#dSavannahDefects – H is for…

HdSavannah note: I actually wrote this post some months ago but never published it (for no apparent reason), and found it when preparing for the #AtoZChallenge. Thought it was appropriate for my theme. Also, ironically (or is it coincidentally? or both?) I have a whopper of a headache today as I finish this up and publish it.

One of the wonderful things about me (that’s sarcasm, by the way) is that I’m a little barometer. If there’s a storm front coming in, I get a headache, and those often turn into migraines (which I’ll write about for M.) (And no idea why I’ve got this particular headache. The radar doesn’t show anything suspicious…)

I also want to point out that I do know that not everything can be solved with positive thinking, but it does help. So, without further blethering, here’s my H:

… It’s all in your head.

Now, before some of you try to burn me at the stake, and/or demand I hand in my #InvisibleIllness Club Card, let me explain. (I’m not giving back the decoder ring. Sorry.)

Unless you are an alien or have some sort of deformity that I haven’t heard of (and that I’m quite frankly afraid to google), your head is where your BRAIN is located. And your BRAIN, my friends, is truly where all the action in your body happens – pain, feelings, etc.

So that means: it IS actually all in your head! Despite the naysayers and non-ill and non-empathetic people using it as a way of dismissing what you are going through, they are correct.

But if anyone, and I mean anyone, tries to say it to you in a mean or derogatory manner, tell them, “Why, yes, yes, it is in my head. Thank you for your knowledge of the subject.” And smile sweetly at them. And then kick them in the shins for being a jerk. And maybe punch them in the face for good measure. So they’ll have pain in their head too.

See, science says that we don’t actually have pain in, say, our knees. Or our (my) torn shoulder. The nerves in those places send a signal to the brain to say “you have done something to your knee/shoulder and please see about fixing it.”


Look at the big brain on Deb! Seriously, my brain is HUGE. Or my head is small. And yeah, that’s a mouth full of metal, right there. (Thanks, acid reflux!) (And is my nose really that big?!?!)

An aside: a true deformity is kids who are born without the nerves that allow them to feel pain. Can you imagine a kid who doesn’t feel pain going over to the stove and touching a pan of boiling water, or worse sticking their hand in it? If the nerves don’t signal the brain “owie ow ow ouchie”, the kid will probably have a terrible burn, but not know that it’s a bad thing.

And what if their mom and dad for some {highly unlikely} reason don’t notice the burn, and then the burn gets infected and oozing… and all the while the kid has no idea it’s happening and that it’s bad because they don’t get that pain signal in their brain to indicate something is wrong.

Like the migraine/tornado/excruciating pain I was feeling in my lower back on a daily basis, but that has mostly subsided. I knew/know my body was attempting to tell me something, but I didn’t know what! (And by the way, that nightmare got mostly solved when my pain doctor did a lumbar medial branch block procedure {read: steroid shots, right in the spine}, tho once I had the MBB, everything else in my body started *really* screaming.) (And turns out the pain was caused by a super-duper fun combo of spine stuff that I’ll write about for S. I’m sure you can’t hardly wait.)

Now, I cannot personally speak to all mental illness types (depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders being the most common), except to tell you that they are generally caused by some sort of chemical imbalance in the brain.

I can speak to my very own mental illnesses, specifically anxiety and depression. (I also have PTSD, mild OCD, and get panic attacks.)

In my experience, anxiety is basically all the neurons in my brain firing at once. It’s my brain burbling on and on about stuff I need to do, stuff I want to write, stuff I can’t do, doctor’s appointments, what if I never get well, what if I can’t get over my anger, what if I never get to sleep, etc. etc. etc. (Fun times.)

if-you-could-remember(Like this blog post is being written after getting oh, maybe three hours of sleep … thanks to the anxieteez … and being up all day and working and not getting a nap, but then something in my brain clicked as I was trying to go to sleep and all these words started tumbling out.)

Depression is the neurons in my brain being slowed down, weighed down with the, erm, weight of what I am dealing with… i.e. my exceedingly long list of physical ailments. And of course that list can cause my anxiety to go into overdrive.

And THEN, in even more fun-times city, the depression and lack of sleep and anxiety can cause your body’s immunity to be suppressed and it makes you even more ill!

So, I was reminded of this very good lesson by Neely Woods Hunter at Balance Wellness Studio, my wonderful bodyworker on the coast of Georgia: we can’t control the pain we feel, regardless of type.

And this goes for everything in life. We can’t control a crappy boss or a mean barista or a rude reviewer. And again, this pain/irritation – physical and mental – is very real. But what we CAN control is how we react to it. We can acknowledge it, and move on. (I know, it’s not as easy to do as it is to write, but it IS doable.)

As she suggested to me, you tell that pain in your my shoulder: ‘thank you for telling me you’re hurting. Thank you for letting me know that I shouldn’t sleep on that side. I receive the message, and I release it.’

Same with the anxiety: ‘thank you for reminding me that I need to complete X, Y, Z, A, T, M & L tomorrow.’ (I typically get up and write down a list, and that helps calm the savage head a bit.) ‘I appreciate it, but I release you. I have done what I can do today, and I will do what I can do tomorrow, and if I get Y, A, & L done tomorrow, I will celebrate it. And hooray that I got K done today! Yay me!’

Being ill is a full-time job. And maybe you won’t get well. And maybe I won’t get well. And I know that there will definitely be many more times when I’m lying on the floor of my studio in the middle of the night crying.

But as long as I eventually get up, and brush myself off, and thank the crying jag for the release of whatever pain I was holding in, and thank the universe and the goddess and the angels and the baby Jesus that I can feel, I can get up and write another day.

And so can you.

More ramblings / other posts you might want to read...


About dSavannah

~ #disabled #spoonie fighting numerous, chronic, painful #InvisibleIllnesses ~ also #wife #feminist #ally #advocate #papyrophiliac #DogCatTurtleWrangler
This entry was posted in #AtoZchallenge2016, #dSavannahDefects, depression, dreams, health, mental illness, shining a light, the dark places. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to #dSavannahDefects – H is for…

  1. Joy says:

    True… When I was diagnosed depressed with PTSD I took Zoloft and that helped with the chemical inbalance. Amazing how they can help but I worry some people are too quick to rely on the chemicals and not focus on other problems causing the problems… Of course to each their own but have you ever seen the movie SIDE EFFECTS with Jude Law? Very interesting film and thought provoking.

    x Joy (The Joyous Living)

  2. Elaine LeDoux says:

    My goodness…you and I and some of our other friends should go into the weather business!!! I know the weather headache all too well…much more accurate than most forecasters

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      What’s dumb is I’ll have a headache and not realize why until after I see the radar. Tho yup, sometimes the ‘weather’ only shows up in my head at first!

  3. Elaine LeDoux says:

    Debbie, I’m frustrated because I just wrote an entire comment and only a tiny part showed up! Boo! This has happened before. Well, basically I said that I see nothing wrong with taking meds to balance out chemicals we don’t produce naturally as we should. I take thyroid every morning! Sure hope this goes through this time!

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      I’m so sorry my blog keeps eating your comments! I have no idea why that’s happening. Maybe it doesn’t like you? I know that seems highly unlikely…

      Anyway, I do agree that if you need medication, you shouldn’t be afraid to take get and what you need. Whatever it is.

  4. I have the headache as barometer thing, too, though it’s rarely crippling anymore. (knocks wood). Another great post on difficult topics.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  5. Pamela says:

    Thank you for this post – its honesty is so refreshing and definitely resonates with me.

  6. Arlee Bird says:

    Frame of mind and outlook essentially rules so much about how we feel. I try to stay positive as much as I can and that’s partly because I know to do otherwise can affect the way I feel to a tremendous extent. I’m fortunate that I very very rarely get headaches and usually when I actually feel sick there is a physiological reason for the way I feel.

    I’ve known some people who seem to always be in a poor state of health and you are so right–they work hard at feeling that way. What a way to go through life! When I dismiss my bad feelings they often just go away and I’m ready to enjoy my life.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      You are lucky to rarely get headaches! I get them quite often, and typically because of weather fronts, but sometimes due to tension.

      I, too, try to stay positive despite all my illnesses. But it can be difficult! However, happier spirits gives me a much better chance of dealing with the not-so-good.

      Thanks for stopping by! You’ve got a big job as co-host of #AtoZChallenge!

  7. I also take Synthroid for a chemical imbalance but it doesn’t always help me 100%. I try other things – exercise is especially helpful, I’ve found. We are all a compilation of chemicals and I so hope that the imbalances that cause bipolar disorder, severe depression and other mental challenges can be better treated in the not too distant future.

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Exercise is definitely helpful. I mentioned it in my “C” (coping) post because it really can make a huge difference.

      We are a compilation of chemicals, and I too have that same wish. Maybe someday we’ll understand the “stew” a little better.

  8. Your words made me think of my 87 year old mom (God bless her soul) who is such a positive, strong woman.
    She’s fond of the phrase: “It’s all in your mind!”
    Writer In Transit

  9. Headaches are the worse because a lot of people don’t believe you have them. Thanks for sharing.

  10. cleemckenzie says:

    You are a perfect barometer! Sorry about the pain involved, though. That doesn’t sound good at all.

  11. patgarcia says:

    Sometimes we have to bite the bullet. It doesn’t mean we are on top of things, but it means that regardless of how long it takes we are not going to let our circumstances get on top of us.
    Take a day at a time, Lady. That is all that we’re given. And you seem to be doing just that.
    All the best.
    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

  12. Betsy says:

    As you know, I am an unfortunate member of the headache club. My Mom says she hardly gets any since menopause. Something to look forward to. ;)

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