What a Headache

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

July 25, 2011


Yes, I went to bed late. Got the husband ready, he wished me off, then twenty minutes later, CRACK! We don’t often get thunderstorms here in the Willamette Valley, and we certainly don’t get good cracks of thunder with bright lightening, but this morning we did. It woke me right up, called the husband, who predictably didn’t answer his phone. He wasn’t due to ride into work for another 15 or 20 minutes anyway. So, I piddled around on-line for a bit while the headache overtook my brain. He called, I went back to bed. The alarm went off, and I lifted my head: THROB.

Daily headaches have been a part of my life since I was in high school. I took medicine for migraines when I was a freshman in college, but those made me feel worse with nausea than the pain of the headache, so I stopped. When I inquired with my family doctor about more details on headaches he gave me a brochure that broke headaches down between sinus, stress, and migraines. Sinus headaches, perhaps obviously, focus on where the sinuses are and are often accompanied by cold or allergy symptoms. Migraines are acute, and, said the brochure, don’t usually last more than 12 hours. Migraines are made more sensitive with light and sound. Thus far, none of the descriptions really fit the headaches I experienced. So, I read onto Stress Headaches. Stress Headaches, informed the brochure, often feel like migraines, but they can last up to three days. And, they are triggered by stress. So, you control sleep, exercise, eating/nutrition. If the headache is still there, find the stresser. Control for stress, and you usually control the headache.

I haven’t had daily headaches like this for a few years. A period between age 26 and 29 then, for a bit, I think, after graduating PSU, I was certainly, regularly, headache free. I slept regularly, at age 26-29 I definitely worked out my eating habits, and I walked, daily. I had no meaningful stressful relationships. I was able to box stressers into certain time slots so they weren’t overwhelming. Work stayed at work, other relationship issues stayed within their box.

After graduating college, I was now a wife and a mother yearning for a career suffering from Grave’s Disease. I haven’t had good sleep in a long while. But, I also don’t help things by not going to bed at a decent hour. I struggle more with ensuring we have the right nutrition in the house balancing what people will eat, what the want, and what we can afford. When I was at age 26-29 it was more or less just me, and my own budget struggles — not a family.

Stress headaches, another sign that I am out of balance. Although after I graduated from college, I had other obligations, I don’t remember the headaches. So, instead of headaches, I had a deep yearning to be involved and have a job. The job desire comes from wanting this idea of a career and this need to pay off the debt incurred to get through college. I can’t get the latter volunteering although I get the satisfaction desired. So, really, the goal is to work through current obligations while finding that magical combination that will keep our livelihood the way we want it and allow for self sanctification without the stress.

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