Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Just Get These Headaches

After some four hours of number-crunching last Thursday, the side of my head felt as though a jackhammer was trying to bore into it. The psychological impact was so strong that I could feel the pain through my teeth; in the end, however, I slept on it and hoped that it would be gone in the morning.

My headaches aren't the benign ones. They're usually huge, high-impact heavyweights that compress my head into ten pounds of sawdust and try to wring out all the enclosed fluids at the same time. In fact, I get enough headaches nowadays (normally at the tune of at least one per month) that I can describe each and every one of them; my family has since learned not to ask me silly questions like "How does it feel?".

The smallest ones feel like acupuncture needles, to be honest. These usually come around after I assault my senses once too often -- maybe I spent too much time figuring out a complex probability equation, or analyzing a software configuration, or working a new first-person shooter. Whatever the case, I've found that they indicate that a bigger migraine's going to arrive soon if I don't drop what I'm doing at that very second, and I listen to their advice around half the time. At this point, the headache isn't big enough to be inconvenient -- but it has the potential to grow.

Most of my headaches involve a sensation of daggers. These feel as though a pair of knives somehow got inserted into the sides of my head, around the region of the temples. The resulting dull pain is usually enough to get me to stop working and spend the next few minutes applying pressure to the trouble spots. Sometimes I go for an ice pack -- I get a bit of brainfreeze, but it has the added effect of numbing everything long enough to let me sleep. On top of that, I try to doze off with a bit of weight pressing down on the sore area. Headaches like these usually last no more than a few hours.

Until this morning rolled around, the worst headache that I usually get involves a sledgehammer-like pounding somewhere in the region of my frontal lobes. Why the sensation doesn't take place in the same area as the daggers is a mystery. I just know that, if I ever feel as though the spot just behind my forehead has started throbbing, then a massive headache has gone underway. Occasions like these are enough for me to pack up, bury myself under a tower of pillows, and try to get the sounds to stop. Make no mistake -- these are the really bad ones. It's as though any new thought that comes to mind only exacerbates the problem... and by my nature, I get a lot of thoughts.

Last Thursday and this morning, however, was a completely new experience. This was most likely the strangest headache I had on record -- for one, all the pain was concentrated on a spot just above my right ear, near my temples. Another strange thing was that it seemed to be of the "pounding sensation" type, although it ended up a little weaker than the sledgehammers I was used to. It started off strong, but then it petered out after a bit of sleep.

What surprised me was the utter impact of it, really. I likened it to having a pulsating organism attached to the side of my head, as though it was applying pressure directly to my bloodstream and threatening to burst at any second. Needless to say, I got a few strange looks when I tried to describe this to my officemates.

I actually still have the headache right now. By this time, however, it's reduced itself to a dull pain inside my head, much like a car fender that's been turned inside-out. It'll most likely be gone by tomorrow, which'll be just in time for the weekend.

I'm not quite sure where the headaches come from. I feel that it would be absurd to say that they come around whenever I think too hard; it's as though we're implying that a bunch of conscious mental processes can have some sort of physical effect. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that trying to think in the middle of a headache usually makes things a little more painful... so I'm sure that the effort of thought has something to do with it.

If it's all the same to anyone, though, I'd rather not stop thinking all the time. Having these things happen once a month is a poor tradeoff for the ability to consistently look at the universe from a personal point of view. That, and it does give me a possible excuse to slog off work and bury myself in bed for the rest of the day.

2 comments: said...

eep, think it's a migraine!!

Sean said...

Sylverlyt: Really? I've been assuming that it was a migraine from the very start...