My Brain Hates Me

I have had a headache for four months. That’s not hyperbole. For 120-plus days, I have had some sort of pain in my head.

The doctor first diagnosed me with tension headaches, which wasn’t a real surprise given the amount of stress I hold onto. I had a bout of tension headaches in April, so that November diagnosis seemed to line up. But then they got worse. Worse like someone is drilling an ice pick into the crown of my skull while simultaneously punching me on both temples.

About three weeks into getting no relief from the original prescription I had for tension headaches, I gave in and called the doctor again. Yep, these pounding pains around my skull and behind my eye are migraines. Again, not much of a surprise because I used to get them as a teen, and there’s a history of migraines on my mom’s side of the family.

But nothing is working. I’ve taken more sick time in the past month than I have in years because I can’t bear to sit in front of three computer screens. I didn’t even get relief on our Christmas vacation! Being stuck in bed crying because there’s too much light coming through the cracks in the curtains? Not fun. Most days, if I make it through 8 hours of work, I immediately go to bed and hide under the covers.

I finally got in to see a neurologist this past week, and he confirmed what I already know: yes, they’re migraines. But now we have to exhaust several different prescriptions before we get to try what he thinks will really work: Botox injections.

The good news is that my CT scan came back clear, so there aren’t any readily apparent physical issues outside of the migraines (read: no clearly visible tumors or masses). The neurologist has ordered an MRI, which I get next week, just to rule anything else out. So, I’m paying all of my insurance deductible within the first seven weeks of 2023. Yay?

It’s odd to have something else wrong with my brain. I’m used to having mental health problems. While I hate dealing with anxiety and depression, I’m accustomed to them and I’ve accepted that I’ll have to deal with those diagnoses for the rest of my life. But another issue in my brain? And one that’s just as difficult to treat? Seriously?

I know that on the grand scheme of health concerns, I am very lucky, but that doesn’t take away the frustration I feel when I’m knocked out by a migraine and can’t function at home or at work. It makes me feel weak and helpless. I have so many goals I want to reach in 2023, but I’ve had to slow down on some because of this pain.