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Migraine Awareness Month #1: Your First for the First

June is Migraine Awareness Month, and I have been asked to write a few blogs in honor of this important awareness effort. Here were my instructions: “Share the story of your first Migraine, what it was like, if you knew what it was, what you did, how you felt.” So here goes:

I’ve blogged before about what I think was my very first severe migraine (read here). Looking back, it seems like something as monumental as one’s very first migraine attack would be forever etched in her mind, that it would live in infamy forever onward.

But instead, all I’m left with are snippets. I do remember lying in that hot attic bedroom, extremely hungry but too nauseated to eat. I started daydreaming about all the foods I wanted, focusing primarily on the amazing hot dogs from Eddie’s Grill in Ohio.

And then I vomited.

I remember feeling immense love from my grandmother who, even at age 70, climbed up three flights of stairs to bring me cool washcloths and to check on me. I am one of 20-something grandkids on that side of the family, and while I know my grandmother loves me dearly, it wasn’t often that I had this precious one-on-one time with her. I remember wanting to cuddle with her while also wishing my mom was there. I remember feeling sad and lonely and sick, especially as I heard the yelps and giggles of my sister and cousins playing in the yard. I remember the wonderful warmth of having my grandmother check on me followed by the intense isolation of being utterly alone when she left.

I just lay in bed. I lay in wait. As I write this, I have a slight migraine that’s getting steadily worse, and I wonder if I’m making it more intense with these memories I’m recalling.

Do you remember your first migraine? What was it like for you?

National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • georgiaslesinger
    6 years ago

    First, let me say that my heart breaks for all of you whose childhoods were ruined by migraine; I am grateful that at least mine didn’t start until I was a adult.

    I was 28 years old and had recently given birth to my second child and we had just moved out of state. I was unpacking and cleaning when I suddenly felt “unwell”. My head started throbbing and I was having trouble with my vision and then had vertigo so bad I was afraid to move. Thankfully, by the time it was that bad, my kids were asleep in bed and I was sitting in an armchair, holding on for dear life, when my husband came home from work. I had no idea what was wrong with me; I thought I was dying. A neighbor came and watched the kids for me as my husband took me to the ER.

    As we sat in the crowded waiting room, full of people with flu and hurting from various accidents, we were at the end of a long list of “first-come, first served”, so I was very surprised when the nurse at the desk took one look at me and told me to come up right away. She said, “You have one hell of a migraine, don’t you?”

    After blood tests and exam and x-rays, the diagnosis was severe migraine and I left with some pain-killers. At that time my migraines were few and far between, but after a hysterectomy at the age of 38, they became chronic and I still have them at age 62.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Hi georgiaslesinger,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. About 67% of women who have surgical menopause see their migraines get worse, while only 33% get better. We have information on this topic in an answer from Dr. Hutchinson that you can read in this link; What kind of doctor do you see to treat your migraines?

  • Cindy Padgett
    7 years ago

    I can vividly remember mine at 13 years even though t was almost 40 years ago! My Mom was not very comforting. She told me to stop crying because it was just a headache. I fainted at one point, and begged to go to the Dr. They gave me aspirin which caused me to vomit. A horrible day! I didn’t find out I had migraines for 10 years afterwards.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Oh caradrouin.

    How awful you had to go through a day like that. Some people who don’t have migraine or headache really don’t get it.

  • caradrouin
    6 years ago

    Cindy, sounds familiar. I was 10, it was a summer heat wave. My sister and I were left in the care of a neighbor who did not have a/c and did not open her windows at night. The neighbor was a teacher and made us do math and writing all morning. I was not allowed to go home where it was cool or lie on the couch. I was forced to go out and play. I went into my yard where I was not supposed to be and lay down with the dog. When Mom came home, she told me to quit my bellyaching because I didn’t even know what a headache was! I had to sit at the table and look at my dinner while everyone else ate.

  • Donna Davis
    7 years ago

    I don’t remember my first migraine, however I must have got them from a very young age but no one knew what it was. I missed countless days of school with head pain and sick at my stomach. I know most people thought I was just skipping school but that wasn’t the case at all. My migraines are definately hereditary from my Dad and his side of the family. Unfortunately I was raised in a divorced family and since I was seldom around Dad the connection was never made.

  • Tee Migraine
    7 years ago

    I have written my first classical migraine up and I understand the recall process you are going through as I found myself crying as I got to the end of my blog……… may leave the first HM and first stroke Mig for another day……..

  • Diana Lee
    7 years ago

    Unfortunately I really don’t remember my first migraine because I started having them at such a young age. Certain attacks do stand out in my mind, but I don’t know that any one of those are the first one I ever had.

  • Diana Lee
    7 years ago

    When did you realize it was a migraine attack? Was it years later?

  • Kim Murray Nelson
    7 years ago

    I remember mine – I was in the 5th grade and was in Vermont vacationing with my family. It was terrible pain, light sensitivity and vomiting. We all thought it was a stomach bug at the time.

  • Anne Fink
    7 years ago

    My first day alone at college–eighteen years old. I was supposed to start work in a busy cafeteria, but went home within 20 minutes because it was all I could do to breathe and be awake. I don’t think I realized it was a migraine at the time, but remember it like it was yesterday!

  • Pamela Boatright
    7 years ago

    I was age seven or eight when I had my first of a lifetime of migraines.

  • Mustafa Maqbool
    7 years ago

    Pamela, I’ve been working on cures for migraines for several years and so far my friends have gone without any attack for at least four months. My healing approach does not involve medicines, but you it has to be done physically and each session is about 5 minutes. Given how bad things are, I might do multiple.
    I am in Chicago and if you happen to be in the neighborhood, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to help you out. thanks!

  • arden
    7 years ago

    My first attacks came at about 11 or 12. I had no clue what was happening except I had tremendous pain on one side
    of the head and was vomiting. The light in the room was painful. I would sleep until noon and then get up and go to school. This was the pattern. I always woke up with them so any trigger was never considered. My grandmother had migraines so it was quickly concluded I had them too. She gave me BC powder which I consumed in quantity as a child and into my teen years. Still get them at 68 but without vomiting. Life is possible with migraines but one has to be a detective to find the clues to ones disability and then be disciplined to follow the right path. God Bless.

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