Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What a Cluster...headache.

Shelle Edit: RedNeck Latte is new to me.  The time I spent on his blog, however, I became much more educated.  The guy knows his history and it's entertaining!  Can you believe it?  I didn't even snooze... not once!  I'm so happy he wanted to write on such a tough subject.  So take the time to read his blog and see what he has to say over at Red Neck Latte. After you read this well written post on his blight with depression.

Ah, depression – anger turned in on oneself.

Seriously, that’s what the ‘experts’ say.

And there are days, I agree.

I suffer from depression from time to time.  The first event was immediately after my first heart-attack.  I’ve had four.  Apparently fried foods and cigarettes are bad for you.  Who knew?  There should have been a report back in the 60s or something.  You know, some advice from a doctor or panel of them.  Hmmm.

At any rate, depression hits me from time to time.  After the first HA, I was terribly depressed and didn’t realize what was going on.  No one, not one doctor, nurse, aide, tech, no one – told me, “Hey, you’re gonna feel like crap.” 

But I did.

After speaking to my cardiologist, he realized what was going on and sent me to a counselor.  It helped.

Depression comes in many forms, and from many places.  This is my story, it may not be yours.  You alone can decide where yours comes from.

But after the initial bout with depression, the cluster headaches started UP.  I suffer from Horton’s Syndrome.  It is a form of Classic Chronic Cluster Headaches usually found in men.  In the rare cases when women have them, they often say it’s as bad as childbirth.  I won’t make that claim, I’ve never given birth, I’m a man, and that would be presumptuous. 

The pain is excruciating.  And comes out of nowhere.  No real warning, just a slight burning in the nose and then Bang!  There they are. 

They are unilateral, one side of the face and all.  And they are really not headaches, but face aches.   My teeth hurt, my nose burns, my tongue burns, and my head throbs.

I have one now.  It’s slight, and it’s under control, but I caught it fast. 

The real cause isn’t known.  But there are things that exacerbate them.  All the things that are supposed to be healthy for me do the trick.  Avocados, walnuts, strong cheeses, DARK CHOCOLATE, coffee, all the things I love, many of the things that are good for me.  They make them kick in.

And stress.

Some last for a few minutes.  I take OTC pain killers, a mix of Excedrin, Tylenol, and Advil along pure oxygen from a tank and with an ice pack on my face, and I can usually get them to go away.

The worst one lasted for 57 days.  It was horrid.  I wound UP in the ER.

The headache pain and experience is depressing, and we Cluster heads call it “dancing with the devil”.  

You have suicidal thoughts.  It would just be easier to die than live like this. 

After the headaches subside, or go away completely, the depression kicks in.  I don’t know if it’s that way for everyone, but for me, it’s deep, dark, and devastating.

The anger gets turned inward.  For years, no one, and I mean NO ONE believed I was in as much pain as I was. 

I was “emotionally fragile”, overstating it, being weak.  Faking it. 

But I was in pain, and I was depressed.

And even now, when they go away, I get dark, I get depressed.

Therapy helped.  The doctor I saw showed me a few “tricks” to use on myself to bring me out of the funk that the headaches leave me in.  I refused medicine.  I have an aversion to alcohol or any possibly addictive drug, so I steered clear of all that.

Walking helps.  With cluster headaches, a dark room, quiet, solitude: they don’t do the trick.  There has to be light, noise, action, movement.  So I walk, I read, I write.

And I talk.  Talk to anyone who will listen, keep company, and keep the dark thoughts away.  I usually try to steer clear of telling the listener what’s going on with me, it just scares them off.  And I need them.
I need the interaction.  I need the company, I need the comfort.  I need to avoid the anger.  I need to keep from turning on myself. 

So, talk to me, tell me your story, hell, tell me a lie.  I don’t care.  Listen, and talk. 

See, the headache is gone.  Time for some happy thoughts!


jenny from mommin' it up said...

The headaches sound horrendous! I really can't imagine. Thanks for sharing, I know depression is a hard thing to talk and write about. I was very afraid to write about mine. But I am so glad I did and I am sure you will be too!

UP said...

Just want to thank Shelle for allowing me to chime in on any topic, much less this depressing one! Thanks, Shelle!


Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

UP- your welcome, but really we appreciate that you took the time to write about a tough subject and we welcome any writing that you want to throw our way!

About the post. I may be alone on this because my Labor and Deliveries were good experiences, sure they were tough, but I don't have trauma over them, but more good memories than anything, so I have to say, I think that would differ if I had to deal with Cluster Headaches and then deep depression.

So I would have to say that I would have my babies over again in place of what it sounds like you go through.

At least we know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel--and that the only way we will have to go through labor again is to choose (or not) to get knocked up again.

You don't know when your headaches will it and then to top it off you end by falling into what seems like the recesses of H.E. Double toothpicks.

It just sounds like it sucks overall. I'm sorry.

It's hard to admit pain and weakness for anyone--Thank you for sharing this, I had never heard of Cluster headaches before reading this post!

Anonymous said...

I too suffer from depression but nothing like what you're talking about. Those headaches sound like they really freakin' suck! I've never heard of them.

Hang in there UP... thanks for writing about your depression! I know it's hard but it does feel better to do so!

The Urban Cowboy said...

Hey UP, good to see you doing a guest post! I feel for you, I can only imagine what those headaches are like, hope I never experience them.

nitebyrd said...

Yikes! They sound worse than migraines. Depression definitely sucks, big time, but being able to help yourself, even a little is a good thing. So's a sense of humor which you obviously have!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Welcome Urban Cowboy! And Amen to what you said. They sound terrible.

UP said...

RE: all of the above! Thanks for the CRED!

It means a great deal that you read and commented!


wendy said...

Wow, I have never heard of such a thing. I can't imagine that kind of pain.
between that and the depression, you are fighting quite the battle my friend.
But I was moved by the part where during those times you NEED people. You need interaction.
During our darkest hours ---in life and all it's trials....we need each other.
thanks for sharing

heelsnstocking said...

ouch, i hate it when i get headaches and they last a few days but this sounds so debilatating. Keep on the positive attack you sound quite a person x