A white blaze of fire seems to travel from the nape of my neck and all the way up to the crown of my skull. It spreads as it goes, reaching places in my face and bone structure that I’m normally not even aware of. There are so many parts of the ear that I never notice, but when the pain creeps up the side of my face I realize just how complex the cartilage of the ear is and how soft and susceptible to pain the skin right behind it is.
My jaw is even more attuned than I am. I can almost hear it protesting and groaning as the painful fire shoots flame after licking flame into it. I can feel the long bone, stretching from right next to my ear and down almost to my chin, and I can feel the creaks in it as I try to open my mouth wide enough to yawn the inevitable nauseous yawn that is caused by the painful flames.
My eyebrow and eye seem to be warring for my ultimate attention, each begging to be soothed by the firm press of a finger or palm. The eyebrow and the bone behind it win out, because the poor eye gets even more painful when given over to the practice of being rubbed firmly by the knuckles of my fingers.
Writing about it doesn’t really help, but it seems like a better way of dealing with the pain than banging my head against a wall.
There are those wonderful times when you’re truly too tired to think. Your brain is full of this low, not unpleasant, fuzzy sound. For some reason, as I think of this sound now – it’s creeping up on me even as I write – I imagine that it is the snores of the little mouse that runs all day on it’s little wheel to keep our brains going. Or perhaps it is a hamster. No, mice are cuter than hamsters.
The feeling of being this exhausted, both mentally and physically, is wonderful in my opinion. This feeling holds memories for me, all of them precious: the long drive home from Disneyland that year when there was so much traffic on the way home that I fell asleep and slept through the three hour ride and was carried into my grandparents’ house awake, but pretending to still be asleep because it was so much more comfortable; the memory of every horrid migraine I’ve had and the way I’ve fallen into an exhausted, relieved sleep at the end of the long period of sleeplessness due to the pain; the memories of falling into an exhausted sleep after a particularly enjoyable, but quite long, school trip.
As I’ve confessed, my brain is approaching levels of chronic fuzzyness at the moment, and so I shall have to postpone the writing exercises that I was planning on beginning tonight. Procrastination – it is indeed a devilish instinct, is it not?
There is something especially wonderful about the pleasures one can find in states of great pain. Pain is not a thing that most of us appreciate, nor should we. It’s something our body does to let us know something is wrong – we’re stepping on glass, the music is too loud, we’re straining our muscles too much.
However, migraines are a pain which no one really understands. Scientists and doctors haven’t quite figured out why people get them or how to cure them. As a sufferer of such pains, I will describe them briefly, as they are similar to many other pains that we can have: Constant pain, seeming to go on forever, causing panic and calm alternately. It is a pain which heightens the senses, causing every glimmer of light to be blinding and ever stir of the breeze to be deafening. It is a pain that makes you aware of the blood beating a steady, constant path in your body.
And it is a pain that can make you appreciate things more than you thought possible. When in a state of great pain, every single relief is a blessing, a thing to rejoice over. The slightest chill in your arms make you smile as the heat of the pain eases for a moment. The feeling of calm that washes over you as you fall asleep makes you sigh with gratitude. The distraction a book offers makes you feel languid and serene as you concentrate on something outside of your pain. These things are what make bearable the knowledge that you live with a shadow of immense pain ready to pour over you at any given moment.