photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “migraines

Are you Addicted to your Own Chaos?

Lying here in the muted candle light, the sound of Josh writing a song on our electric stage piano has a tranquil, sedating effect. I feel mildly euphoric, despite having a wicked migraine. It’s noteworthy to add that I haven’t had a migraine in many weeks. I became my own lab rat when I experimented with a variety of medicinal, herbal, natural pain modifiers and thankfully, discovered something that worked for me. It’s such an effective medicine, that it not only eliminated my 3 day migraines altogether, but doubled as natural Adderall; increasing my ability to focus and concentrate by more than 60%. As a result, my grades shot up and I became an honor roll student virtually overnight. And, as a result of the medicine, I’ve been able to eliminate my doctor visits 100%. No need for pharmaceutical pain medication, no need for nerve pills, no need for Ambien to help me sleep. It’s been my panacea and it works. (Unfortunately, I’ve been without that medicine for 3 weeks now.)

I realize finding a cure-all on this level is slim to none. Even doctors and therapists are unable to “fix” people for the most part. Why else do people continue seeing a therapist after 20 years and so on? You’d think that there’d be nothing left to discuss. Ahh…but what they don’t and won’t tell you, is that they will help you to perpetuate your own disorder; it’s called job security.

You would think that I, of all people– a psychologist-in-training– would be hesitant to talk openly about this seldom-disclosed medical deception, but I’m not. Because it’s disgusting how Big Pharma and (many) doctors and therapists are all in bed together, and they work incessantly to keep people sick- year after year- and benefit from it.

Disclaimer: there are people who genuinely need therapy and benefit from it, and absolutely should continue on with it and take the proper medications. I’m not talking about those people.

I’m talking more about people that really don’t need medication or therapy at all…like children who are excitable, and are simply being children. They wiggle in their seats with anticipation and raw energy. But do you know what the teachers are doing in most all schools now? They’re being conditioned and programmed–like militants–to report ANY children who exhibit signs of “excitability”, and they’re mandated to report these “excitable children” to school officials, CPS workers, CASA workers (who are merely average Joes and Janes who volunteer to work with children, despite their lack of any kind of training whatsoever- scary), and a plethora of other workers.

What happens next is nothing short of societal rape. They then tell the parents that their child needs to be medicated, because he or she is exhibiting signs of ADHD- which is a “catch-all disorder” for a child simply being a child! Big Pharma has created this disorder in the last 20 years or so, and has pimped it out to society at large, and the whole world has swallowed it up- tail and all- because they’re told it’s true.

This is scary crap. For real.

School teachers- who have absolutely no psychological training whatsoever, are reporting children to case workers, who then report those children to “other officials”- who in turn, report them to CPS- the baby snatchers and the family destroyers. Why? Why would they do such a thing?

I’ll tell you why. Because every child in the public school system who is put on some type of behavioral disorder medicine receives bonus money for that school. For every kid that’s diagnosed–by a freakin’ teacher–and reported- the school’s bankroll gets fatter. And now that school district has a sweet chunk o’ change rolling in, no matter where that kid goes (as long as he’s medicated and the “problem” persists- and oh believe me, it will) and that kid becomes a “lifer” most of the time. Meaning, that child will be told it needs medicine year after year, for many years, and sometimes it lasts for the rest of their lives. Because after 10- 20 years of pharmaceutical medications, a host of side effects and other disorders have now been created (and are real), because of that one prescribed medication during the child’s most formidable, impressionable years.

Look it up. Knowledge is power, they say. Kids are being altogether destroyed at an alarming rate in the U.S.  and parents are frightened into obeying, because they’e told that their child has “a disorder”. They’re threatened if they don’t take their kid to a therapist and worse, they’e threatened if they refuse to medicate their child.

This is a sick, twisted business. It’s absolutely horrific and yet it continues on, year after year.

I watched this documentary called The Drugging of Our Children and it blew my head off. Seriously. It scared the crap out of me. I could not believe that our system is that perverted. Well, yes I can, but don’t get me started on that.

Alas. I really didn’t want to rant on about all of that. This is just free association.

I really wanted to write about something else entirely. My migraine, and pain in general. I’ve noticed that when I’m in extreme pain, especially for 72 hours relentlessly, that any little comfort feels reeeeeeeeeally good. Way better than normal. Take for example, stretching my muscles. By nature, I really can’t stand to work out. It’s boring and repetitive and sort of pointless to me. I can think of many fun ways to get exercise, rather than spin around on a wheel like a sad hamster.

But a few moments ago, I noticed that when I stretched my leg muscle, it felt incredibly good. More so than if I didn’t have a migraine and it got me thinking: What’s the correlation between pain and good feelings? Is it possible that pain actually releases endorphins? 

And then I found this article that stated that not only pain releases feely-good endorphins, but so does stress. Hold on- let that sink in a minute.

Stress (chaos, worry, contention, strife, bad traffic, an ugly altercation, hard donuts, etc.) releases endorphins. A while back, I wrote a post about a theory that I posited, called The Chaos Theory.  There’s already a chaos theory in math, but not in psychology. Well, now there is. 🙂

My theory is this: In childhood and adolescence, some of us are thrown into derision and pain, or, chaos, and not unlike adaptation, we get used to crazy crap happening to us all of the time. (Sorry, I get tired of writing academic research sometimes and my rebellion is being able to dumb it down- teetering dangerously on the edge of slang.)  In short, if the chaos ceases for any length of time outside of what we’re familiar with, we’ll create our own chaos, because then, at least we know what to expect.

In this way, we condone and accept self-induced chaos more readily than foreign peace.

Heavy words, but not untrue. As with anything else, each person’s experience will vary, and this hypothetical scenario is individuated and subjective. In other words, it’s not the same for everybody.

In the article I pointed out up there, it states that our stress and pain activate our opioid receptors; very much like drugs do. However, it stated that we do not become addicted to pain and stress as we would with drugs.

I beg to differ.

And I bring your attention back to my Chaos Theory. I believe some of us seek out chaos, not because we like it, but because we’re trying to alter our brain chemistry. Stress produces endorphins! When we experience prolonged stress, our brain dispatches the EMT/ambulance  (little neurotransmitters- endorphins) to patch up the damage. This is likened to taking a hit off of an opium pipe. Not enough to knock you down, no, and maybe not enough to even notice- on a conscious level.

But what’s happening behind the scenes is that as the stress is increasing, and the sympathetic nervous system throws the body into “fight or flight” mode, our endorphins are being pumped out from the pituitary gland and are circulated throughout the body via the bloodstream, certain neural pathways in our brain are being rewarded with those feely-good hormones. It’s very much like biological classical conditioning.

This is bad though, because it teaches the person that “heightened stress” is rewarded.

[Another “let that sink in” moment.]

In this way, we absolutely can, and sometimes do become addicted to stress, and our own chaos- because it’s what we’ve learned to do in order to “fix ourselves”- not unlike a junkie.

I’d like to conduct a few research studies in the future in this area. But for now, I’m going to get my own fix; listening to Josh play and sing, as I lay here in the candle’s warm glow with the smell of pumpkin spice filling up the room sweetly.

Interestingly enough, my migraine has dissipated almost entirely.

 

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Sleep: A Thing of the Past

If ever I’ve felt like my head is on the chopping block, it’s now.

It’s 4:33 a.m. Josh is sleeping softly. The fan is gritty and loud but it’s nice and cool in my office area here (I know you’re reading this Almonds and snickering that I use the word “office”- it’s an office, dammit! One man’s corner is another man’s office…) and I’ve been contemplating my future, as always. I’ve been researching work-at-home (WAH) jobs for hours.

So now I find myself at an interesting fork in the road: probation officer vs. medical transcriptionist/transcriber: There are pros and cons to each. While the idea of working in probation, particularly in juvenile delinquency, is appealing, so is working from home. I already have a medical training background (Phi Theta Kappa/Ivy Tech) and am used to working in my pj’s already. (Which is absolutely awesome, I might add.) I spend long hours at the computer- nothing new- and am a disciplined workhorse. I could do either or.

But the thing I really need to consider most is that I’m still not 100% migraine free. When I get one of my killer migraines, it takes me down like a burning plane for 2 to 3 days. Can’t walk or move around, have to avoid bright lights and loud noises, and the accompanying nausea is the worst. Is it likely that any potential employer is going to want to give me two and three days off to recover? Each time? Like, every other month or so? I don’t get them often anymore, thanks to my proactive, homeopathic treatment, but when I do, they’re unforgivable. I’ve had a few bad ones in the past two months. This is something that I have to consider.

This makes working from home a much more practical and reasonable solution. I’ve only got a few more months to solidify my plans and I want to make sure they’re the right ones. I’m going to keep my specifics under lock and key, but I’ve already been accepted into a great college in Washington today. Spoke to an adviser, registered, sorted out the financial aid and bing-bang-botta-boom– I’m in!

My medical transcription (MT) program is an ADHI approved school. It’s not a drive-thru cheapo certificate. it’s a 43 credit hour $4,000 program that partners with Career Step, one of the best MT programs in the country. The best part is that I qualify for financial aid so the entire thing is FREE (for me). Sweetness.

I may interlude and scamper on over and pick up my MT certification (backup plan at the very least- a great sleeper “didn’t see this coming” killer stay at home career at the greatest) before jumping right in to begin working on my BA in Criminal Justice. Before I look too far down the road, I want to start with my MT certification. The worst case scenario is that I might’nt get my BA or return to school at all, but between the MT work (even part time) and doing a few school readings here and there with my children’s book, it would be enough supplemental income to be comfortable. Whichever I choose, I’ll still get the next two months off. That’s like winning the lottery to me. 🙂

There’s a chance I’ll make plans to be a plumber, skydiver, sword swallower, or BMV worker tomorrow or next week, but for today, this is what I’m going to do with my life.

Think I’ll put on a strong pot of coffee and get to work on my Biology research paper. I’ll be researching and writing about whether or not it’s ethical to give children with ADHD  mood altering and psychiatric medicine who may not understand the possible long-term repercussions. Don’t even get me started…

(Four days to go!)

 

And counting…


Day 1: Back at School

I tell you, school couldn’t come fast enough. For some people, beginning their next semester entails stress, anxiety, uncertainty, procrastination-anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, and feelings of general excitement mixed with doom. For me, it’s just the opposite. When I’m in school, I’m completely in my element: I know what to expect and I work best when I’m in the pressure cooker! It’s just how life has molded me to be.

I’ve added my 14 exam dates for Abnormal Psychology onto my wall planner, as well as my deadlines for my case studies and oral case study presentations. (Isn’t that a bucket of fun waiting to happen?) I’ve watched my video for Anorexia and other eating disorders for my Social Work Practice class and have submitted the accompanying assignment work sheet. My homework for the evening is to read 25 pages in each of the first chapters and take 10+ pages of notes that I’ll be tested on this week.

And then there’s my Biology lab course and Intro to Social Work! I’m still sorting out those assignments, dates, deadlines, video presentations, and other important assignments/folders. Apart from my oral presentations (and 30 + hours of volunteer work), I’ll also have two separate 15 page research paper projects in two different classes.

I’ve been hammering away at getting things sorted for the past 5 days solid: it’s a lot of work, but the preparation beforehand saves me stress later. You can hardly be too prepared for college classes.

I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to squeeze a vacation in soon as I won’t be taking a summer break this year. Four months this spring at VU and then it’s straight over to SNHU to begin work on my BA in Sociology where I’ll work without a break for the next year. I can now say that my life is planned out for the next several years!

I haven’t had a horrific migraine in more than two months; that in itself is borderline miraculous. I believe I’ve made a profound discovery. There are triggers that set off migraines when you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, as I have been for several years now. I have specific triggers that I avoid at all costs:

  • too much sugar and salt
  • too much audial, radial, and visual stimulation
  • weather/change in barometric pressure
  • grinding teeth [bruxism/night grinding]
  • stress
  • stress
  • stress
  • lack of sleep
  • alcohol [never more than two glasses of red wine- ever]
  • no yelling or heightened displays of anger
  • insufficient exercise
  • too much heat
  • being too cold

In other words, I have to walk very softly or I can get a vicious migraine that lasts for 3 days. (My blog is filled with days like that.) I’ve been my own guinea pig for more than a year in experimental home trials where I’ve undergone numerous self-testings: I’ve made some very important discoveries.

The most important discovery of all is that it could be allergens which are triggering the histamines to go to war against my own body. The result? Migraines! Through my own researches, I’ve come to learn that the sinus cavities swell when the body is under attack from various allergens. The most common ones come from cats and pet dander. Several of my family members are allergic to cats and need to take antihistamines when they’re around cats. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to start taking 1/4th of a Phenergan (prescription: it’s a powerful antihistimine that fights nausea) daily, without fail, to dry up the almost constant sinus drainage I have and have had all my life. It works like a charm! Benadryl is too strong for me, so the quarter strength Phenergan is ideal.

I’ve been doing this for a while now, and have noticed that since my histamines are regularly controlled, my triggers have become subdued as well. I haven’t taken a whole Phenergan in more than 5 years- that stuff’ll knock you out cold, but at 1/4th the strength; it allows the antihistamine to do its job (dry up the sinus cavities) while mitigating the histamine and body’s histamine reaction, resulting in a dramatic decrease in migraines, so much so that I seldom get them at all any more.

I used to think that the arachnoid cyst in my head caused these severe migraines; not any more. Perhaps the neurologist was correct: he suggested the migraines weren’t caused by the cyst and shared with me that arachnoid cysts are often congenital. Many people have them (from birth) and never know it. Some people have problematic cysts though, and the sinuses and arachnoid membranes flare up, which exacerbate the onset of migraines greatly. I believe my own body’s histamines have been the culprit the entire time. My daughter loves the kittowies too much to let them go, so I have to adhere to a strict code of health  and watch my “triggers”, but hey, I’m practically migraine free now, and as a result of my super-tight-lifestyle, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. No complaints here.

🙂

(You know you’re getting old when you actually want to be healthy…)

ImageHelios 44-2 film lens/digital Rebel- private retreat at friend’s house- January 2014


Photo Therapy [part 2]

Things are incredibly stressful for me today. Right off the bat, I had to be at a business meeting first thing in the morning. I have an egotistical flea (who happens to be the owner of an art website) biting my &^% to appease his ego. I’ve never known anyone so full of him or herself, honestly. The guy blasted me publicly- which is defamation- and you better believe I’m gonna blast back. I don’t take slaps lightly.

When I reach a breaking point, and I just want to hang everything up- shut my door- and “retire from everything”, I go take pictures.

It gives me a great sense of control to be able to compose my environment; even master the very lighting around me.
I think every person wants to feel in control of his or her own life, down to their very eternal destination- if one believes in such.
To be able to “design my surroundings” by manually adjusting the controls- it’s far more rewarding than simply “pointing and shooting”.
I would have little joy as a photographer if I merely pointed and shot. Manually adjusting my exposure in-camera is an integral part of the bonding process with my equipment.
For me, it’s a must.

My head feels blasted in about five areas.
Pain everywhere.

Nevertheless, I can’t simply sit around the house in pain and be pissed off.
So, I’m going to go out and take pictures.
Of what, I haven’t a clue.

I know of an online photo challenge and the theme is colour.
Perhaps I’ll go out and induct a spash of colour into my day…


Wretched Mess

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Today has been one of the most wretched days of my life. I’ve had the worst migraine that I’ve ever had, and it has been a doosy. I started my day with a strong dose of cayenne and ginger (as usual) , followed by a small  cup of medicinal tea. I was grossly nauseous, and so went back to bed. I tried to read some of my Bette Davis/Joan Crawford dual biography, but was too sick. The pain was mostly in the back of my head, exactly where my cyst is, and it was swelling- massive pressure was building up and as usual, it felt as if I’d been shot in the back of the head- but this is actually worse. When a person is shot in the head, more times than not, they die. If they don’t die, they’re rushed to the hospital and given large doses of morphine, stadol, demerol, or something of that nature so they’re not suffering. In my case, I have to sit it out. Minutes feel like hours. Words are too simple to describe this kind of ongoing pain.

I haven’t taken a phenergan in over a month, but I tried to take one half and be very still. Eventually though, my stomach revolted. My son asked, “Do you want me to bring you the trash can, mom?”

“No, I don’t want to throw up in front of everybody,” I said.

Two minutes later I ran to the bathroom and “worshipped the porcelain god” as the saying goes. Now if you’ve never thrown up a fairly large amount of cayenne pepper, you haven’t really lived yet. My whole head was on fire! My nasal passages felt as if somebody’d sprayed acid into them and I was crying tears that actually burned. (Not boo-hoo crying, but phsyiologically.) Also, the pain was exacerbated by the fact that I had a new surge of fiery adrenaline coursing through my body, particularly in my head.

I made it back to my bed and by God’s good mercy, was able to sleep. I woke up feeling like raw heck, drank a bit more of my medicinal tea (poppy seed tea, which actually works to kill the pain, if you can keep it down), and after five more hours of intense agony- ordered Chinese. (Might I recommend the moo shu beef? General Tso’s chicken is also a tasty dish, and crab rangoons make a great appeteizer. This is what I ordered, along with a coke and a few Pepsi’s.)

It is now 12:45 a.m. and the pain is still pretty intense (it’s moved around to my front right eye socket). Ibuprofin is a joke, but I took two anyway. It’s been three weeks since I’ve stopped taking my Lortab and Ambien. My liver was beginning to tell me that I couldn’t keep taking pills and remain “healthy”. Granted, I never exceeded 10 mg. at one time, which is the equivalent of 1 blue Lortab, (but seldom took even that much). This is part of the reason why I decided to become certified in Substance Abuse- I know far too many people who have been reduced to a mere statistic, having lost everything (including themselves) to drugs.

I’ve become passionate in my search for a homeopathic solution: pain management without having to take pharmaceutical chemicals. Poppy seed tea can be taken at small doses to combat severe pain, such as the pain from my arachnoid cyst, while still allowing me to function. Naturally, if you take a larger amount, you can get higher than a kite, but if I wanted to get high, I’d just smoke a joint. I like to be in control of my faculties though. This is part of the reason why I quit drinking liquor over five years ago. If I chose to not take anything at all, I’d be limited to “getting out of bed to pee” and that’s about it. I can’t live that way. So after much consideration and trial and error, I’m sticking with my cayenne, ginger, and med. tea, when necessary.

I do get more migraines this way (not taking pharmaceutical drugs) and some days it’s sheer agony, like today, but my liver feels 80% better.

Through it all, I’m able to say, “Thank you God for this pain. I still choose to praise you, and lift up Your Name.”

When I compare my pain, to the pain that Jesus had to endure, I shudder to think that I could even complain. I still have two eyes that see, and a heart that loves- two working hands, a family that I love and that loves me. I have much to be thankful for.

Much to be thankful for. 🙂


And then the Doctor Said…

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[pics of my kids]  Lensbaby Composer Pro + Double Glass optics/4 & 2.8

“Well where is your pain?”

“In the back of my head, this time. At the top of my neck and the base of my head,” said I.
I suppose I could have just as easily said where my cerebellum and brain stem are.

“Well, that’s exactly where your cyst is,” said he.

“Cyst. Hmm. So…right. You know, I’m not a lightweight. Do I need surgery? Just…tell me what’s up with it.”

And so on and stuff.

So I’ve discovered the culprit of my raging three day migraines. And sometimes four. This arachnoid cyst. Hmm. Not a pretty sounding fella. Arachnoid means spider-like. Who knows what the heck I’m toting around up there. I do know one thing for certain: I refuse to go down without a fight.

Also, I’m not prepared to put my life in the hands of a man I don’t know. Degree notwithstanding. I’ve decided that I’ll take matters into my own hands and request an MRI every six months, measure it myself, and take the direction I think best. I’m going to call the shots.

I’ll continue my homeopathic regimen- ground cayenne and ginger, lots of water, tea, and exercise. Now I know this might seem strange because I’ve researched arachnoid cysts and many others who have them are quite inactive. If you’ve had monster migraines, you learn to not disturb the beast. But I want to unlearn this behavior. It can be a real challenge to simply “live” sometimes, without triggering a migraine. When it hits, it feels like my whole head is exploding, and somebody is stabbing me through my right eye socket with an ice pick.

I’ve had worse pain.
Ok, that’s a complete lie. I haven’t.
It makes childbirth seem like a walk in the park.
And let it be known that I have an insanely high tolerance for pain.
I have a brand on my right arm from a coat hanger- fresh off the fire.
Gangrene set in and I had to cut it out with a knife.
Yup. Ohhhhh it’s a really good thing that I quit drinking whiskey five years ago.

Anyway, back to my tragedy.

In spite of all of this cyst stuff, I’ve decided to work on some of my music over the summer. Along with compiling a few photoshop tutorials for friends, and working on a song for a young girl named Kira. She’s the daughter of a friend (photographer, naturally), and she’s in her third week of radiation treatment. That little girl is one tough cookie. I found out her favourite colour, her favourite food, and have decided that I’ll write, record and produce a track for her as a token of friendship, and as an inspiration for her to keep on fighting.

I realize that God has given me a lot of talents. A lot of them.

Singing
Songwriting
Musician (piano/guitar)
photography and various mediums of art in general
Psychotherapy- yes. Psychotherapy. And I don’t even charge people.

Let’s see…there’s cooking and wait- I’ve published a children’s book too, called: “Peanut Butter Soup”.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peanut-butter-soup-birgitta-lindsey/1006855000?ean=9781418482831

It’s a collection of witty, thought-provoking, inspirational, and motivating poems for children. I included some of my chicken-scratch drawings with them- nothing so complicated that a child can’t mimic them. But they’re loaded with messages that raise awareness for the obese, the aging, metally challenged (hey- and mentally too!), and so on, so that kids will learn how to not bully others. Yes. I was a bedwetter until I was fourteen. (Sigh.) I’m afraid this batch of blog-tags are going to be the freakiest collection of words that might ever be listed together yet.

Perhaps I’ll actually get around to promoting that book one day, but for now, I’ll sign personal copies and ship them to friends. Like Kira. 🙂

In time, I’ll post videos. And actually sing. And play. (And stuff.)

For now, I’m soooooooo enjoying my summer break- good grief I thought this past semester was going to kill me. Seventeen credit hours (5 classes) and twenty one credit hours last semester. Not an easy thing to accomplish with blistering migraines, I will tell you. It was nothing short of miraculous that I came through so strongly, and, made mostly A’s and B’s.

Six classes to go and I’ll have my degree in Behavioral Sciences and certification in Substance Abuse.

Go me.

p.s. Mr. Chris Alia, I’ve added you to my tags, so if you ever go ego-surfing, you can find me.

xo