I learned my brain was extremely powerful my first year of college. Not at learning, but at bringing me to my knees and making me beg for mercy.
I discovered migraines. Having cured my ulcer, my inner stress needed another outlet and attacked my brain. I remember sitting through a chemistry final my first semester, and I thought I was having a stroke. But I finished the final. The pain was splitting my left eye from my left ear, and spread tingling to my left cheek, lip, and then when it went down my left arm I was sure it was a stroke. I could barely breathe, was nauseous, and dizzy. I made it out of the final, and having made sure I made no friends yet, no one asked what was wrong.
I knew I had to make it to campus doctors, but could not walk yet. I made it to a couch in the lobby, and collapsed there. Possibly fell alseep, possibly a brief coma, not sure which. I actually don’t recall how I made to the other end of campus, but the next thing I know a sweet young nurse it laughing and pitying me. “Oh, honey, it’s just a migraine headache. Here take some advil and get some rest.” Inside I was cussing out this idiotic nurse, couldn’t she see I was dying? And why was that light so damn bright? But I took the pills and went back to my dorm, certain death was coming soon.
Somehow I slept it off and in the morning was not recovered, but at least not numb and tingly any more. When headaches became more normal than normal, I got to see a doctor, not just a nurse, and he asked if I had been eating. What? a little. In between vomiting. I was too busy being miserable to notice my clothes were all loose.
Then the doctor declared I was homesick. And I laughed out loud that time, even in my pain. This was my first time away from my parents and hellish childhood. How could I be homesick? He saw my look and actually asked me if I had ever been abused. What??? I said I don’t know. He sent me down the hall to a psychiatrist who asked me the same question. At 17 I was fairly certain every adult was either evil or stupid or both, so I did not talk to this psychiatrist about my abuse, and let him decide I was depressed. Classic homesick. Whatever. He gave me prozac, said it would help the headaches. I had no idea it was an antidepressant.
So I started my journey of antidepressants at 18 and was off and on them until just a few years ago. Prozac made me sleepy. So sleepy I could have hibernated. I fuzzily remember my boyfriend asking my doctor if I was supposed to be this sleepy, that I could not wake up for anything. He said it was normal and that it could take weeks to kick in and start helping.
So I spent weeks in this half sleeping limbo on my boyfriend’s futon, not eating, not going to classes, not going to work, not getting dressed, not living. Oh, I had moved out of my dorm and into my boyfriend’s apartment to not deal with my roommate. And at that point, I was still taking classes. Sleep walking through classes like a ghost. I actually have notes from then that scrawl off the page as I feel asleep countless times in one sentence. It was a nightmare.
I think the headaches stopped at some point in my sleep, not sure.