Boom Goes The Head

And I never really sleep anymore…

It’s been two years.

And I always get those dangerous dreams
And I never get a minute of peace…

Two years with this weird, vague pressure on all of us. Two years of complete inability to plan ahead, because no one ever knows how the figures will develop, and which rules will apply to whichever distant future date. Two years of restraint, of periods of lockdowns and homeschooling, of going all out on the mom spectrum, of completely spoiling the kids and mostly camping in the living room, all four (or seven, if you count the pets) of us, because adults can process things rationally. Children, teenagers? Not so much, and we all need to get through this with our sanity intact, and snuggles and warmth and comfort are the best way to ensure that.

Two years of not going to see my family across the border, of barely being able to work, what with time alone being a scarce commodity, of mandatory testing in school and missed birthday parties.

I’ve mostly kept it all in, because other people have it worse. Far worse.

And now my head explodes at night.

Maybe it’s nothing and I’m under the weather
Maybe it’s just one of those bugs going round…

Exploding Head Syndrome, I understand it’s called. “A type of sleep disorder in which you hear a loud noise or explosive crashing sound in your head. The sound isn’t real or heard by anyone else. The episode typically happens suddenly either when you’re beginning to fall asleep or when you wake up during the night. Along with the loud sound, EHS can occur along with flashes of light and muscle jerks (myoclonic jerks). Unlike its painful-sounding name, the episode is painless.”

Is this a blessing? Or is it a curse?
Does it get any better? Can it get any worse?

“Exploding head syndrome isn’t dangerous and doesn’t harm your overall health.” The day after an episode is nevertheless interesting. Cotton stuffed around my mind, and jelly where my knees would normally be. My eyes, my brain, have trouble focusing, and if I try too hard, there’s this remote heaviness behind my temples, a warning sign speaking of headaches in the making, and the tears come easily.

Will it go on forever? Is it over tonight?
Does it come with the darkness? Does it bring out the light?

I can ignore its existence most of the time. It’s not a nightly occurrence. So far, it’s been a once-a-month affair, coinciding with times when I was particularly, say, receptive. I can’t help thinking it’s my body’s way of telling me not to let things get too close.

I try. And yet. Sometimes, when I go to sleep at night, I’m downright scared. Will this be another of those nights? What state will I be in tomorrow? “Oh, that sounds familiar,” was the first thing my mother said when I spoke to her about it. “It reminds me of the migraines I had when you were younger.” The second thing she said was, “Have you tried alcohol?”

Maybe I’m crazy and I’m losing my senses
Maybe I’m desperate and I got no defenses…

I don’t know what it is but it just won’t quit…

And I never really sleep anymore…

(Parts in Italic borrowed from “It Just Won’t Quit”, a song by Jim Steinman, sung by Meat Loaf. Rest in peace.)

About angelikarust

My name is Angelika Rust. I was born in Vienna in 1977. These days, I live in Germany, with my husband, two children, a despotic couple of cats and a hyperactive dog. After having tried almost every possible job from pizza delivery girl to HR consultant, I now make a living knowing English. No, I haven’t yet figured out what I want to be when I grow up, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I write the occasional book.
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