myself, there are suicidal thoughts and my self-talk is very negative, you could say I am depressed, but at the same time, I am not depressed in how I have experienced depression in my life previously. This is a complex awareness that I am two people existing in the same space at the same time failing to cope with the existence of each other. This is the stuff my Mouse used to handle for me, this is what I let my mind sort out in the background my focusing on positive goals and helping others. Those things do not work, I am tired, my concentration has gone and my memory awful, but of course I have not given up. The two, the depths of despair and abandonment alongside hope and optimism are together interwoven bound in single thoughts.

The past is the past, and this has happened, the future I thought I had, it is not the same, and where I had a plan, I do not even have a plan about how to plan anymore. I would say I am fighting, but I am, it feels, more trying to work out who the opponent is, before I start fighting back. So far it seems the opponent is me, or more precisely a me that has started to malfunction and is apparently going to start working again spontaneously. There is no fight, just waiting, which is perhaps, ultimately, why I cannot cope. Previously I have a process, a fight, something to do, and this time, all I can find is, wait and time does the job. Great, if you are on the express train, not so great for those on the slow boat. I think I didn’t get off the harbour here.

The purpose of reflection is to do, and that is where I am coming up blank each and every time, I have no do. So far, it’s do what I can still do, setbacks like getting food poisoning included, and keep looking for new opportunities and avenues to make progress, even if, so far, they have not opened up or become apparent.

Dear Diary 14th April 2017

I have nothing to say

My voice has gone literally and metaphorically

I am scared to sleep tonight

Scared to say I had a small attack

My mouth is numb and my head is throbbing

I know the signs now, even when they are mild

Staying awake doesn’t change a thing

Sleeping gets it over with

But still I am scared

What if this time is the time I don’t make it back?