An Open Letter from a Migraine Sufferer to Her Head


Dear Head, 

I like you. I like you a lot. We’ve had a lot of great times, you and me. I like that you seem to know what I want to say before I even say it. I like how you finish my sentences for me. I can even say I like the hair you have despite its growing greyer by the day. I don’t even want to chop up your face’s nose or do weird stuff to your face’s lips or anything. I don’t even put much in the way of weird crap on your face, so you should be feeling grateful for that, because, you and I have watched our fair share of plastic surgery reality television and we know how weird some women (and men) can get about their faces, right?  
So, with all that being said, Head, why you gotta do me like you do? I don’t abuse you in any way. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t have a history of abusing drugs of any sort.  

This whole head pain thing just doesn’t seem fair, Head.  

Now, if there was some explanation, something like I had a tumor the size of an eggplant growing inside you or I was Hitler in a past life, and I deserved this sort of pain most days of my life it might make this an easier cross to bear.  
But, Head, I know there’s no eggplant-sized tumor in you and if Hitler came back as anyone or anything I doubt it would be a meek nurse in the Midwest of the United States with chronic migraines. Wouldn’t it have to be something like a slug with chronic migraines or a gnat with colitis? (Yeah, yeah, Head. I realize gnats don’t have colons. Or do they? Oh, my God. Do gnats have colons? Shut up, Head. Google isn’t going anywhere.)  
But let’s get serious for a minute; I’m so sick of you. Yep. I said it. What are you going to do, run away? Didn’t think so.  
I’m so sick of you keeping me from being a normal person. I look plenty normal, which actually doesn’t help my case much. If you look normal people pretty much assume you are and with that assumption comes the assumption that you’re carrying on in your life just fine when actually you’re barely keeping anything together at all.  
Getting you and the rest of my body out of bed is, on more days than not, a monumental task.  
I’m sick of this.  
Driving to work, from work, to the store, from the store, much less working or shopping is a task so tall I feel like the mountaineer in, what had been, my favorite Price Is Right game when the mountaineer slowly works his way up the steep mountain as cute yodeling music plays, only nothing about this is cute or fun: just lonely.  
And that might actually be worse than the pain: the loneliness the pain creates.

 You can’t explain the pain to anyone else. As a patient I hate answering that question, “What does the pain feel like?” As a nurse I absolutely hate asking that question. It’s a ridiculous question for someone in severe head pain; it’s indescribable. 
If I could describe it I’d be the best writer ever born to this earth. But I can’t. I can’t begin to describe it. I can’t give this pain the respect it deserves by even coming close to describing it. The best I can do is say, “It feels like there’s an ice pick in my eye,” or “Oh, my god, it’s so bad it’s spread all the way into my tongue. How’s that even possible?!”  
And with no way to describe the pain, no way to convey how every second you live through feels a tad miraculous in a horrible, torturous way because how on earth does a human being endure such pain and NOT die, you just plod along minute after minute and day after day and forever lonely.  
Lonely because you really are.
How many parties and other engagements have you had to back out of because of your isolating pain? And lonely because having such a unique experience makes the human experience an utterly solitary one.  
Yep, Head. I hate you. I hate that I feel so ashamed of myself as a mother because you keep me handicapped for so much of my life. I hate that my children know to tread lightly in the house, to turn the volume on the TV down, to ask softly if mom has a headache.  
I’ve spent countless hours crying over how I’ve let my family down because of you.  
But, what am I supposed to do, you most necessary and most annoying body part? If you were a gallbladder I’d have had you executed 25 years ago and, damn straight, because of all the issues you’d caused me, I’d have kept you in a jar as a sort of trophy.  
I, however, cannot part with you, Head. Yep. We’re stuck together ’til the end, at least until Apple and/or Google figure out a way around you. You’re darn lucky you have so many good attributes, like making me laugh to myself, helping me remember all my favorite music, and remembering I need to Google whether or not gnats have colons. You’d sure as heck have some serious explaining to do if it was all bad all the time, Head. 
Now, can we take a nap? You’re killing me.