Triggers

Most of the time when I see a new doctor, or I see discussions about headaches, the question about triggers comes up.

My daily trigger is waking up. As long as I wake up, I’ll have a headache. It’s a given, and it never fails. I have woken up without a headache, literally, zero times in 20 years.

Over the years I’ve taken notice of some of the most common things to increase my daily headache, and they include, but are not limited to: crying; laughing; loud noise; repetitive sounds; light; watching a movie; going to the bathroom; climbing a flight of stairs; walking up the street; large crowds; stressful situations; making love; riding a bicycle; drinking cold drinks; alcohol; menstrual cycle; rapid images; dancing; feeling hot; feeling cold; being startled; doctor appointments; studying; being hungry; overeat; dehydration; too much sleep; not enough sleep; body aches; bending down; standing up; fatigue; traveling; whistling sounds; dentist visits; getting my hair done at a salon; massages; taking a nap; strong, foreign smells; raising my voice; working out; and often there’s no reason whatsoever.

As you can imagine, most doctors can’t wait to get rid of me. They don’t know where to start.

Lost Hope

The best thing that I did for myself, was letting go of hope. Hope was debilitating. Each time I hoped, I was disappointed. The disappointment sometimes would be so huge, that it would take months to get out of the hole I felt I landed in.

It’s a popular saying… “Don’t lose hope”, but I recommend the opposite when you’re dealing with chronic pain. Hope doesn’t do you any good when you’re constantly reminded that the pain is here to stay. Hope is an illusion that you will get better, while knowing in the back of your head that’s unlikely to ever happen.

When I quit hoping, I was able to accept, and move on with my life as is. I can now enjoy the time with my family without being consumed by this fairytale dream.

I still look for relief. I still receive treatment, because I’m too stubborn to just give up, but I’m realistic in my expectations. When a treatment doesn’t work now, I just move on to the next, without being hugely disappointed.

Losing hope saved my sanity.