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An open letter to Chronic Migraine, the world’s most annoying insect

An open letter to Chronic Migraine, the world’s most annoying insect

Like an annoying insect circling relentlessly- you come back again and again. Wearing me down. I swat into the air, at first absent-mindedly and then, as you continue to come round, sometimes dive-bombing me, I swing more wildly, exhausting my own energy in so doing. 

You even have the gall to harass me during sleep, sometimes stinging me while I try to rest. You drain me of the precious resources I need to function- like some awful, blood-sucking thing. Your bites cause me to vomit and become dehydrated, like an allergic reaction. When I awaken exhausted rather than rejuvenated, I stumble out of bed, hopeful that you’re dead, aware of your supposed gnat-like life span. For a moment, I might think all is quiet and even allow myself a breath of hope. Inhaling deeply for the first time in days, I hear the faint buzz of your presence once again and feel you circling above. Because unlike a honeybee armed only with one stinger, you don’t simply inflict pain and then die. You keep causing more and more harm.

A wave of uncontrollable anger washes over me, almost as if I’m walking through the five stages of grief backwards: acceptance, depression, bargaining, anger, and denial. I no longer care if I injure myself while trying to kill you. I’m reminded of swimming in my mother’s pool in a meadow, beautiful but plagued with horseflies. We nearly drowned ourselves going under trying to escape their unrelenting harassment.

So here I am, willing to do anything to escape your wrath:

  • Taking multiple medications that tax my liver and my ability to function;
  • Clearing my figurative plate of so many life joys and interests in order to make room for your unending demands on my time and energy;
  • Restricting what is on my literal plate, to the point that I can barely eat anything that might trigger or hasten your return;
  • Accepting the reality and pain of 30 injections of Botox into my neck and scalp every three months, in hopes of lessening the severity of your pain.

I have armed myself with every tool I can think of to defend myself. But my fly swatter of treatment protocols doesn’t work. No matter how hard I try to kill you, I keep missing the mark and hitting myself instead.

It is impossible for me to avoid asking: what did I do to you? Why me? You’ve been after me for forty years now. I have tried to live with you in peace and I have tried to kill you in hundreds of ways.  Nothing has worked.  But, you know what?  I think you have tried to kill me too. You hoped my body might give in to severe pain. You thought my mind might break or that I might give up. It hasn’t worked.  Instead, your unrelenting presence in my life has called me to action. You made me sit up straight and pay closer attention to the gifts life has to offer. I don’t take a moment of wellness for granted. In fact because of you, I have learned much about wellness, nutrition, and health. And I have learned how strong I am. You have also made me appreciate more deeply how blessed I am to have such loving and supportive family and friends. And ultimately, I have learned that spending my energy fighting and swatting you away is wasteful. My time is better spent on anything other than you.

So what to do going forward? Live and let live?  No. I will continue trying to kill you. I can’t help it. But it won’t be my main focus.  I assume you will also continue the battle.  Hopefully, one day you will find an open window and exit my world. But until then, I will continue looking for the lessons and unlikely gifts that lie within our unwelcome relationship.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Wademcculloch
    3 years ago

    I CURE migraine headache’s all day long. For over 10 years. I am a doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Get into a licenced Acupuncturist ASAP. It works and it’s powerful. There is no need to suffer. It’s actually relatively easy for us to treat!

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi there Wademcculloch,

    Thank you for your comment! We are grateful to know that there are dedicated doctors out there like yourself truly aiding in providing effective treatment and helping to ease the pain for those living with migraine & other chronic health conditions!

    Over the years, we have had many members from our community share their experiences with acupuncture and herbs and while nearly all seem to express they find it relaxing,soothing and an enjoyable experience, unfortunately their migraines remain unrelenting. However, of course many DO experience extremely positive results and consider the therapy successful. That being said, unfortunately it still remains a “no size fits all approach” for treatment. Some may consider it their “cure” because it is helping to keep another attack from coming…but migraine is a lifelong genetic neurological disorder. I have a few articles I thought I’d pass along so you may see from our community’s perspective, why they are taken a back when they are promised a cure:

    Again, thank you for taking a minute to share the wonderful treatment you are providing to your patients and especially for being part of our community!

    Joanna ( Team)

  • pami
    3 years ago

    What an amazing analogy!! I absolutely love this. This is something I can share with friends so that they may actually have an inkling of what we have to endure. Thank you for your words! Let us all continue to kill the insects..

  • MargoW
    3 years ago

    Amazing and beautiful summary of the tricks and trials of migraines. I’ve had them for over 34 years now and your poem sums it up well. The only thing I would add is that, after so many years, no medications have an affect any more, not even the Botox. I have nothing but opiates, ice, and essential oils to help me endure, and even those aren’t enough. Every day is spent waiting for the next one, knowing they are daily and I’m nearly out of options. Cephaly doesn’t help, nerve blocks, Botox, and sphenocath procedures don’t work. I really don’t want to go to the point of implanting a nerve device, but I fear that I can’t go on if I can’t get any relief – even a day would be welcome.
    Thank you for your lovely poem. It’s made me feel less alone.
    Best wishes to you.

  • Jojiieme
    3 years ago

    I love this! Really brings home the annoying, shadowing factor – what I think of as my personal ‘zombie in the mirror’. 🙂
    Hollybee, thank you! I hope you have some light and easy days ahead!

  • Dori Fritzinger
    3 years ago

    Amen- one of the best and awesome description of living with a migraine disease !!!!!

  • clare
    3 years ago

    This is so great. There are so many different experiences of migraine so not every article rings true for me, but this sums up my experience so well. I have shared this on facebook to try and help my family and friends understand a little better. x

  • Kathy
    3 years ago

    WOW! I can totally relate to this! thank you for sharing!

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