Update: Migraines, Mental Health & Loneliness

Usually when I start writing I know what I want the ‘moral’ of my blog posts to be, what message I want to spread, or how I want to conclude. I typically don’t like to just put negative energy out into the world for the sake of it, but today I just want to write. I’m fed up and I need an outlet. I’m writing this purely for catharsis, but I guess if you lucky lot are reading it, then I’ve managed to salvage something meaningful from it too!

I usually love Autumn, but this year we’ve not got off to a great start. I’ve been ill for what feels like weeks now, lurching from bug to bug, virus to virus, and I’m actually sick of it (pun intended). Last week I went to the doctors after a bit of a scare involving a lump. I’m totally fine and there’s nothing to worry about, but the appointment revealed that I’m super run down and have got a nasty infection coursing through my body, which has resulted in some painful cysts. After a course of antibiotics this week I’m feeling slightly better, but still really groggy and not at the top of my game. Yesterday I also had the worst migraine I’ve had for months. I was really sick, had such a bad pain in my head that the left half of my face went numb and I could do nothing but lie in bed for 18 hours. I know that so many people have it worse than me, and I’m typically really good at rationalising and just getting on with things, but today I feel done with it.

The symptoms go way beyond the physical too, and that’s the side I never usually talk about, for fear of sounding moany or weak. But, honestly? I’m sad. I’m not usually one to feel low, I’m quite good at self motivation and keeping positive, getting myself out of bed and on with life, but I’m struggling at the moment. I don’t think the weather is helping either. I usually love seeing the seasons turn over, watching the leaves change colour and fall, and don’t get me started on the epic Autumn sunsets! But this year I just cannot get enthused about starting my commute in the dark and coming home in the dark, particularly with the state of the m20 at the moment. I’ve been taking vitamins, trying to replace the lack of vitamin D, but I’m genuinely considering investing in a SAD lamp – does anyone have any recommendations?!

Over the past few weeks, FOMO has become a reality for me. I’ve missed out on so many fun things; from a friend’s gig in London, to my oldest friend’s birthday party. I also had to cancel on my cousin’s housewarming party and couldn’t go to my work’s Halloween Party last night. It just feels like I can’t catch a break. I’m on edge that my friends will stop inviting me to things because I never seem able to make it, I fear that despite being one of the most flexible and compassionate places I could ask to work, my bosses will eventually start asking questions, I’m worried that my team will get fed up of being left to pick up my work. And above all else, I’m feeling really really lonely. And that isn’t easy to admit. From the outside, I am sure it looks like I live a really full life, with lots of friends and fun adventures, but in reality, I’ve spent the last 3 weekends in bed because I’ve not felt well enough to do anything else. Granted, I’ve caught up on a lot of good TV (Looking For Alaska, Atypical and Peaky Blinders to name a few, if you’re looking for something new to watch), but even that loses its appeal when it’s the only thing you feel like you can do. I think, ultimately, I’m just scared that people will stop caring and stop being there for me, because I know what a drain it must be to be friends with someone who cannot live a ‘normal’ life. It’s very isolating and, if I’m honest, I’m worried that everyone is going to give up on me. I know that’s probably really unfair of me to say, because I do have great friends, who make me feel loved and supported, but I guess that where my defences are low, my insecurities are taking over. I’m really grateful to have a lifeline to my long distance friends via social media, but sometimes it can make it feel even worse – like there’s a big party going on that I’m not invited to, or worse that I was invited to, but that my health won’t let me attend. Sometimes it feels like I’m sat watching life play out, but I’m not really a part of it, like the Big Brother live stream we all used to stare at for hours with morbid fascination.

All week I’ve been focused on getting better for tonight’s Firework Display at the cricket club, which has been a highlight of the year for me since I was a little girl. *Cheesy blog post about it here*. However, due to the terrible weather and high winds we’ve had to cancel it. In lieu of any other plans, I just went back to bed, where I’ve stayed all day, feeling miserable and wallowing about all of the things I’ve mentioned above. But I’m fed up of wallowing now, I want to feel better. I know that for me it is even more important that I don’t waste the days when I do feel well, because I never quite know when a migraine is going to strike and force me into bed, so I shouldn’t just lie there doing nothing by choice. Having said that, I do think it’s important to let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling and to work through your emotions. Nobody can ‘brave face’ it every day without things eventually catching up with them, but I’ve had my time now. I need to get back to happy-go-lucky Lizzi and appreciate what I have, rather than focusing on all the stuff that’s been making me feel so shit. I need to stop letting it take over my mind because ultimately, I know deep down that that’s not helping with my physical recovery either. So, with that in mind, if I feel like I can, tomorrow I’m going to get up early and go for a run. I’ve talked on here before about the positive impact that getting outside and moving has had on my mental health and I have definitely de-prioritised exercise where I’ve felt so unwell recently. So I need to get back to that. Then I’m going to celebrate my Dad’s birthday over a pub roast with my family.

And the next time I do get poorly, which I am sure won’t be far away, I am going to try really hard to accept that it isn’t my fault and that getting upset about it means that I am only punishing myself more. Our bodies are wonderful things and I should be grateful to mine for keeping me alive, even after all that it goes through.

If anyone has been through any similar health journeys and has any tips for me on keeping positive and still feeling like you’re in the loop with society, I’d love to hear about it. If not, thank you for indulging me and letting me vent. I feel a lot better for writing this and having got everything off my chest (and eating a banging Chinese at the same time probably didn’t hurt…)

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10 Comments

  1. Gill Thirmhill
    November 2, 2019 / 10:02 pm

    Hi Lizzi Do hope you are on the mend. I didnt realise you felt so low. I know your family are a great support to you but we are always here too if you need anything. Keep your chin up. Hopefully you will feel better very soon. If you need a change of scenery come ovet❤❤

    • lizzihill
      November 2, 2019 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks Aunty G! Usually try and take it all on the chin but sometimes it gets a bit much. Hopefully see you really soon xxxx

  2. Emma Dore
    November 2, 2019 / 11:55 pm

    Hey Lizzi, what an honest piece of writing. I can relate to how depressing/ life interfering migraines are. I started getting them as a teenager , they were really bad during my twenties. Had a few trips to A&E due to almost complete sight loss which brought about panic attacks/ breathing difficulties. My migraines have been very hormone related combined with lack of sleep. . Now I’m in my late thirties the migraines have finally calmed down and I rarely get them. (Even though I get less sleep now!) 👶🏻👶🏻
    There is hope!! It might not be forever.
    It’s very brave to be so honest about feeling down. Its understandable you feel isolated and lonely when the world carries on, when you have to sit out.
    It’s not easy to speak about it x x sending some cousin love xxxx really hope you feel better soon x

    • lizzihill
      November 3, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Thank you Emma! Didn’t realise you had suffered so badly too. Definitely helps to know I’m not the only one! Hope you’re all really well, be lovely to catch up soon. Lots of love back xxx

  3. Sheila
    November 3, 2019 / 8:24 am

    Hi Lizzi, I’m sorry to read just how much you have suffered again lately and how low it has left you feeling.
    I know I’m not the right generation regarding your social life however if you fancy a dog walk anytime, I’m your girl.
    I have suffered myself in the past with both migraines and anxiety so know how both leave you feeling.
    Here’s hoping for now at least today’s better weather will help you back on the right road to recovery. Lots of love and healing thoughts sent your way.

    • lizzihill
      November 3, 2019 / 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much Sheila! I am feeling a little better today. Would love a dog walk, will arrange something soon xxx

  4. Andy Hobbs
    November 3, 2019 / 8:43 am

    I feel your pain and know these symptoms, I too struggle with the same and have been feeling extremely off kilter and not myself . Weather plays an important part I think and I have also had one of the worst migraines I have had in months . Forcing me to pull out of events too .
    Try to keep positive , watch tv you like but don’t sit there all day , try take breaks and go for walks , even if it is just for 10 a20 minutes . If you can try meet up with just your friend and go for tea and a chat rather than a huge party 😄 it is small steps . Maybe speak to work and come up with an arrangement to come in later at the moment or work more flexi until you feel better. I am always happy to chat too if you want

    • lizzihill
      November 3, 2019 / 4:12 pm

      Thanks Andy! It’s always really nice to hear from you, because I know you get it and know exactly how I feel! Keep pushing on 🙂

  5. November 3, 2019 / 2:07 pm

    Oh Dear Lizzie. I was so sad to hear that you are unwell again. I had prayed that your take-up of running would help to alleviate your pain.
    What always cheered me up was the antics of Sue Bloggins who always made me laugh as she milked the hilarious situations which always arose at you know where!
    Try to relax, breathe slowly and deeply, smell the fresh air and gently falling rain, catch shooting stars and watch the grass grow.
    You have so many people who care. They understand. They will stand by you and so will I. Take care Lizzie. We love you and are thinking of you. xxxx

    • lizzihill
      November 3, 2019 / 4:13 pm

      Thanks Jane, what a lovely comment! Our mates Sue 1 & 2 certainly help ease the pain, that’s for sure xxx

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