Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I, Zombie

It's been an "interesting" few months. Trying to squeeze more work into a day than the hours in a day would allow left me exhausted. The stress left me feeling raw, sort of like the way one might feel if the top layer of skin were yanked off one's entire body. Needless to say, my migraines continued in their "employee of the week" mindset, being certain to come at regular times and to complete derail me wherever possible. Migraines are very dedicated in their pursuit of torture and destruction. Having three to four migraines a week was just ridiculous, as it meant that I was never able to finish all of my reading. I found myself forced into a "winging it" method of graduate school survival. The migraines and I were embroiled in a war that they were winning. Clearly, something needed to change.

So, I went to the doctor. He put me on preventative pills. The migraines triumphed over me in glee, completely ignoring the medication that was supposed to prevent their arrival. Downtrodden and defeated, I returned to the doctor. He whipped out his magical prescription pad and supplied me with a fresh arsenal of preventative ammunition in the war against migraines. I started the new battle last night.

My new preventative medications (two different drugs, taken twice daily) are sort of like atomic warfare against my brain. The migraines are being soundly defeated, but nothing can grow in their territory now. The battlefield of my brain is seemingly barren, unable to formulate ideas or actions at the same speed previously attained. In short, I am currently a zombie.

Life as a zombie is relaxed and unstressful. In fact, I presently feel nothing. No emotion, good or bad, no need for rushing, no sense of time. I find coherency a difficult feat to attain, but it is still at least somewhat attainable. I'm hoping that these side effects wear off so that my brain can resume normal functions, but for the moment, I am strangely content with my floating feeling and my lack of emotion. It's sort of like hibernation after a long period of no rest at all.

Given the choice between zombie-hood and constant migraine warfare, I am honestly not sure which I would prefer to have permanently. With luck, my body and brain will adjust to these new medications and the migraines will bid a bitter adieu. If not, I suppose I'll pick zombie-hood for the time being. I may be functioning at a much lower capacity, but at least I am free of agonizing pain and nausea.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"