Miss Migraine: A list of things that happen to me when I don’t sleep

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on August 13, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

My body is not adjusting well to venlafaxine (brand name Effexor), an anti-depressant also prescribed for migraine patients. I just. Can’t. Sleep. I started taking melatonin every night to help me sleep, and it does, but only enough so that I don’t go crazy.

A List of Things That Happen To Me When I Don’t Sleep:

  • Coffee. Normally, I only drink tea, and only in the morning. Coffee inevitably makes me feel icky and more headachey, but at least it wakes me up a little.
  • Drifting. Somehow I get from one place to another, but I never remember how I did it. Sometimes I think I turn into a ghost or momentarily disappear, or possibly become Shadow Cat from X-Men and start phasing through solid objects. That, or my sleep-deprived self has the ability to manipulate the time-space continuum.
  • Fangs. My filter disappears and everything gets on my nerves. I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin, like I’m the chalkboard and the world around me is made of nails. I snap at everyone and lose patience at everything.
  • Migraines. Ironic that the medication that’s supposed to be decreasing the frequency and severity of my headaches is currently increasing them because it’s preventing me from sleeping.
  • Dark circles. These happen to everyone, so at least I can feel normal about one thing.
  • Rambling when I don’t sleep I sometimes forget to use punctuation or that sentences and paragraphs exist and my brain moves slowly and I’m afraid to stop it because I’m not sure I will be able to start it again…
  • Delusions. While I’m drinking the coffee, I feel like I can do EVERYTHING. And then I start. The coffee runs out, and I forget what I was doing, or get distracted, or just give up. Which is why I’m going to end this blog post here, before I run out of coffee and forget what I’m supposed to be doing.

(I’m no longer taking venlafaxine, but now I’m on a different drug that’s basically doing the same thing. But it at least helps with the migraines, so…??)

Miss Migraine: A list of all my problems, in order of their interference with my life

Banner that says "The Adventures of Miss Migraine"

The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. A version of this post appeared first on August 9, 2012, on my blog of the same name.

On days when I don’t feel quite awful enough to lie on the couch feeling miserable, but too awful to accomplish anything beyond the most basic necessities, I like to make lists. This is one I made today.

A List of All My Problems, In Order of Their Interference With My Life

  1. My head hurts, to a greater or lesser degree, every single moment I am awake.
  2. The medication I take for Problem One prevents me from sleeping well.
  3. I have only one pair of jeans that fit me, and zero pairs of shorts that fit me (and only two pairs of shorts at all). Because of Problems One and Two, plus the fact that girl pants are made for people with stick-thin legs and no butts, shopping is a painful, exhausting, frustrating experience. And I’ve never liked it much anyway. Unless it’s for books.
  4. Sometimes, partially because of Problem One, but also because of Problem Five and general anxiety and insecurity about my place in the world, I feel overwhelmingly depressed.
  5. The book I wrote isn’t published yet, and it makes me feel insecure and depressed sometimes. I’ve been trying to get it published for two years. I know it’s good enough. But believing in myself is hard, when no one else but my closest friends, family, and mentors seem to. (Note from 2018: Never got this book published, and 2018 Kelly thinks this is probably a blessing in disguise.)
  6. Zombies terrify me. Why do zombies have to be so popular? They’re everywhere. I can’t avoid them. They give me nightmares and make me think about a future (or a present) where no one is able to think for herself. Where everyone stumbles around, infecting everyone else with something incurable, something worse than death, something that will finally lead the planet to utter devastation. (Note from 2018: Yeah, this is still 100% true, though it might be worse, because my board game crew freaking loves zombie board games. WHY.)

What are your biggest problems and worst fears?

The thing about to-do lists

Normally, I write a to-do list each week and break it down into categories: writing, blogging, Wild Age Press, “other.”

My attempts to do one action from each category each day are leaving me feeling unaccomplished and inadequate, because I can’t do EVERYTHING but always feel like I should be able to do everything.

I’m still accomplishing quite a lot, but I find that often items will linger on my to-do list undone week after week.

An analysis of my lists makes it clear that:

  1. I am putting too many things on my list each week.
  2. I am not being specific enough with the items I put on my list.
  3. I am not prioritizing items on my list, with the exception of writing.

Most articles on writing successful to-do lists suggest a maximum of three specific tasks per day, and doing a “mind dump” if your brain wanders to the other billion things you need to do.

I’m going to use these tactics to help me focus on my writing and do a better job of getting boring real-life responsibilities taken care of (like the parking ticket that sat under my dresser for three weeks).

By mindfully creating lists of important tasks each day and focusing more on the things that bring me joy, I hope to finally decide whether, as my husband insists, I’m doing too much or if, as I hope, I can do more.