Don’t laugh at my headache, yo

Don’t laugh at someone’s illness. It’s not cool.

I was in a meeting yesterday, and someone opened it by mentioning a stressful email sent around a few days prior, which detailed what needed to be prepared for this meeting. The items I personally needed to prepare were, essentially, impossible for me to do. This I made known to my supervisor and he and his supervisor knew I was stressed out about it.

I began having severe occipital neuralgia problems for the remainder of that week (possibly related, as my neck muscles may have tensed from the stress and strangled the nerve, I do not know; the nerve was already causing me problems for the last several weeks), necessitating two occipital nerve blocks, two days in a row. The second because we missed a spot the first time, which was very stressful. Back to the meeting: at the start of this meeting, someone made a joke about how I got a headache from that email and everyone laughed.

Ha. ha. ha. ha….

Isn’t that hilarious? Isn’t occipital neuralgia so funny, everyone? (blank stare) I know that when it feels like someone is taking a stainless steel dental tool and performing cranial surgery on me with it while I’m awake, needling at the back of my head with it, stabbing me with it, incessantly, non-stop, it makes ME want to laugh. And I am certain if it were someone else that were happening to, and a stressful work situation could have potentially triggered it, oh I’d laugh my ass off about it, right? Riiiiight.

You know what really pisses me off about peoples’ attitude about severe chronic headaches in the workplace? Other than the fact that if I were having ambulatory problems no one would be laughing (and if someone were, I’d have a lawsuit on my hands)?

They think they know what a headache is. That’s why they’re acting this way. That’s why they’re lacking compassion.

Listen. You think because you had a bad headache once you know what a headache is. But until you seriously–and I mean seriously–consider hitting your own head against a wall hard enough to render yourself unconscious because the pain is so agonizing you can’t stand being awake any longer, you do not know what head pain is. Until you are projectile vomiting as a direct result of head pain and nothing else, you are in the dark. Have you screamed from the pain? Have you sat in a corner, shaking? Sweating, gripping your bedding? Was your partner looking at you, terrified, not knowing what to do? No? Then please stop laughing unless I am laughing first, because nothing is funny about this. And unless you are familiar with the state of head pain that doesn’t stop for decades, I’m pretty sure you need to never ever laugh at someone who has to get a series of injections into the back of their skull to stop severe head pain.

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3 responses

  1. “I have Aleve if you want it.” Isn’t that cute? Amateurs.

    I’m so sorry you were laughed at with ON. Certainly not a laughing matter.

    • Thanks! It made me so mad… then upset… now I think I have a handle on things. I think the people in that meeting really just don’t understand what people with chronic headache problems go through. I try to understand and educate but… my patience grows mighty thin when I am feeling ON pain or having a migraine.

  2. This year I went from my second brain tumor, a pseudo tumor cerebri, coming back to finding out I have occipital neuralgia recently.Talk about some head pain! I was in the hospital in the worst pain of my life gripping the bed. I couldn’t even open my mouth or eyes, and one of the doctors wrote I didn’t look like I was hurting. 2 brain tumors in my life, and the occipital neuralgia pain was FAR worse.
    It can be hard to ignore people. It’s hard to be strong and I’m giving advice I should be taking because I got my feelings hurt a few times recently, and I am mean as a snake sometimes when I start hurting. It’s hard not to be. Just be strong for yourself and your health. I see stuff on Pinterest that helps me that talks about On and headaches and it makes me laugh.
    I need a support group because I had 2 days last week where I couldn’t get off of the couch or move. So I need tips and tricks from people who have figured out what works on those “bad” days. I’ve had to quit my job and nursing school.

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