Don’t Be A Zombie- Take Charge of Your Destiny


August 9, 2009

You know, not everything is a lesson in human resources.  But, every once in awhile something happens that makes me stop and think how it can apply to other areas.  Today has been one of those days. 

I won’t bore you with all the details, but there are four important facts to know about my story:

  1. I rarely get headaches (maybe only twice a year).
  2. I have had a headache for the last 26 days straight.
  3. I have had every test imaginable and all came back negative. The doctor prescribed multiple migraine meds since he didn’t know what to do.
  4. Migraine meds that many days in a row make me feel like a zombie (Rob Zombie is the best visual I can give as to how I feel).Rob-Zombie

I have had so many painful days and sleepless nights that I decided to take charge of my own destiny.  I researched online, asked anyone I could think of how they handle headaches, read several articles, talked to three of my pharmacist friends (great to have these kinds of friends by the way), changed my diet to eliminate possible headache-causing foods, and more.  I finally found that benadryl relieved the headache a bit.  So, I went to see an allergist.  Turns out I am REALLY allergic to a number of things I’m exposing myself to.

After a three hour appointment and a bag chock full of samples, I headed home.  The outstanding news is all this seems to be working.  The headache is gone!! 

This is imporatant to me not just personally (obvious) but as something I need to remember at work.  There are many times that we are faced with situations that are considered “standard” or “textbook” in terms of the response that leadership wants us to have.  It does not matter what field you work in, it’s the same everywhere.  There are procedures, protocols, etc. and we are expected to always defer to those senior to us.  Most of us are groomed to be this way from childhood. We respect authority and do not challenge it.

Now, I’m not advocating anarchy, but what I am advocating is making a conscious effort to not always just accept something as “right” because an expert says it.  Mull it over yourself.  See if it makes sense.  If it doesn’t, there are many strategies you can use to push back without being disrespectful.  You can find some of these great strategies written by Susan Healthfield over at

I’ve learned that whether it’s a doctor or someone in leadership where you work, it’s healthy to push back if you feel they are not on the right track based on the facts.


  • Great post Trish. As a parent of children on the autistic spectrum, my wife and I went through similar trials. It’s important to be your own advocate-if you simply let others do the heavy lifting for you (in terms of diagnosis and treatment) you will not get the best services and care.

    Thanks again for the insight!

  • Good insight Trish. Medical science is great stuff, but it’s still a developing science. My 20 yos was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in April, and after he lost another 30 pounds and wasn’t responding to the meds they decided maybe he is Type 1. Ooops. We’re very fortunate.
    As for you, well, benadryl’s a cheap medication, it helps you sleep, and I don’t believe there are known problems. So, that’s all good. Mostly, I’m glad your headache subsided.

  • Travis, another HR professional (, shared this post with me, as he knows I suffer from chronic headaches.

    I just wanted to thank you for the positive post and congratulate you on taking charge and fixing your headaches!

    I admire your perspective. And I plan to see an allergist asap! 🙂

  • Trish – You’ve inspired me. I have an appointment with an allergist next week. Thanks for sharing your experience! 🙂

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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