Rest assured faithful readers, this is not a click bait ad (Bree and I haven’t lost our minds) that you might see on other “news” sites. No, this is a real-honest-to-goodness-true-life-experience by yours truly. In fact, as I sat on a hospital bed at Mount St. Joseph’s a few days ago, clutching the thin blue gown that barely concealed my nether regions, I had to force myself to take seriously the words of the doctor as he explained to me that the reason I’d been having concussion-like symptoms was actually due to “too much screen time” and not a brain aneurism like my anxiety convinced myself it was.
Bree nodded knowingly. She had zipped over to the hospital to take over from my boss who had rushed me there after I had been slurring my words at work a couple of hours earlier, and nearly fainting across our meeting table.
It fell out of my mouth. “What a disease of modernity, and a waste of resources.” I said this slowly because my motor skills were still not on par with my mind, which was saying something since my head still felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls and bathed in a fog.
The doctor told me it wasn’t a joke. I had a severe and debilitating migraine, and it was not the first time he’d seen this. Earlier in our doctor-patient conversation, I had tallied up for him the amount of time spent on computers and my phone each day: 8+ hours on the computer at work every day, and then squeezing in an hour here and there where I could working on the website, for extra jobs, checking up on Instagram, Words with Friends… I actually considered myself pretty low-key when it came to social media, but when I said it all out loud to him and added it all up, it sounded horrifying.
“You need to take a break from screens for a while, and relax.” he ordered.
“Sure thing.” I thought. “And how am I supposed to pay my bills and feed my children by taking a break from computers? That’s my entire day job…”
Bree packed me up and drove me home to sleep. I had the next day off, courtesy of my awesome boss, and since I was still spacey, dizzy, and nauseous, I spent the entire day and half the weekend in bed trying to enjoy the peace and quiet.
I have to be honest. Even though my mom and my sister get migraines, I had never had one before, and really had no idea how serious they were until this happened. It stops your life. You can’t look at anything. You can’t stand. You can’t function. Whenever I reached over to answer a text message, I would be hit with another wave of nausea and weird vibrating vision – even if I wanted to use my phone I couldn’t.
The irony was that at the beginning of the year, I had paid the extra bucks to get the pricey “blue blocker” lenses on my glasses, because I had definitely experienced crazy fatigue and headaches since I started working a 9 – 5 office job. What was the solution? Quit my job and go work on a ranch off the grid?
Not likely. I needed to figure out how I could modify my life.
Tools like: set a timer for breaks at work; keep my phone away from my bedroom in the evenings (already doing that); keep a strict “no emails” policy after 6pm…I tried to keep my skeptic at bay.
So now it’s tuesday night and I’ve been back at work for two days – it’s not going great. I naively thought I’d be back in tip-top shape after the weekend, but I admit, I’m impatient when it comes to being sick and/or injured. I don’t have time for it!
I’m willing to make some changes, and will report back to you readers on my findings. Also, please do share any tips, tricks, solutions that you have found in similar circumstances! Anything will help.
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