I need to get better at tracking my daily habits and migraines
Sometimes I get tired of trying to figure out this illness. During weeks I feel good, I used to have a pretty predictable pattern, which I’ve attempted to outline below. It’s been awhile since I had a multi-week streak of not having to take any acute medication, but I do remember what it was like to have periods like that, before I started using a migraine diary and apps to keep track of my daily patterns.
After three days with no hint of migraine: What am I doing differently this week? How is it possible I am migraine-free? This is awesome. I should really pay attention to my habits, especially as far as eating, drinking, and exercising go. Oh, and sleep. I should write down when I’m going to sleep. Maybe I can figure this out once and for all!
After a six days with no migraine: Oh, oops. I forgot to write any of this down in my migraine diary. I should write about this for migraine.com. You know, after I figure out what it is that’s *right* with my environment and lifestyle the last week.
After eight days with no migraine: What if I don’t get frequent migraines anymore? What if I’m one of those people who gets them, like, twice a month and no longer have to fret about them? Or—I dare to think it—what if I’m one of those people who accidentally stumbles upon something that is a major treatment breakthrough? Like what if the juice I started drinking every morning is the secret?! Or my glasses, which I now wear every day. Maybe all my migraines ever were related to vision issues and now that I have glasses I might actually be getting better!
After nine days: I say out loud to someone, “It’s actually been over a week since my last migraine attack!” Immediately I think to myself, Oh no. You’ve invoked the curse.
Day ten: wake up with a migraine. End of streak.
I’ve finally gotten in a really good pattern of keeping track of my potential triggers, sleep patterns, meals (including skipping), and more—most of this data I track using the Curelator app, but it’s helpful to also write specific details on my personal calendar that can’t be accommodated within the confines of an app. The idea is I will soon have a better picture of my migraine illness and the way it manifests itself throughout the month and year depending on all those little factors that seem to trigger (or help prevent) attacks. I’ll let you know how it goes once I actually start that analysis.
For now I am still stuck in the unhelpful habit of going through those above steps when I actually start feeling good: several days of deliberately clueless wonderment followed by worrying that I’ve cursed myself followed by the migraines coming back. It’s embarrassing to admit this, especially as a migraine health advocate, but I have not been exhibiting great self-care lately, especially as it relates to keeping good records in my migraine diary and apps. When I feel sick, it seems like just another thing to add to my to-do list, and when I’m well I don’t want to think about migraine. I’m not saying it’s smart or makes sense, but it’s the pattern I get in.
How about you? Does any of this gibberish hit home with you? Are you someone who has gotten in gear and started keeping track of your migraine days and migraine-free days better? If so, what got you to get organized? People like me need your guidance! :)
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?