Marley's Migraine - Part 4

In November 2012, I started posting something I said would be serial story, something I’d post each month in a handful of installments until the whole story was told. I originally composed this story to read aloud at a writing competition and the many migraineurs in the crowd said it really resonated with them—that’s when I decided to share it with you all, my readers. And then, well, I forgot to keep posting. But I got my act together last month and we’re back in business.

So, to refresh your memory, here’s a link where you can read what we’ll call Chapter 1 of “Marley’s Migraine”:

Here’s the link to Chapter 3: :

And below you’ll find the final mini-installment of this short story, along with comments and questions to follow—comments and questions I hope you’ll respond to!

4:35 AM
Marley puts her head on the cool wooden table, keeping her eyes closed, trying to breathe in while counting slowly. Some health website said this will make her calmer and clearer—Hey! Deep breathing is a skill developed in response to stress!, she thinks with a quick smile. She feels the lull of sleep tug at her. She must resist; there is so much to do. Earlier, I went to sleep as a way to cope with my head pain, she thinks, the examples of skills rushing at her as she thinks of more essay ideas. She’ll just take a few more deep breaths before she starts to write. One, two, three…

As I mentioned in my original November 2012 post (chapter 1), I wrote this slice-of-life short story because I was competing in something called Write Club Athens. We had a succinct amount of time in which to write a piece of any kind, and on the night of the competition we were to read the piece in front of an audience. It was both nerve-wracking and thrilling. The “battle” I was in was entitled Luck vs. Skill—not exactly a title that would immediately cause people to talk about health problems. But, believe it or not, I and my competitor both talked about illness in our pieces. Perhaps that’s a testament to just how heavily health problems can weigh in your life if you have chronic illness.

My story stems from experiences I had as a teenager living with migraine disease as well as stories my sister told me about having severe “headaches” (which weren’t ever diagnosed as migraine, I don’t believe) while in school. We each had periods of our lives when we’d sleep when other were awake and then scramble to catch up on school work (and, let’s face it, TV shows) when the pain had subsided and everyone else was asleep.

Migraine can be a very lonely disease in this way as well as in a myriad of other ways.

Marley is in high school and is dealing with the loneliness and isolation of living with chronic migraine. Are you a high school student coping with migraine? Do you know a high school kid with this illness? Or—and I suspect this is the case with many readers here—were you that high school student who led somewhat of a double-life, not letting on how terrible you were feeling so much of the time?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, if you’re up for sharing with us what that was like.

Thanks for reading.

The Migraine Girl (Janet G.)

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