If people would stop asking…

Every time I have to talk and explain to people (especially the SAME people) what my headaches are like, it not only is annoying, but it hurts too. Just because they don’t know what it’s like, they easily forget what I say about it. Because they can’t “understand” me? Because they don’t care enough to listen when I tell them? Because I don’t show my pain on the outside?

I have a freaking headache that never went away since August 2013. The neurologist has diagnosed it as New Daily Persistent Headache. I don’t even want to tell people about it, in case it changes their perception of me. But then I have to make excuses when it acts up. In school, I use Access and Diversity to communicate with profs so that I don’t have to elaborate and everything. They might not even “believe” my condition. So what does it feel like? I wish I could just copy and paste this on my forehead or something. My headaches are normally at a 2-3/10 for pain every second of the day like a tension-type headache. Then, there are times when the pain gets worse and it becomes like a  migraine in nature with pain that goes up to 10/10 and I even get lightheaded from it. I don’t get nauseous or vomit, but I would be unable to think, unable to do anything, unable to sleep even. And with school and work, I try so hard to get through the pain and endure it so that people won’t look at me like a patient. I want to finish school and become a pharmacist like any normal person can. I don’t want to be looked down upon because I suffer from chronic pain. But at the same time, I wish I could be understood when the pain gets too much for me. Because I can’t help it. There have been so many times when I just want to bash my head against the wall and rip my head open. Medications don’t work, or they have side effects that are even worse than the pain itself, not letting me function. So I endure it. I just hope that one day, no matter how long in the future. One day, I can have freedom from the pain. To have no headache, I don’t even remember what that is like anymore. It’s like someone’s put a steel lock on my head that the key cannot be found for.

Talking to my mentor, she thinks that surviving the headache and migraines and being able to live like I do is because I’m strong. I’m not. Ever since I was in elementary school and got headaches after playing outside in the sun, I would call my mom to take me home. It happened often. And now, I would skip class and go home. I would cancel appointments and commitments. I wouldn’t want to go out with friends nor care about them. It’s like a jail for me. It makes me give in and sucks all the energy in me. It stops me from so many things: studying, spending time with people I care about, enjoying things, just living a normal life.

My parents always asks me about my headache. It’s like…what do you want me to say? The whole spiel over and over again? Yes. I have a headache. I will never NOT have a headache. It hurts, leave me alone. But because I don’t want them to worry, I don’t keep complaining about it. It doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Like a shadow, it’s always there. I try so so so hard to live a normal life. I went out with my family this weekend and spent more time out of my room with them. My head gave me unbearable migraines, but I held it out. Even when they took a long time at the loud restaurant when I had already finished eating and was just waiting for them. Even when they wanted to go places after places after places. Because I wanted to be able to show them that I love my family. That I don’t isolate myself from them because of them. But because the pain locks me in and I just can’t do anything else. I collapsed after the outings, but I think it was worth it. To just spend time with them is precious. So I hope that they can one day understand me. That they can understand my effort and suffering. Because I don’t think I can hold it out for too long. It’s much too draining. I’m tired. My mind, my body, is tired of this headache. But I’ll keep trying, because some little part of me holds on to the belief that it’ll get better, and that I CAN live through this, no matter what this “normal life” for me becomes.

Why it won’t work out

I hate the way they talk to dad. The way they yell at him like he did something terribly wrong when it was an accident. The way they treat that as more important than his well-being. Dropping and breaking a cup and they ask WHY it happened rather than if he was okay. Then they berate him about being more careful and the way he cleans it up, how he lacks common sense and how “anyone” should know how to do that basic stuff. If everyone knew how to avoid accidents and do things perfectly, we wouldn’t be human. Why do they have to be so harsh. Why don’t they give him any respect as the head of household. Sure, there may be things he’s still learning and things that he doesn’t do that well, but that doesn’t mean you can yell at him condescendingly and verbally abuse him. Then go into the whole “just like your family” spiel. I know there was a lot of hurt and bullying but it shouldn’t be brought onto those who are innocent or the next generation. Heck I feel like I was bullied by my brother because he treats me the same way he treats my dad and everything but I still try my best to be the best sister for him. Because like any relationship, you have to work hard at it. Just because you’re related by blood and stuck with each other for life doesn’t mean that you don’t put any effort. Relationships are two way streets. You give and take, trust, and support each other. My dad doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. My mom talks about how she wanted to take us away because of his family but now I feel like I need to take him away from this family. I guess there’s just this connection with my dad since I was young (I always cry when he cries) and it hurts me seeing him put up with the obvious hurt he feels. I don’t care how nice he is or how strong he is, he shouldn’t be treated that way. I really want to protect him and stand up for him but I’m not strong enough and that hurts me too. To be able to care for and protect someone means that you have to be strong enough. One day I will better myself so that I can protect him from everyone.

On another thought, he himself has been frustrating me. Rather than just looking towards a brighter future, you need to work hard to get that brighter future and the health to live to that day. It’s almost like denial of his declining health. In harsh words, it’s like a slow process of suicide. I know because I did that. When you don’t take care of yourself, you’re just speeding up the dying process. Isn’t that the same as suicide? And when you try to fix it (if you even try), its too late. A simple example would be my cavities. I had 8 cavities because I didn’t brush my teeth for a year. It was way at the bottom of my list of things to deal with when you don’t want to live anymore. It was something that could be fixed but I still ended up going through a lot of pain. But there are things that can’t be fixed. With all those little things happening to him, he really needs to take care of his health. I can’t baby him anymore even though I don’t want to treat him the same way the others do. Because this is important. I “came out” to them about my health, problems and challenges because I wanted to change my life. He needs to be honest with us and himself about his health. Changes need to be made. Changes CAN be made. And changes won’t come just from believing. I’m trying real hard to live and I need him to do that too. I just hope that I can get him to understand that. I know that all my life I’ve been told that “people can’t change” but they can. Because I have.

Why it hurts so much

So before my oh-so-important oral exam for a 6 credit course in Pharmacy which integrates all the ideas we learn into cases, I had a severe migraine attack. The cause? A breakdown I had earlier because of my brother. I woke up to the sound of yelling and heard everything he said to my parents about me. Most of it were outrageous things. And the thing that hurt the most and reminded me of my childhood traumatic experience with my aunt yelling at my dad? That my parents didn’t stand up for me. Like how my grandma didn’t stand up for my dad. The anger I had towards my grandma since then until the day she died (and the regret I had towards my dad for not being strong enough to support him), and now I’m conflicted with the same scenario. Not only the hurt of the words and accusations my brother yelled out, but also the hurt and loneliness of not having anyone stand up for me.

How can they think that way about me? Even when I see their worst, I understand that they’re human, that of course family, who see them everyday, are bound to see the worst more than others. I don’t take it to heart and the day isn’t done before I find myself forgiving them and loving them again. I try all the more to understand them and find excuses even to justify their actions. But what has that done. Relationships won’t last even if one person tries their best. I’ve tried so hard to show my brother the love that siblings should have, one that he wasn’t able to see in my parents’ generation. I guess it didn’t show and all he sees are my failures and imperfections. I honestly never knew that he saw me that way. Because I could never see him in that light. If it was me, I wouldn’t have been able to talk so harshly about him. He is my little brother after all. Guess life doesn’t go the other way around.

It means the world to me when I see people standing up for each other. When my friends support me, when I see people love me like family even though we’re not blood related. After that happened, I used every opportunity I had to support my family. To stand up for them when they’re put down by others. To call a coworker who’s not distributing work fairly. To stand up for my dad when my mom and brother attack him with words. To tell my friends what amazing people they are. But this all messes it up. The meaning of family was destroyed back in Grade 5. And now again, I can’t help but think of the parallels. Is this family? Is this a safe place? I hear his voice and can’t help but break down in tears, shivering. It’s too similar. It hurts. It really hurts.