Have you ever suffered from a migraine? It begins in many ways, for me, it begins with a random dot of haze flashing right in front of my eyes, turning into a sea of darkness, leading to my face going numb and mild tingling in my fingers, cramping my neck and shoulders and then turning one side of my head into an explosion of pain, and oh yeah! add a sea of puke to it! yea pretty much summarises it.
It began around three years back, multiple visits to the hospital, a cocktail of pain killers, grogginess for days and life was never normal again. A slight headache was always there and with it came the fear that it would hit me when I least expected it, in middle of a workday, what I dreaded more than a migraine was to walk up to my boss and ask him for yet another day off! I could never listen to loud music again and a brightly lit place was just a hell hole for me.
I guess no one understands the gravity of a migraine, like they should, at least in India they don’t, I still remember a female colleague telling me how my migraine issue was a hindrance to workflow and if I put myself in my manager’s position I would totally understand how I was a liability.
I was desperate, I was willing to do anything to snatch my life back from the hands of the mighty migraine. I tried homoeopathic, allopathic, holistic medicine and everything that seemed like an option but nothing was working. I did maintain a migraine diary and got into some migraine support groups and understood a few things, I needed to cut my screen time and decrease stress. Finally, I had identified the triggers of my migraine, besides cucumber, it was those long hours in front of the computer and the stress that I was in.
I decided to cut my screen time and limit my office hours to a strict 8.5 hours, but then what was I thinking? In the land of ‘who stays the longest at work, works the hardest’ I was never going to achieve anything, as soon as I would pack my bags to leave some taunt would magically find it’s way to my ears.
Also, ‘when we don’t profit you work the weekends’ was another philosophy that was not going to help with my less screen time mission, non-stop what’s app messages that started before I woke up added up with appeasing a million people, and pampering egos were adding to my stress.
I thought hard and long, I realised that a couple of more years with the same lifestyle and I can kiss the hope of a healthy life goodbye forever. I knew I had to work for a living and I was willing to work but could there be a middle path where everything could be done and I could still be healthy. I knew another job couldn’t fix it, reduced hours weren’t a possibility and there was no way around the additional stress.
in 2018 I filed for Candian Permanent residence in the hope of a better life. I landed in Toronto with permanent resident status and a job in hand with a South Asian Radio station. I work seven and a half hours a day and take long walks, read and occasionally write during the day. When I pack my bag from work after my shift, the only thing my manager says is goodnight and see you tomorrow! and oh yeah! when I am working I am strictly working and not staring into my phone and that also reduces screen time.
I take public transport and get down from buses whenever I see something fun around a bus stop, I have the time to get lost looking at the trees and the wildflowers, I walk more than 5000 steps daily, my standing time is damn good, I cook, clean and have the time to be more active physically, I don’t go the malls much because I don’t need retail therapy to deal with the stress that I don’t have and no one I work with asks me personal questions, ridicule my race, colour, ethnicity, gender or makes a remark on how I am dressed and try to pry into my life because they have their own kids to pick up from school, their own hobbies to work on and their own lives to live!
Don’t take me wrong, my country is fabulous and I am a true patriot, but I sure do hope the coming generations experience more inclusion, understanding and work-life balance back home…
And talking about the migraine monster? yes it’s caged!