When you notice you're feeling good, suddenly you feel bad
Has this ever happened to you? The moment you really are aware of how well you’ve been feeling, you get sidelined by a migraine.
Last night I was walking downtown with my sister, who was on day two of an intrusive headache (which may or may not have been part of a migraine episode). She said that she was feeling better, but that the day before she even looked sick at a glance—her skin looked puffy around her eyes, and her eyes themselves were glassy. “I’ve seen that look before—on you,” she said.
I told her I was somewhat amazed at how well April was going for me. It’s usually a vicious migraine month, but I’ve had fewer migraines than I’m accustomed to this spring (so far).
I felt proud of this, knowing I’ve taken steps lately to take better care of myself.
Then, within a few hours, a migraine started to show up.
That got me thinking. I have no empirical evidence of this, of course, but it sure does seem like most times I verbally acknowledge that I haven’t had a migraine in awhile, one shows up within a day. It feels like a twisted little curse.
Throughout my life, this has happened repeatedly. “I’ve been feeling really good lately,” “I haven’t had a migraine in awhile—knock on wood!” and “I can’t believe I haven’t had a migraine all week” all seem to be little secret curses that I am laying on myself. Within a day or so, I look back and reflect on my folly.
I’ve talked to a lot of friends about this phenomenon. I have several chronically ill buddies who have been frustrated by this problem. A good friend with chronic back pain will comment off-hand, “I haven’t had trouble with my back in…wow…a few weeks!” Another friend with rheumatoid arthritis will say, “I actually haven’t had much trouble with my joints in a while.” Within a couple of days, these ladies suffered back spasms and knee joint pain, respectively.
When it comes to my personal migraine situation, I can’t help but wonder what, if anything, lies at the heart of this odd little situation. For many migraineurs, a sense of euphoria is one of the first signs of a migraine attack. Could it be that I feel so glowing and wonderful because that euphoria is setting in right as a migraine is approaching? Maybe I am prompted to remark upon my good health only because of this temporary boost in mood and well-being.
Or is it something else? My vote is for pure coincidence, but I’d love to hear theories of those of you who’ve had similar experiences: why do migraine episodes surface right when we pat ourselves on the back for feeling pretty good of late?
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?