Holiday Headache

Well this certainly isn’t the update I hoped to share here at the year’s end, but after hibernating from social media the last few days in an attempt to recover, I’m back on the computer to say that, unfortunately, all has not been well with my head.

It started the Sunday before Christmas with a little extra pressure in my forehead and then continued to build for the next three days until I was a weeping mess in the middle of the week wondering what had gone wrong.

To be fair, it could be a couple things.

For one, I started introducing gluten back into my diet. I went suuuuper slow so as to not throw my gut for a major loop but I really thought that we had solved the issue with the new kettle/new kettle hygiene routine (that theory still holds some water, pun intended, as the weird ache in my neck and head are still gone – now “just” the tension headache remains), and anyway, how does gluten take five months to clear a person’s system anyway? For the first week and a half, I thought I was good. But now, with the return of the headaches, I don’t know so I am once again back on the GF train and plan to stay there. For a long time. It may not be the root cause but reducing inflammation in my body is clearly not a bad idea.

For another, it really could be a build up of stress. We had the Day of Insanity the week prior that started with a 5A.M. ER trip for Wilson and ended with a 1:30P.M. Tornado Warning + Sirens and COVID boosters for our Middle 3 and then a sick kid the next day and then break starting the next day after that and I had legit zero time to process any of the extreme swings of emotion and stress from all of that until a few days before Christmas (as if those are stress-free for anyone!). But if these are stress-based then damn, I feel like a failure as a human because how can I not handle the ebbs and flow of my life better knowing all that I know about stress reduction and yoga and mediation and breathwork (and/and/and)? Stress is never going to leave my life, so if that’s really driving this, I have to find a better way.

Since Christmas I’ve been trying to take it easy. Well, not on Christmas because goodness, that was a full day, that I wrongly and naively thought was going to be chill but it turns out that my children still require a lot of parenting even after opening presents, and my head ended up flaring badly Christmas night, which brings me to the third of the things: fear. I am scared. Terrified, actually, that this is never going to go away. I had so many clearer days that I really thought this was done and dusted, and I want that so badly that having it return was incredibly disheartening, discouraging, and depressing. I cried more tears than I thought possible after putting the kids to bed on Christmas because this is just damn scary.

So, the day after Christmas I turned the reins over to Ben and tried to rest. That’s not easy to do in a house with five young children (see above about stress levels and how stress is never going to disappear from my life), but I spent most of the day in bed and have started up again with several cycles of Ecstatic Breathwork; it’s the best practice I’ve found to clear out stored stress and emotion, but it is indeed a practice that requires time and patience so not much more to report there beyond the fact that it is happening. Odd, upside down photo is from the yoga mat, post-weepy-EB session, done pre-Christmas.

I’ve been moving slow ever since the holiday and thankfully my head has been better, although I spent all of yesterday on the edge wondering if I was going to tip over into Headache Land, which is just about as bad as landing in the land itself. I’m taking the week to continue with the EB, rest, and some alternative treatments that I hope help clear my system.

In other words, I’m still here, but I’m reassessing and turning inward a bit as I try to navigate this setback.

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