A Domestic Diary

"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Day After the Migraine

 On Friday evening I attempted to brighten up my black outfit with this Hermes scarf and some bright blue nail polish (on my toes).  I was just coming off a 24 hour migraine, and while the pain and nausea were gone I had that wobbly feeling of being slightly disconnected from my body.  It's a difficult feeling to explain to someone who's never had migraine before, but if you have (and I'm sorry you have) you'll know what I mean.
You might think I should have stayed home for a full recovery but we were visiting with friends at their home a few blocks away, friends who are quite literally world travellers and aren't here in Guelph with us very often.  I was so looking forward to seeing them.  Two of our other best friends were attending as well, and we ended up having the most interesting conversation.
Is started with this question: "what is the moment or activity when you are aware that you are experiencing bliss, the sheer joy of being alive?"  The answers were varied and interesting, from the obvious to the more philosophical and difficult to describe.  Strangely I had a hard time finding an answer immediately.  I often go through the world with a veil of anxiety clouding my perceptions, throwing off that veil can at times be blindingly good, shocking even.  But I have to allow myself to do it!
A day of productive work domestically, followed by dinner with my favourite people can bring the feeling.  MrBP calls it "an unusual feeling of well-being".  I often have the joy when I'm out walking and I'm just looking at the sky, the trees, feeling the breeze.  Winter weather gives me the feeling, oddly, as long as I've got the right gear so I'm not distracted by freezing my ta-ta's off.
Immersion in a great book can give me the feeling and always has.
I found the timing of this discussion interesting because even as I was sitting in the beautiful living room of my friends I was thinking ahead to the next morning with anticipation.  The day after a migraine is always one, for me at least, that brings clarity and joy.  It's like the cobwebs have been cleared away and I have a new appreciation for light, sounds, smells and just the joy of being free of pain.
 Experiencing the thrill of a new place can give me that feeling, especially when I'm with MrBP and some or all of the rascals.  I find the thrill of travel most beautiful when shared.
The Golem from Prague
 Just being cozy at home in the light of the afternoon, looking forward to dinner or seeing friends or heading out to a movie... it all brings the feeling.
When are you able to recognize the beauty of the world? Do you often get a glimpse of it?

In other news, MrBP's book club and my "serious" book club are both reading Jane Austen next month.
 I belong to two book clubs, one "serious" and one "fun".  One is comprised mostly of doctors and psychotherapists (and then oddly, me).  Surprisingly, that's the fun one!  Sometimes we hardly discuss the book for the chatting and laughing.
 I'm really enjoying my home this month, it's time to tuck in, clean up, de-clutter every cupboard and closet and generally prepare for the year ahead.

Speaking of joy, how about this picture of my rascals taken about a decade ago?  From tall to small:
Rock City, New York State
 These wooly dusters, one for ceiling mouldings and one for the wooden floors, are so effective and also pleasing to look at.  Not everyone finds joy in domestic tasks but I certainly do.  I'm not talking about piercing moments of bliss, rather it's a feeling of general satisfaction.
Wool duster things.
 This is the time of year to get into some major art appreciation, especially on a grey day.  My friend Pat painted this olive grove in France in such exuberant colours, it's one of my favourites.  It's in the kitchen so I get to see it often:
Painting by Patricia MacDonald
Pat is such a talented artist but don't take my word for it, you could check out her latest work on her blog right here.

xoxDani

27 comments:

  1. Hi Dani, Happy New Year! I'm glad that you came out of your migraine and had the distraction of a visit with your friends. I have had some bad headaches in my time, but they were not migraines, so I can only imagine how bad it gets for you.

    Your friends paintings are stunning, such lovely colours. As for bliss - well, I too am quite an anxious person, so it would also take me a while to figure that out. I love travelling with my husband too, and winter sunshine - I only remember winters in Scotland being very grey, so my first winter in Canada was a revelation for me!

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    1. Patricia Happy New Year to you too. I'm very happy you don't get the migraines, the nausea is one of the worst things about it. It's like bad morning sickness times a thousand.
      I've discovered that being outdoors is such a balm to anxiety, that and having less technology in my life.
      Maybe your hubs is like mine, a very enthusiastic traveller? It's hard not to see the beauty in other places in the company of that kind of infectious charm.
      Pat's work is stunning, I love her use of colour. xx

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  2. Hi Dani, Happy New Year! I, too, know both the blur of a migraine and the veil of anxiety. I suffered from full-blown migraines from my teens through most of my 30s, with the aura, nausea, visual disturbances, and olfactory hallucinations. Now that I'm almost 51 and am in (gulp) perimenopause, I'm having odd recurrences--without the pronounced pain but with all the other oddities. I'm sorry that you had a bad one.

    These days, I am most in the moment when I am petting my cat. I had to put down Mr. Kitty, my senior boy, last week, and now I am down to just my little ginger muffin, Francis, who is a Very Bad Cat. F-Bomb hates everyone else but adores me. This does not speak well for my parenting skills but is good for my ego!

    I hope you have a wonderful January.

    P.S. As a birthday present for myself I ordered the MaiTai fur scarf collar. I feel a wee bit guilty about the fur being fox instead of faux but it is so warm!

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    1. Hexicon I'm sorry you get them too. I seem to be in some sort of perimenopause situation myself at 46, well I'll be 47 in June. My migraines have eased the last few years so I don't get as many but when I do they seem to be real whoppers. This one was quite terrible. My grandmother always said she loved menopause even though she got fatter (which she admits was due to her diet of beer, sausages and ice cream) because her migraines went away!
      I'm very sorry to hear about Mr. Kitty, it is so heart-breaking to lose a pet. Some consolation to have F-Bomb though I'm sure, and as I love grumpy people I'm sure I'd like your cute ginger cat!
      Oh gosh you won't regret the fur collar and there's nothing for it, the real fur is just pure warmth and luxury. I love mine. I'm planning to buy one in a neutral colour in a a couple of years, they really are lovely. Enjoy it! xx

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  3. Isn't it a joy when a great question is able to spark as great of a conversation? Not a guarantee. I'm so sorry you suffer from migraines. I only suffer from red wine hangovers and that's tough enough, can't imagine a full day of migraine.
    If I may give myself a compliment, I believe I am very good about recognizing bliss in the moment. I think it's the good thing about being very neurotic is that there's always a running narrative in my head, so often while braiding it all together I "get" it in the moment. I suppose being melodramatic and embracing lacrimosa does help one enjoy the highs! I think also interesting along these lines is looking back at a time you thought was bad and seeing the good.
    I worked at a salon where we started a book club once. Listen, not all stereotypes are true but some have their merit. When all ten of us turned up to discuss the book, none of us had so much as opened it. One woman never even bought it.
    Wishing you migraine free days and winter bliss! I'm over it but that's because it's January and grey. I'll be better when/if it snows and isn't muddy.

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    1. SAJ I can see you fully embracing the bliss of a moment. I can actually see your appreciation for beauty, time and lovely things in our lives like dogs through your photography. Maybe pictures tell quite a bit about the photographer, I guess mine show my Hermes scarf obsession ;)
      Book clubs are hilarious aren't they? I have to say I don't really like reading on demand but I go for the socializing. My "serious" book club is made up of some of my oldest friends and when I stopped going for a time I found I never saw them, everyone is so busy. But they are serious, if I haven't read the book I can't really go, we talk about it the WHOLE TIME, extra chatting is not really allowed (maybe half an hour at the beginning).
      Red wine hangovers are very very terrible but not as bad as migraines. At least there is fun to be had before the hangover, not so migraines. It was worse when my kids were small because I would lose a whole day and often not have anyone to help me with them. Now when I have them at least I can take the day off.
      Ugh I want the snow back too, we've had so much rain it's quite ugly. Scout hates the rain too. Let's hope for some snowflakes this week. xx

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  4. We are wool duster twins!
    I am sorry to hear that you suffer from migraines...they can be so debilitating.
    Great to hear that you are back blogging and I am back here again as I must have lost the thread to this blog when you were writing the other one.

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    1. Hostess I can see those wool dusters doing a perfect job with all of the gorgeous woodwork in your house. I've been a bit scattered with my blogging so thanks for sticking with me. Having two doesn't work for me because then I don't have time for either. Thanks for the sympathy re the migraines I appreciate it. xx

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  5. Hi ---- I get migraines similar to yours, but not quite with all the symptoms Hexicon has and they have diminished over the last 10 years. I don't get them but maybe once every few months. Much better than the every week of so. The "wobbly" day after is almost worse, but at least the end is near when it gets to that point.

    Glad you enjoyed the visit with friends and your book clubs sounds like complete fun! Enjoy 2017 as it progresses. MMR

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    1. Thank you MMR. I'm happy to hear your migraines have diminished in regularity, that's something anyway. Sorry you get them too though. I am grateful because I did get them more often in my late thirties, sometimes every two weeks. This one was particularly bad though, maybe I'll be spared for awhile! Thank you xx

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  6. So sorry to hear about the migraine episode. Do you keep a migraine diary on what you ate etc to see what triggered it? I miss my old book club but I haven't wanted to replace my original crew that now half of which no longer live in London. I find joy in a lot and am very populist in my interests so it doesn't take much but now i find joy depleters rather than the other way around. I am enjoying getting older and feel so much less needless angst for no reason and really enjoy this settled feeling which makes having coffee so nice. Hope you have no migraines for a long lon while x

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    1. Naomi I did at one time try to track that. I've never been able to find triggers with the exception of hormone cycles, although I gave up red wine years ago because it's such a common trigger. I've had a glass of chianti here and there over the last year and it seems to have no effect, funny though how I've lost my taste for red wine now anyway. I hope you can ignore the joy depleters! I enjoy getting older too I have to say. Thanks for the good wishes re hideous migraines. xx

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  7. I'm so sorry about the migraine. On Thursday, I had to cancel Serena's therapy work because of a bout of vertigo. I wonder if it's the weather. It's been such a strange winter: I'm so thankful I got away.

    For me, I'm happy when reading, writing, learning a new skill, skiing, swimming in the sea and visiting with good friends. It's the only time I'm able to relax. Otherwise, it's all worry. That's my only goal for 2017: tame the worry. It steals so much joy. xo

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    1. Jen there's nothing that robs joy like worry and anxiety. That's a great goal for the year and I wish you the best of luck with it too! Sorry to hear about your vertigo, such an awful feeling. I'm mourning the loss of our snow, all the rain we've had has been the pits. It's meant to go above freezing again tomorrow, ugh. Thanks Jen xx

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  8. Oh what a wonderful topic, the experience of 'sheer joy'. As a life-long singer with various community choirs, I have had musical moments of exquisite bliss while singing a perfect madrigal or two. So sorry you had a migraine (fingers crossed, I never have), and hope you are now fine again. Your painting is gorgeous, and I checked out Pat's blog. What a talent! I'd love one of her works, which would make my heart sing too.

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    1. Patricia that must be a gorgeous feeling! Singing is such a joyful experience and imagine being able to do it well, yes I can see that you would have had some bliss moments. Thank you I'm fine again though still quite tired three days later, but that could be time of year too. Pat is very talented and a good friend of ours for many years, her work is just wonderful. We have quite a few of her paintings both in our home and our office. Thank you Patricia xx

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  9. I'm with you and enjoy the delight of a good walk which never fails to bring me joy. I'm so sorry for the pain you feel when experiencing your crippling headaches. My husband suffered with them as a child and has told me all about their horrors.

    Good cleaning tools also bring me joy and I love those wooly thingys. They certainly bring joy to the most mundane domestic task, and inject a bit of beauty too.

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    1. CD your poor hubs, childhood migraines are not that common? I love going for my walks, in any kind of weather. Though today I'm staying close to home due to a freezing rain storm, the ultimate miserable winter storm.
      Your love for domestic tasks really shows in your beautiful home! xx

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  10. I've also suffer from debilitating migraines since a teenager - I'm 51 now. The worst ones continue day and night for 4 days straight with vomiting. It's horrible. I get them every month with my period, but I'm reluctant to use any prescription meds. I typically use Excedrin Migraine, nothing else works. Along with this, is the worry of the long term effects of taking pain reliever for decades, most of the time every 3 or 4 hours for days at a time, every month ... Talk about anxiety.

    The release after a migraine is the best feeling. I am so thankful it's over and I can actually get things done and enjoy my day free from pain.

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    1. Anon that's dreadful. FOUR DAYS oh my gosh that could land a person in the hospital. Especially with the vomiting, I have nausea but not actual vomiting with mine and it would be so dehydrating.
      I understand about the meds too. I took Advil for years and then developed stomach ulcers so I can't take that anymore. Tylenol does nothing for me. I wonder if your migraines will stop with menopause? That was the case for my grandmother and hopefully for you too. I know most women don't look forward to menopause but maybe that's an upside. Take care xx

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  11. Nothing worse than a migraine. My doc determined I had Vit. D and Magnesium deficiency. Currently I take a Vit. D&K by Metagenics and Magnesium Oxide daily and this has solved my migraine problem. I also find a guided full body rest and relaxation meditation works wonders. Your dinner with friends sounds delightful. The question, what brings you joy is outstanding. For me, walking on a quiet path or beach and watching the sea with a beautiful blue sky is joy.
    Susan

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    1. Susan I agree nature most often brings moments of pure bliss, I love the outdoors too. We're headed to the ocean soon and I can't wait!
      Thank you so much for your vitamin tips I am going to copy you. I have not tried that combination and I wouldn't be surprised if I was low in both, very hard to get vitamin d these days in The Grey Land, we've had so little sun the last month! xx

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  12. Dear Dani, I'm so glad your migraine is over. That sounds terrible lasting 24 hours. I have had a few, but never that long. I also feel like I operate under a cloud of anxiety a lot of time. I don't know if that's a symptom of my age or what. If I do shake it off, it''s great and I try to recognize how I go through life that way. It's not good! I'm always thinking I have some ailment or I'm worried about one of my kids, etc. One of my new year's resolutions is to try to enjoy life more!! Anyhow, your dinner with friends sounded perfect. To me those are the best kind of evenings! I cherish those intimate evenings with people we really like. I hope your new year is going well and you get your snow. We have had non-stop rain here and storms. Right now my husband is stuck up in Tahoe with my son and his friends. Too much snow to get home! It's crazy down here.. among other issues! Have a great week Dani! xo Kim

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  13. P.s. Dani I tried to get to Frock Philosophy and cannot. Is it still up? Love it too.

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  14. I am just catching up, I must've missed this from when I was away.
    I'm so sorry about the Migraines. Mr AV used to suffer from them terribly. A change in career 8 years ago seems to have put a stop to it. We theorise that some aspect of his old work used a part of his brain that would trigger them... but who knows.
    It sounds like an interesting conversation to have been a part of, and I loved reading about your list. Moments of pure joy stand out in my mind, and I think that often adversity will throw a contrast that brings it out. I remember the buzzing feeling of elation and joy after my first day at Interior Design school in London when I felt at last that I 'fit' perfectly and had found my tribe after 5 long years at University feeling like a square peg... and years later of sitting on a crumbling wall in our back garden having a drink with my husband in the warm evening and watching my little children running under the sprinkler in the garden with shrieks of excitement.
    But joy and pleasure are two different things, and I think that a lot of daily life is not filled with moments of unbridled joy for me, but perhaps small pleasures daily. Like the domesticity that you speak of, the pleasure of a good meal and wine, a funny conversation with a friend that makes you just laugh, the satisfaction of a job well done, arranging a bunch of flowers or enjoying a quiet cup of tea in a cafe that seems like an out of the ordinary treat. xx

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    1. Heidi how unusual that MrAV's migraines stopped with change of career! Interesting because my son gets migraines but now that he's working full time he gets more of them, he's a software developer and is looking at computer screens all day, I blame the screens. But he ignores because I have always tried to get him off screens! (video games, computer games, gameboy...)
      What wonderful memories you have of pure joy! I love both of those images, you describe them so well that I can understand your happiness. xx

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    2. It could well be similar for oldest Rascal- Mr AV's old career required intense focus looking at a screen. He was really debilitated by the migraines, and usually they'd come over a weekend when he started to relax. For a long time he blamed my cooking!!! (rich food and a glass of wine he thought...!). He has a much more varied work day now, with more meetings and talking on phone calls rather than screen time. Migraines have stopped completely.

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