Distracting Myself From Discomfort

When I am hit with a migraine attack, I can usually roll with the punches.  If it’s not too bad, I’ll take my prescription medication and do my best to function as well as I can.  If it’s a really bad migraine, I know to back away from that day’s activities and do my best to know that I need peace, quiet, and, yes, medicine, to get back on the mend as soon as I can.

But at times I do not greet my migraine attack very congenially. I am angry at the migraine, angry at myself.  I start thinking about how much it hurts, how uncomfortable I am, how the illness is out to sabotage me.  If I’m out in public somewhere and my triptan medication is either ineffective or impossible to find, I tend to focus on every little thing that is irritating me.  The lawn crew’s terribly loud blowers get all my attention; this particular bag is pulling on my neck and hurting it; those evil fluorescent lights are flickering in my eyes and making my head pain even worse.

Then something will happen and I’ll get distracted.  I’ll step outside my own thoughts, my own pain, and notice a sweet little toddler reaching up for his babysitter’s hand as they cross the parking lot.  I’ll hear the tiny chirps of baby birds and start looking for the nest.  I’ll pick up a book and read a few pages and find myself caught up in the story. I’ll get a text message from my cousin and start smiling. For those few moments, I forget the discomfort and pain of the migraine.

Once I can break away from it, I am reminded of how easily I can distract myself from all but the worst migraine episodes.  I’m thankful for the fact that my migraines rarely approach that awful, terrible realm where I am virtually incapable of thoughts beyond the pain and sickness.  Most of my migraines are between 3 and 7 on the discomfort scale, so if I give myself the chance, I can often distract myself with books, TV shows, a good conversation, and even videos of kittens on the internet (and I’m not ashamed to admit that! J).

What do you do to distract yourself from a migraine episode? What works, and what does not work? Are you able to read during a migraine?  Are there any comforting distractions that once worked for you but no longer do?

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