Monster of a Headache

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I have a loud-mouthed green monster inside my head. He has been my ever-present companion for five years, and I have, as is human nature, grown accustomed to him. We fight nearly every day; he is greedy for my energy and clear thinking, and he uses every drop of power he has to drain them out of me. But he, my monster of a headache – the searing, arrow-sharp, deafening pain-bringer – is not all that I am. Not anymore.

His creation was not unlike that of the universe: he came into being with a bang, a concussion. He was just a baby then, but as time passed and I had seven more concussions, he became full-grown.

In his prime, he had the power to dictate my every move – or lack thereof. He had my academics and social life firmly in his grip, and he slowly tore them to pieces; I struggled to grasp the pieces of my life and put them back together.

My headache was my captor, my abuser, and worst of all, part of me.

I spent too many days in darkness, in bed, watching the blending forms, geometric patterns, and bold flashes of color that were my monster’s boot prints behind my eyelids. The headaches crippled me physically and emotionally. I had no sense of balance, or even muscle memory to walk; my thoughts were catastrophic and my feelings hopeless. I almost let my life slip away to an eternity in bed.

However, one day I remembered that I have dreams, dreams that consist of more than darkness and a duvet. Thoughts of flower shops and freshly baked bread were oxygen for a small flame inside me, and they ignited a fire that cannot be extinguished by any amount of pounding, squeezing, or crushing. I will never forget the feeling in my stomach – of nervousness, strength, and extreme pride – when I decided to conquer my monster. I knew that for my life to have direction or purpose, I had to stand up, literally, and take back what my monster had so viciously usurped.

The idea of a battle for power was daunting, and I felt wildly unsure that I would come out on top. I started the fight regardless, slowly and deliberately. Doctors and countless appointments helped me to forge weapons to use in my battle against my monster. Each day I practiced focusing on my breathing and relaxing my muscles, and with the slow, measured beating of my heart and a full sense of peace in myself, I pushed my monster to the edges of my skull. I found the will to fight day after day, brandishing my headache-shrinking mind power and breathing techniques. The fire in me burned brighter each day, and I found that having faith in myself was one of my most powerful weapons.

I don’t regret that a monster moved into my head. I have learned priceless lessons from my struggle, lessons that have shaped me and will guide me for the rest of my life. I learned to have nearly infinite patience for myself and others, and that problems can’t be solved by being ignored. Most importantly, I learned through battling a headache every day that I am the only one who can take charge of my life. I am responsible for creating my own success. Though the monster is still a tenant in my head, he doesn’t define or rule me anymore.

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