Saturday, January 14, 2012

Triggers, Redux

Last week's post, go figure, triggered a migraine that has been lurking around the edges of my vision ever since. Today is day seven. It hasn't sunk its claws into me yet, but it's there, rumbling the occasional growl from the shadows. And I can't refill my migraine prescription until Monday. So today's post might be a bit shorter as I figure out just how much poking of this tiger I can get away with.

This happens often. Most weeks since I started writing the blog, the process of writing a post will trigger all kinds of things: migraine, numbness and tingling in my legs and arms, dark moods, anxiety, emotional disengagement, exhaustion.

It's a thankless job. :/

Actually, that is not true. Not true at all. All cost-benefit analyses turn out in favor of writing: I've been hearing from so many of you and getting so much support and encouragement! I am forging new friendships! I am feeling more productive! The work is working!  

And so I continue, happily, to write.

The truth is, those symptoms--at least one of which has ruled my life for the last 15 years-- have become more fascinating than annoying to me over the last few months. The migraines, while more frequent, are far less intense. The numbness and tingling is sort of cool and energizing. The moods, while irritating, are pretty new for me after two decades of cultivated blandness. 

What it comes down to is this: these bad feelings are signs of life. I've been offline for a long, long time, especially where bad feelings are concerned, so allowing myself to feel them instead of fight them is an adventure of sorts.

I haven't ventured into a very negative emotional state yet-- let's not get ahead of ourselves, here, for crying out loud-- but the physical stuff, I can handle. I can handle it just fine.

It occurs to me that what's different about the experience of the physical symptoms triggered by this work isn't that I'm feeling discomfort-- discomfort and I are old, old friends and have spent a lot of time together over the years-- but that I am recognizing the cause, seeing progress, and I no longer feel like a victim of pain, biology, or circumstance.

I am driving this bus now. I've still got the same unruly passengers on board-- those damn migraines are holding on for dear life-- but I am in the driver's seat. I get to say where we go from here. Pain, fear, anger... they will be part of the journey, and they'll all have their turn, but the journey is now happening on my terms, not theirs.

That's something. That's more than something.

That's everything.


  1. The excavation of your self (need some italics here!), is a utterly thankless task, but only in the moment. Someday you will remember these symptoms, but they'll be memories instead of dark passengers. Also, what a huge relief to know WHY and WHAT triggers your migraines! That has got to be a huge relief!

  2. So glad the work is working.  

    "And so I continue, happily, to write." That you do.  Like a mofo, my dear.   

    "These bad feelings are signs of life."  Yeah.  They really are.  

    Part of this blog entry reminds me of a quote from a 17-year-old episode of the Simpsons.  My husband and I say it to each other often:  "Look at me, man!  Now I DRIVE the school bus."

    Glad you are driving the school bus.