adolescence in reverse

Egyptian migraine therapy

My body-mind is miserable.

I’ve had a “background” headache since July 8. It’s making me crazy, lurking around under the surface, waiting for a chance to break through and incapacitate. One dose of Zomig left to last me until the prescription can be refilled on August 7. I rail against insurance corporations, who think they have more right to decide what a patient needs than her doctor does. And who think $60 a month is a fair co-payment for six doses of a needed drug.

Appointment to see sympathetic doctor on Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed… Woke up this morning, head still stabbing. Should I beg my sister to give me some of her Zomig? We’ve helped each other out in the past. There have been times when I’ve only needed as little as one dose for a whole month. I call and put her on standby. Sisters understand…

Lately I’ve heard what I think is a very misleading commercial for Excedrin Migraine. While it can work sometimes, I don’t see how they can dare to guarantee that it will always work in half an hour. It might, perhaps half the time. And that bit about being #1 recommended by neurologists is hogwash. The first thing a neurologist will insist on is that you stop using Excedrin because people wind up taking it daily in increasingly futile attempts to treat rebound headaches.  When Excedrin Migraine first came out I checked the label and it’s the same acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine that is in regular Excedrin. Do they think we’re really so gullible? Or were my parents unique in teaching me to read labels thoroughly before taking any medication?

Caffeine. Well, I’m weaned from it for almost four years now so maybe it will work? Worth a try? I made myself a cup of black coffee and took my ibuprofen, which works better than acetaminophen or aspirin for this patient. It worked, for the most part. I can still feel the headache wanting to materialize. Maybe this will be a stopgap measure to keep most of the pain manageable until Monday so I won’t have to raid my dear sister’s stash. Still, I should probably get my eyes away from the computer screen to be on the safe side.

Pondering my predicament. I’ve been so careful to avoid triggers. “Why is this happening?” I cried out to Tim Sunday night, utterly frustrated. Slowly gathering my wits about me. I connect a few dots and recall that hormonal fluctuations are my biggest triggers and they (along with fluctuations in atmospheric pressure) I simply cannot control. Now I think this is perhaps some sort of menopausal last hurrah.

If you want to know where your power really is, you need look no further than the processes of your body that you’ve been taught to dismiss, deny, or be afraid of. These include the menstrual cycle, labor, and, the mother of all wake-up calls, menopause. The years surrounding menopause are a time when most women find themselves in a crucible, having all the dross of the first half of their lives burned away so that they may emerge reborn and more fully themselves. Menopause can be likened to adolescence in reverse – the same stormy emotions we experienced during puberty often return, urging us to complete the unfinished business of our early years.
~ Christiane Northrup
(Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical & Emotional Health & Healing)

I remember reading somewhere that the way a child handles the emotional work of toddler-hood will be the same way she handles the emotional work of adolescence. And now, adolescence in reverse. The mother of all wake-up calls. Must be what this nightmare is all about. A crucible. A month-long hot flash. Unfinished business. I wonder…

This morning I found a quote that spoke to me…

Everyone confesses in the abstract that exertion which brings out all the powers of body and mind is the best thing for us all; but practically most people do all they can to get rid of it, and as a general rule nobody does much more than circumstances drive him to do. Even I would not write this article were not the publication-day hard on my heels. I should read Hawthorne and Emerson and Holmes, and dream in my armchair, and project in the clouds those lovely unwritten stories that curl and veer and change like mist-wreaths in the sun.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
(Household Papers & Stories)

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe

I have so many lovely unwritten stories. I need more exercise. I feel lazy writing this, I “should” be doing more to help with the elder-care or even doing my own chores. I think we all feel unmotivated or overwhelmed at times, but that’s not laziness in my way of looking at things. But do I really believe my own assertions about this, deep down inside? Harriet Beecher Stowe includes “everyone.” Somehow that comforts me to know that others need incentives to get certain things done, too.

And now, as I write this, a song comes up on my iPod playlist shuffle. Still can’t listen to it without crying…

Now, I’m sailing on back, ready for the long haul
Tossed by the winds and the seas
I’ll drag them all down to hell and I’ll stand them at the wall
I’ll sell them to their enemies
I’m trying to feed my soul with thought
Going to sleep off the rest of the day
~ Bob Dylan
♫ (Working Man’s Blues #2) ♫

It’s been a very long haul since Dad first fell in 2000. It’s getting harder and harder. And Auntie is needing more and more attention, too. Sometimes I think having to deal with menopause while caring for my elders is a double whammy and has made me more impatient and persistently irritable.

I’m tired!!! So often I “sleep off the rest of the day.” So often I fail to “feed my soul with thought.” I don’t have enough energy for elder-care and the “stormy emotions” of menopause!

Okay. That’s enough self-pity for one day. This too will pass, right?

9 thoughts on “adolescence in reverse”

  1. Barbara,

    Part of me can’t even begin to understand this whole story but I can be supportive and encouraging to you in anyway that I can be.
    I will send you Reiki if you so choose to have this energy healing?
    I think your ability to work through your headache and life situations is just what you need to be doing. In doing so you find you are not alone in your journey to another realm of womanhood!

    I am Love, Jeff

    1. Thank you so much, Jeff, and yes, please, send me some Reiki energy… I’m heading up to Dad’s later this morning but I will keep myself consciously open to receiving Reiki as I go through this day. Your support means a lot to me. Thank you again and again….

  2. UPDATE: Tim often says that the squeaky wheel gets the grease… Three nice results from this self-absorbed blog post.

    #1. As I was stomping around and grumbling last night, unable to decide which book to read or even if I should read, Tim suggested I try something different, a science fiction book by Octavia E. Butler that he’s been reading. He had read my blog and thought I might enjoy it even though I’m not fond of the genre. He was right, it’s engrossing and got my mind off my troubles.

    #2. Jeff left a compassionate message here and offered support and Reiki. Thank you so much, my friend!

    #3. Janet sent me a big dose of sympathy and mentioned natural progesterone, something that I used to rely on for hormonal balance and had totally forgotten about. Will try it again. Many thanks to you, too, my friend, my sister!

    1. Thank you very much for the healing light, Meenakshi. I’m coping better since my rant, no doubt due to the wonderful energy everyone has been sending me…

      Looking back at the lyrics in the Bob Dylan song quoted above… I probably should make it clear that the second couple of lines about ‘dragging them all down to hell’ I was not applying to my father or to my aunt, but rather to corporations, which I feel are agents of oppression, making the natural transitions of life more difficult with their dishonesty and greed.

  3. I can certainly sympathize with those “background” headaches; I’ve been a migraine sufferer since adolescence although certainly not to the degree that I know many folks do. You put to use my “traditional” migraine cure: ibuprofen and caffeine. They are unfortunately hereditary in my family; I remember my mother suffer 3 to 4 day long migraines when I was a child and she wanted nothing more than to be in a dark room. And I seem to have passed them on to my teenaged daughter. Neither of us have come to the critical mass of needing the monthly preventative meds – I will have to see what happens when it is time for me to experience “adolescence in reverse!”
    Best of luck in your fight!

    1. Then you know what I’m talking about, Karen, some sensations are so difficult to describe… Your mom’s migraines sound similar to how my mom’s were. Migraines run in my family, too, on both my mother’s and my father’s sides of the family. And all my kids get them, too, but not as often. That may change, but none of them has been driven to ask her doctor for Zomig yet. Thank you for the sympathy! I’m happy to report that the natural progesterone cream is working its magic now and that my doctor is right on board with it. He also prescribed 12 doses of Zomig a month and told me to let him know if I needed more. Don’t think I’ll need it that often now, but it’s nice to know it’s there, a safety net. Coffee and ibuprofen are certainly cheaper!

  4. Barbara, just stumbled across this post in your archives. I hope your migraine headaches are a thing of the past by now. I suffered with them since I was a child. Sometimes, they’d be barely tolerable while gnawing in the background, other times totally incapacitating. About four years ago I finally found a cure: water. It also cured my frequent heartburn. Try drinking a couple of glasses next time you are feeling a headache coming on. It might work for you too and it doesn’t cost anything.

    1. Hmm… That’s an interesting idea, Amy-Lynn, and I will give the water a try. Lately I’ve been getting frequent heartburn, too. “Gnawing in the background,” I like your way of describing that level of migraine. Unfortunately I’m still having periods of frequent migraine alternating with strings of migraine-free days. Still tied to these crazy hormones – four months with no period followed by two periods only two and a half weeks apart. This stop and go can’t go on forever! When menopause finally takes hold I should get some more lasting relief! Thanks so much for the tip!

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