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  • Earle Levenstein

My Migraine...Non-Stop For A lifetime. And You Know What? I Think It's All In My Head - Part 2



** This is the second part in a two-part series. Read Part 1 here if you are interested.**

Innocuous day; walking along, minding my own business. Not thinking much about anything. Attention wandering here and there; when I realize—no red flags; sirens; warnings to take cover—my brain's taken off on a trip elsewhere; nothing to do with me; on its own.

Immediate thought; I've lost my mind.

Sprint to my physician—no amateur; hotshot author—drops everything; thorough checkup; top to bottom; nods; agrees with himself. Stroke. Classic. All the signs. Orders an MRI to confirm.

Long story short; I'm back with the MRI. It's negative. Doctor X is shocked. Negative? Negative? Shakes his head in disbelief. Recovers; quick phone call; gives me an address; and within minutes I'm in a neurologist's office.

The office is quiet; calm. The neurologist reviews the MRI silently, puts it down, reaches behind his desk for a book, turns to me and over the next hour, starting with the déjà vu, introduces me to the wide world of migraine.

I'd heard of migraine of course, but only as another word for headache; which I knew only too well. But the rest of the list he read to me; attacks I'd experienced; never diagnosed as migraine; was headline news to me.

Since that time, years ago, I get my inoculations regularly and I see my internist and my urologist periodically; or if something unusual comes up, I'm quick to call. I deal with the usual, familiar suspects on my own for the most part.

First of all: big difference between organ failure or brain zipping off on some weird trip and just another one of those ho-hum visits from the migraine mob. No emergency.

Secondly; migraine treatments at this point—and for the foreseeable future—are all about symptom relief. No conclusive discovery yet, of the source; where a migraine attack comes from; the cause; the villain. The Who did it?

So, what's the point in reaching for the same or different remedy to treat the same symptom? Easy to accumulate a medicine cabinet filled with bottles and tablets of OTC medications and/or an old—or new, improved—prescription for the same problem?

What do I do? What's my plan?

Since you ask, I'll tell you.

I personally—that's me, myself and I—believe that migraine is an inside job. It's not an assault from a secret foreign power; and so, since I'm in charge of me, I might be able to head it off at the pass. Or at least, identify the cause; the instigating piece of me that's pushing the button.

And that's where my long-time commitment to psychotherapy comes from; my pursuit of the Why? What am I doing to me? And why am I doing it?

Psychotherapy is focused upon identifying the Why? It doesn't assume; it establishes the connection. Between the What's going on? and the Why is it going on?

In my case, it's clear that my feelings; my associations; my past; my recent acts; the Who? that I am has always and will always play a part in how I feel and the degree to which I myself can influence my life.

No magic; no invention; and it sure isn't a waste of time.

Good days; not so good days.

No guarantees.

Except that I'm dealing with what is…and what can be; and giving me a sense of being in charge.

Migraine's a tough one. Influenced by and created by a wagon-load of material. Demands attention.

From me.

Tracking it all down, folks; a long and winding road.

But I'm betting on the process.

Have to say, I'm forever amazed.

Tracking triggers.

Like skipping across a pond; stone to stone.

Without getting wet.

Ummm.

Mostly.


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