I'm insane.

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Posted by drummer ( on January 08, 2000 at 13:14:43:

In Reply to: REACHED INSANITY posted by KARI on January 08, 2000 at 07:47:55:

Hi Kari,

To me there is a BIG difference between “aborting” a Cluster Headache and “coping” with a Cluster Headache. To “abort” a Cluster Headache I simply take a 1/3 injection of Imitrex and the Cluster Headache is gone in about 5 to 15 minutes. “Coping” is what I do during that 5 to 15 minutes OR it’s what I do if I decide to let the Cluster Headache run its' course and not “abort”. (The times when Imitrex is not available or when I choose to not use Imitrex).

I’ve always had a tendency to think “outside the box”. What I’m about to write may seem like strange thoughts, but they work for me. I hope they work for you too. The pain of Cluster Headaches IS horrendous. I’ve had Chronic Cluster Headaches for 16 years now and have tried many different “coping techniques”. I consider “coping” to be what my mind does while waiting for the pain of a Cluster Headache to end.

I’ve always called a Cluster Headache an “attack”. Normally an “attack” is something like an assault from someone or something else done to me. The term “attack” always seemed like the right thing to call this incredible, excruciating pain that would come from out of nowhere at anytime and assault me. I would then have to do my best to “fight” this “attack” by pacing, banging my head, screaming and running around the house looking for something to stop the pain.

I changed my thinking on this whole “attack” thing some time ago. I saw a guy that placed 8 fish hooks through the skin in his back and legs and hung from a ceiling for a while on television. One by one his friends would remove one fish-hook at a time until he was dangling from just one fish hook from his left shoulder blade. Then he just dangled there for several minutes from that one fish-hook until he couldn’t take the pain anymore. This guy was not “attacked” with pain, but rather he brought the pain onto himself. Some how he was able to “cope” with this pain without banging, pacing and screaming.

My first thought was, “big freaking deal; the pain of a Cluster Headache is WAY worse than fish-hooks through the skin and dangling from a ceiling”. Plus, he was allowed to decide when the fish-hooks would be released from his body. Much different than a Cluster Headache; if you ask me.

But still; this guy “coped” rather well with his pain. How did this guy “cope”?

I figured that it had to have something to do with his mind. I read a bunch of stuff on this “fish-hook guy”. When he was suspended in mid-air by the fish-hooks through his back and legs he would move his arms and fingers to divert his Central Nervous System from going into shock. He was also playing “mind games” with himself. When he was dangling from just this one fish-hook; he would very slowly move his legs apart and back together again. He would also focus his mind on complete and total control over himself and his pain. He also required total silence.

How do I take the “fish-hook guy’s” coping technique and use it for my Cluster Headaches? It’s not easy. I sit and rock a bit and move my fingers a bit and try to breathe and relax. And my mind? Well, you probably don’t want to go inside there. (hee hee). But, I’ll try to take you there anyway. Unlike the “fish-hook guy”; I don’t require total silence. I do require to be left alone though. I place some of my favorite instrumental music on my CD player. Although I enjoy music with vocals; I find vocals to be too distracting during a Cluster Headache. I prefer to listen to Rock music because that is what I enjoy. This helps me relax and concentrate. I do NOT concentrate on the pain.

I close my eyes and concentrate on the music. If there were vocals in the music I would have a tendency to focus in on just the words being sung by the singer. This would be bad. Instead; I listen to every instrument. I listen to every beat of every drum and cymbal. I listen to every sound of every single instrument. I listen to every chord that is played by every Guitar player in the band. I listen to every string that is “plucked” by the Bass player. Sound does not bother me during a Cluster Headache.

So, if you can picture me sitting in my chair; rocking back and forth, breathing with my eyes closed and listening to music; this is what I look like “coping” with a Cluster Headache. I’d rather not tell you what is going on in my mind during the Cluster Headache because people may think I’m weird. Sorry. Let’s just say, that I think about anything and everything EXCEPT the pain.

I believe it was Dr. Doolittle who said, “music soothes the Savage Beast”.

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