It could be worse
"Carry Me Out" by Mitski
April 25, 2021 Sunday 6:54 AM
Eventually, within this entry, I am going to talk about the thought I had just now on the toilet.
I have a tendency to make simple things into long-winded explanations, but here we go:
Woke up randomly now at maybe 6, laid there in half-sleep until getting up to pee five or ten minutes ago. Only been asleep for 5 hours. Still had the same headache I've had metastatizing for at least a week now, though it upgrade yesterday. I've been popping Advils (with the occasional Exedrine Migraine) this week with my normal headache-intensity.
Idk if I've talked about it lately, but I've always had lots of headaches. I have an isolated but oddly precious memory from high school, in which, while talking to my dad, I mentioned that my head hurt most days. My parents by then already knew I got migraines, because I've been getting them since middle school.
(the reason why is unclear; people who have migraines will sometimes develop them during puberty and idk if it's genetic. But I also got a concussion around then and I don't think they showed up until after, because I remember the pain of the concussion being unfamiliar enough that I thought I was going to die lololol, but I'm pretty sure in retrospect felt like a migraine)
Yeah, so, I mentioned offhand that my head hurt all the time, and I remember my dad being like, "That's......... not normal." It was such a nice moment, which I know is a super weird thing to say, but there I was, probably beating myself for not having the energy or desire to do as many things as my peers because I was usually walking around with some degree of pain. It provided me some morsel of validation that I really needed.
I have to say, I don't remember a lot of details anymore because it's been at least 4 years. Idk how I dealt with my headaches, except that I always carried Advil and Exedrine with me to school. I remember Lily also had migraines, only I think her were worse because she actually went to a neurologist and even started a different diet and I think she got Botox treatment for them as well (it is sometimes used to treat migraines). My own migraines have never been so bad. I've noticed that I tend to have non-migraine headaches for a week or two in advance, and then or several days I will have what feels like a mild migraine headache (pulsing behind left eye—almost always left), and then it will kind of reach a breaking point one day and I'll have to lay down for several hours before it dies down. The severe, debilitating pain odesn't last very long in itself, though, only for a few hours. The rest of the time, I am largely functional, but tired and kind of unable to be very active without triggering more pain.
Tbh, it must've not been too common if I was able to do sports, but I have no idea what I was like back then. I had more mild headaches than I do now, mostly because my sleep schedule was always FUCKED haha. My sleep schedule now has, in its ~own way~, evened out, despite having a 9 AM class this semester for the first time since my freshman year lmao. But it kind of got messed up recently and I think my headaches are a consequence of that more than they are of stress or something.
(We were in finals for the last couple weeks; classes ended Friday, which was also my 22nd birthday :D)
My headaches also got a lot better after my moods stabilized, but I still take a lot more Advil than the average person and I also need more of it to ease my pain. Like, I'll usually take Advil every day for a week or something. And when I say I take Advil, I mean it's a good day if I only have to take one dose. I average more between 6 pills, 8 on bad days. Idk in how many hours but not enough to be as-directed haha.
Yesterday I took two doses of Exedrine migraine AND a dose of Advil within 4 hours. It didn't actually hurt for awhile, but I think it got triggered by me cleaning pretty actively. The pain pills helped for about an hour while I talked with Isaac on the phone, but then it got worse again (I had also not eaten all day though; eating did not make it better but starving probably did not help. I did have a banana though). So I could really only lie down and drink water. I watched A Silent Voice and cried a lot haha. In retrospect, I have a lot of Thoughts about those two characters—the blonde girl and the guy with red hair—because for some reason, they're important but they never have enough screentime to be significant? But whatever, it still made me cry, like. A fucking lot. Because it's about being isolated/perpetuating your own isolation.
Then I watched some of Scott Pilgrim with Nadiya and Maria. And then I watched Howl's Moving Castle (Howl is... and I hate to say this but... he's so hot). Christian Bale's voice is very attractive and I hate it, I actually HATE it, I hate being a simp. I think I'm going to read the book, because it seems good and someone said it was funny. Plus, it's targeted at 5th/6th graders, and those tend to be really fun books; I think I can probably learn something from how it's set up.
Omg I'm so excited now that the semester's over!!!! I can read!!!! I can write!!! I can play video games!!!! I can... apply for jobs... lol... Ahhhhh! Plus, it's senior week starting today, which means Free Shit, and it's just. Good. This means I'll be drinking alcohol again this week, which is bad. Changes in my caffeine intake and alcohol intake tend to trigger headaches, and I'm already in one soooo. Not great.
Oh, yeah, yesterday I emember I tried to play piano but my hearing is sensitive when I'm ~~in pain~~ so it didn't work, unfortunately. Sucks because I've been learning two new pieces: Chopin's Nocturne op. 55 no. 1 and an arrangement of Shock by Yuko Ando (Aot Season 4 ED—arranged by a youtube composer called Haru; I saw a few arrangements but I liked this one so much I paid a couple dollars to get it... it must've taken a lot of work to write).
I feel paranoid sometimes cuz like. My migraines don't feel legitimately bad enough to warrant professional treatment, but I looked it up and apparently it's not a good sign for one to take so much over-the-counter painkillers.
Once, in high school, I read a comment on a forum that went something like, "UGH I'm tired of ppl saying they have migraines when they just have headaches. unless ur stuck in ur house for half the month in the dark YOU DO NOT HAVE MIGRAINES," which, being who I am, I of course internalized. It could be worse it could be worse it could be worse—if I'm going to say it's bad, it *should* be worse.
Then, me peeing as soon as I woke up, feeling the distinct dry-mouth of morning and the old pain of last night, thinking, "It could be worse."
Thought is poisoned a bit—it was said in the voice of Yuuri from Yuri on Ice, who has lately been my model for Anxiety Disorders and overcoming. But I found it—eh, not disturbing but— kind of... noteworthy? I found it noteworthy that I had a thought, not as myself but instead as a character.
I'm not in high school anymore, reading forums. I *know* my headaches could be worse, but I also know they are actually migraines. I'm not debilitated like some people with migraines are, but they still interfere with my life sometimes, so I should probably see a neurologist sometime soon; being in university allows me to deal with the pain, but having a full-time job will make that a lot harder.
So the thought, "it could be worse (it should be worse). Let's not complain"—that's not my thought. That's the thought I *could* have, if I felt like playing into my old ruminative patterns. But it's not who I am right now. It is, however, how some writers might characterize Yuuri Katsuki. Makes enough sense for me to have that in my head since I've been reading a lot of YoI fanfiction (it's comforting to me, to see positive/healthy representations of love when one of the parties deals with pretty severe anxiety and, to some degree, intimacy issues).
But it was kind of funny to me as well, because it's like a vestige of my adolescent self. When I was 12 and I got depressed for the first time, I had also been reading (re-reading?) the Percy Jackson series. That is the first time I remember consciously trying to transplant myself into that universe (this is also around the time I first read and wrote fanfiction—some of which I've re-read and is, like... pretty funny, if immature haha). I would do my own clumsy version of praying to the goddess Athena (I wanted to be an Athenian child, of fucking course I did; even now, when I take Harry Potter quizzes, I want to be Ravenclaw, but unfortunately I'm always a Gryffindor; probably bc of my incessant moralizing, SIGH).
And then when I was 13, I got super into Doctor Who, and I made a conscious effort to believe myself half into that world as well. Like, I began cultivating obsession, to some degree. It wasn't pathological or anything, just an attempt to— to, I don't know. I guess I didn't know back then either. I think, in some distant way, I was hoping I could manifest it. Or maybe I could just drive myself insane. I see kids doing the same thing (uhhh not the insane part tho) with the whole "Shifting" phenomenon. It was basically the same vibe.
Ugh, I kept thinking this trigger thought all day, "Doctor I'm Waiting I'm Waiting I'm Waiting" (I really wanted the doctor to come ~whisk~ me out of my life so I could, like, not be myself, so I could feel valuable and desired; as if that was all it took to unstick myself from depression). I stopped when, one day, I wrote it in the fog of the bathroom mirror after a shower; and it was a pretty big mirror. My dad found it when he showered later and knocked on my door to try and ask me about it, but I just told him to go away bc I was so embarrassed, hahaha. I guess it was too hard for me to explain without it seeming really stupid.
Come to think of it, I think I spent a long time thinking (often still thinking it this way) of my depression/anxiety/(mood disorder—?) like I do my headaches/migraines. "It could be worse (it *should* be worse, if I'm going to deserve treatment)". Because I was largely functional, if sluggish and agitated, I shouldn't've been complaining.
(it should be worse—so, for me to deserve help, I need to *make* it worse)
Obviously, given a decade of internalized thoughts like that, it's not easy to shake just because I've been not-depressed for four months. But it's helped to have seen concrete evidence of the way it has negatively affected my life. I'm still desperate, a lot of the time, for validation, for someone to hold me (broken, bleeding on the ground—that's how someone in my literature class wrote it, and I was so... like... touched, because it expressed a pretty embarrassing/pathetic buried desire of mine).
It's why I get so rabid whenever anyone praises me; calls me pretty or smart. When my professor LH says, in whatever capacity, that my writing is good. I just want to break down crying on my knees and beg him to say more, to tell me I'm talented and deep and funny, to tell me my suffering has been seen and meant something.
I say this half-smiling. The desperation is a little scary. I know from experience that crying confessions are not what I've built them up to be in my head. I might get the validation I want from people—they might rub my back and tell me it's not my fault—but it doesn't actually make me feel better. Instead, I have the bitter backlash, "What do you know? How could you know?" and then I feel ashamed. Because suffering is not who I am. I'm not this person sobbing on the floor, or shaking and saying over and over again, "I'm fine. Haha. I'm fine. This is fine," while a dude says, "Uhhh, clearly you're not," from the corner of the couch, probably wondering why we stopped making out (Is it because she's in love with me? No, sirree, it's because I'm depressed and my self-esteem is in the gutter, but thank you for trying to have sex with me anyways, despite having to kiss the snot off my mouth; actually, seriously, thank you, you were hot and I still wish you had a condom on you that night).
Nah, man. I want to be joking around and watching movies and cuddling and hugging.
But, fuck, I don't really like movies because of how much constant attention they require, and cuddling/hugging still makes me feel ashamed. I can at least do the joking-around part, okay?
I'm tired of baring my pain in the hopes that someone will see me and say: okay. That's a whole person. A whole-ass person with terrible problems but also a great personality.
Like... you'll see me crying and yelling soon enough, so why do I try to manufacture those moments of intimacy? To feel safe? Like I'm in control? To give you a clean and edited version of my depression?
(Not the way I'll mistreat the people around me out of bitterness, not the ugly unshowered pimpled self, not the one who can't stand touch, but instead artfully tearful and pliant)
It just feels false and I still end up feeling wildly vulnerable, and also even more alone than ever. So there I am, trying to chant to myself these days, any time I feel myself on the brink of confessing every detail of my history, "Don't say it don't say it don't say it don't say it."
A confession isn't going to make me feel better. It's not going to make them understand. It's not enough and it's also too much. I'm tired of it—I'm tired of how it makes me see myself.
I'd rather laugh. Really, really I would.
Ah, well. "It could be worse" is a useless thought to have. So instead I keep trying to cling to the thing my sister told me years ago, which has both hurt and harmed me, "If it interferes with your life, it's mental illness." It was about depression/anxiety and I'd feel guilty because it didn't really seem like it was interfering with my life (too much to get into but, surprise surprise, that probably wasn't true; just cuz it's not visible doesn't mean it isn't there). I think it applies to my headaches too, lol.
Now, I use it to remind myself that my mental problems... those things *do* interfere with my life. And, even if my headaches aren't the sort that will qualify me for disability (and I am thankful for that), they still exist and make life harder. So that makes them legitimate.
It's a bolstering thought to have, a counterattack to my ingrained need to invalidate myself. A reminder that things work in degrees, not extremes—it's not that I'm either good or bad, healthy or not. It's kind of funny that for someone who spends a lot of her time trying to capture nuance, my instinctual urges are to binarize things, you know? But that's why I've been attracted to nuance and complication; yet another countermeasure against my natural instincts.
Okay. I'm tired and I want to read. I know I'm going to suffer for only having five hours of sleep. This day is probably a bit of a wash, lol. I wish I could exercise, but as I said, I'm in a lot of pain and even walking makes it worse. My head feels heavy and tired.
Ahh, well! Gives me an excuse to read. Love that light-sensitivity is largely not a thing for me until the pain gets suuuuuper bad. Gonna go read now!!!!!! A howl's moving castle Yuuri on Ice AU, hahaha. Of course, right?
PS: remind me to make an entry talking about my birthday