How Chronic Migraine Made Me Sensitive

How Chronic Migraine Made Me Sensitive

Growing up on a farm tends to create a tough personality, even in girls. My grandfather only had girls who in turn only had girls; therefore, we grew up sharing chores that were not always feminine. A lesson we learned early in life was to tuck and roll when things got tough and to get right back in the saddle afterward. Despite living almost 20 years with this at my core, when chronic migraine took over my life it made me sensitive.


The first sensitivity that others notice about me is my extreme photophobia. Photophobia is the sensitivity to lights. I am extremely sensitive to direct sunlight. To the point that I do my best to avoid it and take a vitamin D supplement.

Polarized sunglasses and cutting glasses

I do not go outside without extremely dark polarized sunglasses. This is the one accessory where my husband and I will spend a significant amount to make sure the glasses work for me. At one point, I wore cutting safety glasses as sunglasses because they blocked out even more levels of lights than regular polarized sunglasses. The only issue with the cutting glasses was that they were not safe for driving because the glasses canceled out the red lights, from brake lights to the words on the Amber Alert signs.

Bright flashing lights are a trigger

Any kind of flashing lights such as some stoplights or lights inside some types of clubs are a huge trigger. While driving in the dark, early mornings, or late at night, the headlights from other vehicles, building lights, signs, and stoplights can be problematic for me. This is especially the case if I already have the start of a migraine. Considering I was raised in the great outdoors, you would not expect this type of extreme sensitivity from me. Thank you, chronic migraine.


Another sensitivity I now deal with is hyperacusis. This is the sensitivity to general everyday sounds. When a noise is persistent, it will most likely trigger the pain of a migraine. For example, if I am talking to someone who has small dogs and those dogs are non-stop barking, a migraine will definitely start if I am unable to make the noise stop or retreat from it.

I am sensitive to loud noises

I find myself very sensitive to loud noises as well. This can sometimes make things complicated at home because my husband has hearing loss due to his military career. There are times when something like the television is too loud for me but still too quiet for him! Due to my sensitivity to sound and my really small ear canals, my husband had custom ear plugs made for me at a gun show. These are specifically molded to the inside of my ears because the disposable ones will not stay put inside my small ears.


Finally, hyperosmia is the sensitivity to smells or the heightened sense of smell. This means that I have a very strong sense of smell and this makes me sensitive to strong smells. These smells can include things like food or perfumes and body lotion scents.

Sensitivities turned migraine triggers

While these sensitivities started as symptoms of my migraine, as time went on they became triggers for my migraine as well. Never did I imagine having so many intense sensitivities or weaknesses so young in life. But as with most elements of chronic migraine, I have to push through and adapt as my body changes.

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