I had headaches as a kid, rippers that affected my eyesight, had me cowering from the light and projectile vomiting. Most of the women in my family seemed cursed with the same affliction.

You learn very quickly to feel one coming on, and you take a pill as ‘rescue’ before the point of no return, where it won’t matter how many you take it never touches the sides.

But they are brought over the counter at a chemist, so you know, it’s not like it’s drugs.

I heard from somewhere at some time. Oh, this is an anti-inflammatory, this is what you need it will work. So I took them…lots of them. There was never any mention of eating with them or before them. Later down the track, I heard; they fuck with your stomach lining. Which I thought could have been why I spewed blood and also years later was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis? Who knows, I’m not a doctor, but I can google.

The spewing may have had something to do with the amounts of scotch and tequila I drank, which guess what, that gives you headaches too. So I took more pills.

I had a spinal fusion when I was 14 because I had scoliosis, a curvature in my spine that meant my spine was pretty much positioned up under my shoulder blade. While I was in the hospital they administered pethidine; it makes some people quite irate. They decided pretty quickly to stop giving it to me, for one I needed shit loads to even have the slightest effect and biting a nurse wins you no friends.

It seems, having a back full of steel and bone grafts to hold it all in place, also gives you headaches.

Do you know what else gives you headaches? Starving yourself. I had an eating disorder.

I discovered mersyndol! What a joy, it helps your headaches and it helps you sleep. I was torn, should I save it for my headaches or… Should I use it to help me sleep? I thought about getting sleeping pills, from a doctor but that seemed extreme, it sounds like it could be ‘drugs’, a slippery slope. I don’t do drugs.

I went to a party when I was 17 and everyone was having cones as was the norm. A guy I didn’t know who seemed like a bit of a tosser kept shoving a bong in my face. I kept saying no thanks, trying to be polite and not alert him to the fact he was a tosser coz it seemed he was unaware. My friend’s boyfriend finally says ‘mate! Fuck off! Leave her alone, she doesn’t do drugs!’.

I tried to stop drinking, I felt I just couldn’t. I went to heaps of doctors asking for naltrexone. They said I was way too young, just stop drinking they said; how hard could it be? One suggested Valium. I was 17.

I did a stint in acute mental health; they would let me out to go for a walk. I walked straight across the road to the pub, bought a scotch while wearing my hospital write band and drank it in the beer garden. I went back to my bed in acute, there were no youth services in those days. I was 17. They cut me loose with a prescription for Prozac, an antidepressant that was all the rage in the 90s. I was drinking again within the week. Alcohol can hinder Prozac from working and it mixes to cause fatigue and weakness. There is some suggestion it could reduce your desire to drink. Well, if that’s true, it wasn’t true for me.

My grandfather had pills for everything, a drawer full of them. He was old and a good, kind man. He wouldn’t do drugs.

Whenever I went to visit on school holidays and if I hurt myself or had, as usual, a fucking headache they would say ‘here bubby take one of these and have a lie-down’.

My grandfather died when I was 12 from a heart attack. Copious amounts of alcohol and benzo’s can do that to a person.

There were these little pieces of paper folded up with powder inside with Vincent’s in big letters on the front. The fact that I remember them is rather disturbing because I’m pretty sure they were discontinued in 1985 most likely due to all the renal failure they probably contributed to. In any case, in 1985, I was 7.

You could use Tally Ho papers to put over a hair comb and blow, it made a whistle. I wondered if Vincent’s papers would work. I took one just for the paper.

After a few years of tolerance building and nothing helping with the headaches, I heard what a rebound headache was; medication overuse headaches. Well, fuck me.

When you give someone medication that is not prescribed to them, guess what? It’s illegal. My aunts and uncles and extended family don’t do drugs, they do however have very full cabinets, and they would never want to see you in pain. They would also never associate with drug dealers or do drugs.

I gave up the pills and the booze over the next two years, lucky for me I was still a teenager and my body bounced back quite remarkably. Not everyone’s story has the same ending, it could have been far different. Just a few different bends in the road and who knows.

I still take something if I have a really bad headache, but they are now few and far between because I have learnt more about myself and my physical and mental health and i can manage it better.

I do drink shit loads of coffee and look at social media, which quite frankly has got to be worse for your brain than all the aforementioned. I read in the comments that people make on articles that reference drug use or people who use drugs, the thinks I read; ‘play sill games, win silly prices’, ‘oh their mother must be so proud’, ‘oh suck it up, poor baby’. And far, far too often I read, ‘I wouldn’t know, I don’t do drugs’.

Hmmmmm I wonder…