It’s a bad night for the pain.
Tonight it feels like a toothache filling my skull. It comes in waves, crushing and slashing, bringing nausea along to join the party. Light hurts. My children’s voices cut through me, and every movement of the bed makes all of it worse. All I can do is sit here with the lamp on, writing this out on paper to be typed out tomorrow, and try not to yell at the kids, cry, or throw up.
It’s not always like this. This kind of headache only hits me about once a month… at least, this hard. But the fact is that I spend a lot of time almost every day dealing with two problems. Pain is one. Either a milder version of this, or ice picks slamming into my temples, or feeling like I’ve been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat.
I can deal with pain, though.
It’s the fog that’s really hurting me.
The fog used to only come with true migraines, in the days before and after. It’s a feeling like my skull is stuffed with sawdust instead of brains–a physical sensation, and quite unpleasant. It brings a feeling like tunnel vision, though my vision is actually fine. And it makes me slow. My thoughts come slowly, as do my reactions. I can’t think of words, and sometimes can’t understand questions right away. And working? Writing stories, untangling plot problems, clarifying character motivations, and polishing my work until it shines?
It wasn’t so bad when it happened once in a while. But now the fog is coming down every day. I can’t think. I can’t focus. I’m drifting in a slow, too-bright haze. I’m usually just lost enough that working is impossible, but the thoughts and ideas and potential are so close that it becomes incredibly frustrating.
Until now, I’ve been pushing myself through it. I’ve told people that everything is fine. I’ve made myself work in spite of the pain and the fog, working evenings and weekends to make up for the time I spend in bed when the kids are at school and I should be writing. I put off seeing a doctor because I didn’t have time. Because I had deadlines. Because I’d made promises (or at least dropped hints). I let my life get out of balance because of this one important thing.
A few days ago, I decided that I can’t keep going like this. I’m not doing my best work when I have no joy, when every word is a struggle. And let’s face it. Putting pressure on myself to craft a beautiful story when I can’t remember the word “spoon” is probably just compounding the issue.
This is not me giving up. I’m still working on this story every day, and I’m as excited about it as I’ve ever been. As of last week, I have all of the little moving pieces in place, and just need to put the time and the work (and the focus) in to finish it.
It’s complete in all but the final execution, and far better than I ever imagined.
All I really want to do is work on it (sleep and laundry and exercise and doctor’s appointments be damned). But it’s time for me to accept that I also need to make time to take care of myself. I have to stop beating myself up over deadlines and feeling like a failure over needing a few extra weeks to get this book ready for the world.
So I don’t have a release date for you yet. It will be after Christmas, which breaks my heart. I mean, no one with an ounce of business sense wants to miss Christmas. But you guys deserve my best. I’ve never given you less than that, and I can’t start now. I’m going to find out what’s wrong with me, and I’m going to get better. And this winter, I’m going to give you the book you deserve.
Thank you all so much for your support, for your encouragement and kind words. It all means more to me than I’ll ever be able to say.
I can’t wait to show you how this story ends.
November 8th, 2015 at 9:27 pm
Please do get some medical help beyond the local doctor.
November 8th, 2015 at 9:29 pm
I’ll see what he says tomorrow. If he can’t help me, I’ll be trying to see someone else. 🙂
November 8th, 2015 at 11:04 pm
Wishing you relief soon. *HUGS*
November 9th, 2015 at 12:53 pm
Thanks, Gloria ❤
November 8th, 2015 at 11:42 pm
Hope you get feeling better soon. Take care of yourself first. Your readers will still be here. 🙂
November 9th, 2015 at 12:54 pm
I sure hope so! It’s a lot of stress when there’s an expectation that we produce several novels a year, but I can’t let that get to me right now. It won’t be too long (and will still be well under a year after the last one, so no worries).
November 9th, 2015 at 7:24 am
Please take care of yourself! Your readers (me included) will all wait for you! Sending much love your way ❤
November 9th, 2015 at 12:57 pm
Thank you ❤
November 9th, 2015 at 9:21 am
Oh, dear, Kate, sorry to hear about the headaches getting worse! Hope you can find a cure soon.
November 9th, 2015 at 12:57 pm
Thanks, Ruth! I saw the doctor this morning, so at least we’re getting started. 🙂
November 9th, 2015 at 11:01 am
You take care of you. Deadlines be damned. Now we have something to look forward during the long deary winter nights. 🙂
November 9th, 2015 at 12:58 pm
It will definitely be in time for the dreariest bits!
November 9th, 2015 at 11:35 am
I hesitate to comment as part of me is afraid that the sound of all these supportive comment notifications are adding to the problem, but I do hope you feel better soon!
November 9th, 2015 at 12:58 pm
I don’t turn notifications on. Not because of noise or stress, but because I’d always be waiting. Any distraction will do most days… And thanks! I’m sure I’ll be on my feet in no time.
November 12th, 2015 at 1:41 pm
Your health comes first!
November 18th, 2015 at 1:36 am
I’m a new reader & am eagerly anticipating your next book. I would eagerly wait until NEXT Christmas, if it came to that! Take care of yourself – we all know that a healthy author is the key to the rest of the story! Be well & write when you’re ready. We’re not going anywhere.
November 18th, 2015 at 10:36 am
Thank you! I don’t know who you are, but I like the cut of your jib. 🙂
December 3rd, 2015 at 6:20 pm
I hope you are felling better, I suffer from migraines as well, and I totally understand where you are coming from with the “fog” I hate that feeling. I don’t know what you do for yours, and you can tell me to shove off with my advice, but have you looked into the ‘botox for migraines’? After years with pain, my neurologist finally suggested that, and I haven’t looked back since. I get the shots every 3 months, and I get to spend 3 months nearly 100% pain and fog free.
Also.. looking forward to your next book, but take care of yourself!
December 3rd, 2015 at 9:11 pm
I would never say to shove off! 🙂
I’ve looked into it, but my doctor thinks most of my headaches might be tension-related, with some migraines thrown in just to keep things interesting. We’re trying medications I have to take every day… I’d much prefer botox every three months!