Where the hell are my pants must be with my shirt
I still got my boots on but make no mistake
They can’t help me kick this big ass headache” 😂😭😍❤
No, I did not get the job I been waiting for or any job! I lost my job of ten years after the store went out of business and mentioned that just over a week ago I got an interview, which I’m very thankful for! It’s always great for the experience. The job interview went well and I got to meet two adorable kitties! It’s a pet sitting\walking place and they had two really big cats there. But I never got the phone call for a second interview or any rejection e-mail or anything, which is nothing new; I’m used to that! I’m still positive about it though even though it can be a bit discouraging.
Anyway, I am not congratulating myself for success with jobs! Something even better! Many people who know me may know of my headaches. I have a severe case of tmd or tmjd, Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. For most of us who have it, it’s not severe. But mine is really bad. My pain isn’t always severe; it’s usually not. But I have pain and other symptoms (jaw locking, vision\hearing problems, teeth breaking, jaw clicking, the list goes on n on)almost constantly and some occasions the pain flares up to beyond severe, the point of seeming absolutely unendurable. There’s no known cure or effective treatment. Agony beyond words. Here are a few of my posts where I mention the living hell that this disorder is. I’ll also give a brief description of the pain here too in this post.
(this one is on the extremely long side!)
It’s like being burned. Like scalding hot water being poured over the side of my face, scalding my eyeball, head, face…mixed with the worst toothace, earache, sinusache imaginable, and an intense pressure in the eardrum building up, up, up til eventually it feels like it’s being punctured and as if it will very soon explode. It’s worse than it sounds. The disorder I have can feel like various kinds of other disorders and headaches. The one I’m describing above is the Cluster headache. Cluster headache is a rare disorder that my disorder, tmjd, can mimic. I don’t have these headaches very frequently but when I do, they are extremely traumatic. Just one will probably scar you for life, emotionally. A life changing experience that can never be forgotten. They aren’t dubbed “suicide headaches” for nothing! The pain is so severe, many people contemplate and even attempt suicide just to stop the pain while it’s occurring. Sometimes during these headaches I have screamed through the night til my throat became raw and I lost my voice. I often have to keep hitting my face and head over n over in a panic or claw at things because I’m so frantic and panicked and desperate when it happens. There’s an impulsive urge to claw at the face and eye and bang the head against a wall. That’s not uncommon in those of us with this pain.
They usually occur at night or very early in the morning when it’s still dark out. When they appear and they can last a few hours. And when one ends, another can begin soon after. There’s nothing amusing about it but when thinking about it, sometimes I have the urge to laugh. It’s the only physical pain I ever experienced that leads me to feel as if I may really go insane. When they blast through my head, it’s like nothing else in the world matters or even exists.
Recently I was thinking how I haven’t had one of these headaches in a while. Through the years, I learned to cope with them better. Sometimes they have been frequent and sometimes very infrequent. They usually flare up worse in the cold weather, for me. Last night or early in the morning I had my first one of the season. They begin very abruptly, often with no warning sign. Just slamming into my face out of nowhere. Then last minutes to hours then end just as abruptly. I had one around 1:00 in the morning. It lasted less than an hour. But it was excruciating.
The reason I am happy about it is I was able to meditate through the episode. I could never do that before! With these headaches, there’s no staying still. We often have to pace, hit or throw things, hit ourselves, scream hysterically….even though I learned to handle them better, I still could not be very still or meditate through the pain. I have come to be much more positive and less angry during flareups than I used to be but still have room to evolve.
Last night when the first headache hit, I felt like I was in a nightmare that couldn’t really be happening. It was unbelievable. But soon enough I stopped the loud inner chaos to ask, “What can this teach or remind me?” “How can this strengthen me?” “How can I take this experience now and use it for the better, not just for me but for others?” “How can this better me?” “How can this agonizing experience be used by me to help, uplift, or inspire someone else?”
This is not uncommon for me to ask these questions during a very painful experience or any struggle but it’s usually more difficult to think like this, to execute such wisdom with this kind of physical anguish. Last night though, it was easier. And that is because of the work I do on myself in general. I’m naturally very positive but in general I work to strengthen that natural inclination, make it more intentional, conscious.
If we only work to be positive, to meditate, to practice gratitude, to focus on breath….during problems then we don’t get much practice and not only that but it can be difficult to find the motivation or desire to do these things when serious pain arises, especially emotional pain. We may be tempted to give into the pain, let the pain conquer us and not practice positive techniques. But if we consciously practice positivity in general, whether or not we are naturally positive, we will be more ready when serious pain occurs. I can’t stress it enough! It’s depression that taught me this! But it applies to physical pain as well and any problem!
Anger and especially fury, is not an emotion I’m very prone to. It’s the emotion I experience least often. It usually takes a lot to get me angry and even then it usually subsides quickly. But when I experience these headaches I would often become furious, aggressive (not against living beings though), i would have the urge to break and throw things, demolish buildings, scream and tear things to shreds. I wanted to hear and see, feel destruction, the way my body feels when it’s forced to endure such cruelty. I would be outraged at the pain. I wanted it to materialize before me so i can scream some more and rip it to pieces.
But a year ago, in June, I had one of these debilitating headaches at work and it devastated me. It frightened me. It disabled me. It almost destroyed me. I used to let them bring me to ruin. This can be a good thing. Fall to pieces so we can build our self up even stronger. And that’s what I did. This headache at work did not infuriate me like they do. I felt no anger, just pain, fear, love, compassion. The anger did not arise. And the one last night was the same. I waited for the fury, for the destruction, for the outrage. But none came. I felt fear so strong I could almost taste it. There’s always that nagging fear “What if this one doesn’t end?” even though we know they eventually end. I felt love, compassion, hope, anxiety, optimism….but no anger.
This is a sign that i am evolving so well. They are so much easier to bear without the fury. Sometimes anger is good and can fuel us, give us a backbone. But the fury I have with these does not serve me well. It just seems to trap me. It’s like there’s no outlet for it. I can’t go screaming and destroying things, especially late at night. I always have the urge to run when I have these head attacks. But instead I sat down and focused on my breath. The most basic thing. I wrung my hands and keeled over. But I (gently) forced myself to stay focused. My own breath calmed me. I just breathed in & out, in & out, consciously. The pain throbbed away, at some points seeming to threaten my sanity. But i mustered up all the wisdom, courage, strength I know and just let it throb. I tried not to identify with the pain or even my own body. I told myself that “pain is arising in my\the body” instead of thinking “I’m hurt” or “i’m in pain” or “my head hurts.” It’s all the same concept and the reality may seem the same but our choice of words can really make a difference.
I took all my experience with meditation & mala recitation each day and applied it to my waking nightmare last night. I chose not to judge the pain. This isn’t bad. It just is. Just like I don’t judge my straying mind or bodily sensations or thoughts during meditation each day. They just are. And that is ok. Something can be bad but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing that it’s bad. Just let it be bad.
I sat in meditation posture in a dark room, right hand lightly cupped in my left, thumbs gently touching, back straight, feet flat on the floor and i just breathed. Then I envisioned the Buddha before me surrounded in bright white light of wisdom, compassion, love and I breathed in that white light and breathed it out into the uni-verse. At first I kept gasping for breath because the pain was too much but eventually my breath calmed. And I stayed like that for a while. But even in the midst of so much horror and this technique helping me cope, I knew I want to not just help me but i have this strong desire to help others. Visualizing the Buddha was helping me greatly but that may not help everyone else in need. Not everyone is into Buddha. We don’t have to be Buddhists to benefit by his wisdom and follow his teachings or practice Buddhist techniques. But still, some aren’t interested in Buddhism. So I imagined Buddha fading away into his bright white light but the light remaining and I kept breathing.
It still helped me greatly. Whoever isn’t into Buddha can just imagine the white, sparkling light or imagine another religious figure in his place or a fictional character in a novel or movie or any person dead or alive. Any figure who stands for or symbolizes love, peace, strength, compassion, hope, fierceness….will do. Just breathe in the wisdom of that figure. And keep holding on. Very likely the pain will end even if not right now. And in the off chance that it doesn’t we can learn to live with it and live well. We have to detach and not judge or identify with the pain. It may take practice and some serious work and setbacks and relapses but it is possbible to live with whatever it is. Whatever the struggle is, we can endure it and survive it together. Whether it’s grief and loss, depression, anxiety, severe physical agony, chronic illness, addiction, sexual assault, an eating disorder, a devastating diagnosis, a breakup, a common cold, a bad day at work….no matter how seemingly serious or trivial the problem, we can do things to help it be better and to help others. We can live with it. Bringing light & love into the mix.
Last night I lived with pain that felt like I was being burned alive. (Being seriously burned is way worse of an experience and can kill someone. My condition can’t kill me like being burned but it has to do with nerves and feels like a severe burn.) Pain that has at some points provoked me to scream for hours on end til my mouth tasted like blood and I had no more voice. Pain that has possessed me to crack my head against walls. Pain that has influenced me to contemplate ending my life just to make it stop even though I wasn’t depressed at all and was happy just seconds before it hit and shattered my world. After the first head attack finally ended I fell asleep while reading a book about gratitude, and was woken up by another one at 3:30am. I handled it similarly. My hands wrung, fear gripped me tightly, my face and head throbbed but I remained calm and stayed positive. After the headaches ended, I did not feel as traumatized as I usually do after they end. Today I can feel the aftermath but I’m very well. When the headaches do end, often the effects of it still rage inside or linger. It’s like after a heavy and wild storm ends but we can still see or feel the aftermath. Wires and trees knocked down, things thrown about, just a gray lingering.
The only pain in this life I have felt worse than this is grief (and I have experienced some serious pain, depression, kidney stones, surgery…)when my pets die and when my close human friend, Diane, died, or when I hear of tragic things happening to others or see someone else suffering, human, insect, or animal. This pain is like the physical version of grief. But I feel that it’s more difficult to cope with than grief because it’s physical and demands immediate attention. It’s that same throbbing, unbelievable, unbearable, urgent, “claustrophobic” senation that is a component of grief.
As soon as my head attack hit, I knew I would share my experience to potentially help, inspire, uplift, console, or even just entertain another. I want to bring hope to anyone suffering or in any kind of pain, whether it’s as bad as I was, not nearly as bad, or way worse. There’s always hope. Life is hope. Just breathe. Keep breathing.
(i found this wall at 3rd street & girard avenue, here in Philadelphia! Thank you whoever is responsible for this deeply inspiring message! ❤)
When pain or anxiety or fear make it too difficult to keep our positivity, faith, philosophy,meditation or gratitude practice going, that is when we have to push even harder to keep it going strong. That’s when we have to be firm, be tenacious, stand strong against the winds and not be uprooted. This is when we can’t slack or stray. We have to keep going. It’s ok to fall, to scream, to cry, to sob, to relapse but keep getting back up and holding onto that positive philosophy even if the mood isn’t positive and we can’t right now feel it. Keep meditating, keep giving thanks, keep exercising, keep working, writing, running, keep searching for the beauty in the world…whatever it is we do that helps us, keep it up. Keep breathing. ❤😀
“She dropped the phone and burst into tears
The doctor just confirmed her fears
Her husband held it in and held her tight
Cancer don’t discriminate or care if you’re just 38
With three kids who need you in their lives
He said, ‘I know that you’re afraid and I am, too
But you’ll never be alone, I promise you’
When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.”
Much love & light to you, now & always. I’m wishing you the best, cheering you on, loving you through whatever it is and even if it’s nothing. If you are having a happy, pain-free day or life, I’m so happy! May you know inner-peace and joy, always. ❤😍😀
xoxo Kim ❤