I woke up yesterday morning with a sensation of mild discomfort and the possibility that I had bumped my head in the middle of the night. By five past nine as I stood clutching my head with a day’s work ahead of me I realised this was no bump on the head, a parasite was burrowing periodically into my head. I made the huge mistake of checking my symptoms on the internet and if I stuck out the whole day at work it was because I was terrified that I would come home and my brain haemorrhage would explode and I would be found decomposing in my hallway five weeks later. Alternatively I would be so weakened by the meningitis that I wouldn’t even have the strength to call SOS medecin and I would be found decomposing in my hallway five weeks later. The less frightening alternatives were cluster headaches or non-aura migraines which were caused by too much alcohol and cigarettes.
So there are two things I need to learn from yesterday. The first is never self diagnose on the internet, you always panic yourself into thinking it’s the worse case scenario and then it isn’t. Mmm, except for the cases last year where I self-diagnosed myself and my soon to be ex-father in law self diagnosed himself. Bit of a paradox there. I think in the end we both knew there was something wrong with us and instinctively we knew what it was. But, when I looked on the internet yesterday I knew it wasn’t a brain haemorrhage because I think the side effects of that are a bit more serious then I’m feeling and I also knew that it wasn’t meningitis because apart from the grip, screw, squeeze in my head I feel fine. I’m just extremely pissed off that my lifestyle is digging away into my head like a constant reminder that I’m no longer eighteen.
Ok so the second thing, well the drinking. I’m not a big drinker. You see, I constantly say: “Gosh (and I probably do say that), I don’t drink anywhere near as much as the English.” And for years I have been mistakenly comparing myself with my compatriots who seem bent on alcoholic self-destruction. Normally, my idea of drinking is a nice glass of wine with my dinner and then ooh, maybe half a glass more. I like wine, I’m no sommelier, but I know the taste of hangover wine. I quite like beer, but after two pints I’m done (and usually so is my evening because I’ve taken so long to drink it). But that’s not the point. Someone once told me that as they got older their hangovers got worse. And this is the bit I’m not getting. My hangovers are getting worse and I can’t drink as much as I used to. Somewhere inside of me I know that and I kind of knew that the last week and a half was catching up on me, I just wasn’t expecting the catch up to be so nasty.
The third lesson I’m not even going to try and learn yet. When I joined the gym and had my personal trainer escort me around holding my hand I did think to myself; in fact I may even have told a few people, “When I finish this cartouche, I’ll give up.” Well I smoked the cartouche, and I had to buy a couple of packs in between as well when I suddenly found myself socialising without the security of a packet of Marlboro lights. On Sunday when I was buying another pack I did think to myself, I got through that pack quick, but I was drinking... (maybe that’s what the knocking on my head is, the realisation of this inevitable cycle towards this). But, it’s not the thought that I might pile on ten kilos and have to spend a year trying to get rid of it to discover that the only real effective diet is the break-up diet. Well, actually that is a part of it. I mean I did think yesterday if I knew smoking was going to hurt like this I would stop, but then as soon as I got home I sparked up. I can’t imagine myself not smoking. Again I’m not a BIG smoker, but I am a smoker. It’s a habit like jigging my foot when I’m nervous, or twirling my hair or saying ‘it’s like’. I know that it has a hold over me, but I’m not ready. Too much has changed in the last year and things are still going to change and I know myself as a smoker, not this skinny single woman. It’s a ridiculous way of holding onto yourself, I know, but what can I say.
Last night the digging in my head started again and kept me awake for hours. I didn’t even try to get into work today. It’s still there lurking behind my right eye and taunting me every now and again. Another thing I read yesterday was that headaches were caused by the arteries constricting and swelling. That’s pretty frightening anyway isn’t it?
*Just in case the title is a little obscure, click here for a definition. Also if you haven't read His Dark Materials, perhaps the little snippet on this link will entice you.