Living Through Chronic Migraine – My Real Life
Last updated: October 2022
I have had episodic migraines since I was a young teenager. My migraines became chronic when I was in college in 2009. The challenges I faced were unreal at that point. I was so used to getting a migraine, taking an abortive, and then sleeping it off. If the migraine was extra persistent, I could go to my primary care for a migraine shot. When the migraines became daily, I was pushed into a whole new world. I have yet to escape that world some 12 years later.
The beginning of chronic migraine
I think my initiation into living with chronic migraines helped prepare me for what was to come in my future. Since I was working on the last semester of my undergrad studies, I simply had no option but to deal with classes and homework. I thought I was going to die but I had to push through.
Was it related to stress from school?
I spent my evenings and weekends in a dark room. Attempting to decide when to take the prescription migraine medicine was such a battle because I only had so many. My family tried to be reassuring by saying the migraine frequency was simply due to the stress I must be under from school. I held on to that hope all the way through my graduation.
Nothing changed when I started work
I tried so hard to convince myself that this would pass; that it was just a stage I was going through. Unfortunately, no longer having studies did not change my chronic migraine attacks. I worked five days a week, but it was long hours. While I dressed in business professional attire at work, I managed to wear sunglasses most of the time. Some people had jokes about my sunglasses. They would say I was trying to act famous, etc. but the super dark sunglasses made my life more bearable.
I couldn't find answers
Around my work schedule, I started seeing neurologists and then headache specialists. I was subjected to a battery of tests to try to see what was causing the migraines. Despite every test imaginable, no one could offer an explanation. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. But I knew I had to push through the migraine and live some sort of life.
Giving up on the emergency room
I learned that going to the emergency room with a bad migraine was futile. Even when I knew Toradol would help so much, they would basically give me Benadryl and a nausea medicine. I swear they just hoped I would fall asleep so they could send me home. They truly made me feel like I was saying I had a migraine to get drugs. I gave up on going to the emergency rooms. No matter how bad of a migraine I had, I would hide out at home and suffer in silence.
I felt alone in my struggle
I suppose I became jaded over the years when it comes to neurologists or headache specialists. It seemed like the only way they would ‘help’ me was by giving me a monthly supply of abortive and nausea medications. Learning to live with chronic migraine was something completely on me to figure out. That was like having a bucket of ice water thrown on me.
I have learned to live with the pain
I have been forced to live in amounts of pain that would completely cripple others. It is like being an unwilling masochist. The pain from chronic migraine has forced an increase in my pain tolerance. I have slowly become able to function with various levels of migraine that I would not have been able to tolerate 12 years ago. I have learned to live my life and use my medication based on my own pain scale. I feel the pain and side effects of my chronic migraine daily. Despite this, I still have a life that is worth living. I have a dog and beautiful nieces. No matter how hard it seems to believe at times, I am loved by people. For me, this causes me to continue forcing my way through the world of chronic migraine.
Can anybody relate to my story? Do you feel like your pain tolerance has increased due to living with migraines?
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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