Migraines After CPTSD Emotional Release

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Jettison

Until this past year I hadn’t experienced many migraines and I certainly never put two and two together for their cause. In the past I’ve had chronic pain associated with severe depressive episodes, I grind my teeth when sleeping during high stress moments which causes jaw pain and broken teeth and gone through chronic fatigue syndrome right after traumatic events.

It’s been proven by medicine that pain is typically a side effect of emotional trauma.2  What I hadn’t known nor anticipated were the crippling migraines that would follow after working through a severe past emotional trauma. At this point I can’t count the total migraines I’ve had this year, which seems bad, but it’s actually a good thing in my eyes. It tells me that I’m really working hard to get through the really tough shit buried deep in my thalamus4. Those memories that I thought I had moved through before are clearly coming out in my psychology sessions. I’m  seeing a correlation though, it’s typically associated with crying.

The crying isn’t a cry like an unfairness, anger or physical pain directed at me.  It’s a cry that comes from deep within my soul, that bellows out of me like a grief I had never experienced before. A grief I didn’t know existed until my brother traumatically died this past year from a hiking accident. That loss alone has destroyed me this year and I can’t put into words what it’s like losing him. My own mothers death wasn’t this painful. But I can’t get into his death just yet on my blog, it’s too fresh and too painful.

The grief I felt and still feel losing him, is like the grief I feel when I finally open that closed trauma that I thought I had worked through. Opening that door again and touching that emotion again from the trauma is kicking my ass. My psychiatrist calls it a “body memory”, where my body is helping me process the emotional pain and it’s literally hitting me with physical pain.

After some trips to the emergency room in the evening, trips to my doctor’s office during the day..I finally put the two and two together. The downfall for me is that the migraine is not caused by dilated blood vessels, therefore typical migraine3 medications don’t work for me. The other option is a narcotic, well that’s not a good choice because I had a 3 month addiction to Percocet after a PTSD trigger. My only option has been to go to the doctor and get a cocktail of injections, which consists of Torodol, Phenergan and Benadryl. If that doesn’t work fully they add some Valium on top of it. Knocks me on my ass! Then I wake the next morning to a rebound headache and have to pound water and ibuprofen.  Thankfully my doctor found a new combination of meds we’ll try so I don’t have to go in for injections and I can take these medications at home, haven’t tried them yet or should I say I haven’t had to try them yet.

I’m learning through this process that this type of grief goes away after opening that door to the trauma. Death grief on the other hand is an unrelenting asshole and I can’t shake it.

CPTSD is destructive and I believe to be life threatening if you don’t treat it. It’s scary as hell to face, but I would rather face it – fight it – kick its ass, then to let it paralyze me from experiencing true happiness and freedom. So I may have to deal with migraines for a while and drool all over myself from the treatment of them, but it’s better than the alternative of living with that trauma closed behind a door in my thalamus.

 

The photo used in this blog has been approved by the artist as long as I provide you a link to her work. I find her Jettison gallery fascinating.

jet·ti·son noun \ˈje-tə-sən, -zən\: a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship’s load in time of distress.

http://www.mollystrohlphotography.com/

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How The Grief Stole Christmas

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Christmas has always been most special to me, because it was always celebrated near my birthday. Since I was two years old it’s been family tradition to put the tree up on my birthday and we’ve never faltered from that. Christmas ornaments have been collected by me since I was a little girl and I’ve made sure to never lose nor break the ones that mean so much to my heart.

Though after dad left and moved out, Christmas lost its wonderment and magic.  I looked so forward to putting up the tree and celebrating my birthday and the start of Christmas. Let’s face it, Christmas is what a child waits for all year round! When dad left, especially that first year, my mom went through a level of depression I’d never seen before nor knew existed. She lost an extreme amount of weight, lost her smile and her infectious laugh.

Yes my mom was a narcissist and I don’t have many good memories of her, but her smile was big and beautiful and her laugh could be heard miles away. These are a couple of things I’ll always cherish about her.

That first Christmas was rough..and every year after that. Before the divorce on my birthday I would come home from school and find all the Christmas boxes and tree pulled out from the crawl space and in the middle of the living room. Pure bliss would course through my veins! This first year without dad started a landslide for me. I came home from school fully anticipating to find the boxes in the living room, I walked inside with a smile ready to yell “yay”; instead I came home to an empty house and no boxes.

Befuddled, I sat down on the stairs and just stared. About an hour later mom came home with a store-bought cake and a card. Before she had always baked a cake for me and there were always presents to open, but not this year. I was 11 and I was beyond heart-broken. I asked if we were going to put up the tree and she told me that if I wanted to put it up I could have at it on my own, but she wasn’t in the mood.

Now as an adult who suffers with depression, I can completely understand where she was at the time, but as a little girl I felt completely rejected and lost. The divorce was the death of my childhood in so many ways. I couldn’t wrap my head around the rejection and at that moment didn’t realize it was the birth of grief that I have felt every year on my birthday.

I did do just what she said and I dragged those boxes up the stairs one by one. I read the directions for our fake tree and put it together. I wrapped those lights with such care, learned from years of carefully watching my dad. I hung the ornaments with design and meaning. I created a tree of beauty in my eyes and it was lit in brilliant colors.

I finished with decorative nuances around the house, displayed the nativity scene, hung lights in the window and just opened my creative mind. Then I turned all of the house lights off and laid under the tree. As I looked up and gazed at the ornaments I hung inside the tree and the twinkling lights, I day dreamed about being in the movie Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Like Rudolph, I felt rejected, but hoped in the end I would be seen as useful and I would be loved.

From that point forward in my life I made it my tradition and decorated alone every year after that. Each year I hoped she’d join in and want to be a part of “my day”, it never happened. I was a misfit and although I had hope, it didn’t fill the loss deep in my heart.

Friends would invite me over knowing Christmas Eve and Day were hard for me. Their parents knew my life, they knew my loneliness and they knew my grief. They all did their best to include me, I’m still friends with all of these people to this day.

A couple of years I got to spend my birthday with my dad and he made it all Who-ville for me. Singing, laughing, joking around and celebrating. Moments far and few between, but engraved in my memory.

Unlike the Grinch, Joan didn’t try to make it miserable for me, but she sure didn’t try to make it nice either. Her pain was deep and it wasn’t from having a tiny heart like the Grinch.

However, like the Grinch she didn’t want to appear “bad” to Little Cindy-Lou Whoo, so she tried to be kind and complement my decorating. Would brag to her friends about the beautiful job I did. Unlike the Grinch she didn’t steal anything of monetary value, just made me feel robbed of the happiness of family and love.

I never let her see me cry when I was sad, but I was in deep pain. I grieve for the 11-year-old little girl to this day and I still have moments of pure disgust for Joan at Christmas. This year I told 11 year old me that it’s okay now to have been so sad and I had every right to have expected love, excitement and celebration on Christmas tree day. This year my husband surprised me and jumped right in without me having to say anything. He brought all the boxes in, he helped decorate and he celebrated my birthday like we did when I was a little girl. This year is an extremely healing Christmas tree birthday.

Grief on the other hand is an asshole and I hope someday grief see’s how much more important unconditional love is,  and hopefully grief will learn to love and not be so mean.

No matter the gifts, wrapping nor ribbon…I am in awe of the magic of God’s love for me. 

Merry Christmas to you all, now go enjoy your roast beast.