Monday, October 6

the hangover diaries


I have a patchy and sporadic grasp of contentment. And it’s conditional. I will be content if my situation reaches my pre-determined ‘ok fine, that’ll have to do’ mark. But if something is just too far, too far off my scale, I throw my hands in the air and abandon the whole notion of ‘content’ as though it is entirely unreasonable to expect it in this situation. And then this omnipresent voice whispers to me, “But what if it’s true that suffering only leaves when it’s taught you what you need to learn? Then you will never be well.”

There is real peace about having had to curtail dreams, and reinvent life as I knew it. But after many years, I am tired of nurturing my health in the quietness of my home, and moving with weariness between the worthwhile-yet-boring pursuits that fill my days. I may not watch TV and binge on cake {actually, the cake bit is true} but when I climb into bed at night there is no sense of achievement. So, the house is clean and I made something for the market, what a life. The monotony is drab, my contentment dull to non-existent.

Enter the headache. I hope never to have one again in all my days. It started as they all do, with a wild weekend – seeing two separate lots of friends and vegetarian curry. But it didn't end with panadeine, water, and a dark room. No, it didn't end.

It was still there the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning, and...the next five.

At first I was stoic and brave, though that phase was short lived. 

By day four I was frustrated and disheartened by the ‘endless’ ache. Like, what do you mean it won’t go away with chinese heat patches and hot showers and massages from Ben? Ben located the script for my old migraine relief drugs, to my lively squeals, but it had long expired.

On day seven I was perplexed and angry, and went to the doctor. The trip worsened the pain.

By day ten I was depressed and desperate, and went to the ‘manipulative therapy’ physio with the expectation that he would end the saga. Or else. After my session he said that I would have to wait five more days until my second treatment, to let things settle. Five?! I wailed to Ben. I won’t be alive in five days, so we have to sort this out sooner. Web MD didn’t say headaches lasted this long. What if this is the start of a brain tumour which is why no one can help? I went home in full scale despair. I thought that it would never leave because nothing was taking effect. Day ten felt more like month ten, and I truly wanted to die in my sleep, remove my head, or throw china plates.

Day eleven was more of day ten. I think I only mopped the floor, which obviously didn’t inspire.

Day twelve, I woke up to the sun shining and this bizarre feeling that I wanted to be alive, that there was hope. It coincided with beautiful friends praying for me and encouraging me, and it was that day that the pain started to reside.

The next day was a Saturday, and I have a special dislike for Saturdays where Ben has to work.

Not this one.
I woke up with clear vision and a mostly pain free head and thought: what shall I do? Make something for the market? Read? Exercise? Bath the dog? I can do anything. Intoxicated by the options, the irony crossed my mind. The dull existence of normality was now sparkling before me. 

Never mind a world changing career, I’m a thinking moving human who just saw the beauty in what I usually do.

I don’t expect to remember this for long, but, on pain of headache, I will try. 

Now, back to my not-so-dull reality.


  1. I love you. And I hurt with you. And I think you are amazing.
    That's all.

    1. Rachel, you are a gem! Just hearing that your headache had gone, and that you saw an osteo too, and that you were praying gave me hope when I was starting to lose it. Never met you, but so encouraged by you.