Inner Strength <3


“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

So, I had a cluster-like headache at work last night. It’s the second one I ever had at work.
It was devastating.
The last one I had at work was in October, eight months ago. Luckily back then it was a cool, dark, dreary night and was slow so no one had to witness it. But now it’s Spring/Summer and very busy so when I was struck with it, there were customers at the window. I never want to freak anyone out and I learned to control my reactions to these headaches a little bit better in general, not always though. Sometimes I still scream til I lose my voice.
It’s rare to have a headache during work hours; they usually occur around 2:00 in the morning til 5:00am.
I had to keep hitting my face and clutching my head and trying not to scream.

It takes everything I have in me not to bang my head against the walls. There have been nights I cracked my head for hours over n over against a wall. All night long.
And kept feeling what felt like my brain shaking because of the force.
But I was near insanity.
It’s an incredible sense of loneliness.

When I talk about my headaches, I often explain what they are like because they aren’t “headaches.” They are cruel, vicious attacks.
I have tmjd, not cluster headache (CH) disorder, that I know of, but my condition triggers cluster-like headaches.
It feels like a hot poker being driven through the eye socket and being held there for minutes to hours and can be off and on for hours, days, weeks or months or unfortunately for some, every single day with no remission. There’s no known cure. On top of the severe burning agony like scalding hot water being poured over the side of the face, is the worst throbbing tooth pain and ear pain and pressure.
Like all our nerves exposed and being squeezed
It involves the trigeminal nerve, I heard/read.
They are also called suicide headaches & ice pick headaches(like the head being split with an ice pick). It’s that bad.
There’s no pain that I know of that can be used as a reference point to compare the magnitude of this pain to. Being burned and brain freeze are the closest things.

They can make the eye droop and water and the nose run on whatever side of the face the pain is on. Sometimes my face swells up on the side and turns red or even a purple/bruised color. It feels like and sometimes looks like my face is melting. It’s not pretty. Pain pills do nothing. Not prescription ones, not ones bought in a store. The headaches only occur on one side of the face. It can be either side.
Mine was on the right at work.

I thought I was dying, the pain was so bad.
I don’t know if physical pain can literally drive someone insane but I keep thinking it will.
I wanted to run out of work and run to the bar across the street screaming but I knew my boss likely wouldn’t have anyone to come in work for me and did not want to leave her or the customers hanging.
No matter how much I suffer, I have come to generally be mindful of how my actions may affect others and try to always do what is best for them. I don’t always succeed but generally, I try.

It itself is not a life threatening condition and not like I was in danger of dying or anything.
But some people do attempt and die by suicide because the pain is so immense. It feels unbearable. I don’t really think I will kill myself anymore when I have them. I used to though. During the headaches, I often keep thinking “I can’t take this, I can’t take another second, how much more can I possibly endure….?!?!?”

Take something freezing cold like ice cream or frozen drink and let it against your teeth without swallowing or put mouth wash in your mouth and keep it in over ten minutes no matter how much it burns and when you feel you really can’t take anymore still keep it there, and you can get maybe a fraction of an idea of what these headaches are like. The headaches hurt more.

My cluster-like headaches aren’t
very frequent in general. I can go for months without having one. But just one headache is enough. The first one I was struck with when I was 24 years old, scarred me for life.
Just one of these head attacks, even if you never have another, will scar you emotionally, no matter how strong you are, I can almost guarantee it.
It will break you in a way you can never be put back together. The physical pain is extreme. There are just no words.
If I found out someone was going to have one of these and I were able to experience it instead of that person, I would take on as many as I can so no one else ever has to. My heart sinks and breaks at the mere thought of some poor person having to endure this.

That’s why some people with them kill themselves even when they aren’t depressed, because the physical pain is immense in the moments they occur. It’s like nothing else in this world exists anymore.
Just a world of screaming agony.
It’s like being in another dimension, I often say, a kind of pain that feels unearthly and like it can’t possibly exist. But it does exist.

I have said that I couldn’t dream up this kind of agony in my worst nightmare.

I can crumble just writing this.
They shatter me.

But it’s ok. It’s always ok. It’s all about our attitude, perspective, reaction.


They begin abruptly and often unexpectedly and end just as abruptly. No warning.
One day I was out food shopping with my mom and nothing was wrong with me that day. I wasn’t in pain at all. I reached my hand up to pull the handle on a freezer door and in an instant my face and head was struck hard with the agony. It’s pure, raw horror. Hell on Earth.

When the headache at work struck me, I tried so hard not to scream and wail in agony .

I decided to muster all the strength I have in me, all the courage and love.
I decided to be mindful of every sensation around me and on me. I held a wet rag in my hands and focused on the sensations against my skin. I focused on the lights in the room and the colors surrounding me. I summoned the love I have for life itself, living beings, and various things…until the headache ceased. It lasted less than a half hour. It was excruciating.
I kept thinking how can I take this experience and use it to help someone somehow when it’s over. And it helped me bear it better knowing that later I would use it to our advantage.

I still felt a kind of gentle calm in the center of me. And I embraced it with all I have in me.

It inspires me to write. My headache inspires me instead of destroy me like they often seem to do.
All I kept thinking is how many others are suffering or in some kind of pain and how I can share my experience here, to help in some way even if it’s just a fraction.


“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.” (Mayor Pappas, “City Hall” movie quote)

I can turn my pain into inspiration and motivation and comfort for someone else.
And so can you.

“Displace the pain
Put it in
A camera
A story
A poem
A song
A lover
A canvas”

Whatever you do, displace the pain. Put it into something positive, creative, loving.
And pull others into your light. Use your pain for the better, turn it into beauty and light and love and other people can draw on your strength.

Much love to you. ❀


Xoxo Kim

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