“Stop yawning, or go take a nap for a few minutes.”
I can just hear my dad’s voice, exasperated after my tenth yawn in a row (probably without covering my mouth, truth be told).
My dear father is incredibly sweet and easygoing, but he has his pet peeves—and people yawning excessively right in front of him is one of them. Sure, the not-covering-the-mouth thing is rude. No question there, and I’m guilty of that. I may be wrong, but I think one of the reasons he doesn’t like witnessing excessive yawning is because the yawner appears bored or in need of sleep.
After years of living with migraine disease, I’ve finally this year realized for myself that, for me, yawning (excluding bedtime yawning) doesn’t mean either of those things listed above. Rather, it means that the migraine process has probably begun.
A couple of weeks ago I had a few migraine days in a row. The first one came on while one of my employees, T., was working with me at the bookshop. I started yawning in the afternoon and could. not. stop. (Oh, my word. Even typing the word “yawn” in this post has got me on a power-of-suggestion yawning bender!) Maybe it was being around T., who is a great guy but not a close friend. Maybe it was being in a fairly new environment, the bookshop. Or maybe it was just that I’m now more aware of my own health patterns. But it dawned on me immediately: “Oh, I’m getting a migraine.” I let T. know that my yawns had nothing to do with him, that they were a part of the migraine process. I’m thankful I gave him the heads-up, because I also realized that he probably could use another warning. “I know I can be forgetful sometimes anyway, but please know that if I repeat myself or ask you a really foolish question, it may just be because my brain isn’t working right.” T. was very understanding and encouraged me to go home and get rest as soon as we closed the shop that night. (He was right on, too, as by the time we closed up I had a full-force migraine on its way and went home to crash.)
Does anyone out there get these obnoxiously intense yawning jags? I know it’s a common sign of prodrome but haven’t talked to many others who go through this. Do you say anything to those around you? Do you even notice what’s happening? I’d love to hear from you on this.