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ClusterViking a cluster headache mind state

I’m Raven and I call myself the ClusterViking, ClusterViking is a cluster headache mind state that can help you better deal with this disease. ClusterViking is a mind state that I hope you can identify with and make your own. With this mind state, I have been able to conquer my cluster headache.

In this post you will find links to different post. You can jump to them by clicking. Yet, if this is your first visit here, I would advise you to read through all the post one by one. That way, I can provide you with all the info in an organized way.

Introduction

This site was created first and foremost for my fellow clusterheads. Having been part of other cluster communities, it’s my intention to make this one a bit different. I find that other communities are all very helpful and educational, and I would always advise you to join 1 or 2 of them. That being said, I also find them to quickly go into the hardships and discomforts. That’s why I want this to be a positive only site for clusterheads. Only taking about the wins we have.

Writing is not a hobby or a particular interest of mine. So I hope this will be readable to you all. I’ll try to work on my writing as things progress. Besides that, English is not my native tongue, so please forgive my grammar.

I call myself the ClusterViking. And that has its reasons. For one, my name is descendant from the ravens of the god Odin. But more importantly, being viking is a state of mind. A state that does not allow you to back down, or to give in, no matter the odds.

To be viking is to continue and stand your ground. It is also to be independent and self-reliant. Things that us clusterheads do with every attack we go through. This struggle we have to go through, although supported by loved ones, we have to go through alone. It’s my hope that you can identify with this viking mind state and that it will strengthen you in your dealing with this disease.

First things first

Let me first inform you that in my first year of cluster headache I got prescribed sumatriptan, after 1 year of using that I quit that medicine. From sumatriptan I shifted to pure oxygen. That, I also quit about a year or so later. From that point on, I only used verapamil. I’ll get into why I quite those medications on a different post, you can read more about that here. For this post, it is sufficient to just know that I (besides verapamil) do not use any medication.

Before I got cluster headache, I believed I loved myself as all people do, but I was never thinking about expressing that. It just didn’t come to mind, because everyone loves themselves, right? Once I got cluster headache I fell into a dark pit, maybe even depression and at that point I did know that I did not love my life, maybe not even myself. How could I with this terrible draw of the deck? Finding self-love and expressing it came only about 3 year ago. Before that, I don’t think I was ready for it due to how clusters dictated my life.

I know I said I want this site to be a positive only one for clusterheads. This post and maybe some that will follow will have some negativity in them. That is to describe the phase of the journey I was in at that moment. It’s not in any way intended to make you feel sorry for me. Only to make you understand where I was at that point in time and how I dealt with it.

Anyway back on topic

For years, I tried to hold on to the person I was before cluster headache. And for years have I been going through attacks without medication. I didn’t have the viking mentality or if I did, I was not really aware of it. I survived the best I could whilst trying to maintain a somewhat normal life. And I found that to be extremely difficult. My social life evaporated, and I had to quit my education. Jobs were always difficult to maintain, and I was jealous of the people around me as they seemed to just live happily ever after.

During those years I lived thinking that I was my clusters. As they were so absolutely all consuming. There was only the clusters and attacks, and when they faded for a little while, there was the ever present fear of them returning at any time. This had a massive negative effect on my mental health. Those were dark and difficult years indeed.

There have been many times that an attack was so extremely painful, or that after 3 hours I thought it was finally over, and it just shifted sides and started all over again, that it brought me to tears. I don’t know how, but somehow I got through them. There was only the belief that I was better off without the medication than with them, and that I just had to fight through it.

Vikings

I remember when I saw the first episode of Vikings. Man what a show, I loved it! Binge-watching every season I couldn’t wait for the next to come out. It sparked my curiosity about the viking history and I started to learn more about it. I had always known my name was in honor of the ravens of Odin, Hugin and Munin. Here in Europe Raven isn’t a common name so in that regard I had always liked having a somewhat original name. Now with my new-found love for vikings, it was awesome to have this name!

Whilst learning more about the vikings I also learned more about their way of life and more importantly, their mentality. They were fearless worriers that conquered the know world and ruled large parts of Europe for centuries and even made it to America. In the viking world, only the first son, jarls and kings had real power. The first son inherited the land from his father, the jarl ruled the village and the king ruled the country. All the other men had nothing. If they wanted to make a name they had to go on raids to gain wealth and status.

Besides that the vikings believed that a man could only go to Valhalla (the afterlife) if he died in battle. That’s why they kept fighting, raiding and pillaging. They did not have the option (within their cultural beliefs) to back down. If they did, they were cast out and probably die honorless. That’s where their mentality came from. To never back down, to defend their honor and rather die in battle and go to Valhalla instead of ding of old age and in shame.

ClusterViking a cluster headache mind state

Reading and learning about this, I thought to myself; damn, that’s the same mentality that I need to have in relation to my cluster headache. The mentality that I actually have had all these years. All of a sudden it all made sense; I was a cluster viking. Because this disease does not allow you to back down, retreat or give in. You have to keep going, even when it throws you to the ground and stomps you down. You have to get back up, time and again.

clusterviking
A whisper

Where before I only had a feeling of relief at the end of an attack, now there was a whisper in the back of my mind; you AWAYS win. It took me some time before I could hear that whisper clearly and understand it, as sometimes in the heat of the attack I was just too overwhelmed.

But once I regained a bit of control, or maybe more of myself, you know, when the attack slowly fades away, and you start to feel like yourself once more, there was that whisper; You ALWAYS win. Then, after some time I made the connection; It was the viking mind state whispering to me. And it’s this Viking mind state that kept me going in the most dark moments of this disease.

The whisper became a voice

With time, I understood. The whisper is right. The attacks came, and they took all of me, every time. But no matter how severe, or how long it lasted, at the end, I was still standing. The cluster headache was not, it was back in its cage. And it would keep going back there, I would make sure of that.

That’s how I started to develop and grow the viking like mind state. It started small, by patting myself on the back when an attack was over. Whispering; I always win. Then I started to talk to the cluster headache during the attack; you can’t win. You’ll go back into your cage and I will be here, victorious. The whisper became a clear voice and with time it grew bigger and bigger. In time, I started laughing at the cluster, even taunting it; is this all you got? Come at me, I will end you! I ALWAYS WIN!

Not easy

Of course all this did not happen overnight. During those many years before the viking mind state I have slowly taught myself to better feel and understand my cluster headache. Getting more and more knowledge of my body and how the attacks behave. The first week or 2 were always the most difficult as the cluster was finding it’s rhythm and location (right side or left side). With that understanding and knowledge I was able to alleviate the pain better and better, and to break down attacks quicker and overnight quicker.

That knowledge of the clusters and how to deal with them fueled my viking mind state. I wasn’t going to back down. I was winning. Every time. And even though it was very difficult, bit by bit I got better at it. Better at dealing with the attacks. How I dealt with the attacks you can read here.

From that the belief was born that I was at least able to influence, and maybe even control my cluster headache. Since the start of me realizing I was a cluster viking a lot of things started to happen. As I was already in my early 30s I noticed that I could not maintain my lifestyle as it was. I just not had the strength to do so anymore. I needed to change my lifestyle. You can read more about how I started to change my beliefs here.

What’s next

In the next posts I will dive deeper into; why I stopped my medication. How I handled the difficulties that I encountered. What you can do to better endure an attack, what changes I made in my life and much more.

Now mind you, I’m a male with periodical cluster headache, besides that I have a husband and don’t have any kids. If you want to know more about me, you can check out the about me page here. So I can’t say that this will work for women, or how to exactly implement the things I’ll share here and in the next posts if you are a parent. Besides that I also know that what I will suggest en describe here will not be for everybody. Lastly, this will not be easy on you.

It won’t come with a day, a week, a month, or even a year, rather years. You will have to show discipline, endurance, willpower, and drive. At times, you will want to give up and quit, those will be the defining moments, and they will be hard fought. It’s no shame to feel overwhelmed at some times and to not be able to handle it for a while. As long as you pick up again, all will be fine. In my experience it comes and go’s in waves. Just keep practicing and thrust the process my friends.

How are things now?

Do I still have cluster headache attacks? Yes. My last episode lasted for about 3 weeks, that was in August ’22. The one before that was 9 months long. It ended somewhere in January ’22. In between those periods, and after the last one, I’ve basically been attack free. The few attacks that I did have, I was able to break down before they could fully manifest.

Besides that I came out of both those cluster periods healthier and fitter than I got in. I didn’t skip a day at work (besides due to corona) and was able to keep up with my social life. Still I had a minimum of 1 attack a day/ (but mostly at) night for both those cluster periods, but I was able to cope with those attacks very well, and they did not deplete my energy levels.

I went from being an insecure skinny guy to a confident man. Where before I was not fit at all, I now am at the peak of my physical fitness as of yet. My posture was appalling, Quasimodo like lol, and has since changed to what it actually should be. Now I bench press 80 kg (176 lbs) squat 130 kg (286 lbs) and deadlift 120 kg (264 lbs) and I’m pumping those numbers up. In time, I will be in the 5% strongest people on the planet. My overall health has never been better, and I believe it helps in keeping the clusters from manifesting. You can learn about how I use manifestation to better my clusters here.

Barbell with weights

To close

So now I’m confident to say that I have regained control back over my life. I’m genuinely happy, finally I have purpose and direction, something I didn’t even realize I was missing. The cluster headache is not crippling me or my life anymore, and I have gone through massive personal growth.

I hope that you will be able to also identify with the viking mind state. And that it will help you and strengthen you in your journey in dealing with the clusters. It’s my belief that with the new-found self-love, which I will dive deeper into later, you can accelerate the process/journey that I have been through. But in all honesty, you will be the guinea pigs on that.

What I am absolutely positive of is that you can learn from this site/platform and embark on a journey that will lead you to feeling secure and back in control. You’ll be able to enjoy life once more (or better) and although clusters might not be completely gone from your life, you will not dread and fear them anymore.

It’s my hope that I will be able to show you there are alternative ways of dealing with the clusters and that you can overcome them. Even if it’s just one person that has some benefit from this then my mission will be a success.

I am the ClusterViking, never backing down, and I ALWAYS WIN!