Category Archives: Awareness

Migraines Are no Fun

Suffering from a migraine can render you useless for the entire day. It can keep you in bed with something covering your eyes and ears to block out all light and sound. They prevent you from doing any and all daily activities because you can’t function because everything feels like it’s going to make your head explode. And if that’s not bad enough some migraines come with nausea and others come with the room spinning in circles.

And for a person that suffers from chronic migraines I know these pains all too well. Some months I can go a week a week and not have a migraine, but the next I have one every other day. Or the worse migraines that last for several days that require a trip to the ER because there’s nothing I can do to get rid of them, and I feel like my head is on the verge of exploding.

Now a headache you can typically take a pain reliever and it’ll clear up in an hour or two, or it’s typically bearable. But a migraine isn’t that simple. Sometimes a pain reliever won’t do the trick, and you have to use other methods to help the pain reliever actually work. Here’s a list of things I do in conjunction with taking a pain reliever to help get rid of a migraine.

Lavender Eye Pillow/Unscented Eye Pillow-

This eye pillow contains lavender buds that produce a lavender scent that a both calming and healing that helps relieve the pressure of a migraine. It doesn’t get rid of the migraine completely on it’s own, but it helps. There is also an unscented version of this eye pillow as well. What you do is heat it up in the microwave for 15 seconds and place on your forehead. The heat helps relieve the pain, much like that of a heating pad. It also applies a nice pressure to the forehead and temples, which I think is what helps in conjunction with the heat, because it keeps my head from feeling like it’s about to explode because something is holding it in place.

Lavender Eye Pillow

Unscented Eye Pillow

Migraine Relief Spray-

This spray contains essential oils that help with the relief of migraines. It contains magnesium oil which stimulates blood flow to reduce spasms, lavender to relieve tension headaches and reduce stress, sweet marjoram to ease the nervous system, peppermint to calm and rejuvenate the senses, and rosemary and basil to reduce pain and mental fatigue. You spray it on your forehead and the back of your neck and just relax, it also helps with anxiety.

Migraine Relief Spray

Peppermint Essential Oil-

This is one of the first things I started using with to help relieve migraines. And I find that it works well the majority of the time. I rub it in the middle of my forehead, then temples, and lastly all over my forehead. I do it this way so I know the whole area is covered. My forehead will start to tingle a little, much like when you use IcyHot for muscle aches, and usually I’ll lie down in the dark and cover my eyes and allow it to work before doing anything.

Peppermint Oil

Tiger Balm-

I use this a lot like I use the peppermint oil, I rub it on the center of my forehead, then my temples and lastly all over my forehead to ensure the whole area is covered. It also works much in the same way as the peppermint oil. However, I notice quicker relief with the Tiger Balm and I don’t have to lie down in order for it to really help. I keep this one in my drawer at work, just in case a nasty migraine springs on while I’m at work. It does have a reddish tint but I’ve never noticed it turning my forehead red, and it does have a strong scent as well, I think it smells like gingerbread so I don’t mind the smell since it helps.

Tiger Balm

These are a few things that help me when I have a migraine that just won’t go away. Of course if you have one that lasts for several days, please go see your doctor as it could be signs of something worse. Migraines are nothing to play around with and they should be treated properly. They aren’t a simple headache that you can just take something and get rid of, they really do put you out of commission. I hope some of the things I use may provide some relief to others that suffer from migraines out there and maybe this helps someone to know they aren’t alone in feeling like their head is going to explode every now and again when they have a migraine.

 

 

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What Anxiety Means to Me

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This is me, Chasity. I look like your average person that has nothing going on and I look fine. I look like I have my life together, right? Wrong. I suffer from something that most people claim to be fake, or all in my head and it’s not- especially when many people suffer from it. We can’t all be making up the same ailment, right? So it isn’t all in our heads. We legitimately have something wrong and have to go about our day differently because some days it’s just hard. At this point you’re probably concerned with what I’m talking about, so here it is- I have anxiety.

Anxiety is defined in the dictionary as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anxiety)

I’ve always struggled with anxiety but never realized what it was until a few months ago. In fact, I pegged it like everyone else. It was something just in my head, and if I ignored it long enough, it would just go away. I didn’t want to admit that something was wrong because I already face so many issues and I didn’t want something else on my plate. But deep down inside I knew what I was feeling wasn’t normal and that I couldn’t keep denying what was going on. I couldn’t keep suffering with the anxiety I felt every time I stepped out of my  home, every time I was in a crowd, every time something changed in my life, etc. It all became overwhelming, and rather than let people in I shut them out. Basically I shut down.

What I mean by shutting down is that I hide from the world when I get in an anxiety funk. When I hit that anxiety brick wall that takes me down several notches and leaves me on the ground, I hide. I don’t like emotions, or dealing with them, I’d rather bottle them up and forget about them. And I wasn’t raised that way. I don’t like how it makes me feel to be sad, angry, anxious, etc. I wish I could just be happy all the time, but we don’t live in a fairytale where happiness grows on trees. And that’s just the way it is.

I think my anxiety plays a huge role in why I recoil and hide whenever my emotions are running rampant. And the most logical answer I can figure out is that I just don’t know how to state what I’m feeling or how to handle it. My body gets confused and the only thing it knows how to do is shut down. Kind of like when your computer freezes and it freaks out and reboots that’s what my body does. I physically reboot because of my anxiety. I freeze up and then eventually reboot. It takes me a few days after hitting the anxiety brick wall to get back to my normal self, which sucks, but sometimes you need to lie low and just figure it all out. Which is hard when you don’t know what caused you to hit the wall in the first place.

For me what triggered me to seek help was my anxiety causing my tics to be more frequent while at work. I would get nervous about what people thought if they saw me twitching thus making me more anxious and cause me to have more tics throughout the day. So I decided to tell my doctor what was going on. And I feel loads better after doing it, but not completely healed. I still have my moments where I hit that wall and feel like total crap- to be honest as I type this I’m there right now (which is why I’m typing this).

Other things that cause people to hit an anxiety brick wall is stress, and this is big for me. I’m a huge stressor. I allow everything to get under my skin. And right now there’s a lot happening. And my body just said, “Ok, I can’t take anymore it’s time for a reboot,” and I shut down.

Sometimes these shut downs come with tears. Sometimes they come with rage. Most of the time they come with me curled up in a ball in the dark just hiding trying to figure out what the heck I hit- or should I say what hit me. Because literally it feels like being ran over by a semi from time to time. And it sucks! Especially because people don’t see it as a real thing.

Anxiety is just as real as anything else, and it should be treated that way. If a person with anxiety says they don’t want to go out after making plans, it doesn’t mean they’re avoiding you, it means something caused their anxiety to flare up and they literally can’t leave. It means something restricted them from feeling like getting up and putting on pants because sometimes the smallest things like putting on clothes can be the hardest when an anxiety attack kicks in. Sometimes lying in bed is the only thing you can do because it’s the only thing you can do. It’s not because we’re lazy or don’t care. It’s because our bodies physically can’t do it. And we need you to understand that sometimes we just can’t. We want to, and we try, it’s just sometimes we really can’t no matter how hard we try.

In the end we don’t control when these awful attacks occur but we have to face them. And yes, those around us are left to suffer when they occur because they are left to deal with why we canceled, or didn’t do something. But know it isn’t because we didn’t care, or didn’t put in the effort. We tried, and all we want is acceptance for what you can’t see. Acceptance for the battle raging on in our heads as we go through our daily activities praying we won’t have a breakdown because of our anxiety. Praying we can make it out of the house and have a normal day. Praying that something doesn’t cause the anxiety to flare up and leave us shattered on the floor. Praying for those good days where everything goes right and we feel like a normal human being.

Instead of hurting one another with harsh words we need to build each other up. It will make things a lot better if we’re kinder to each other. Be nice, you never know what someone’s going through.

 

To learn more about Anxiety here are a few links to check out:

Web MD

Health.com

NIMH

Story behind The Outlandish Hero

I am the person who wants to see the world become a better place, for everyone. That is why I am a part of three anthology projects that are donating all funds to charities. Agabe book anthology is my own project with some amazing authors writing amazing stories based on tough things they’ve been through. The Fear anthology was a bit different in that it was based solely on fear and all funds go to charity on that one too. Then I was approached with a new one today, via my Agabe group about a project that is going to donate funds to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital to help fight Pediatric Cancer. I’m all for writing something to help out the project.

My mother has been diagnosed with cancer twice, so cancer is something that hits close to home with me. Also I was hospitalized back in 2007 and was sent to a pediatric cancer doctor to make sure my bleeding disorder was because of cancer. I went to the Levine Children’s Hospital, if I’m not mistaken.

Those are the reasons that I have chosen to write a story for this project, I may or may not be chosen. But that is a guessing game in the long run. But that thought will not keep me from writing an amazing story of a young hero who takes life into her own hands.

Now that you know the background behind it, I’ll share a sneak peak of the beginning of the story in another blog posting in a little while.

My Life with Tourettes

I was diagnosed with tourettes about about five years ago at the age of 19, which was a shock to my neurologist because typically people that have tourettes outgrow their tics around the age of 18, mine worsened to where my parents noticed something just wasn’t right. We were watching a documentary about tourette syndrome and my mom looked at me and I was doing the exact same things the teens on the television were doing, just not as violently. My tics cause involuntary movement of my upper body as well as involuntary sounds. Sometimes the sounds are quite funny. I’ve yelled ‘elbow’ and ‘yabba dabba doo’ and what’s even funnier is the fact that my best friend has tics she yells ‘yes’ and I typically yell ‘no’.

My tics are brought on by boredom, stress, and a few are chemically induced. The chemicals my dad uses at work cause a reaction with my brain that cause my body to go out of whack resulting in a major tic attack, which isn’t fun. And with me being ADHD I’m typically always bored, even if I am doing something, I’m bored. And I’m a full-time college student, and that is where the stress comes from, plus my worrying about my brother who has epilepsy and my mom who has a bunch of health issues, I’m a major stressed out person for my age.

My biggest issue with tourettes is that people do not understand it, so when I have an attack in public I feel really embarrased and people look at me like, ‘she’s a drug addict’ or ‘there is something wrong with her’. Technically there is something wrong with me, but it isn’t that I am a drug addict, far from it. They define me by my tics, which is hard to handle because if people wouldn’t label based on that, they would know that I am a straight A college student, graduated with honors with my Associates Degree, I am training to be a crime scene investigator, and am working on becoming an author. Not to mention I’m a pretty cool person once you get to know me for me and not my tourettes.

I’ve always have tourettes now that me and my parents have looked back. As a child I would randomly have tics but my parents had just thought I was dancing, because that is what it looked like. Or when I’d have a vocal tic they thought I was just trying to get my way, when in reality I was having a tic attack. But back then tourettes wasn’t too common in my area and we didn’t know anything about it, so we simply didn’t know I had it. And if it wasn’t for that documentary we might not have ever known I did. But my brothers neurologist had seen me have a few episodes in the office with my brother and she told me to go get checked out, and sent me to a neurologist for adults.

It was in that visit that I had been diagnosed with tourettes and shocked my doctor with my case. It is uncommon for a person’s tics to worsen after the age of 18, so it is a bit rare that mine worsened at the age of 19. Also I could tell when I was going to tic, and from what he told me, some people don’t know that they are about to have an attack, and at first he associated that with epilepsy, but after talking with him he had decided it was more like tourettes because I didn’t come out of them dazed and lethargic, and I knew what was going on. I was then sent for an MRI, where they examined my brain and my neck to see which part of the brain was being attacked, nothing came up abnormal. I can honestly say being in the MRI tube for 2 hours was not fun, and that afterwards I slept the entire day because I was physically and emotionally drained from the experience. And the bad part is I was suppose to have blood work done afterwards because of my bleeding disorder, but I didn’t make it to that.

Now it has been about five years since my diagnosis and I’ve learned to cope with my tics, and I’ve figured out tricks to suppress them. Which I might add for me makes them 10 times worse later on, so I try not to hide them, because it leaves me drained. I also know when I am going to have an episode, it feels like pins-and-needles creeping up my back and then bam, tic attack. But the best thing for me to do to eliminate the boredom and the stress is to pick up a pen, paint brush, pencil, computer, anything I can be creative with. Doing something artsy and that I love keeps me boredom-free and calms my nerves so that I am not so stressed out.

Why I wear Purple

At the age of 4 months my brother had his first seizure episode, having nearly 30 seizures in only a few minutes. We rushed him to the hospital where they pricked him countless times with all sorts of needles trying to help stop the seizures, and my brother was really scared. I was freaked out and didn’t really know what to do, I believe I spent most of the time crying.

I spent my 16th birthday in ICU with my little brother, praying he was alright. He was diagnosed with complex fibral seizures, and his brain suffered from the trauma. For the next year my brother would scream when a doctor or nurse came near him, or anyone in green scrubs. Which wouldn’t you if you had just went through that?

A year later he had another big episode and regressed back to square one. So we had to reteach him how to walk and talk. So me and my mom sat in the floor teaching him how to walk, and trying not to ball our eyes out while doing so. Things were tough. I was in high school, and missed a lot of classes helping with my brother. He eventually began walking and talking and everything was fine.

Until he started kindergarten and his teachers basically called him stupid. One time his teacher called saying I don’t know if he is having a seizure or he doesn’t like me. My brother is now nine years old, and is a happy little kid, even though he went through all of that. He has his struggles, like most kids, but he’s awesome, and the funniest kid you will probably ever meet.

So the reason I wear purple is in support of epilepsy, as well as the support for my brother. He has come so far, and I love him so very much.