Emerging From the Migraine Black Hole

My Migraines go in cycles. There’s never a day without one, but some weeks are more tolerable than others. Bad weeks can include trips to the ER, changing meds, researching new treatments, depression and unimaginable, bed-ridden pain. When the cycle finally breaks, I want to take on the world. I’m stir-crazy, I have more energy and I think I can conquer it all. I’m ready to bust out of the Migraine black hole I’ve been living in.

I’ve been pretty sick for the past 2 months due to an Unintentional Detox. Now I’m back on preventative meds and just got a round of Botox. Relief is beginning slowly. I’m not sleeping 14-18 hours a day anymore, so I’m trying to catch up on life.

But that’s not as easy as it sounds. I have lists all over the place of things to do when the icepick pain isn’t controlling my every move. Prioritizing these items can get overwhelming. I look at the lists and think, “why in the world didn’t I get any of this done in the last 2 months?” Was I really in such bad shape that I couldn’t water the plants, fax a form back to the doctor’s office, or call my grandmother back? When was the last time the bathroom has been cleaned? Surely I could’ve taken 15 minutes to do that in the past 3 weeks.

Laundry, sweeping, dusting. I remember why none of these things were done! Thirty minutes of house work and I need to rest…and this is when I supposedly feel better! Can’t I just go back to bed and ignore it all?

Then little by little, I get stronger. I start going to the gym. I take less naps. The piles of paperwork disappear. The house is once again spiffy. I stop declining invitations to get together with friends. I can see little accomplishments and it feels good.

Then I turn my attention to all those relationships I’ve ignored. I’ve been a recluse for so long and crave human interaction. I feel like I owe my friends an apology when I finally emerge. “Sorry I never responded to those texts,” or “I can’t believe I missed your birthday.” I try to overcompensate and go out of my way to spend time with them. I’m a lot better than I used to be about over-scheduling and running out of energy. But I want to squeeze it all in before the next bad cycle begins.

I get excited about putting on “real clothes.” I love getting dressed up and a casual lunch date can turn into an hour of primping just to feel human again. Which is really stupid on my part. I may be feeling better than the weeks I just spent in bed, but I’m quickly reminded that I still have daily Migraines. Spending extra time on unnecessary tasks (like straightening my hair) can tire me out, making me less engaged when I finally do get to that lunch date.

Even when I do have the energy to be out, exchanging life updates can be painful. Life has seriously sucked since the last time we spoke. Not wanting to bring the party down, I play it off like it’s been no big deal. But it was a big deal. I couldn’t get of bed. I haven’t driven in weeks. I’ve been shot up with all kinds of meds. It’s been pure hell. But who wants to hang out with the girl who has a chronic illness AND complains all the time?

Instead I focus on the fact that I feel good now, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts. I try my hardest to forget and just live in the moment. Remembering the fun times is what gets me through the next bad cycle.

Then slowly, the Migraines become more intense. I fight it as long as I can. Sometimes pushing myself too hard, acting like I don’t know what’s coming next. Eventually I disappear again into the black hole. A week, two weeks, two months…I’m never quite sure. When I stop answering emails, texts or don’t return phone calls my close friends know what’s happening. I’m so lucky that they still check on me. Never pressuring or making me feel as guilty as I make myself feel.

So goes the cycle.

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