All 4 entries tagged Serious Stuff

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April 03, 2005

The Three People

This is for three people, each of whom knows who they are…

The First Person
You whinge at me and I whinge at you, and then we both apologise even though we don't need to. I don't think it would be the same without our little melodramas played out constantly in each other's ear. The only reason we do is because we know each other well enough to know that we don't mind. For all those things you do which I would do myself and for all those things I would never do in a million years.

So you're worried about your future. Don't. Just don't go too far away or I will have to hunt you down with a spoon. If the worst comes to the worst we'll be perennial students forever. You don't eat very much and I don't drink very much so we can afford the rent between us, and we can find ways to pay our fees, I know we can, even if we do have to sell your body.

Just stop trying to give your laptop a drink, ok? They don't like water.

The Second Person
Yeah, it's funny how our lives run concurrently like little disasters. I never thought I'd actually meet someone who could match me, gripe for gripe. Ok, you've got the slightly better excuse of being a nice guy, a gentleman, whereas I'm just a gobby slob with no common sense, but we self deprecate together so well. Trust me, things will get better and if you need someone to live with, pay the rent and clatter round your house at 3am form insomnia then I may need a home in the future.

Get your arse back here soon so we can argue about Radiohead some more.

The Third Person
How ironic that it took something so unexpected, and perfectly poised to ruin everything, to finally get us to open up. It's always been an unspoken agreement, I felt, that we would do anything for each other. Sadly until now I guess we've both been too stubborn to say it. I know you would stop if I was hurt by this but I'm not. I'm being myself as usual, unpredictable and moody. Sound familiar? I think the difference between us is that you don't try to hide your feelings when they are negative, I do. This is why I self destruct so quietly.

Tonight was the way things should be and will be. I've been an arse recently and I can see that, everyone can. But I know you understand why. I know you don't care and just want me to be happy. Things don't always happen as we expect them to.

And yes I am a hypocrit. But I won't listen to anyone but myself. Give me time. And just do things the way you think is right. It's the only way we can all win.

This entry is not designed to mean anything to those who aren't mentioned in it. Maybe I'll blog a funny soon. For now, I'm blogging what I've said because it needs to be recorded and accessible. Everyone deserves to be able to see the truth written down once in a while.


March 01, 2005

One Year On And This Is Not What I Expected

On the 29th of February 2004 one of my cousins killed himself aged 18. He was six months younger than me, the closest in terms of age of any of my relatives. It was unexpected and shocked everyone. Technically it's been a year. But this isn't February 29th, it's March 1st a day which had it's equivilant last year and on that day events, though hard, were not as shocking and immediate. How can a day vanish taking with it the events it had once contained? Unless it was deliberate. I choose to believe this. As I have said so many times before, I don't believe he intended to hurt anyone, therefore I believe he chose that day specifically to rob us of our misery.

I can't help but think about it sometimes. I don't think anyone can blame me. But as this anniversary approached I couldn't get over how quickly a year had elasped and yet how much had happened. Once we were six months apart now he is frozen at 18 and I'm 20. I feel a weird world of difference in that.

And it was praying on my mind last week. How was I going to feel? Sad? Upset? Was it going to hurt like it did a year ago, on a day when I nearly threw up twice in shock, in public places, wandering without direction as those close to me watched unable to direct? I can still remember the shivers, harsh, unforgiving, worse than anything I had ever felt through mere cold. The fear of sleeping and dreaming, or worse forgetting and having to feel the convulsions in my stomach again when I awoke the next day and remembered. Ice cold loneliness in a self imposed silence, I had no desire to sully my treasured music with memories of a day I could not strike from my mind. Not even the fact that my favourite album ever was written as a response to a suicide made the idea of listening to it bearable. But I can listen now. Because when I went off, exploding the emotions primed by the anniversary, how I exploded was not what I expected.

I didn't cry. It doesn't seem right. It seems futile and I know he wouldn't appreciate it.

I was talking last night to a friend who is running out of university time and is worried about graduating, about having to find a job, about the house, the morgage, the trappings of the adult world. I was struck by what I was feeling as I read it. Struck by all the times I had seen it happen before. The friend of mine who got a real job and will never know how much it affected me that she had to take out, and allow to heal over, the piercing on the top of her ear. The friend who had to admit defeat and leave behind the life she loved to live with her parents again. The friend who failed a year and came so close to having to move back in with his parents. Why were they being forced into these positions they didn't want to be in? Why were they being forced to be stressed, overworked? What is with this world and its expectations?

I don't care anymore for the trappings of the future sold to me. I don't need the big house and the new car and the morgage and the big TV and all that crap because I don't want it. What I have now is enough to keep me happy, the laptop and the small TV and the bass guitar and the goalkeepers gloves. Most of what I enjoy most is found cheap or free. Stick a roof above my head and I'm happy. In a world where the stressed can't cope and hurt themselves and those who survive can't function because they have been crushed, what price our souls?

I never want anyone to think they have no other choice. I never want anyone to see things as my cousin did, an inescapable dead end with one fatal conclusion. No, I don't fear for my friends' lives, but I fear for their futures, for the futures they will have, not the ones they were sold. How she was concerned at her lack of direction at 23. 23? That's nothing. That's still young, less than young. That's still too young to be expected to lay roots and begin to stagnate. What I said to her stands:

"These days we're told to know our futures when we've not even got pasts... the only person you owe anything to is yourself."

The weight of expectation on the young is too much. Where is our chance to be ourselves? I'll tell everyone I know this is what I've learned the hard way, we owe it to ourselves to find where we are happy, not where anyone else would have us be.

And so it's as I could have hoped it would be, if I had dared to hope. No futile sadness, just the not-so-quiet determination to fight for those around me, and for myself, to whom I owe so much. I'm coming out of that shadow fighting.

Life is to be lived by those who want it. It's what he would have wanted and it's what I want. Hear this expectation, fuck you! I am doing this for myself, cos I know those who care about me want me to be happy. It's what I want for them after all…


February 27, 2005

Just When You Think It's Safe…

Oh bollocks.

I've been up for about half an hour after having been flat out in bed since 7.30pm yesterday! Yeah, I know, 14 hours. As someone who usually gets about half that and feels damn good on it, that's amazing. Even if I stay up until 5am (not a hypothetical situation) I'd still be up within about 8 hours looking for cereal and a new pair of socks.

What happened? Guess.

Begins with an M.

Seriously I blog about them far too much.

So unimaginably painful (normally).

You're getting bored of them now.

Yup…

Migraine.

Well why am I even blogging this? Well firstly there's the freakishly long time I spent asleep. And this was properly asleep. Normally when I take my drugs they just knock me into a doze but this was actual asleep. With weird dreams like having all my friends in my bedroom, which never happens because no one ever comes into my room except me. Also I awoke having written down the important revelation that "Scientist in French means 'Short person with opinions'". Ok, good to see that my ability to hallucinate under the influence of Naratriptan is undiminished. Good thing too, I left my phone on the other side of the room as in the past I have been known to text people with the most bizarre crap.

The main thing that intrigued me about last night is the pain. Or lack of.

The headsplitting agony (no, I am not being unnecessarily melodramatic) which normally accompanies these episodes was conspicuous by its almost total absense. The aura (distorted vision thing I get which precedes the pain) was really fast to take hold. Normally I spend a few minutes wondering what's going on with my vision, this time I went from fine to totally unable to see within about a minute, surely a new record. So this didn't behave like a typical migraine at all.

I'd like to think that I'm finally reaching the end game of it. Both my parents had headaches (mum had migraines, dad had the man version- cluster headaches) but these both stopped eventually, although dad's have made a recent return some 30 years later. So can I hope that this si the beginning of the end?

  • Are they going to get less harsh? This one wasn't as bad as they normally are.
  • Are they going to get less frequent? It's been nearly three months since the last one. That's the longest I've gone headache free in a very long time.
  • Am I going to finally be free of these things? By my very nature I'm not optimistic but it would be nice.

I personally suspect now is not a great time to measure this potential disappearance. I'm about to get to the first ever assessed essays and exams I will have had at uni safe in the knowledge that I have to do well and get good grades if I'm going to get what I want in life. Oh joy, stress. If I can get through this without too many migraines, and it is possible, then I might be able to get rid of them.

I'm not going to be an optimist here. That's a job for someone else.


January 07, 2005

Migraines

Piss taking amongst friends is quite normal. It's a sign of affection I guess, a sign of maturity that we take these little barbs aimed at us with grace, good humour and as many as we can think of ourselves in return. My friends' latest weapon against me came from the somewhat obvious observation that I eat a lot and am frequently hungry. I accept this. I am eating as I type. But there are consequences to this particular quirk. When I don't eat, or if I get stressed, I get migraines. And I had one today which why I am writing this.

If you aren't sure if you ahve had a migraine then you have not had one. There are no ifs and buts here. The first stage is the distorted vision. The aura as the medical claptrap goes. At first I thought I didn't get this but it turned out that most of my early migraines were occurring early in the morning and I would sleep through the aura and never realise it. As soon as I had a waking migraine I knew I got the aura.

It's hard to describe. In a way it's like looking at a light and looking away, the flashing outline of the light is left on your eye. But it doesn't go away, it starts in the centre of my vision and spreads. I notice when I'm reading and I can't see straight what is written in front of me. Today this was the Spanish I was trying to read in the dictionary at the start of my Spanish class. This then spreads across the both eyes, obliterating everything to the left of my field of vision.

At this stage I go into overdrive. The Pavlovian responses kick in, I feel sick, washed out and have 'ghost' head aches, not real pain but the memory of pain. This is what happens when you have been suffering with these things for over seven years. I know what I have to do so clearly it scares me. Drugs, bed, sleep. Fine if it happens at home but campus has proven tricky before. There was no way I could get back to Leamington without the drugs kicking in and a bus is no place to be in such a state anyway.

The drugs. Ah, I used to take over the counter Migraleve. It was shit. All it did was give me a Pavlovisn response to seeing packets of Migraleve. It didn't help the head aches, it couldn't help me sleep and it didn't stop the nausea. Now I'm on Naratriptan, the most powerful treatment. If it failed, I was warned, the only solution would be beta blockers and I have no intention of going onto those. Fortunately Naratriptan works but at a price.

Here's a dilemma. If I don't take Naratriptan I get head aches like you would not believe. I describe them as being like having a cricket stump shoved sharp end first into the centre of one eye whilst a cricket bat is used to pummel the temple on that side of my head. The other side of my head is always unaffected. For some reason the pain favours the right hand side of my head. This is unbearable, curl into a small ball, wrap yourself in warm blankets, nothing will stop it. The temporary relief of poking myself in the eye in a bid to create some distraction is a ridiculous solution. No way out, sleep is impossible. Then I get nausea. A crippling and real need to throw up, but one which is cruel. It toys with me, the nausea can last up to half an hour, eventually I figured out that the only solution was the make myself sick just to get it over with. Even an empty stomach is no guarantee. One of the worst migraines ever saw me trying to throw up the contents of my empty stomach. All I found was stomach acid which wrecked my throat and left me in pain for several days.

Naratriptan prevents the nausea. It eases the head pain. It basically knocks me out within about 40 minutes of taking it. But there are downsides. It messes up my brain. Even now I'm not thinking straight. This is coherent only because I am typing it slowly. Earlier, as my friends can testify, I was detached, hyperactive and making very little sense. This is the main side effect. I can deal with it easily. The other side effect is more worrying, Nrartriptan can cause recurrance. Before I took it I never had more than one migraine at a time. The first couple of times I took it, I got a migraine the next day, albeit a smaller one. This hasn't happened for a while but it makes for an interesting choice, one day of unbearable agony and nausea or potentially two days of wooziness, pain and talking crap? I always choose the latter. If you've not had a migraine then this would seem like a tricky choice. If you have had one then you know there is no choice. Drugs it is.

I hate being seen to have a migraine. I hate it because when I'm having one all I want is to lie down, curl up and hope I can sleep it off. I am therefore eternally grateful to those who help me out with this. This academic year I have been lucky. Migraine one, in Novermber, I was able to get home as I had been playing football and had been substituted due to another injury. If I hadn't been injured I would have played on and not been dressed and ready to go home anyway. Migraine two, December, I was at my parents' house, cosy and warm, wrapped in a duvet on the sofa until my brother decided to serenade me and the neighbours with his guitar playing. Migraine three was earlier today and I was stuck on campus.

So thanks to Jen for letting me sleep in your bed.

And what now? I'm worried. I'm worried that they are getting more regular. I'm worried because the triggers are becoming less clear. This time last year I would need some concerted stress or to miss two meals in two days to provoke one of these. But I'm not stressed at the moment. And I've not missed a meal in weeks. I feel hungry a lot. Maybe I'm not eating enough or maybe there's something missing from my diet.

Whatever I hate this feeling and I hate the fact that it's my own body, *my own blood,* turning me inside out. The truly awful thing is I'm trapped with them. My parents both had migraines or similar, mum's stopped at 19, dad still gets them occasionally. Mine will not stop. Clearly I was someone really horrible in a previous life or something.

At least it's not triggered by chocolate…


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