Thursday, June 27, 2013

Defying the gravity of migraine

I have a Bowling Ball inside my head

Heavy Duty

Having migraines is heavy.  It makes me feel bound down, full of pressure, and often brings me to me knees with the weight of it all.  I have my own personal image that has represented my headaches for years, not one I actively conjured up, but a nasty fantasy that popped into my head all on it's own, years ago and still returns from time to time.  I have a bowling ball inside my skull.  There is just a little space in there between the surface, the circumference of the ball, and that of my head.  With each movement of my head, it thunks against the inside of my skull.  It is a heavy burden, and as I move my head, its weight causes more anguish.


I have recently begun to develop a fantasy as well as an actual practice that provides me not only with relief but pure pleasure.  I am floating in the swimming pool at Bungalows la Madera in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  I am on my back, at perfect ease, suspended, with my head cooled by the water, my hair streaming out on the surface and my head and body supported by elemental liquid.  

I am, in fact, very buoyant, and I love to swim, more and more, lately.  I go to Mexico a couple of times a year, and swimming is a huge draw for me.  This last trip I was on my own, with plenty of uninterrupted time.  It was May, off season, and there was hardly anyone else staying at my little hotel.  Alternating between swimming in the ocean and the pool, I began to play around with just floating, and it was lovely.  The pool water felt tepid on my body, warmed by the sun, but once I rolled over onto my back face tilted up, suspended with head and hair in the water, coolness permeated my scalp, and a wonderful feeling of relief took over.

 the Pool

Suspended Animation

Swimming is another piece of my fantasy supported by real-world experiences, as many as I can make happen.  For me, there is nothing like swimming in the ocean beyond the break line on a calm day, cruising along at a leisurely pace, buoyed up by salt water as it slides under and past my body.  Rivers with slow moving pools are good too and the lake in the summer.  I'm even beginning to appreciate the local city plunge or the YMCA pool.  After all, I live in the Pacific Northwest, and you can only swim outside for 2 or 3 months of the year.

In the lake

River swimming

Swimming is a trip

We are soon to take off on our annual road trip south to Santa Cruz, Calif. to see the sights and hang out with our son for a few days.  We have a van, and we camp or stay in a motel depending on the day, the place and how we're both feeling.  This year I'm plotting our course to take advantage of hot springs, swimming holes and beaches from the Canadian border to southern Calif., if we get that far.  Have fantasy, will travel.  I'll let you know how all that works out.


  1. Hi Candy,

    I came upon your blog after searching for other individuals on who enjoy speaking Spanish.

    I'd just like to say that it was a pleasure reading this post and looking at your piece of artwork. I'm very sorry to hear about your migraines, but I think it's wonderful that you can express yourself so eloquently and so creatively.

    I can also relate, in a way, to what you wrote in your profile description. What helps me live with bipolar disorder and general anxiety disorder is "giving full reign to my creative side," to borrow your own words. And I, too, enjoy listening to people's stories. :-)

    - Audra

  2. Muchas gracias, Audra. Que le vaya muy bien siempre.