Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!

My 2007 isn't starting promisingly. I caught a cold a few days before new years and then it developed into laryngitis. Today was my first migraine of the year and the quarter hasn't even started.

When I worked at the science center I developed laryngitis almost any time I got a cold. On a physical level this was probably from stressing my voice by talking all day, but on an emotional/psychic level I think my body developed this as a defense mechanism. Despite officially having sick days I was frequently guilt tripped by my boss into working while sick. Since my job involved a lot of talking if I lost my voice I couldn't work. This theory doesn't explain my current case since I haven't been working or talking all that much.

The migraines seem to be triggered by stress/anxiety. Yesterday I spent way too much time thinking about my job prospects and degree plans. Beorn is currently an undergrad but wants to go to grad school ASAP. If he applies next fall we might be moving to another part of the country during the summer of 2008. It seems unlikely that I would be finished with my PhD at that point. Even if I was, I would want to be looking for academic jobs, not following him to grad school. So my thought recently has been to finish my masters degree and spend some time working. This frightens me because I don't want to get stuck in the wrong job. So I start thinking that I need to take more classes and collect more job skills. Really my problem is focus, if I could just decide what type of job I really want, I might be more able to get the skills I need to get that job. Unfortunately, I'm always conflicted between going for my ideal job and going for the safe job. This is how my anxiety works, it gets me going around in circles, until I give myself a migraine.

So I spent the day taking doses of Imitrex. Imitrex works sometimes, but I usually feel worse for about an hour before it gets better. Then if the first dose doesn't work, after two hours, you can take a second dose. After the second dose took effect I felt exhausted and laid down for a nap. Lucky for me I didn't have anything important to do today. It got me thinking though, there really isn't an effective medication for preventing migraines and while the Imitrex cuts the migraine short (otherwise they frequently last 24-48 hours) it still takes a big chuck out of my day. There really isn't an effective prevention medication. The only realistic solution? Exercise.

So that's my new year's resolution, to exercise regularly. A number of studies have shown regular exercise to reduce migraine frequency by around 50%. It's also shown to significantly reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Exercise for mental health and pain reduction! Part of me still hopes to lose a bunch of weight, but I'm trying to put that out of my mind.

1 comment:

wil said...

Thank the gods I don't suffer from migraines. They sound just awful.

Good luck with the exercise regimen!