It feels like I have always had headaches. It’s only been two and a half years, but it feels like a lifetime. Somehow I have created this concept in my mind that my headaches are a person that sticks with me wherever I go. He shows up in the toughest times of my life in which I just want to be left alone. It is an unhealthy relationship and I want him to leave, but no matter how much I try he won’t go away.
There was one specific day that I decided my headaches aren’t just affecting me physically, but they also tarnish my mental stability at times. The day began like any other, but throughout it, I began to realize that my “friend” was about to make an appearance. The only thing that was different was the amount of workload I had that day. I didn’t worry or stress out about it because I always get things done in the end. By the time my mom picked me up from school, the headache was very mild compared to my usual ones. It couldn’t be that bad. Right?
By the time I began my homework that night, the pain in my head had progressed to a more intolerable pain. I knew I needed to get my project done, so I pushed through the pain despite what my mind was telling me. I opened my computer and looked at the progress my other group members made on our project. This is when the panic began to set in. The paper was a mess. I frantically began to work, editing other people’s writing and then doing my own. In my mind, everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong. Tears started streaming down my face as I realized how much work was ahead of me.
Suddenly I slammed my computer shut when I noticed how out of control I was. Slowly, I walked down the stairs to see my dad on the couch. He looked at me and knew exactly what was wrong. I didn’t say a word and just crawled into his arms. This is the first time where I fully acknowledged how much my parents have been there for me. As my head was throbbing in pain, I cried into my dad’s shoulder. All of the thoughts that I needed to process, felt as if they were rushing through my head all at once. After ten minutes of complete silence, I lifted my head to look at my dad.
I’m sure I looked like a maniac. My makeup was smeared all over my face and my hair was a tangled mess, but he didn’t care. I was at my worst. I tried to get words out but nothing of importance was escaping. Slowly I began to lay back on the couch as I reached for a throw pillow. I hugged the pillow tightly as I stared at the ceiling. It felt as if I was hyperventilating, and maybe I was, but in the moment I wasn’t paying attention. The only thing I can vividly remember was the fact that I was shivering, and I could feel my teeth chattering, though it was not cold at all.
This breakdown was not because of a little project or all of the homework I had that night. It was because I couldn’t contain all of my built up emotions anymore. Because I filled my glass too high and it overflowed. Over the course of my life, I have slowly closed myself off from expressing all of the anxiety that I have. These infrequent explosions have happened since I can remember, and every time it ends with hysterical crying or yelling, but I feel so much worse for my parents. It breaks my heart to think of them having to deal with that. Somehow they haven’t given up on me yet, and I am forever grateful for that.
This might sound utterly depressing at first glance, but I am not looking for people to feel sorry for me. I want to manifest the fact that I am thankful for the experience I had that day. Before, I would have said that headaches and anxiety are just part of my existence. But now I have realized that I want to do something about it. I want to change the quality of my life instead of going through the motions. I enjoy being an extroverted, happy person, but I have realized that that’s not all that I need in order to be positively healthy. The friend I call Headache is not gone, but now I know that I truly want to do something about it.