Last updated: March 2023
My bedroom is like the scene of a migraine crime. There is a vomit bucket next to three ice packs that are no longer cold. There is an eye covering on the floor I have been wearing for days to keep the light out. The ceiling fan is on high. All of my shades are drawn. There are empty bottles of ginger ale on the bedside table. The TV is on with the light all the way down.
How do I feel?
I’m unclean. I haven’t showered for more days than I can count. I haven’t had the energy required to stand up and raise my hands over my head in order to wash my hair. My hair follicles ache to the point that I feel as though I’ve been scalped. My sheets need to be changed from how many times I got sick while I was in bed. I’m too weak to do laundry.
What do I look like?
I shuffle to the bathroom. I look at myself in the mirror see a stranger. I’m a shell of my former self. My eyes have dark circles, my cheeks are hollowed out. There’s no light behind my eyes. My skin is pale. There’s no energy coming from me whatsoever. I look vacant, ghostly.
I feel empty. Hollowed out. Scooped out. Like someone took a grapefruit spoon and scooped out my insides. I’m weak and can barely walk up three stairs without losing my breath. My body is sore all over, like I overtaxed myself somehow - when in reality, I’m sore from lying in bed for so long.
How am I functioning?
I can’t think straight. I’m slow to follow the sentences of my friends and family who have checked in over the course of the past week with texts and phone messages. My brain is slow to find the words I need to form sentences. The term brain fog is apt. I feel like I’m in a haze.
How is my dog?
My dog is pent up. She has been limited to walking around the perimeter of our house three times a day, rather than our usual hikes into the forest when I am well. She has been caring for me, but I’ve felt deeply guilty about not being there for her.
How am I feeling emotionally?
I’m overwhelmed by the thought of how behind I am on work and house chores. I feel embarrassed for looking weak in front of my children for the last few days. As much as I know this condition is not my fault, it still does a number on me emotionally when it hits this hard for this long.
How should I proceed?
I have no appetite, yet I haven’t eaten properly in days. I must proceed with caution on this front. I choose light meals like smoothies and eggs. I keep it simple until my stomach regulates itself.
I know this window of time - when the pain has only barely lifted, is a very delicate time. I could easily overdo and end up back in bed for more days if I don’t proceed with great care and caution. I can’t jump back in 100%. I have to move slowly and gently. When I’m hit with an intractable multi-day migraine, it generally takes many days of recovery before I have a full 24 hours free of severe pain. I proceed and pace myself accordingly.
How about you?
I know I’m not alone in navigating this recovery period. I know I’m not alone in experiencing the aftermath that follows an intense migraine.
Does this description resonate with you? What does your recovery look like? Share the details of your aftermath in the comment section below so we can learn from one another and remember that we’re not alone.
Have others downplayed your migraine pain?