Living With A Never-ending Headache...

Hello everyone, hope you're all doing good. In mid last year I posted briefly about why I had not been active with blogging. I mentioned that I had been having a constant headache for a while. At the time I did not think it would stick around for too long. But here I am today, and it has still not gone away. Today I decided to share with you what has been happening from that first day onwards, I'm going to go into more detail so if you're interested I would love for you to keep reading.

The first day this headache started I remember vividly. Ten months ago I was sitting in my English class and the teacher was talking about one of our later assessments. I even remember the way I was sitting, I was leaning on my left elbow with my hand under my chin. All of a sudden I got this headache, it was pretty bad too. So I took two Nurofen painkillers and waited it out. When I got home from school it was still there, so I drank lots of water and tried to sleep it off that night. Though sleep was not easy (I've never slept very good prior to the headache but this time it was the pain keeping me up). I woke up after eventually falling asleep with the headache still there. Obviously I was a bit annoyed so I took two more painkillers  and thought that should do it. It did not.

That following week I was feeling highly nauseas, light headed, my eyes were blurred at times, my head was foggy, but worst of all the headache had not left for even a single second. Mum took me to the hospital to check it out. We waited for a few hours and when it was finally my turn they asked me some questions and did a very quick physical examination. Because nothing looked unusual they sent me back to my GP. After explaining everything to my doctor she thought it was a migraine and prescribed me with some migraine pills as well as some stronger forms of painkillers. I did not respond to any of these. We went back to update and she prescribed me with some migraine preventatives instead. Meanwhile I was also getting blood work done for tests to make sure everything was good there as well as my thyroid. Everything came back clear, however, I did have a slight iron deficiency (very weird because I eat red meat all the time) so I took some supplements and after another blood test everything was sorted out. But the headache was still there and getting worse. Basically since then I've been prescribed endless amounts of pills as trial and error and so far nothing has worked. I've been having tests and scans including MRIs done to rule major things out (which thankfully is all clear) but I'm still stuck with no answers.

Some months into this constant headache I was getting extremely annoyed and frustrated. My mood was declining and I ended up seeing a psychologist once a week. These appointments were all during school time (as were the majority of doctors/hospital appointments) because that was the only availability, and as you can imagine I fell even further behind than I already was. This 'headache' is extremely debilitating in every aspect of life. School in particular is difficult to keep up with because I feel like my concentration has just gone out the window. I never had any problems with focus and concentration, but having this headache makes me want to curl up into a ball and cry. I can't do that, I can't not do anything. I can't just not do my assessments. I have to continue but its beyond difficult to keep up. Grade 12 is not easy to begin with, and this just makes it nearly impossible.

People just don't seem to understand that it is NOT a series of headaches, it is ONE long headache that is never-ending. I began researching properly myself, and it wasn't until a while after that I came across a blog about NDPH (New Daily Persistent Headache). I had never heard of this before and when I tried looking into it further there was very little information on it. But since finding out that I am not the only person who has this problem I feel a little less alone. I know it is not all in my head. It is not dehydration. It is not stress from school (I've had two months holidays completely stress free and it didn't change at all!) It is real. It's incredibly frustrating when people suggest that I drink more water, try not to stress so much, or take painkillers (the headache does not respond to anything). I know they're just trying to help but when it's the same people over and over again it's like they're not really listening to me. I can't even pinpoint where the pain is because it's all over my head. Sometimes it's sharper in a certain place but the base pain is still all over. Sometimes the pain is dull and other times it's so intense I want to whack my head against the wall (I won't). Sometime's the pain feels like immense pressure and sometimes it feels like a constant brain freeze. Overall the pain is just really big (don't know how to explain the pain).

After being so desperate for just a little bit of help I went to the school and asked if I was able to study in the library during the usual afternoon sport. I asked for this because I'm struggling incredibly with keeping up with school, my grades have dropped and it feels like no matter how hard I try it just doesn't work. They said no so currently I'm trying to convince them otherwise, I have my mum, my doctor and the school nurse supporting me in this. I'm always hesitant to tell people about this headache because I know what it looks like, a young girl who can't cope with stress and blah blah blah. That is not the case. I am not making this up and the only thing that kept my hopes up slightly was the fact that I came across NDPH. It's a real thing and reading about other's who've not only experienced the same physical pain as me, but also the emotional affects of it, and that they went through/ or are going through the same process as I am. My problem now is finding a doctor who is familiar with NDPH, because then at least there'll be a name on it or something. That would just be a relief within itself.

I encourage you to read about NDPH (New Daily Persistent Headache) so that you gain a little more understanding about the 'headache' as my post here doesn't cover all that. This post was honestly just a way for me to let everything out and to hopefully see if anyone reading this might know anything about it.

- It is not a series of headaches, it is one long never-ending headache.
- Every test and scan is clear.
- Painkillers do not have any affect what so ever on the headache. They work for other things but not this.
- It is not a rebound, migraine or tension headache as the head specialist has established that.
- The pain is real, the head specialist has also established this.
- The type of pain varies and so does the intensity. On a scale of 1-10 my average day sits between 4-8 and spikes randomly to 9 and 10. The pain is all over my head, not just on one side. It might be stronger on one side for a split second or for hours. The headache might spike for a split second or for hours.
- It's hard when people don't believe you, because you know it. You look absolutely fine and it's because you've learnt how to deal with it even though the pain is no better.

It's incredibly hard to explain this headache and I wish I could write this so much better. But have a read about it and maybe it'll make more sense. And I'll link the two blogs as well because reading from someone who actually experiences it is a much better insight that a medical sheet explaining (though they're great too!).

Hopefully this post wasn't too hard to read, and next week I'll post something a little less depressing! :)

-Sophie xx