Happy 5 years.

24/7/365 with a headache that came and just never went away since. [7/17/2013]

5 insanely long years, longer than it took me to become a pharmacist. 5 years where I lost pretty much all the people around me. 5 years where my headache became the only thing I had to remind me every second that I was as alive as I was in pain. 5 years where it would hold me back, lock me down, again and again from the things I wanted to do. 5 years where everything that I did do took an extra effort to do, enduring the unforgiving pain in the background.

I just hate the headache so much. I hate how much harder it makes life. I hate how hard I have to try to function like any other person. I hate how just going out is a full on battle, preparing and fearing for triggers that would make my headache go crazy. I hate how my mind is not like it was before, unable to think or remember things with the headache clouding my mind. I hate that I have to revolve my life around the headache with a list of things to do and things to avoid in hopes that it’ll be bearable for the day. And most of all, I hate how my biggest wish in life right now is just to live 1 day without pain, a feeling long forgotten.

It sucks having to live like this, not knowing if it’ll ever get better, if I’ll ever get some relief. It sucks that after the neurologist appointment, I didn’t even waver before running headfirst going cold turkey, no meds (since it’s difficult to differentiate between a medication overuse 24h headache vs a chronic migraine 24h headache) because I’m just¬†that desperate hoping for a solution. And since life can’t get any worse right now, and everything else is on hold anyways, here I am. It’s been 10 days so far, and the headache is still there, still going crazy at times – so chronic migraine it probably is. Now, just onto the next hurdle lol.

At this point, I just don’t know… I don’t know what to do about my career on hold – can I even practice with this unpredictable headache? I don’t know what to do about my nonexistent social life – when I can’t keep promises or get out of the house because of bad headache days. I don’t know how to face my family – when I want to help them but I can’t even take care of myself. I don’t know if I want to try yet another medication and risk experiencing side effects like the many times before. I just don’t know how many more disappointments and difficulties I can take before it’s too much. I just don’t know if and how much longer I can coexist with this headache.

But I’m learning. Learning that it’s okay to not know. Learning that struggling through this doesn’t mean I’m weak. Learning that it’s okay to keep hoping, as long as that little spark can keep me alive.¬†Learning that I may be living differently from everyone else, but that doesn’t mean I can’t live. Learning that even if I can’t change or get rid of this headache, I can still live a life that I can look back on with a smile.

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I’m sorry I hate you and I love you

So my brother recently told my mom about the pressure he felt for getting into medicine and studying for the MCAT. It’s almost funny how I feel as though that was the first time she really cracked down on him. It was also the first time when he said that he understands what I might’ve felt. My whole life of more than 2 decades of being the firstborn and feeling all the pressure and NOW he says he thinks he understands it?! It didn’t feel comforting at all, but it did remind me the responsibility I have as a firstborn.

Someone once said this to his firstborn daughter that life will be harder on her as she bears more responsibility for her actions due to being a firstborn. That it won’t be fair, but that’s because she’s firstborn. At first, I was taken aback and felt bad for the little girl who was only 6 years old. Then I realized that even without being told that when I was young, the same thing happened to me. I guess it happens to all firstborns. Parents will be more protective and have higher expectations. They’re also the leader who’s supposed to show a good example to the younger ones. And with my brother who had a lot of health issues while growing up, it felt as though it was right for them to do that. I became protective of him too. From the teasing he would get from others because of his bandage on his ear and his hospitalizations. I’m not saying that I hated that, but I admit that there have been times when I hated him because it felt so unfair. At the same time, I would pour as much love as I can onto him because it felt like he needed it more.

When I think back to my studying and pressure that I received from my parents, I’ve always remembered them telling me that I should’ve studied harder to get even better grades. Them telling me how I should’ve done this instead and how I should sleep earlier. Them not knowing that I’d spend nights unable to sleep worrying because of the stress. How I would try my best to study everything as much as I can, sleeping at 2:30am and waking up at 6:30am to keep studying. With my brother, he sleeps late and my mom would defend him saying she already talked to him about it. When he sleeps in after a night of studying, my parents would say that he tried his best because he studied during the night. If he doesn’t do as well on an exam and says that he already tried his best, my parents would leave him alone. If it was me, I’d hear it a thousand times if I didn’t change my behaviour. I wouldn’t talk back to my parents, I’d just take it to heart and try my best to appease them. My brother, on the other hand, seems to feel wronged when he gets berated and would justify his actions. I guess it’s become a habit for me. I remember when I used to argue with my parents because of their seemingly unjust scoldings. It doesn’t help that when my mom scolds him, she’s learned to scold him when they’re alone so as to not have him “lose face” in front of us. When it was me, I’d get scolded in front of everyone and my brother would join in the scolding. I still hate that. But what can I say, I was the first baby they had, and parents learn along with their children. It wasn’t something that they knew to change before. I’m willing to be their guinea pig for the rest of my life. It’s something that I’m willing to do for my brother as I want him to become the best second-born, an improved newer person.