Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Head Shots

How I Cope With A Chronic Headache

My unrelenting excessive painful headache started in the fall of 2007.  I started this blog in January of 2009, after experiencing more than a year of an extreme headache on a daily/hourly basis.  Yes, that is one headache.  It started in 2007.  Not a series of smaller headaches.  Not one day without a headache.  Not one hour without a headache.  Even now with much better control of my pain I still have a headache.

The Headache is only on the left side of my head (thank Heaven!) and besides the pain I have a puffy left eye, runny nose on that side, almost non-stop nausea and the only medication in the world that actually is effective to control it pretty much put my pancreas out of commission.  My understanding is once in a great while this type of headache (hemicrania continua) will go into spontaneous remission but for most sufferers it is a life long problem.  If I live 30 more years, I can look forward to 30 years of constant headache. Sigh.

Once upon a time I was a fine arts major.  Life intervened and I was forced to make a living with something practical and I didn't really do much artistic work for years.   Now that the headache has woken some unfulfilled need in me, I have found artistic expression is a great outlet for me.   I think in the pyramid of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs I am at the bottom after once almost being at the top, so hoping art work will assist in the climb back up.  The art work that takes up most of my time lately is digitally manipulating photographs.

Coping with The Headache and other myriad ailments is difficult.  For my own amusement I photoshop pictures of my ouchy head and post them as illustrations for the fractured meanderings of my prose.  I find a perverse pleasure in cutting and pasting and layering all kinds of things onto my head in order to illustrate what The Headache is.  It is my revenge on The Headache and a way for me to find a bit of humor in the grimness of it all.  I know its strange but it seems that the process of illustration frees up some part of me that would be very very angry and sad otherwise.

I've had Japanese ceremonial drummers pounding on my head, jackhammers drilling into my skull, devils glowing in the dim embers of my brain.  I've circled my head with sayings, light bulbs, lightening, electricity, animals, and at least one clown.  I've illustrated hot spikes poking into my brain, thought bubbles popping out of my head with strange thoughts, and sometimes simply the way I look when I am tired and hurting.  I have some happy pictures, sad pictures, wacky pictures, and ugly pictures.  They all make me laugh to some extent.  This disease is absurd and I am the type of person that either laughs or cries.  I'd much rather laugh!

Everyone reacts to life's crises in different ways.  The never ending stress of  my headache disorder has taken its toll emotionally and physically.  In photographing my noggin, uploading it to my PC, and putting my bonehead through illustrated torture I hope it helps my psyche in putting the kaputz on The Headache.  Hoping everyone has some sort of similar outlet, because it serves me as an excellent relief valve for high pressure stress and pain.

Montage of Head Shots 2009-2010

18 comments:

  1. nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

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  2. I am glad you have some fun with photoshop during your painful ordeal dear one. I am so very sorry for you constant pain.

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  3. Mr. Lonely: You have a nice touristy blog on Malaysia, but I generally don't refer to blogs that make money per click. I did check it out. So sorry Adsense has banned you. Hoping you make more money soon on your ads, not sure if random commenting is the way to do it. If Engish is your second language you do a pretty good job with it - so good work!

    JBR: Some people luck out and have constant Joy!!! I have occassional moments of joy so I consider myself blessed! Hang in there kiddo!

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  4. I love checking in to see your latest photos! I'm amazed that you are able to be so creative with that much pain.

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  5. Sue: Most of us have had their days with pain. Different ways of coping - Your exercise seems to help, some people like yoga, me I decorate my head like its a Christmas tree and stick it on the internet!

    The real issue that underlies it all Sue is that I had a MRI once of my brain and the doctor told me there was "nothing there" - his exact words. Most of my coworkers and friends had already guessed this a long time ago, but it was reassuring to have expert confirmation!

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  6. Reading about your symptoms (all together) just makes me realize how very similar our headaches are! Mine is NOT hemicrania continua, but I do have the pain on one side, the nausea, and the constant runny nose. Ridiculous. :)

    I enjoy hearing your thoughts about The Headache & how you cope.

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  7. I'm so glad you get so much pleasure from your photoshop projects. I have enjoyed the visual interpretations you provide :)

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  8. Love, love, LOVE your artwork! :) Great post!

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  9. Emily: The runny nose thing and the puffy eye was one of the reason at first they thought I had cluster headaches (well, that and the extreme pain AND the fact that migraine meds didn't work). My migraines were almost always the left side also. Maybe I broke it with too many uncontrolled migraines....

    Migrainista: I have fun with the photoshop. If I didn't have such a big pumpkinhead it wouldn't be as much fun because then I would have scrinch everything down to fit.

    Heather: Thanks for the comment. Hoping to amuse and inform but would settle for providing a moment's respite from boredom and pain.

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  10. I love your pictures and look forward to seeing them everytime I log onto your blog! I wish I was that creative!

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  11. Jessica: Thanks! I think everyone is creative in different ways. I just happen to post my creative efforts on this blog publically.

    This stupid headache took over my life and somehow illustrating what it feels like or how it effects me has given me back some control over SOMETHING!

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  12. Hoping you are doing better today Winny!

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  13. Today has been a great day JBR, hoping you have had a similarily great day! Somedays its just good to enjoy the great weather God has sent us!

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  14. Just came by to say thinking of you....

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  15. I love that you turn your pain into a creative outlet; way to keep it from getting the best of you! My favorite is the one with the forks (pitchforks?) coming out of your head, although I'm sorry that your head feels that way :(

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  16. JBR: Thanks for always remembering me!!!

    Heather: Can't stop the head from hurting, although its better this week, wish I had a magic potion for everyone. I like the fork picture too, think they were bar-b-que forks because I was thinking - stick a fork in me - I'm done!!!

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  17. Love'n the Photoshop work. A picture can be worth a thousand words. Or, so I've heard. I like to spend time in photoshop on pictures I use in my blog as well. Hope your having a good day.

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  18. Andy: Have always liked your illustrations!!! Hoping your hobby horse has been behaving itself and you get to do something fun this weekend!

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