Has anyone ever accused you of malingering — that is, faking sick? It’s all too common for those of us with illnesses that can’t easily be detected by the untrained everyman.
Now, I’m not one to judge the severity of someone else’s anxiety level, but let me share a pet peeve of mine: I hate it when people use the phrase “panic attack” to describe a mild dilemma that clearly came nowhere close to launching them into that all-too-familiar downward spiral of shaking, tachycardia, dizziness, derealization, and air hunger.
You may know the feeling. You feel a migraine coming on, and you’ve got a pill in your pocket that can save you from the pain, the sensitivity to light, and the sick stomach. Of course, that pill — that miracle pill, really — is going to make you lightheaded. Or jittery. Or drowsy and all fatigue-y.
If fatigue, sleepiness, and the jitters have a proven history of making you panic, do you still take the miracle pill?
The other week, I finally bought some light-blocking curtains for the bedroom. (“Helps reduce stress and improve sleep!” boasted the plastic package.) Glad to finally have a dark room to retreat to, I drew the curtains shut. Save the light of the alarm clock, I was in near complete darkness. Ahhhh. Perfect.
For about five seconds or so.
I was half convinced that my brain and my heart had temporarily switched locations. My newly-transplanted heart, I imagined, had gotten cozy behind my right eye and it stabbed my optic nerve with each beat. Put simply, migraines aren’t just painful — they can be scary.