One of them thinking out loud posts


Corner of Napier and Tanglin Rd

A migraine today made me think. This is never a good sign!

After a surprising and welcome dearth of the ghastly things, I had another of the Family Migraines this afternoon. Both dad and mum suffer[ed] from them terribly, so my genetics didn't offer me any escape from either chromosome! My mum colourfully referred to hers as a vice slowly gripping and crushing her skull; my dad described the sensation of seeing a kaleidoscope across his eyes before finally blacking out. Mine could be best described as a kaleidoscope in a vice, surprising though it may seem.

Lying on my bed this afternoon with a cold compress on my forehead and several layers of quilts, I got to thinking about a lot of things. As is the case with insomnia, thinking when you have a headache is bad enough let alone when you have a migraine, so I attempted several things to calm my mind down. Concentrating on my breathing, making sure to take breaths deep down near the diaphragm rather than having my stomach rise and fall. Despite the freezing weather, I tend to have a fan gently blowing away from me next to the bed for whitenose (a necessity of growing up in an Asian city where whitenose is everywhere!), so once I got my breathing under control I focused on that.

Initially I was angry and scared that a precious day before exams and assignments are due was being wasted, but those five hours or so just lying there in a state of forced meditation calmed me down. It also helped to put my current worries into perspective a bit.

I realised worrying about whether recovering from a migraine was going to affect uni work… was utterly pointless. In fact beyond pointless, it was detrimental! If I was worried about the work I wasn't doing, that would only fuel the pain and prolong it. A vicious cycle of fail!

We've all had to endure different levels and types of worrying at some point in our lives. Some are more primal and necessary for survival in the here and now, some are existential. I worry that things back in Singapore change so fast than when I finally go back there I won't recognise it. That I'll finish my major only to discover my ideal career path needs something else. That I don't have someone to fall asleep next to. That coffee will be discovered to contain a long-term negative neurolytic agent that affects those who stare at LCDs in humid climates. That I'm lonely, and scared. That I'll be disappointing my young self who first stared at a blinking DOS cursor and tried to imagine all the things he could be with those machines. That my shy awkwardness will only get worse over time, not better. That I'm worrying too much, or not enough, or about the right things, or the wrong things. That The Bird might not be The Word.

I loathe the term "at the end of the day", but in this rare circumstance it fits. At the end of the day, if we're lucky enough to be able to lay our heads on pillows and dream, worrying doesn't accomplish anything. It's pointless to anything we want to do. In fact beyond pointless, it's detrimental. So there's no point doing it ^^.

It's just funny that I only remind myself of this when I have a migraine. Tomorrow, I'll probably forget again.

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite bespoke cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or send a comment. Thanks ☺️.