I woke up today with a massive headache. It feels as if my brain asked politely to leave my skull, but my skull said no, and now my brain is banging on every inch of my skull in a desperate attempt to break free of the bones that bind it. My brain is bouncing back and forth, up and down, but it cannot get free. And—bonus time!—it has taken my neck with and my neck muscles have seized up in agony. Does that sound dramatic? It’s not a migraine, though. I spent years in migraine hell (I think it’s the tenth circle of pain hell), but thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the blessing of my insurance company, I now get Botox for my migraines. So every three months I go to my neurologist’s office and am stuck with a needle 31 times—yes, you read that correctly, it’s 31 injections—am I’m pretty much migraine free.
But it’s almost as if in the absence of the migraines, my tension headaches decided to throw a party. These headaches are like college kids on spring break: no parents in charge and partying every day and every night. These headaches lack the light-sensitive, sound-sensitive, nauseating presence of a migraine, but make no mistake—they are mind-numbingly severe. And all I want to do is sleep because that is the only time I don’t feel the pain. Even the pain meds only mildly numb it.
Here’s the thing, though. Today I will go to work and act as if. As if I don’t want to run over my own leg to divert the pain from my head. As if I don’t want to just crawl under my desk and sleep until the pain subsides. As if every action isn’t calling on my superpower of smiling and making stupid jokes through everything. Most of all, as if everything is completely normal and okay, because I work with students with special needs and they pick up on EVERYTHING. If I don’t look or act the way I did yesterday, they will ask what’s wrong, they will be concerned that I’m sick, and they will keep asking because they want stability and normalcy every day. And I will not cause them any anxiety. Ever.
So today will be an acting day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. But today? Today will truly be an Oscar-worthy performance.