In addition to frequent migraine attacks, I have a constant headache that isn’t always a migraine. It’s usually your basic run-of-the-mill headache (I presume), although its characteristics sometimes vary. For the last week, the pain is worse when I lie down or even recline. The “lying down headache” (as we call it in my household) is highly motivating on migraine-free days since I feel far better when I’m up cleaning, cooking or running errands than sprawling on the couch to read, watch TV or play Words With Friends.
At night, though, when I crawl into bed and rest my head on the pillow, exhausted from being on my feet and doing all day, the throbbing in my head overwhelms my senses. The pain ceases being an abstract concept and becomes a persistent child in the grocery checkout line, begging for a candy bar. I try to focus on my breath, to distract from the pain with meditation: In (pound). . . . Out (pound) . . . . In — POUND — POUND — POUND!
I do not personify any of the other head pain I have, nor did I make a conscious decision to do so with this variation. The pain itself has taken on this persona and demands my attention. Like the frazzled parent, I consider giving in to the child’s demands. Unfortunately, Snickers won’t satisfy this time, nor do any of the other solutions I can think of: playing soft music, listening to soothing podcasts, meditating, eating, swallowing painkillers. I just have to rest with it until tiredness trumps the insistent throbbing and sleep overtakes me.