Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types- the Lingering Houseguest

Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types- the Lingering Houseguest

Thankfully, I haven’t had any memorable experiences where friends or family have overstayed their welcome at my home, but I know it’s a common occurrence for many people out there.

Imagine with me, if you will, a scenario in which you hear from a long-ago casual friend that she’s going to be in your town next month.  She says that a hotel won’t be affordable for her, and she’ll only be around for a few days, after all….You get the hint and, even as a voice in the back of your head is telling you that it’s not the best idea, you hear yourself saying, “Why don’t you come crash at my place? It’s no problem.”  “Oh, that’s amazing news; thank you!” responds your friend (whom you like but don’t really know all that well).  “Sure,” you hear yourself saying, “Stay as long as you need to!”  Why in the world did I just say that? you think.  Why did I leave that open-ended when she was fine just staying a couple of nights?

Your friend shows up the next month and you have a good time the first night.  By the second night, you return home from work after a long day and want nothing more than to read your book and relax, but you feel bad that she’s just sitting around with nothing to do, so you try to entertain her.  By day three, you’re pretty much ready for her to go when she announces that she has a flat tire and has to wait for her boyfriend to transfer some money into her bank account to get it fixed.  Then she’ll be able to drive back home. By the weekend, she is gone, but you now feel you have been taken advantage of, and part of it is your fault since you went out of your way to be so accommodating.

This introduction brings me to my newest type of Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types: The Lingering Houseguest.  

The Lingering Houseguest Migraine first appears when you aren’t careful enough with your triggers.  Unlike some of your migraine attacks where you’re taken by surprise by triggers you have no control over, you are the teeniest bit responsible for this one since you deliberately exposed yourself to a trigger you knew was bad.  (Before you think I am blaming you for this migraine, read my previous post about how no one ever “deserves” a migraine.) In my case, this usually involves having alcohol during my period—stacking triggers is a big no-no for anyone, and, for me, it doesn’t usually end up too good.

So you’ve done it. You ate delicious, MSG-laden Chinese food (and MSG is a trigger for you), and you had a glass of red wine with dinner (red wine is a very common trigger and it is definitely one that affects you).  You have opened the door wide for your lingering houseguest.

This migraine may or may not be severe. The thing that puts it in the lingering houseguest category is that it takes a long while to go away. It just hangs out.  You invited it in, and now that you’re ready for it to leave, it’s hard to show it to the door.  You control your environment as much as you can, making sure not to expose yourself to controllable triggers and making sure you eat well and drink plenty of water.  The migraine severity is pretty low this time around, but the migraine just won’t go away.  You wake up on day three and it’s still there, hanging around a little bit like The Creeper, not willing to leave until it is good and ready.

Have you ever experienced The Lingering Houseguest Migraine? How did you open the door for the migraine, and how (and when) did it finally show itself out?

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

Comments

View Comments (19)
  • gertface
    2 years ago

    Oh. My. Gosh. Yes. I always seem to have that houseguest. My meds work great, but never really completely. So, it’s almost always there, at the back of my head. Just waiting for me to mess up and employ a trigger that will cause it to come fully into the open. Will be trying Botox next to see if I can get my “houseguest” to finally leave. Thank you for writing what many of us feel.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi gertface,
    Happy to read that this article resonated well with you! I am so sorry that you seem to continually have this unwanted “houseguest”! Let us know if you give Botox a try and how it goes. In case you do, here is some information which may help you out in preparation:
    Botox Basics – https://migraine.com/blog/botox-basics/
    Video of Botox Injections – https://migraine.com/video/video-of-botox-injections/

    Hoping you find the relief you are in need of!
    Take care,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Still Smiling
    3 years ago

    How ironic that this is the first post I see on my Facebook feed today; I am currently experiencing this type of migraine – 6 days and counting… Only, it was pretty severe at first: I was hospitalised with slurred speech, dizziness (and I mean to the point where I couldn’t walk unaided), severe nausea and vomiting, ringing in my ears, audio and visual hallucinations/aura — all of this goes beyond my usual migraine pattern. I was let out of hospital on day 3 to recooperate at home, but was put on bed rest and instructed to take things slow. Day 6 (I.e. today) is the longest I have been on my feet for with minimal dizziness. The notable/unusual thing is that the actual migraine pain has not been that severe, it flares up and then dies away, but I’m mostly left to cope with the rest of the symptoms. At one point it just felt like my entire system was being attacked. I work as a medical editor and was shocked and mortified by the state of the email that I sent on Day 1 to my manager calling in sick – it was barely legible and only just made sense, which I realised two days later…this is my first lingering migraine and I have to say, I don’t much care for it…

  • zippy36
    4 years ago

    I have this type right now!! I forgot to take my allergy medication, we had a warm up in temperature, then back to cold and that was it!! It is lingering between a 3 and a 6 going on 4 days.

  • Jules2dl
    4 years ago

    My uninvited houseguests usually slip in the door when I’ve stayed up after midnight and had to wake up only a few hours later. The guests become especially aggravated if I have consumed any alcohol prior to going to bed.
    I want to thank everyone who commented and mentioned drinking an alcoholic beverage. I do like to have a drink now and again, sometimes it makes my migraine worse, sometimes it doesn’t. But I always feel so guilty about drinking! More than one person has questioned me about it “should you really be drinking that Moscato if you have a migraine every day?” Moscato rarely if ever makes my head worse. How do I respond to these people?

  • AnneNelson
    4 years ago

    I am very familiar with this beastie… I love going to the Renaissance Festival, and getting all dressed up- but I know it’ll have several triggers (too much time in the sun, dehydration because I will NOT use a porta potty while wearing a corset and several skirts!, etc). So then it comes down to weighing risks vs. rewards.

    I usually make sure I have the day after free for recovery. And generally after a day at the festival I have a low grade migraine for the evening and the next day. The kind that you describe, that just hangs out and is obnoxious but not a killer.

    I get the same thing if I hang out with people all day Saturday, than I’m going to need Sunday to recover. It’s good to know your triggers, and annoying to have to weigh an enjoyable activity with the risk of a retaliatory migraine.

  • clover
    4 years ago

    Like The Creeper, I have indeed experienced The Lingering Houseguest more times than I care to admit. The most recent bout involved three big events scheduled back to back: Teaching at an unfamiliar venue, putting on a big bridal shower, and enduring a whole day of repairmen at our house ripping out and replacing a broken air conditioner/heat pump. It had been over 100 degrees for three weeks. Even though I knew it could backfire, in the hopes of dispelling some of the stress in my back and neck, I had alcohol each night while browsing on the computer instead of heading right to bed. And backfire it certainly did: The Lingering Houseguest stayed with me for over eight days!

    Just a note: Alcohol is not usually a trigger for me (yay!), as I’m super vigilant against dehydration, but I am sure all contributed in creating the perfect invitation.

  • coygroup
    4 years ago

    Oh man, I feel guilty like you busted me for doing something I know is wrong! It’s that beer – just ONE, for goodness sake – that I know I shouldn’t have but I love the taste so I just sip it, or those chocolate chip cookies with those heinous semi-sweet chips that get me nearly every time. It’s kind of like gambling… sometimes I win (yay!) and sometimes I lose (for two or three days at a time!).

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    It’s exactly like gambling! And I do it all the time despite the reward not being that amazing and the potential punishment being so awful. I guess everyone indulges in risky behavior now and then, eh?

    -Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • Madalin
    4 years ago

    This reminded me of myself soooo much! Ive never exactly called it a migraine, since alcohol is the trigger… I usually refer to it as a prolonged unfair hangover… That which occurs even after only having one drink (at the wrong time of the month) and presents itself like a weak ongoing migraine for about four days.
    I feel exactly like how you describe it – I knew it would happen, I invited it in… I cant just expect it to leave straight away. Often these are the most frustrating migraines because Im inclined to not medicate for them and persevere with my working day (where as a full blown migraine Im just in bed for the day with all my best medication – I feel too guilty to take time off to recuperate) Even though it is not a hangover, I have all the associated guilt.

  • Nonster
    4 years ago

    House guests is one of my triggers and this summer reaffirmed it for me. Living in Montana, it seems everyone wants to come visit during our beautiful summer. But summer-the heat, sun, long days-are also my triggers so it’s a double whammy for me! Thank goodness I have a husband who helps me set boundaries. We have company 2 days at a time and that’s it. We have had a few ‘scheduling conflicts’ which renders me to my dark bedroom with ice bags and my hubby is the entertainer for the evening. He is a life saver!

  • youkayn00b
    4 years ago

    houseguests are a trigger for me too. i am overwhelmed and get anxiety from socialising in general, so it doesn’t have to be houseguests in particular – it can be any form of event or gathering or even coffee with a friend

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Nonster,

    What about having house guests triggers your migraines? I’m so fascinated by this! Despite their best intentions, do they break up your usual routine, make you feel less relaxed at home, end up causing you to change your sleep schedule?

    Thanks for your note, and tell your hubby we also think he’s pretty great.

    Take care,
    Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • Derek
    4 years ago

    I’ve been enjoying your made-up migraine types. Some I can relate to, some are funny because I can imagine them, and we have to laugh about this stuff right?

    This one resonates really well with me. My last attack was exactly this kind. I messed with my sleep cycle knowing it might trigger a migraine (and it did). But instead of a 24 hour attack phase duration typical for me, this one lasted for 4 days. It would have been ridiculous if it hadn’t hurt so much. I move for upgrading this from ‘Completely Unofficial’ to ‘Practical Reality’. Who’s with me?

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Ha! Thanks for your kind words, Derek. I’m happy to know that your lingering houseguest got kicked to the curb at last. Stay tuned for more Completely Unofficial, Made-Up Migraine Types [that are actually real for many of us]! 🙂

    Take care,
    Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator
    4 years ago

    Once again you’ve read my mind!
    Lisa

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Ha! Thank you for the kind words, Lisa. 🙂

    -Janet G.

  • javiersotomayor
    4 years ago

    I hear you!! I think we’ve all done that stupid trigger slip when we’re just vulnerable to those things we like but know that may trigger a migraine. For me, it’s been maybe a beef jerky, any kind of fruit punch drink, or those holy-evil M&Ms of any kind. It’s always good to know I’m not alone in these situations and that other migraineurs suffer the same fate. Keep up these great posts. 🙂

  • The Migraine Girl moderator author
    4 years ago

    Thanks for the great feedback and validation, javiersotomayor! We hope to hear from you again in the comments as time goes on. Take care, Janet G., “The Migraine Girl”

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