Depression as a Prodrome Symptom

I was in a funk and couldn’t shake it. I’d been sinking deeper for at least two days and now was on the verge of tears. There was no particular reason for my dark mood, yet everything was getting on my nerves. I was so overwhelmed that even simple tasks seemed impossible. By the end of that second day, I couldn’t hold back anymore. The tears fell as I collapsed in a heap on the floor. Not having a reason for this melancholy was exasperating. Telling myself to snap out of it was useless. I was trapped in a dark abyss with no way out.

From darkness to head pain with migraine

On the morning of the third day, I awoke with a familiar churn in the pit of my stomach and a haze in my head that could mean only one thing. Migraine was in the house. Strangely enough, as soon as the headache phase began, my mood suddenly lifted. That bottomless pit of misery dissolved into blue skies within minutes. The darkness in my soul was replaced by a pounding throb in my head.

Physical pain vs. emotional pain

Honestly, physical pain is preferable. I’d much prefer to experience the nauseating electro-chemical explosion over that sickening cesspool of toxic emotional darkness. I have the tools to combat the pain. Depression is so much harder to break through. A true depressive episode is manageable with therapy and medication. It grows slowly and is easier to recognize. This depressive prodrome is something quite different. It hits harder and faster with no warning. The only blessing is that the dark mood is short-lived.

The pattern of menstrual migraine

Yet it always catches me by surprise. I never see it coming or make the connection until just before the headache phase hits. It happens with every single menstrual migraine. Changing hormone and neurotransmitter levels interact to create this perfect storm. Attacks hit back-to-back for two or three days before the storm finally subsides. In the aftermath my brain returns to its once-weekly Botox-suppressed blip of a migraine and life goes on. Once again, I resolve to not be caught off guard. I promise myself to pay attention, track my moods, and count the days. Yet the darkness catches me by surprise EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Anyone else feel depressed before a migraine attack?

I can’t be the only one to experience this type of prodrome. Some of you probably experience a depressed mood right before a migraine attack, too. Can you see it coming or recognize what is happening in the moment? What strategies do you employ to cope?

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