Mood Swings: A Migraine Warning Sign
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Three-year-olds have a particular state of meltdown when they’re overly tired and overly hungry. They become completely unreasonable, won’t listen to anyone’s suggestions and can’t make decisions. This describes me when a migraine is about to hit.

There are a lot of descriptions for the mood changes of migraine’s prodrome, including irritable, anxious, agitated, distracted, unfocused, confused, indecisive, sad and just plain grumpy. Even that list doesn’t convey the magnitude of these changes. It’s not just that a few of these adjectives apply to me, all of them do, and the total is way more than the sum of the parts. Hence the comparison to a hangry, exhausted three-year-old melting down.

Forget trying to have a meaningful interaction with someone. It’s not like I can hide my mood, but I don’t care what anyone else has to say about it. I don’t want to hear their opinions or suggestions, even if they’re trying to me calm down (perhaps especially then!). Add to that the frequent sighing that’s another prodrome symptom and people really think I’m angry.


Once I became aware that my meltdowns indicated an impending migraine, I started to pay attention to my moods as part of learning to listen to my body. It took some practice, but now I can (usually) avoid getting caught up in the mood swings, thus keeping it from spiraling into a (near) temper tantrum. More importantly, I now know that when a meltdown seems imminent, it’s time to take an abortive and get home as quickly as possible.

While my mood changes fall into the annoyed and sad category, other people report hyperactivity and euphoria that lead to surges in creativity and productivity. This sounds far better than what I experience, but I know the reality could be different than the perception. If the latter describes you, please leave a comment and tell us if it is really as great as it seems.

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