I can’t make it—I have a migraine.
I cancel plans. I cancel plans a lot. One of my least favorite things about having migraine disease is my need for lots of quiet alone time, even if I don't want it. I love being social; I love spending time with friends, going to shows, grabbing a beer, or sitting around having craft night. But the migraines often get me down.
Sometimes I just don't commit to something I would love to attend. That late-night party down the street, the one that's sure to be fun and full of dancing and friends? "Maybe--if I don't feel bad." The movie I've been wanting to see is playing the night before my period is to arrive--most likely I'll have a migraine then, so going to a movie is just ruled out before I even consider making plans.
Other times, I bail in fear of a migraine. Big events like weddings, funerals, holidays, and other much-anticipated events are almost sure to be accompanied by an attack. A couple of years ago, I got an invitation to a good friend's wedding. I took some factors into consideration: 1, most weddings entail my pretending to have fun and socialize when really I have throbbing pain behind my eyes; 2, going to an old friend's wedding doesn't guarantee you'll actually get to talk to that person; 3, The venue was nearly two hours from my home--and I didn't have the inclination or money to spend the night in the same town as the wedding--that means I would have a long drive there and back--more triggers.
Out of fear, I wrote a sweet note to my friend and declined the invitation. Turns out she was hurt and disappointed--she'd really wanted me there; I was one of the first friends she'd met as a seventh grader in a new town. So I went. And I had fun. And I got a migraine on the way home.
Mostly I cancel plans at the last minute when I have an attack coming on. Even if the meds I take do work, the postdrome means I'll be sleepy and out of it and not in the mood to socialize. A few years ago, I'd pop Imitrex or Relpax while at a busy rock show at midnight, sure the headache would be gone in a few minutes so I could continue dancing and rocking out. I was usually right in my judgment then and ended up back up to par an hour or so later, ready to continue to the night. I don't feel that way anymore. Now I skip out when I feel the migraine coming on and head straight home, realizing that if I push myself I'll feel worse.
Canceling plans makes me feel terrible; my guilt merely compounds the pain and nausea I'm feeling, and that simply doesn't help anyone, the friends I've canceled on or myself. My friends and family are extremely understanding: they know of my health condition and their first priority (and usually mine) is to take care of me. But I still cannot get over the feeling that maybe, just maybe, they think I'm flaky. That I've let them down. That I can't be counted on. And I can't seem to figure out how to get over that.
I read others' blogs, read mantras about taking care of myself, read stories about people going through similar things. Maybe one day soon all that will click. Logically, I know the the choice I make to go home and try to relax is the only healthy choice I can make. Emotionally, I continue to feel like I'm undependable, and that feels pretty rotten.
Can you tell when a migraine attack is coming?