I am afraid.
When the wealthy or the artistic cut off their hair, people call it art, or call it a protest. When normal people cut off their hair, people say nothing, think nothing of it – “I guess they just wanted a change of pace.” When I cut my hair, when a person who is different cuts their hair, it’s butchery – and everyone thinks of it as symbolic suicide.
Of course, for me, it was two-pronged. I cut off my hair because I wanted to cut off my head. I wanted to kill my pain. Cutting off my hair was a last-ditch effort to cure the pain in my neck. But deep down, I think it was probably a cry out for help. The fact that I had it professionally done just meant that I got away with it in public – no one noticed but my Sister, and she was polite enough, kind enough, to keep her thoughts to herself.
I am so afraid of the pain I experienced back in February that I would rather die that experience it again. I’m not suicidal, by any means, don’t get me wrong. I don’t even believe in suicide – in my perspective it’s pointless and cruel to everyone – you don’t die until you’re supposed to – only Death claims the dead, and I’ve seen too many fail, and so many people suffer, both the living who survive those who succeed, and the living who fail their attempts… it’s just not worth that much suffering to me. Not only that, but to be honest, I don’t actually want to die – I have a lot to live for, so I’m not seeking death… I just… fear that pain… but that fear is eating my life whole.
I remember those three trips to the ER back in February with a crystalline clarity that is horrifying. I remember my thoughts. I remember the pain itself, as if it were a living thing, still pounding away at the base of my skull, beating and breaking apart my neck with every pulse, breathing down my spine. It’s like a beast that hunts me… haunts me. It is the terror in the night, and I the mouse that huddles in the field, frozen while it, soft-winged, invisible, claws through my skull to break me.
It always starts with sparks. Black and white, tiny, shiny flashes, right before my eyes, and a glow around everything that’s lit. But after a while, it doesn’t matter whether there’s light or not. I could have my eyes closed, and a blanket over my head, and light will hammer at my body in physical blows, blocks of cement weighing me down and shoving me to the floor.
It begins to build, pressure beside my temples, behind my eyes, and above my nose, and always, always, at the base of my skull, in my shoulders, in my neck.
Lastly, it begins to pulse. With the pulsing in my neck, the screaming starts. Pulse, pain, pulse, pain, pulse, pain… until the world is nothing but the need for darkness… and death.
Three times, my husband half carried me to the car, bowl in hand, as I tried desperately not to vomit again and again from the pulsing pain in my head. It was as if my neck controlled my entire body, pulse by pulse, the back of my head beating me senseless.
By the time we reached the hospital, every light made me scream in pain, because it was like a weight that hit me, punched me, knocked me senseless. I could feel light through my clothing – my thighs rebelled, my skin said NO, my muscles denied the light and screamed.. twitched, RAN. I crumpled in the parking lot. I think the emergency crew carried me through the hallways into a hospital room. I don’t know, because the pressure of the lights from the parking lot hitting my body that night made me pass out for a moment.
I don’t remember much of the three times I went to the hospital, honestly – it‘s all broken up into pieces. I remember that the pain reached from my neck down to my feet in waves, that it would grab the soles of my feet and the spasms of my feet as I writhed were because I was attempting to escape my head, kick my own head off.
I remember turning to look at my husband in a moment when a wave had passed, to beg, knocked speechless, with only my eyes, for him to please, MAKE IT STOP, thinking that I would do ANYTHING, anything at all, if he would just end it, end ME, to make it stop.
I remember there were moments when I thought of ways I could escape the confines of the hospital room to find and trick some security guard into shooting me in the head, because that would end the pain finally and completely.
I remember being in enough pain that I wanted to die, not because I wanted to leave anyone behind, but because I just didn’t want to hurt anymore. I love, truly, utterly, and completely. But I am also truly, utterly, and completely terrified of that pain.
I don’t want to die… I want to LIVE. I want to know WHY THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME.
But I don’t want to deal with that pain ever, EVER again…
And no one knows what caused it, or why it happened… and no one knows if it will happen again.
Do you know that after 5 months, they still haven’t even done an MRI? I have mentioned to four Neurologists so far that I was hit by a car when I was 7, and STILL no MRI. I’m thinking I’m not the only one who was hit on the head as a child….
So they don’t know what causes my headaches… and so I keep getting them. I have them every day… and every day, I wonder if this one will be like one of those February Screamers. And so… I am afraid. Every second of every hour of every day…
I am afraid. And I’m ashamed because I am this afraid, that this is not in my control, and that I did not tell anyone.