I’d had a rough few weeks. Single parenthood. Deadlines. Work pressure. A teenage birthday party. Friend issues. No exercise. And a crazed chocolate binge.
I’d been running on empty for a while.
Something had to give. And it did, quite dramatically.
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I woke one Friday morning with the room spinning. I tried getting up, lying down, drinking a glass of water, eating a piece of fruit… nothing helped. Somehow I managed to get the kids ready for school; I had to, there was simply no other choice. But the moment they were out the door I collapsed back into bed, and slept for another two hours.
When I woke again, the dizziness had been replaced with a pounding, nauseous migraine. I popped pill after pill but nothing would shift it. I felt absolutely dire.
Still, I was racked with anxiety about all I had to do. There were chores piling up, mess to be cleaned, and work deadlines ticking over. And so I hauled myself up, sat down at my computer, and tried to write my next column.
Well, ‘tried’ was the operative word. It was like typing under water. After ten minutes I was staring at a blank screen, my headache was worse and I was swimming with fatigue. I simply had to go back to sleep.
I tried to get up when the kids came home from school, but pain and exhaustion drove me back to bed. By now I was panic stricken about all I had to do. I was falling behind with work. The laundry was out of control. I hadn’t done my invoicing. I hadn’t even showered.
But I had no choice. I couldn’t move. My ex took the kids for dinner and I slept again till morning.
The following day my migraine was worse and I knew I couldn’t function. I couldn’t write, or do housework, or even prepare my kids a meal. I was defeated.
“I’m sorry,” I told the kids. “I can’t help you today. You have to look after yourselves.”
They did. They rallied. And whilst they sorted themselves out in the kitchen, I sank back into my pillows. And for the first time in – I don’t know, weeks? months? years? – I truly surrendered. I surrendered because I had no choice. There was nothing I could do but sleep and take pills and sleep again. The house and work and kids would have to wait. I was completely free of care. My only focus was to get through the migraine.
And I did. By late afternoon, the fog had cleared. I was out of my migraine coma.
I joined my kids, suddenly elated simply to be out of pain. The stress that had weighed me down had lifted. I felt light, unburdened, and fresh. I felt better than I had in weeks.
Now, just to be clear, I don’t think my migraine was a blessing. I would greatly have preferred not to have gone through two days of agony.
But there was something very cathartic about the entire experience. It was as though all my stress, tension and anxiety was channelled into one fiery brain explosion, and once it burned out, I was renewed.
Still, I don’t want that kind of renewal again. I am striving to pace myself and stay more relaxed so that I can avoid another two day outage.
Forty hours in bed with a fistful of painkillers led to a new beginning. But a few hours with a book and a nice cup of tea would be a whole lot easier to take.
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